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ragg987 last won the day on June 7 2017

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About ragg987

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  1. UFH in a Passive House

    I once came across an article on the 'net that tried to establish how comfortable people feel when they step on a cold floor, with one variable being the material they stepped on. I cannot find it right now and do not recall the details, but the conclusions were along the lines of: if the floor is cold people tend to feel less comfortable even if the room is warm floor being cold is not just based on floor temperature but depends on the material e.g. stone floors feel colder than wooden floors at the same temperature We all know this instinctively / through experience, but it still surprises me how many people have hard tile or stone floors in their bathrooms which feel cold and echoey despite having heating. Much as I love stone floors, this is a no-no in my view, unless you live in a much warmer country or keep the floor warm through UFH. Based on this we went with "softer" surfaces upstairs where we have no UFH - i.e. Amtico and timber. Amtico has a slight give that also aids comfort and reduces noise. Our bathrooms only have a diect electrical heated towel rail for heating, and stepping on the Amtico feels comfortable. I tend to leave the towel-rail on 24x7 in winter at the lowest setting - perhaps about 50W on average.
  2. Should I Project Manage Build?

    Let me ask you a question: if your accountant wife "I do not need a PM for this software development I can do it myself" how would you feel? I think effective PM requires: domain expertise planning and coordinating and identifying dependencies ability to recognise (or better still anticipate) an issue define the high-risk areas that will need extra attention adept at coaching / persuading / pushing thick skin And agree with your architect re H&S aspects, though you could appoint Company 2 as the lead and hence responsible for this aspect. Given you have to live with the PM decisions during the build (so extra costs when you miss a key dependancy) and also once you move into the house (a missed opportunity during the build that was spotted too late), then think hard before you decide to undertake it yourself. I do not see PM as a cost item. A good PM will easily save you some or all of their costs compared to a poor PM. £15k seems a good investment PROVIDED you believe your architect is right for this role. Take references of that aspect before you commit. We have all watched many episodes of Grand Designs where the client PM has led to disasters and groaned at the stupidity of their actions. I suspect when you are under pressure you risk falling into that trap. (Though I recognise that GD is for entertainment and disasters make for more entertaining TV than a smooth build.)
  3. UFH in a Passive House

    Me too! Based on @JSHarris postings I also added a passive circulator in my UFH. It is difficult to say exactly how effective this is, but I believe it lets our basement receive some heat from e.g. solar gain upstairs. Or the reverse, makes upstairs a bit cooler on very hot days. Note that if you build to PH standards and have a lot of solar gain you risk over-heating in the summer. Suggest you get this analysed. Solar gain will only work as a substitute for input heat if we have any sun. If last winter is anything to go by, these ar not so many. As @joe90 says, PH does not mean you need no heat, just that you need less of it. So yes UFH is not needed, you can simply add e.g. heating into your MVHR or a few well-placed radiators. We add heat into our MVHR upstairs, no UFH.
  4. Note you only need a professional installer for the refrigerant connection between the internal and external unit. A local refrigerant engineer did this part for me, relatively low cost. The rest is no different than a monobloc install from a "special skills" perspective. I feel this is a better solution than monobloc. No need to add glycol (which is not a trivial or cheap option if the volume is large), no need to check or top-up glycol, no need to replace glycol every x years.
  5. I also think that plots get to a local builder first even before they get listed. Quick and trouble-free business for the agents. We purchased our derelict bungalow from a builder who could not get planning permission for 2 houses to make it financially viable. It worked well for us, so just because a builder has turned it down does not make it unsuitable for a self-build. Make sure to check it out properly, though.
  6. Who owns the self-build - you or the contractor? If you own it then: VAT-free is yours to claim No need to register in advance, just make the claim within 3 months of completion (definition of completion on HMRC site) Contracted labour element (either labour-only or supply and fit) must be zero-rated at source, you cannot reclaim it later. This is where your contractor fits, I do not believe there is a need for them to register (but stand to be corrected) Materials you purchase will be VAT-paid and claimed on completion Of course subject to the rules of VAT-free, e.g. must be part of the build and not a service
  7. Retrofit a USB port

    Yes I suppose it is, but the rate of change makes it more challenging. 13A sockets are not likely to change in my lifetime, I can just plug in todays fashion into that. Oops - good catch.
  8. Retrofit a USB port

    I feel USB charging ports are a transient technology so I avoided fitting any. Would hate to have to change them in a few years. USB current has gone from 500mA to 900mA to 1,500 to 2,100 and now 3,000mA over the years (and maybe some other values). USB is being replaced by USB-C which is a different connector. Proximity charging is happening and may become mainstream soon.
  9. Yes. It worked in my favour this time, so I let it be. The FX risk is limited to 20% of the £13k - given the sigificant savings (approx half price compared to UK purchases) this seemed insignificant.
  10. Maybe. The invoice date is very different from the payment date, so this can be material given the volatility of the GBP. Invoice is only issued on despatch, whereas payment is on order. In our case there was about 3 months between these events as we had special order on the Bette baths - factory drilling for taps. On my other European purchases, most vendors charged the UK rate of VAT and one charged the local rate. Not sure why, it makes no difference in the end.
  11. Megabad applied the UK rate of 20% instead of the German rate of 19% - I assume they had to apply the rate of country being sold to. HMRC will refund EU VAT - I attached the EU invoice, in Euros, plus a screen print from oanda.com showing the equivalent GBP at invoice date. The VAT percent applied is irrelevant for the refund form - it asks for the amount of VAT.
  12. £17k is a lot to allow for 3 bathrooms and toilet, you can definitely get good prices by going to Megabad - their pricing structure means you can earn up to 10% discount on their already cheap prices if you hit certain amounts. In our case, I spent £13k on 3 bathrooms and one toilet, delivered to UK. I was able to reclaim VAT off that as well, so nett was less than £11k. This was for some higher-end supplies - Bette baths and showers, Hansgrohe taps and valves, Villeroy toilets, hanging frames for toilets etc. Price included most of the accessories that are affixed - e.g. towel hooks and rings, soap holders, toilet brushes, shower screens, fixing accessories etc - I pretty much went to town there. Having said that, I did not check if there was a way to save more money by buying different brands. I stuck with the ones I knew have a good reputation which narrowed my choice, someone in the know may be able to point to cheaper brands that perform well.
  13. Can I re-mortgage?

    Why not ask your current lender if they are willing to split it into 2 mortgages? I suspect this would only be feasible if these are considered separate properties - e.g. you can sell one and not the other. One advantage with using your existing provider is you may be able to avoid application and similar fees, which can be substantial.
  14. Can I re-mortgage?

    Just a thought, as mortgages for self-build are much more expensive than for homes, could you max the mortgage to your "current home" (holiday let) and then reduce the borrowings against the build? This might work if they are considered to be separate properties. i.e. treat as 2 properties with separate mortgage arrangements. I have not tried, but I suspect shifting a mortgage to another lender on a partially built property could be tricky.
  15. Guttering Colour

    If you look at my profile picture, you can see the boards on the garage (left of the image) and main house on the lobby side, and also how we tried to match the gutters etc.