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JSHarris last won the day on April 7

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About JSHarris

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    Wiltshire/Dorset Border

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  1. "As Built" - A way to save significant dosh?

    I also found building control to be (with one exception) very flexible and helpful, who didn't seem at all bothered by our pretty long build time schedule at all. All told I found that our first and last building inspectors were very helpful indeed, and our BCO was both quick to answer some often unusual questions as well as always offering advice that was first rate.
  2. On the couple of occasions I've used Citizens Advice they were great, but that is some time ago. I found this link that may help: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/getting-home-improvements-done/problem-with-home-improvements/
  3. Best bet might be to ask Citizens Advice on this. Often they have access to a pro bono solicitor who will give 30 mins of advice for free.
  4. Easy enough, but you do need to refer back to the BCO (not the building inspector, usually) and provide additional information to show that the modifications meet building regs. Main issues are like to be Part A, Part B and Part M.
  5. "As Built" - A way to save significant dosh?

    They did for me. I pointed to some standard approved details for things like the rafter/ridge beam detail, and the fact that our house frame was signed off by the frame company's SE satisfied our BCO, although I did need to point out that we had an agreement in the UK to accept NSAI certification (NSAI being the Irish certification for timber frame construction) as being equivalent to UK certification, and vice versa (our frame was built in Ireland).
  6. @jack, I think you really have three choices at the moment. You could choose to use a mediation service ( http://civilmediation.justice.gov.uk/ ) and see if that resolves things without you needing to deal directly with the insurer You could just file a claim online against the supplier, using the small claims track, which is fairly easy to do if your claim is for a fixed sum ( https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim ), or you could send a registered letter to the supplier, telling them that you refuse to deal with their insurer, as is your right in law, and that they have a fixed period of time to settle the outstanding claim or else you will be making a claim via the small claims track. If it were me then I would avoid dealing with their insurer, and insist on dealing with the company directly. Their insurer will try every trick in the book to slow the process and avoid paying out - I do work for some insurers and have seen first hand how they try their damnedest to avoid paying out. The "incompetent staff" trick is often just that. They try to make sure that anyone dealing with a claim by one of their clients customers seems to be less than competent, with documents being "lost", emails being claimed to have been sent when they weren't, phone calls made that weren't, you name it.
  7. Smug to Mug

    Too late, I know, but when we first started thinking seriously about self-build, around ten years ago, the first thing I did was think about the type of house we would want, and do some research on that, the second thing I did was join this forum's predecessor, ebuild, and make a bit of a fool of myself by asking some pretty dumb questions. Luckily, that forum , like this one, highlighted lots of things I needed to consider, and the one thing that kept recurring was that there were potentially major cost risks that needed to be mitigated, and that builders/main contractors/project managers/architects were consistently poor at managing the price the client ended up paying. I gained the very strong impression, pretty early on, that managing the risk of going over-budget was going to be really bloody hard. That was reinforced by having watched every episode of Grand Designs, where busting the budget seems to be a feature of the majority of builds they show. When we found our plot, my main priority, bar none, was nailing down the prices we were going to have to pay for the various stages of the build. I probably put more effort into taking risk out of the build than anything else, and it very definitely influenced the way I contracted for every major build area. Our ground works contract was done to a firm price, against a very well defined specification, with no variations at all to be undertaken with out written consent and an amended firm price. The same applied to the water supply borehole, and also to the house foundation and erection to watertight stage, we had a detailed contract that included drawings and written specifications, with an agreed stage payment plan and the exact definition of the work that needed to be completed in order for that stage payment to be made. The roofing, fascias and guttering were also done to a tightly defined written specification at a firm price, as was the window supply and fitting and the solar panel installation. It was only when that work was completed that I changed to getting some of the smaller jobs done to a firm price, some done on a day rate, as by that time I had a better feel for the way the building industry works. The upside of this approach was that I knew what all the major costs would be upfront, the downside was that i probably paid a little bit more for the ground works as they included a risk contingency in their costing that they didn't end up incurring, but I'd heard so much about unforeseen ground works cost problems that I had already decided that the ground work risk was not one I wanted to bear, so would rather pay a bit more to get a firm price, with no risk to us. We did run out of money towards the end, but only because we opted to go for higher spec stuff. We went about £5k or so over budget on the kitchen, maybe £1k over on the bathrooms, about £2k over on internal joinery and at least £5k over on the landscaping, partly as a consequence of the unforeseen actions of a neighbour cutting down a 30ft high hedge and creating a major privacy problem. We also incurred an additional cost of around £4k to £5k in trying to keep a neighbour onside, which, with hindsight, was not a good move at all. All the over-spend (around £17k to £18k), plus around a year of delay caused by problems with the borehole, meaning I did a great deal of work that really should have been done by the borehole company, ended up being paid for by saving up money each month from my pension, and doing the work as I could afford it. All told this added at least two years to the build, which itself increased cost, as we have been paying Council Tax for over a year now whilst I slowly finished off some of the extra work.
  8. Privacy orientated DNS resolution

    Thanks for this, it looks very interesting. Not sure about using a RPi, though, as it's not really optimised to handle network traffic. I wonder if this will migrate to OpenWrt/LEDE? Running it on router hardware seems to make more sense, and would avoid the need to have another box in the network connection. I've already got a cheap second mini router running TOR that gives me the option to connect via TOR without having to run the TOR browser (although it does still need a safe browser to be used to limit browser profiling - I use a portable version of Firefox that is set up to run from a USB stick, with all the usual safeguards that are in the TOR browser version of Firefox.
  9. "As Built" - A way to save significant dosh?

    As above, I'd go for a full plans application, as it's damned risky to do a new build on a building notice and could easily cost more on rectification following a failed inspection than the costs of preparing a full plans application. I did all my own drawings etc and submitted the full plans application myself. At a guess it was probably a couple of days work initially, plus a few hours spent answering a few questions from building control. If it's any help. everything I submitted for building control approval as a full plans submission is here: http://www.mayfly.eu/2013/09/part-fifteen-the-site-is-finally-ready/ I didn't have to buy any software as I already had a copy of AutoCad, and have been using it for decades, and the design SAP was done with the free version of the Stroma FSAP software, which is fine for the design submission, as there is no requirement to use an accredited assessor at this stage, and the software isn't hard to get to grips with.
  10. It's certainly hard to think of something that could happen after five years to cause this. I reckon that going through the diagnostics using the Command Unit connected might be the best way to track down the sequence that's causing the flow error shutdown. One problem is that the final errors shown on the diagnostic LEDs may not be the actual cause, as one fault can lead to other error messages due to the knock on effects it creates. The big problem is that if it takes 5 hours of running before the thing throws an error and shutdown, you could be there for ages trying to track it down. The fact that it's affecting two units at the same time seems really odd, too, and makes me wonder whether it's something other than the heat pumps that's causing the fault. Equally odd is that when the error occurred 30 months ago you had to replace two flow switches to fix it, it seems a heck of a coincidence for two to fail together. Any chance of a system diagram to try and have a look at what might possibly be the root cause of this?
  11. Hey from Essex... xx

    The latest move here is that they seem to have now banned cars with trailers from using the recycling centres. They are also bringing in a requirement that everyone arriving at the recycling centre has to prove that they are paying Wiltshire Council tax before they will be allowed in. So far, Dorset doesn't seem to be imposing such draconian restrictions, and so I can easily just nip over the border at use one of their recycling centres instead.........................
  12. One option (although not great one in my view) is to fit a low loss header in place of the bypass. The snag is that they work very well when there is a relatively high temperature differential between flow and return, as with a boiler system, but there will be an increased tendency for flow and return to mix in the LLH as the temperature differential drops. Having said that, some types of LLH have, I believe, been optimised to work reasonably well at the sort of temperature differential you might get with an ASHP, and a LLH does have the advantages of needing no adjustments and being maintenance free, so from an installer's perspective they look attractive. The small loss of heat pump efficiency as the system/house comes up towards target temperature and the flow and return start to mix in the LLH may be a price worth paying if it fixes the flow problem.
  13. Spot on. All you need to do is decide on an equivalent volume thermal store. I believe that Sunamp suggest around 120 litres, which I think is a bit pessimistic, based on experience, which is why I suggested 150 litres. In practice, the combination of 70 litres of buffer preheat plus a single first generation Sunamp PV outperforms our old 210 litre thermal store. Sunamp have already done the heat loss tests, hence the 0.6 kWh/24 hours I gave earlier. Whether this has changed with newer units I'm not sure, but this low loss rate will make a significant difference to the DHW heating requirement in SAP, I'm sure.
  14. M spec ramp to the rear door but not the front?

    Not a problem, it's exactly what I did. I have stone steps up from the drive to the front door, but a gentle ramp that runs around to the back door. I put in a wheelchair turning area outside the back door (just a section of double width path) to deal with the 90 deg turn needed to get in, but that's primarily because one of my friends is paraplegic and uses a chair. For the same reason I fitted 33" wide doors everywhere inside the house, with flush thresholds. My father was a wheelchair user, so knowing first hand how much of a nuisance seemingly minor things can be if you're using one, I thought it sensible to just make a few design changes to allow for it. Who knows, it may well be that one of us needs to use a chair at some future date too, so it seemed daft not to try and make the house as easy to access as possible. A side effect of the back door Part M compliant entrance and the ramp is that it makes moving the wheelie bins out a doddle, and if we need to put something heavy in one of them it's easy to just wheel it up to the space outside the back door, load it up, then put it back in the wheelie bin storage space, part way down the ramp and off to one side, behind the fence that holds out meter cabinet.
  15. FWIW, I found that adjusting the bypass on our system was a bit fiddly. Setting it a fraction to high causes a flow error and shutdown, setting it a fraction too low and it bypasses when it should be allowing the flow and return to go via their selected circuits. I think I spent a good hour, adjusting the bypass, monitoring the start up behaviour on the Command Unit, checking that the bypass wasn't letting by once the UFH valves had opened, then repeating the exercise until the setting was spot on. I can't remember the make of bypass valve I fitted, but one useful thing about it was that it made a distinct "click" as it closed, which helped a lot when trying to get the pressure set.