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Crofter last won the day on April 1

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About Crofter

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  1. Yup a vee belt. There is no way of adjusting tension, so I don't see how I could ever get a particularly tight fit, as it has to pass over the pulleys. The one that I'm using just now is such a loose fit- zero effort to force it over the pulleys- that I'm amazed it works at all!
  2. I've been lent an old whacker plate. First time out, the belt spins off, stretched and frayed beyond use. No numbers or identifying marks on either the belt or the machine, so I measured up as best I could and bought a couple of belts cheaply off eBay. The smaller belt does fit, and the machine works, but it's pretty loose. So how much tension should there be?
  3. When I asked for cement fibre backer board (and gave a few brand names like Aquapanel, Hardie) the guys at the BMs just looked at me blankly. Eventually the manager was summoned, he scratched his head, and then went and found some in the racking at the back of the shop. So clearly the vast majority of builders aren't using the stuff, and must be using PB instead.
  4. Static caravans are temptingly cheap but they do not take well to being altered. A friend of mine tried to reconfigure the inside of his, and discovered that the bedside cabinets were actually vital structural stiffening elements! There's no way you could bank earth up against one, it would collapse. Also, burying your house into the ground doesn't really make it insulated. It might work for a rabbit, it doesn't work so well for humans who want their houses at 21 degrees. The cost of the retaining walls, tanking (a form of damp proofing) and the additional work required for an earth-covered roof, will make conventional insulation look so cheap that it's almost free. My 50m2 house is insulated to twice building regs requirements, and the total insulation cost was about £1k.
  5. I'm sure that would depend on the individual planners, and the people who might wish to draw it to their attention. I've known people to get away with fairly significant alterations- e.g. a house where the builders omitted the dwarf walls from the founds, which meant that no internal walls could be load bearing, and subsequently the roof structure had to be altered, changing the house from one and a half storey to two storey. This raised the ridge line above what they had permission for, blocking sea views for the houses behind, and annoying the neighbours a fair deal. Not everyone really believed it was a mistake at all. But the house is still standing. Anyway, do you really want to go down the route of having diagonal cladding?? It's going to be more work and more wastage.
  6. Thanks all. I've delved into the datasheets for each of the suggestions, none of them list viscosity but some do have minimum joint sizes. So I think I'll rule out the Sika EBT, which states 10mm minimum. The others are all 5mm. CT1 don't give a figure, annoyingly.
  7. Yes plastering and rendering are more art than craft. I didn't even attempt to do either of them. It's funny though how most people instinctively want to use professionals for all the big 'scary' jobs like erecting the frame, and go DIY for the fiddly stuff at the end. Wrong way round in some respects!
  8. I'm normally a big fan of CT1 but does anybody have a suggestion for something of similar performance but a bit runnier? Something that will be easier to squeeze into a narrow gap. Has to be weatherproof/waterproof and preferably remain flexible. Primarily needed as a sealant rather than an adhesive.
  9. In general I completely agree, but there are some jobs on a build that are relatively straightforward to do if you are prepared to do the research. You'll never be as fast as a pro, though. I found the first fix joinery pretty easy, and fast- I bought in a big pile of 6x2 and sheets of OSB, and a couple of months later I had the shell of a house erected. Installing insulation, partition walls, and plasterboarding were all quite simple. It was the second fix stuff that I found more challenging- everything you do is on display for all to see, and in the case of things like door linings, a wonky mitre or a 2mm gap can look terrible.
  10. Firstly, I would say speaking from experience a 25mm service void is absolutely the minimum size. If you have space to make it any bigger, say 37.5mm, then it will make life much easier when it comes to running cables and choosing back boxes etc. IMHO insulating the service void is of marginal benefit- it is only 25mm, and it cannot obviously be continuous, so there will be significant gaps and bridging due to the battens and cable runs. It also puts insulation on the wrong side of the vapour barrier. It would be easier and more cost effective to simply add 25mm to your main insulation layer, but if you are very tight for space then yes it can be done. For the cables, it's a fairly simple matter to spec them to be laid within insulation, it may put some of them up a size as they will run hotter.
  11. Whether it's worth putting in DIY labour depends on how much income you could be losing to do so, and how skilled (and therefore, how productive) you are with these trades- so it's going to vary enormously from one self builder to another. If you are short of free time, choose carefully where to spend it. I remember @JSHarris saying that he effectively 'earned' hundreds of pounds an hour by shopping around for electrical fittings. This is a great example of somewhere that a self builder can save a small fortune, as most trades will just pick things up from their preferred supplier without much thought as to what cost is passed on to the customer. My own build was very much DIY. We got planning approval in early 2015, and it was finished in May 2018- so just over three years, plus the slow burn in the months prior to gaining planning. For about two of those years, the build was my full time job. It wasn't really a decision to do the build instead of working somewhere else, it was just how things worked out at the time. A significant portion of time was spent researching and working things out- many many cups of tea, discussions on BuildHub, and playing with models on Sketchup. Working alone also made some jobs much more time consuming, especially anything involving work at heights- I must have climbed up and down ladders thousands of times. I hired in a digger and driver, a plasterer, a sparky, and a plumber for the UVC. Everything else from design and drawing through to first and second fix, roofing, and painting and decorating, was done by me, with a little help from friends, family, and neighbours. The build worked out at about £1000/m2 for a reasonably high spec, on a very small footprint. This includes everything except the land. I don't really know what it would have cost to get someone else to build it, but it would likely have worked out in the region of £2000-£2500/m2. In such a case it would probably have made sense to make the house larger, as it would have added negligible cost and lowered the cost per m2.
  12. I managed to avoid the joints completely because the house is so small. In fact the roof pitch was set at 42 degree rather than 45 since this kept the floor-apex gable height to 16ft. In the event, Novaar sawmill (who are fairly local to the OP) supplied me with 4.9m lengths. If it's only going to be a handful of boards in the middle that need a joint, then careful placement of a window would hide those. Alternatively, you could make a fairly bold move and have a joint line at the eaves level. Have the upper triangle of the gable stepped out slightly, to give a drip edge. If you don't fancy either of those, then you would have to go with butt joints. But I would cut them with an angle and treat the ends. And I would definitely stagger the joints. Lots of juicy details in this document:
  13. Ideally you want to be able to always rod upstream, so that you push any blockages back the way they came, rather than trying to force a blockage through. So access from top only is not ideal. I can't say whether the BRegs require this, but it's good practice.
  14. I didn't complete the survey myself as the house I built was intended as a holiday let rather than as a primary residence. FWIW, we had no problems with planning, it was relatively painless with no particular requirements imposed, and no objections from neighbours.
  15. I thought fibres were primarily for prevention of shrinkage cracks?