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About janelondon

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  1. janelondon

    Bats, heritage and a vent

    Hi @canalsiderenovation sorry to hijack your thread! I've been knee-deep in researching bats and speaking to ecologists. Have you had your survey done yet? We are arranging our scoping survey, and the several ecologists I spoke to said that we likely would have to do the dawn/dusk emergence survey too as we're in a 'bat hotspot' and our stone house has gable end featherboards which bats like to roost behind. Although we haven't seen any bats in the attics, we'd likely be considered to have "medium" or "high" roosting potential, necessitating the follow-up surveys in May! That's a huge bummer as we were hoping for an all-clear after the scoping survey and planned to submit our planning application in March. It looks like we'd need to submit the emergence surveys before our application can be validated by the local council - so now it's probably slipping to May/June. And if we have bats, there are also restrictions on when we can demolish... we were hoping to start work this summer! URGH BATS!
  2. I have just spoken to an architectural technician (who used to be the head of the technical department at a very well-known architectural practice) and his hourly fee is around £50, which I think seems quite reasonable.
  3. janelondon

    When do I hire these consultants?

    Thanks all. The QS will only get formally involved after we have the concept design by presenting initial costings. I don't see the value of having the engineers without first making decisions on our build design/route (and as some have mentioned the TF company may also appoint their own structural engineer). And yup services engineer is m&e. To be fair, I believe the architect is suggesting these additional consultants as we have specified an ambitious time frame and he wants to get everyone lined up early.
  4. We're starting with concept designs and our architect has suggested hiring the following consultants at the outset: - Structural engineer - Services engineer - QS The one that I see as being possibly useful from the outset is the QS, as he can tell us based on the concept designs whether what we want to build is within the ballpark of affordability. Was thinking of having him do the initial costings and we will then take over the estimating when we go through design iterations (I bought a copy of SPONS). Am I thinking along the right lines? When do we bring on the others - or do we need them at all? P.S. The build will be fairly large as we have a house, cottage and detached garage. Was thinking of using a timber frame kit supplier, but still open to other build methods. Thanks!
  5. From attached Ofgem's guide to non-domestic RHI, para 4.40. Haven't read through the whole document, but it seems that where you have separate council tax bandings (as in my case for house + cottage), you can retain the "domestic" nature of both properties without needing to apply for PP for conversion to business use, and still be eligible for non-domestic RHI, subject to fulfilling the other requirements. BTW this factsheet also states on page 2 that if your main house and annex/outbuilding are supplied by a renewable heating system and have separate EPCs, then you may not be eligible for domestic RHI! guidance_volume_1_v5_publish_0.pdf
  6. Thanks for the tips! Haven't even started building but I reckon buildhub has already saved me several £££! Ps @newhome I have also read and re-read your vat thread - so useful.
  7. Good point - thank you!
  8. The cottage may be used as an occasional holiday let.
  9. janelondon

    Cotswold project - hello!

    @TerryE Thank you for the good advice. Indeed - having spent the last few months trawling buildhub, I've realised there is almost an infinite amount of things to learn about and get our heads around - from bats to build methods to thermal design! The only sure thing about this project is that it'll be a very steep learning curve!!! Your point about a partnership is a good one - my partner is more about the big picture, whilst I am extremely detail-oriented (perhaps obsessively so) so we will be sharing the load in a way that reflects our personalities... We are getting an architect as 1) our build is a pretty major one for us, 2) we've never done a build before and 3) we do not have the time or (more importantly) skills to do what other buildhubbers have done and design their own! To your point about brief and specs, we've spent the Christmas period really nailing down our "wishlist" and have come up with a detailed (9-page!) brief for the architect and landscape designers to work from - this covers our aspirations for the property, sizes and spaces of the rooms we want, how we intend to use each space, etc. However, in terms of design, apart from knowing that we want a traditional stone house (such as yours) being in the AONB, we are happy to be led by the designers as to shape, form, orientation and aesthetics. Having spoken to various architects, I realise that where they can really add value is helping to design a property that sits well in the context of the landscape and surroundings - which is so important for us as we are in a semi-rural area overlooking the valleys. (Though we are very much avid Pinteresters so we will most definitely be providing our input when concept designs are produced.) As we live in London and the property is in the Cotswolds, we will be hiring a PM, or (less likely) having our architect manage the build. My thinking is that if we do go for an MBC type build, we would only bring on a PM after the frame is up to help manage the trades. Perhaps we should start speaking to PMs now to find out their availabilities and experiences with managing timber frame builds - I do have a shortlist of PMs but have yet to contact anyone. In terms of broad spec - finishes will be mid to high-end for the house, and mid-range for our cottage. We will need to look at energy design more closely to figure out what is affordable/realistic and I'm now doing my homework about all things energy/insulation/heat loss/renewables and will have a play with Jeremy's heat loss calculator once we have a concept design. We will be following Passivhaus principles but not building to Passivhaus standards. We might have a go at district heating for the commercial RHI as we will have the house, cottage and a garage flat - though this is just broad strokes thinking at the moment and I will need to do the calcs for sure. Re planning, I have stalked the LPA website extensively and compiled a summary spreadsheet of replacement dwelling cases and applications for large extensions - noting why some have been permitted or refused. Currently, this is the biggest unknown for us and I'm doing as much research as I can on planning processes and timelines in order to manage expectations. We do also have a planning consultant onboard who can hopefully help us to navigate this murky AND subjective process! Back to more blog reading now - many more questions to come!
  10. Very interested in your commercial RHI scheme details as well as we are considering district heating for our build (it has a house + cottage + possible garage flat).
  11. janelondon

    The Thermal Design – Part I

    Reading your blog now as we get into the early stages of planning our build - this entry in particular has been most helpful. A big thank you!
  12. janelondon

    Busy ol summer.

    Loving the pictures showing the process - and the view isn't too shabby either!! Have you also got a timelapse camera set up?
  13. janelondon

    Cotswold project - hello!

    Hi @Russell griffiths I've read your blog with much interest! We're just down the road in the Stroud DC area. I'll send you a PM to get some recs now.
  14. janelondon

    Cotswold project - hello!

    Hi all, I've been lurking around for a few months as we looked around for a suitable project.... and we finally are embarking on one! We're purchasing a property in Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds AONB to do a teardown and rebuild. Thankfully the property isn't listed and is outside the conservation area, and there are no TPOs, though being in an AONB does pose some challenges. It'll be our first ever build of ANY kind - we've never even done a reno! Currently, the site has got a house that's ~300 sqm - habitable but old and VERY poorly insulated, and its positioning doesn't quite maximise the plot's panoramic views across the valleys. There is also a little cottage that we'll have to do the sums on to see if we want to refurb or rebuild. The land is a series of terraces that slopes downwards towards the back of the house, so we're thinking of a partially sunken basement for the new house that's only visible at the back, which can hopefully reduce some of the visual mass and provide additional floor space that we want. We're in the midst of picking a local architect and also will have a planning consultant onboard to help us navigate the replacement dwelling application process. Current preference is for a near-Passivhaus build, with timber frame structure above-ground, and perhaps an ICF basement... but I'll need to do a lot more reading before making a decision! A few items on my to-do list as we are closing the purchase: topo survey, bats (I have read some of your cautionary tales...!!!), and clearing trees on plot before planning app. Will have a LOT more questions as we embark on this project. Thank you in advance - the forum has already been a wealth of info and has given me some confidence to navigate the early planning stages! Merry Christmas!
  15. janelondon

    % spend over build stages

    Thank you so much @JSHarris ! That was INCREDIBLY helpful. And @Ferdinand - that sounds about right haha!