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Bitpipe last won the day on July 20

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  1. I'm sure the Sun has a GOTCHA! headline ready to roll. I do sometimes wonder if that section of the media wants a rerun of WW2 for old times sake, closely followed by the 1966 World Cup and then the Falklands.
  2. A quick google threw up this, I'm sure there are plenty more -
  3. Making provision for future services is a smart move, spare ducting is cheap and easy to install during the build (to run pipes and power) and can be robustly plugged at both ends i.e. a tightly scrunched ball of chicken wire (to keep out rodents) on a pull wire, some LE foam and some airtightness tape. If you never need it then forget about it. If you do, you'll be very grateful as it would be very tricky to retrofit. Are you installing solar PV? If you use in roof trays then you won't see it much and you'll save money on tiles underneath. Even if you don't export and claim what's left of FiT, the PV will help power any ASHP or split air conditioning. My guess is that the latter would have the most immediate relief, slab cooling is going to help but be a slower to react system.
  4. How could a new boiler 'struggle' in an efficiently built house with a low demand for heat? If the mains gas runs out? Either go for one or the other, not both. If you're not on mains gas than ASHP is the way to go and it will deliver perfect temperatures for low temp UFH but you need to have a means of heating your DHW to 60o plus to avoid legionnaires. Can be used for UFH cooling (best with passive slab) and can also be used to drive duct cooling for MVHR. Mains gas is still cheaper to run I believe and you have more installation options (trades) as it's the default option. Current boilers are highly efficient, will generate DHW at required temperatures but will need mixed down for low temp UFH. Just be aware that MVHR is designed for ventilation and not space heating / cooling - the flow rates are very low., even on boost. While it will contribute, heating or cooling your space via MVHR will only really act as a trim function and will only be really effective in a very highly insulated airtight house (passive or equivalent).
  5. My De Longhi started to play up last year so I sent it for one of their fix price services. Super impressed - it was collected by courier and then within a week I had a diagnosis and a fixed price repair quote (£150 inc. delivery ) or return un-repaired for £30. When it was returned, they'd replaced the pump, grinder and a few sensors and it was good as new and has been no trouble since. Will probably get another 10 years or more out of it. While it was very expensive at the time (£1000) it was a treat after a windfall at work (company was acquired) and the rest of the lump sum went into the build fund.
  6. Yep just like a trench or raft foundation combines concrete and timber frame on top - in my case the foundation is a usable space (basement) but structurally it's doing exactly the same job. We looked at ICF to build the basement and then the house above, would have had same airtightness and insulation but came out as a much more expensive option at that time, maybe economics are different now. A lot of the additional expense was labour and not having internal floors or walls included plus a SIPs roof was not cheap as a stand alone item. I was not in a position to DIY the construction and wanted a quick as possible build as I was living in a caravan in the garden with the family. I did all the PM, but to be honest that was easy enough as the basement and timber frame were quite comprehensive packages that left me in a good position.
  7. I have been living in a MBC passive timber frame house for the last 4 years and am not aware of 'the problems'. I have plenty of friends who live in modern brick and block houses who are plagued with problems (overheating, damp spots, draughts, cracks in external walls etc). Irrespective of build method (brick & block, timber frame, ICF, SIPs straw bales etc) a well built, well performing house is more dependent on good system design and execution of build as the build fabric. Timberframe systems are not normally the cheap option, however their ability to be manufactured in controlled conditions off site means they should match the drawings more precisely and allow faster erection on site and shorted lead times for items like windows & doors as these can be ordered off plan ahead of time. My above ground works took 6 weeks to go from the frame erection over the completed basement to scaffolding down (I.e. windows, slate roof, windows, rendered walls, soffit & fascia) in 8 weeks. Inside was fully decked & framed out and ready for insulation pumping and first fix commencement. An ICF or b&b build would have required cheaper materials but require more labour and therefore time. Often windows & doors are not ordered until the apertures are built and measured as there is some risk that 'as built' will not match 'as drawn'. However there is no reason any of these systems should perform better or worse providing there has been the necessary attention to detailing wrt cold bridge elimination, airtightness etc. The reason houses are not like cars is that they are all one offs, built to order by trades of varying skill, to varying quality control using varying systems and varying budgets.
  8. Hmm, not 100% I agree. I think planning is the same challenge on a green field vs an established plot. We replaced a very trad 50's brick detached with a very modern white rendered house over twice the size above ground (never mind basement). Obviously if you're in a conservation area or have similar restrictions then this will be an issue. If you plan properly then the elec meter move to a kiosk can be a one time deal as you run from there to the new, no need to pay twice. Also, while gas disconnection is expensive, reconnection is heavily subsidised and is a fraction of the original cost. No need to do anything with water along as you just put a standpipe post meter on your land.
  9. ARC did it, they were happy with the single method as it was warrantied itself. The underlying insurer went bust but the policy was covered by another business so still in place. TBH - I only took out the whole building warranty to make it mortgageable and sellable, I would never expect to claim on it or for them to ever pay out given what I've heard. As you say, a drained cavity is a pointless expense if you use WPC, external would make more sense for belt and braces but that itself is no guarantee as it's only as good as its application and needs to be protected during backfill to avoid puncture by stones etc.
  10. We built a passive basement and house. Basement is cast in situ concrete (300mm thick) using the Sika waterproofing system (water bars, admix & plugs) - it is inspected on site by a Sika rep and once approved comes with 25 year warranty. We chose this method over ICF since we're entirely reliant on this single waterproofing system and wanted to see the quality of the pour for each section. This is one of the few downsides of ICF, you have to trust the quality of the pour as you can't see it. As the water table sits at 6m below ground level and the basement is 3m below ground, we did not see the need for external membrane (which needs perfect application) or internal membrane (assumes a leaky wall and needs sump + pump + backups etc). Basement sits on a 300mm thick slab of EPS 200 which extends beyond the slab and there are vertical walls of 200mm EPS 70 applied to the exterior of the basement walls. We used insulated MEA GRP light wells (simple window holes left in structure) and have an external door to a concrete staircase to ground level for emergency exit and to meet fire regs (alternative is sprinkler system). Basement is the full footprint of structure above and acts as the house foundation. Land drain at basement perimeter to soakaway and the 1m working space was backfilled with clean stone which acts like a giant French drain around the property. The house is a MBC passive twin wall timber frame - the inner frame is load bearing and sits on the edge of the concrete wall, the basement vertical insulation spans the twin wall gap and the exterior wall leaf sits on this. When the system has the insulation blown into it, there is an uninterrupted insulated layer that wraps around the house. Basement is inherently airtight as concrete and there is an airtight fabric taped to inside basement wall, up over GF and to inside wall of frame. GF is pozi joists over a steel web that sits in precast pockets in the basement wall. Essentially we mimicked the MBC foundation detail where the frame interfaces the basement walls. Our design was 'open box' by choice but no reason you couldn't do a 'sealed box' and have a slab at ground level - just need some thought on your heating strategy as in a normal passive slab you put the UFH pipes in the slab vs on top in screed. That would work in a basement GF slab also, you'd loose a bit of heat to the basement walls but doubt it would make a big difference. TBH, a passive standard house needs so little heat injection that you barely use the heating at all. Many here use the slab to cool the house in summer (needs ASHP) so that may be a consideration also. UFH on GF only, wet system in spreader plates under floor deck. No heating in basement or upper floors aside from bathroom towel rads and electric UFH under the tiles. UFH comes on for 2-3 months max over winter. Gas boiler used for that and DHW, solar PV on east roof with a diverter to top up UVC tank with immersion heaters before exporting. Big sliders downstairs, every window is triple glazed so house is super quiet. External motorised shutters on east aspect (street side) + east & south Velux which greatly reduces daytime solar gain, increases privacy and removes need for curtains. West side has curtains in bedrooms and gauzy drapes in living/dining room. We do get a bit of overheating in summer, later in the day, usually because we're not that disciplined keeping the doors closed during summer. MVHR obviously. MBC frame can support a render system (battens, render board & render) or practically any other finish - timber cladding, brick etc. As mentioned in other posts, basement cost variable is your ground conditions followed by your site access etc. You only really know what conditions you have following a ground investigation report - this is usually a combination of desk survey (to see what is expected to be there based on historical data), dynamic probing to 10m (measuring ground resistance) and some core samples. Gas and ground water monitoring is often required too. The SE should spec the investigation to ensure they get the data points they need and will then interpret the data to see what design and build method is required - i.e. sheet pile retaining walls if the soil is too soft to self support during construction etc. You then get a design which will include the bar schedules etc and shop it around local groundworkers to get a quote. most will sub out the concrete works to a specialised crew but will take care of the excavation and infill themselves. You can include other groundworks, site prep, services etc as part of the same package. Hope all of this helps.
  11. Given it's also doing the job of a bathroom / kitchen extractor fan, you want it on all the time. If properly configured it should not be noticeable during normal operation - you may hear it on boost.
  12. When you're a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. Now, this thread is incorrectly named as Brexit occurred Jan 2020. What we are experiencing is the end of the transition period with or without an equivalent agreement. Not as catchy.
  13. Agree - 2nd fix. Quite often fixings is supplied with sanitary ware can be of poor quality. We bought some very expensive stone baths but the supplied waste fitting (intended to sit under the bath on floor) was a bit cheap useless and we had to do quite a bit of remedial work to chop a hole in the floor and put a proper waste fitting in. As long as it's itemised (to a degree) and matches the work done, pay up.
  14. +1 on Topo, you'll need this for the house design process anyway, planners will want to see it etc. Do you have the budget to consider building a passive basement below the house? Effectively the externally insulated walls become strip foundations to meet the structure above and the insulated raft becomes the basement floor. You then have a suspended timber floor at ground level but don't need to insulate it. UFH can go in basement (but we didn't bother as the ambient temp is constant year round) instead we put it under the ground floor using all spreader plates. Effectively it's a more extreme version of what @ProDaveDave is suggesting.
  15. We have pooling on our front flat roof - was a very dry winter (2015) so this only became evident later. Couldn't face the hassle of stripping off the GRP and getting the fall resolved and re-roofing it - would also have required the majority of slates to come off the pitched roof that abuts it as the GRP continues up and under the slates. No leaks in 5 years so it's an aesthetic issue - roofer said that he could try and build up layers of top coat to create a fall, but would be at my cost now. Rear flat roof top coating has failed though, curling up and peeling off. Roofer came to remedy last summer, removed all loose and re-coated but it's gone again. No compromise on watertightness but this is an aesthetic I will get remedied. Obviously forgot to get round to it during the endless sunny days this year but will get it sorted next summer. Can someone here explain why topcoat fails? It's only ever happened on this one piece of roof, rest is absolutely fine.