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Bitpipe last won the day on June 6

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  1. That's because bad builds make good tv. Our build would have been very dull watching Wow, fair play to you both! Do start to get quotes for services and 'preliminaries' - everything you need to achieve site wise before starting the build itself. This will make your budget for the build itself a lot more honest. You can still be ambitious and defer some things (like internally finishing some spaces, grounds etc) to later in life. Some people even forgo the dream kitchen initially just to get in and then upgrade later. As a new self build, you'll be zero rated for VAT for most elements (with some exceptions) more or less until you move in so that can impact decisions on what to build when. Even if you're handing the whole project to a contractor, you should still stay deeply involved as it keeps everyone honest and increases the chances you get what you want at the price you can afford.
  2. Welcome! Before you plough into heating systems (which, as a NI native I know is close to everyone's heart) have you thought about modelling the performance of the house as a whole (including how it performs in summer), hot water requirements etc to understand what you actually need? If you're going for a good level of insulation you should think on airtightness and also ventilation strategies plus think about how much glazing you have, what the orientation is on the plot, natural and designed in shading etc. Risk is you could get uncomfortably warm when the sun is shining (even in spring / autumn) even it it's not that hot outside. Even in winter, you may not need as much heating as you think.
  3. +1 on the budget, although I found some architects can breeze through this as they can have unrealistic expectations of what build costs can be. However if you're firm from the outset, then this can keep everyone grounded. You normally work to a price / m2 of internal area and it can vary hugely depending on area, size, design and how much is DIY vs hands off involvement. Rranges on this forum from £1000/m2 to £2000+ / m2. As your site is green, you will need to factor in the boring stuff like access (i.e. how you get from the nearest main road to your site, will need to work for the build itself), services (power & water, telecoms, sewage etc), etc.. There's also hard external landscaping (driveways, patios) and soft (lawns, gardens etc.). This all comes out of your budget before you've laid a brick, as does professional services (architect, engineers, building control) not to mention warranties, site insurance and all that necessary stuff. The Home Builder's Bible (the one book you should buy) does a great explanation of how design influences cost - a square is cheaper to build than an L as you need more wall to enclose the same area. There's a lot to get your head around but don't be put off as you need to challenge as you go to ensure you get what you want and what you can afford. All worth it in the end!
  4. Welcome! We too started on the selfbuild journey having never built more than an Ikea wardrobe. You can be paralysed by choice initially but looking at other builds is invaluable, especially before you get too deep with the architect. Try not to confuse traditional style with modern methods of construction - you can have an old style stone cottage that is highly thermally efficient or a modern box that's draughty and hard to heat or keep cool. Whatever design you land on, no reason why it can't be built to a very high and future proof standard for more or less the same cost as 'traditional' methods. That's part of the benefit of being a self builder - the build quality is as good as the aesthetic design. This is why I built a basement It is hard to see beyond the stage you're at right now when you have kids but if you have a flexible design that allows them to be close and then further away then you'll really be future proofing. Teenagers like to socialise and a tip my older sister gave me long ago is, for better or worse, try and make your house the one they want to gravitate to as you'll see what's going on! So think about teen friendly social spaces, where you can still have peace and quiet, for the years to come - may even just be a garden room etc.
  5. Sounds steep - what did you have before that they got through? Our RK Passive door which is aluminium, triple glazed etc was £5k and is 160mm wide inc side glass, fingerprint entry etc. Are all the rest of your entrances suitably secure?
  6. Always a great day when the frame starts to go up. I'm with you on the relief that the two bits match up - we had another contractor do the basement and even with re-measuring etc you're still convinced that something will go wrong. Not seen that joist type before, do you just cut your own penetrations for fouls, MVHR, etc..?
  7. Can't understand why seller won't accept your offer irrespective of the mortgage type, it's all the same money in the bank for them, isn't it? Unless they're not prepared to wait for you to get PP and organise the self build mortgage, which can take a bit of time. Your plan is OK, pretty much what we did, but could you struggle to get a mortgage on the existing dwelling? Just be wary of redemption fees and do not be tempted to self build on the tracker without permission of the lender (which you likely won't get) as they are within their rights to ask you to redeem the mortgage if you eliminate their equity (the prefab). We were a bit naive in that respect and took out a 5 year deal then were refused permission to build by the mortgage holder. They went back and forth over 12 weeks to decide and in the end released us from the deal as goodwill, we paid off the mge with our build fund and then took out a selfbuild with Ecology. Added some delay to proceedings but it all worked out ok in the end.
  8. Yep, however the fitter left the foot lengths of off cuts laying about so pretty obvious what had happened
  9. A QS will be able to decompose the build into 'things', your builder and PM, if you get one, should help you understand which things are commodities (glue, sand etc) and which have a cost/quality/timing tradeoff or are a visible aesthetic and you want to choose them yourself. However, the question always remains, how do you ever know that the price a PM or builder gives you for anything is really the 'best price' or even the best option? Answer is you don't unless you do the research yourself. However that in itself can be a tradeoff - how long do you spend searching for a better deal? When is good enough, good enough. Many of us have been surprised that for many items, the local builders merchant is way more expensive than other purchasing options, yet they are full of builders all day long. Why? Those builders care much less about the 'best price' (as their client will ultimately foot the bill) and what they are most worried about is payment terms to help them manage their cashflow. You just need to get your expectations straight : for your contractors and professionals, this is a job - it will get done (hopefully well) and then the next job will come along and so on. They will not have to live in it. If you care deeply, get involved as much as you can. If you don't (and that's not a criticism) just let them get on with it.
  10. I found the scaffers the only unpleasant and slightly dodgy trade I had during the whole build - my other trades said that they can be known for arriving on site at 7am 'well refreshed' and are strong as anything (if you've ever tried to lift a 12ft pole, never mind vertically so are not to be messed with. A majority are, I'm sure, perfectly honest and decent. My TF crew knocked the scaff about quite a bit during the build as it didn't quite fit and we had a bit of ground settlement that made it sag in a few places. Luckily the render crew fixed it all up themselves so the scaff vendor could not complain (but they did try to stick me for more ££). However the window fitter did trim a few poles with a disc cutter and left the bits on show and they were proper p'd off when they saw those - so put yours in the skip Scaff crews are also notorious about leaving it up (for free) on a site until they can take it directly to another site vs back to a depot, so be as strict about the 'off site' date as you are about other elements of the contract. I withheld a final payment to encourage them to take it down on time. Best to get your plan clearly defined (perimeter, lifts and adaptions) and then get two or three to quote and keep going round until you get the best price - there seems to be a lot of price elasticity depending on how busy they are.
  11. Not exactly the same situation as you but... I have a suspended timber ground floor over the basement. I used Alu spreader plates and they are just insulated underneath with rock wool and the basement pb ceiling. Structural floor is 18mm OSB (glue & screw). On top of that I have 9mm marine ply & cross laid 12mm ply all glued & nailed. On top of that is a 6mm rubber crumb mat and 6mm (3x2mm pours) of resin. There should only have been one 2mm pour of resin but it wouldn't cure properly so they did it two more times. Quite a sandwich and just over 50mm of solid material but the heat passes through it all just fine - as our house is low energy design, the UFH flow temp is as low as the mixer will go - about 35o I think.
  12. Completely agree - it's the cost / quality / time triangle - if you can afford it then you can get good quality in short time - which can make its own cost saving. We were not in a massive rush as living on-site our costs were fixed. We were lucky in having very good trades for the post frame fit out that did not need overarching supervision - sounds like you've been similarly lucky and I hope it works out as you expect. Are you leaving all purchasing decisions to them or do you have a clear spec on, for example, bathroom fit out etc and how will you check you're getting the best price etc. By way of example, we made a very last minute decision to put electric underfloor heating in the bathrooms. Electrician was able to put in conduit and back boxes at the last minute and after some discussion on this forum, I picked up very cost effective kit on eBay and one of the heating superstores - i.e. the mats, stats, insulated board, fixings & laytex, tanking kit etc.. It was all ready for the tiler when he turned up the following week. Had I got one of the 'off the shelf' premium kits then it would have been about 3x more expensive. Ordering all our Grohe, HansGrohe, VB etc bathroom kit on Megabad saved us about 40% vs Uk prices at that time. Similar for our Velux Integra windows etc. Do that a few times on a build and you start to save £1000s. Total time expended, a few hours on the internet over a few evenings. That's where you will make savings and get what you want.
  13. Just be aware that the concept of reasonable can vary between the purchaser and the vendor - QS will decompose your build into component tasks and materials and use Spons to incrementally build up a cost model. This will only ever be indicative and materials and labour may well come in cheaper or more expensive - highly dependent on local, national and International variables plus your own trade off between time and quality. A main contractor will offset their own financial risk by either agreeing a cost plus or fixed price (with built in contingency). Yes however be aware using a single contractor will typically incur an overhead on the underlying costs (10-20%). They will also make their own decisions on how stuff gets done and what materials are used to do it (aside from finishes where you will have more input). You will not be consulted on every bag of cement or box of fixings purchased. Unless you're building something very complicated and expensive, you will just need to leave them to get on with it and hope you have a good set of professionals who will do their best. If you try to impose micromanagement then there's a good chance they will walk - seems to be the number one gripe of all the trades we had on site. Look, a professional will get a job done in the time allocated and the budget allowed. They will not agonise into the night whether they gave you enough options on your door handles or spent enough time hunting down the best possible deal on a box of glue to save you £5. No but I think you have an unrealistic expectation on how much above and beyond they will go for the fee you give them. Most will do a competent professional job that meets the requirements. If you want more you need to pay more but I'd suggest you're going to be spending more than you are saving at some point. You've obviously not got to the stage yet of ringing 20 plastering / plumbing / electrical contractors and being told that nope - they don't want your £20k job as it will probably take too long and they can make more money doing 4 smaller jobs for £10k each. Or that they'd love to do it but their developer mate has just booked them for the next 12 months at short notice so if you still need them after that then great. Etc. Or even getting them to start and then they disappear for week sand you're begging them to get back to unblock the next trade who is ready to go. All part and parcel of the experience. Keep in mind that self builders are a tiny fraction of the building market - majority are commercial & volume builds and then the smaller jobs like extensions and the like. I spent closer to £1500 /m2 - you only get well below that if you do a lot of work yourself or are prepared to take forever to get the build finished. If I were building today it would probably exceed £1750 as the pound is much weaker (most of my purchasing was pre Brexit). I did very little actual work myself but organised all of the trades & sourced materials etc. I would just find the time - that's what weekends, evenings & lunch breaks are for. BTW, it's not as time consuming as you make out. Trades are not children, if you get the right ones, they do not need constant supervision - they do need clear instruction of what you want though and the ability to get hold of you asap if a snap decision needs to be made. Self build is a big sacrifice of your finances, personal and professional life - it will consume you for the duration but at the end you have something special (hopefully).
  14. Hmm - can only speak from my own experience but I'd be worried that the OSB skin on its own would have the same issue I had. The render board batten fixings carry a lot of deadweight, the render board - 2 coats of render and the top coat. Plus they need to resist the thermal expansion / contraction cycle of the boards in summer and winter. My issue took 18 months to come to light as the fixings slowly worked their way loose.
  15. Had agreement in principal last summer from the contractor to replace the system with a view to doing it this summer but Covid has hit and I need to chase him again - last spoke 6 odd weeks ago as they were restarting operations. Fundamental issue is that their batten did not overlay the structural ribs in the TF outer wall (which were marked) so at least half of them were just screwed into Panelvent (i.e. MDF) and the fixings have failed.