Simon R

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About Simon R

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  • About Me
    Retired form the computer industry. Like getting involved in projects, between my wife and I we have restored cars, built a boat, a done limited house renovation, new electrics, central heating and plumbing.
  • Location
    Lee on Solent - Hampshire

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  1. Simon R

    And we're off

    Well, I'm new to all this so at this and can't provide any authoritative advice and found your post very useful, thank you for a good piece of work. The soil was removed in preparation for the raft so is in effect footings rather than site clearance. I had an online chat session with HMRC which I've saved. Our muckaway got split down two routes, one using our builder, so through their accounts and the residual with a local grab lorry firm. I must say I find the whole VAT business rather intimidating and am trying to make sure I keep good records and don't fall foul of any rules.
  2. Simon R

    And we're off

    It's site clearance on a new build. There is a good section on VAT on the build hub
  3. Simon R

    And we're off

    The firework instruction phrase "light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance" comes to mind. It's been a real baptism of fire, however our builder says it's the worst time and it should settle down now. All in all it's been a productive week and almost all work has moved us forward. The digger arrived to dig out the raft area at 8am as requested and work got under way. We had muck lorries scheduled for Tuesday and it quickly became apparent that we did not have enough space on site to build a significant spoil heap. After a bit of phoning around found a local company who could supply vehicles. Our builder had asked us to take care of paying for the muck lorries which was fine by us, getting the lorry company to accept that it should be a zero rated VAT service was more difficult. Contacted HMRC and had a discussion and they were adamant that it should be zero rated and that if VAT was charged I could not reclaim it as it would have been at the wrong rate... Managed to resolve the problem in the end. Now we had lorries arriving and clearing the soil we were able to make real progress. Tuesday the rainwater harvesting tank arrived, we knew it was big and boy was it big! The tank needed to get dug in just 2.5M deep and 4M long, a very big hole. Fortunately the ground conditions were good and a nice clean hole was achieved without the need to grade the sides. By Wednesday we were ready for site setting out. An interesting activity and an example of technology being used because it's there rather than essential. Making sure the house position is millimetre perfect seems a bit over the top when string and triangulation would get it positioned within 10mm. Where it really does help is positioning services and getting drainage levels set. A second visit on Thursday had all the levels set and perimeters marked, by the time the guy left the site I had changed my opinion and consider it money well spent. More and more lorries to take muck away, the tally now sits at twelve loads and we are mostly done thank goodness as at £240 a 12 ton load for the clay it was making a bit of a whole in the budget, a quick calculation of the volumes validated the figures, so it really should not have been a surprise. In hindsight I'm surprised our builder didn't ask me to organise in more lories in the first place. If I do this again I'll order the lorries in advance rather than madly phoning round for spare capacity so that work can continue. The foul water pump arrived on Wednesday, having the levels all sorted from the site setting out I was able to cut the input to the tank, so it's all ready to get dropped into a hole once it's been dug and a concrete base is in place. The next task was to get all the drainage runs under the raft in place. With the raft due Monday and the builder having to go to another job on Friday to supervise another ICF concrete pour we were running out of time. Hopefully resolved the problem by getting a crew in on Saturday to get the drainage done. Stone for the raft substrate should star arriving first thing Monday, so fingers crossed we should have the raft ready for concrete which is booked for Thursday...we shall see.
  4. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    Not what I wanted to hear. Only went down this route as we could not satisfy the 5m soak away regulation and connection to the surface water sewer was prohibitive. The tank we are going to be using has a filtration system built in and the water drains have a coarse scotchbrite filters. I'll put in two supplies to the washing machine so that if the water tank supply proves a problem I can switch it to mains. All a bit of a complication I could do without especially as RWH systems are not carbon neutral.
  5. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    We did look at connecting to the surface water sewer and the foul sewer. Because they are under the road we had to find contractors with the relevant licences, the costs were eye watering to say the least. We are connecting the foul sewer to an existing inspection chamber which required we put in a pumped solution, not ideal but affordable. For surface water we had a similar problem, and as the site is small the 5M separation for a soak away was not achievable. We've had discussions with building controls about how too handle the tank overflow and it looks as though they are prepared to accept a 3M separation for the soak away.
  6. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    Had to laugh, expanding foam is a nightmare, gets stuck to everything and comes off nothing! The JUB system should mean we use very little foam during the block assembly as they are all pre-cut at the factory and interlock rather than having to be foam glued. How true this turn out to be we are about to find out.
  7. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    We are going to try running it without chemicals initially. A bit of background reading on the sustainable sites suggests you can achieve this with good management of the tank. We'll give it a go and keep our fingers crossed.
  8. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    Hopefully it will all get used for flushing toilets and running the washing machine. The rain water tank sizing calculator I used predicted a tick size of 3000ltr and we've gone for 4600 to give us additional margin. We also have a tank gauge display in the house so can monitor the tank level. I guess the problem is that you have to look at a worse case scenario where the house is not occupied. The site is too small to get teh required 5m separation of house and soak away, so it looks like surface water sewer is the way we will have to go if we can't get agreement to a soak away closer to the house.
  9. Simon R

    Almost ready to start

    Well with just days before we start we have our house block plan. All the bricks have ID's so all we have to do its put them in the right places. The blocks are coming loaded on pallets, each with it's own manifest. The scale of the kit is a bit daunting and having done my bit of Lego with the kids in the past I can't help remembering the fun of looking for that special brick that seems so illusive. Fingers crossed we don't end up with one left over after the last concrete poor. With site works just about to commence some of the details we thought were sorted are coming unravelled. Our rain water harvesting tank (RWH) which was nicely located on the edge of the property has had to be moved as the builder is concerned over the size of the hole next to the public highway. At 2.5M deep and 3.2M long. I can only agree, just a pity it didn't get mentioned until the week before we start digging. The tank is being moved to the rear garden along with all the associated changes to surface water collection drainage. While sorting this out it was spotted that the tank overflow was connected to the sewer, the sewer company takes a dim view of the idea of connecting surface water the sewer system. The fact that the tank capacity is very over specified and the overflow will probably never see any water is irrelevant. One of the main reasons we are an RWH was to take care of surface water as our plot is small and we could not get the 5 metre separation required by the building regs. There is a surface water drain in the road outside the plot but it's very deep which will make connecting to it prohibitively expensive. Just another detail to sort out that we would rather have handled before we started. Still no ones hurt so it's not serious... An 8 ton digger is scheduled for delivery first thing Monday and site setting out scheduled for Tuesday faternoon. Lots of lorries for waste and MOT. With the raft components being delivered the following Monday it's going to be a busy week. Hopefully we'll find no bodies on the site...
  10. The Rhino frames are thermally broken but even so are pretty poor in terms of U value, the profile is U2.9 which is OK on the larger windows but not so good as the ration of glass to frame diminishes. The profile supplier is AluK, very nice high quality product range. We are also going to look at Reynaer which look almost identical to the Aluk product but have a larger thermal break and will take triple glazed. Not a firm we had come across, so thanks I'll take a look. We did look at UPVC but found the frames rather bulky and we are trying get as low profile as we can. UPVC does represent the best performance value of any windows we have looked at though.
  11. Ah, that would be perfect, just not an option from our chosen suppliers....perhaps I should re-open that can of worms and look for yet other suppliers.
  12. Another vote for double. What sort of U values did you achieve, just concerned that the aluminium frames may be a problem.
  13. Thanks. No sound issues, a very quiet location. So I'll chalk that up as a vote for double...confirmation bias creeping in already...😕
  14. We get that problem on the boat! yes we will be highly insulated, I had hoped that having an MVHR would alleviate that problem. How much of a problem do you find it and are you running an MVHR system.
  15. We are facing the dreaded windows selection conundrum and are trying to be objective, which is proving far harder than I would have expected. We have a glazing element that includes a roof area for which we need curtain wall glazing. However it's only available in double glazing and has a U value of 1.5. It fits well aesthetically with the Velfac windows we are planning of using for all the other glazing. The company (Rhino) who supply the curtain glazing also do windows and were keen to quote. Now comes the big but...they can only provide double glazing and the U values are on the average 0.6 worse than the Velfac triple glazed windows. This is mainly due to them using aluminium frames while the Velfac are aluminium clad wood. The price delta between the the two quotes is considerable, indeed it is enough to pretty much cover our PV installation. Looking at it from an energy value point of view using the standard HDD figure of 15 it's going to take a very long time for the additional energy required for heating to make up for the additional cost of triple glazing (about 30 years at current energy costs). Given we are very happy with the build quality and look of both products it comes down to comfort. Some thoughts on the experience of living with double glazing with U 1.5 and triple glazing with a U 0.9 would be very welcome. Simon