Simon R

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Simon R last won the day on May 28

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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


    I agree with Russell, don't spend a lot. I love good woodworking tools and this article I found salutary I would never have considered these cheap chisels but apparently they are fine.
  2. It's tricky, not all ICF is the same. On our build we had intended to use MBC, but got cold feet and decided that ICF was a lower risk. When I looked at ICF for our build most of the systems required the builder to cut apertures for windows, doors, gable angles etc. We found that JUB did and ICF where they produced a factory cut kit, so no cutting on site. Less flexible but zero waste on site and a very accurate build. It's difficult to be entirely objective as you always suffer some confirmation bias for a product you've selected. Yes, it seemed a little more expensive at first sight but they did a lot of up front work and the blocks are very well made with tough nylon skeleton which makes fixing stuff like plasterboard or battens a breeze. Ours was their first UK build, there is a thread on the buildhub which goes into a little more depth:
  3. We were faced with the same dilemma regarding automation. In the end we decided to use conventional ring main for power on the grounds that most of the stuff/appliances that we may want to control have wifi built in. For the lighting we have two 2.5mm T&E run to a central enclosure and radial wires to all the lights using 1.5mm T&E. This makes any future changes a lot easier, so when something good comes along we hopefully implement it with the minimum of rework. Initially we thought all our lights would be low voltage, but we already have three lights that are mains! all LED but with their own transformers built in, so using T&E for the low voltage was a fortunate choice. I agree is seems a little unnatural to use T&E for low voltage. We have no wired light switches but have used wireless switches. The ones we are using have glass front and capacitive switches, nice and minimal looking and not a culture shock for visitors. It's proved an acceptable low cost interim solution. Not sure about long term reliability, but we ordered some spares just in case.
  4. Plenty of detail yet to go, but we're working on it. Thanks for the encouragement.
  5. Thank you, encouragement is always welcome. Pat is the one with the eye for design. We have some pendant lights to add to spotlights in the kitchen area once we get the design nailed down and the island position fixed.
  6. With the lock down continuing it’s been hard to keep our enthusiasm levels up without the required supplies to continue any major projects. It’s been a case of “what can we do today” picking off tasks. The gas boiler needed to be plumbed in, nice easy job as screwfix and toolstation were operating click and collect. Good to get a job ticked off. Our electrics had got to pretty much second fix stage, so we ordered an 12 way RCBO consumer unit, sockets and isolator switches and set about wiring it all up. We had been in contact with a very helpful electrician Lee, who had agreed to do testing and certification of our wiring. Lee came round a couple of months ago and did a visual inspection of our first fix work before agreeing to take the job on. Happy with what we were doing he agreed he would come and do the testing and certification. The testing went well and it only took half a day to test all circuits and get the consumer unit connect. Boy it’s good to say goodbye to the temporary supply and extension leads. Our lights wiring consists of two 16amp supplies to a central area and from that all the lights wiring is radial. After a bit of indecision we had decided to not have any “wired” switches. There are lots of options out there for simple wireless solutions and for wi-fi. Using wi-fi did not appeal, having it all controlled from you phone was a step to far so we have used battery powered wireless switches located where we would have place wired switches. Simple to use and we can move them easily if we find out the positioning is not ideal. We had thought all the wiring after the wireless switches would be low voltage, but we installed mains 1.5mm cable to give the option of using 220v to the fitting. This was a fortunate choice as we already have four circuits that are using 220v. The lighting is working out well, we have about half the lights in and it’s bringing the house to life at night. With the painting done we decided to install one of the doors we had ordered from Germany, always a bit concerning distance ordering and dimensions are not a good combination. The doors we ordered are from Hormann and the architrave/frame and door come as a single unit. As well as specifying the width and height you have to specify the wall thickness. The frames are easily assembled and have to be foam fixed into the wall door opening, taking care to keep everything square. It’s very satisfying to be able to put up a house door with what are automotive tolerances, lovely solid feel to the doors. It was not all plain sailing though. Our doors are all the same size with the exception of the attic storage/plant room, this door need to be smaller to allow for the roof pitch. It turned out not to be the size ordered, after a few phone calls it looks as though it was a picking error on Hormann’s part as the paperwork on their system agrees with the ordered size. We’re waiting on a resolution, I expect Hormann will replace the door and we’ll have to pick up the shipping. Next job...We’ve been planning on framing the window reveals with ply having seen the rather nice results shown on the buildhub Buildhub has been a god sent for us, well mostly, the post should have come with a “don’t try this at home” caveat. Throwing caution to the wind we decided it looked a nice idea. After a bit of phoning around we found out a timber yard in Southampton was operational, so we measured all our window reveals, simple depth, width, height etc. At this point it dawns on you just how many windows you have and the fact that a they are all set at different depths, not to mention not being 100% on the plane of the wall. Once we had done our measurement and produced a cut list. We contacted the timber yard. It’s amazing how much material you can get through on a job like this, there is the main reveal board, then two 20mm edging/framing strips. The framing strips came out at 230m total. A whole 1524x3050 sheet! An awful lot of sawdust added to the 34 reveal boards. The quote was pretty much what I had anticipated, the 1200 x 2400 sheets were £56 each and the 1524x3050 sheets £101. Bill for sheets £530, bill for cutting £30 which was a surprise, even with some clever electronic saw gear I consider that very reasonable. We’ve done just two windows so far, it’s an exacting task, but the results look good. Plaster board lifter coming in for more abuse very helpful for getting the frame into place.
  7. No problem with stripping the cable off two spools and joining them with an IP68 connector. If you simply plug one lead into the other your almost certain to get moisture problems over time and it will start tripping your RCD.
  8. If you go the cable route which is the simplest and most useful. Either use a single cable or join what you have with ip68 connectors rather than just plugging one extension into another. Generators are a real pain for you and anyone in ear shot. We used a power lead from a neighbour during the early stages of our build and it was a real god sent.
  9. Jeepers! makes our build seem like a cake walk. Good to see you making so much progress. Getting all that concrete onto site is going to be a challenge. Looks like the rebar caging is in good shape. All Pat and I can say is "hats off" well done.
  10. Good question, now it's done and there has been a fair elapse time to let the wounds heal... It took us four weeks to put up 177 sheets. Yes, it did take us longer than a professional, but you can take more time. We ended up putting shims under some of the battening to take out differences in the roof timbers something I doubt a professional would have bothered to do. Paying more attention to getting the boarding good also means your plasterer can concentrate on the finish rather than fixing the boarding. I don't think we had more wastage, maybe less as we thought about the best way to split sheets etc. It's not a job I would have attempted on my own, fortunately my wife and are happy to take on new challenges😂 So, yes, I think it was worth it. Our plastering cost £3200 including materials, we didn't get a quote for boarding.
  11. Most of the blocks are 390mm for better thermal performance. The garage and sun room use 300mm blocks as the insulations was not as important. The structure came out as 68W per degree. so even in the depths of winter we should need less than 1.5kW to maintain a temperature of 20C.
  12. Have you considered the Arduino, it has 6 x ADC's and supports things like RS485. It's got a good help community and plenty of project examples. Good bit of kit for glueing things together. My son used one in a university project and I was pretty impressed with it. I've no experience of the Pi.
  13. Hi Nick, the gables, windows dors etc all come pre-cut. The JUB system is unique in that respect as far as I know.
  14. One option you may want to consider is to take the samples and get them analysed yourself. We had to get a soil survey on our sit and used Ashdown Site Investigations. They offer a soil analysis service at £45 a sample. In our case I dug a trial pit to 2M and took samples at each layer I came across, noting the depth for each sample. In our case this was just 4 samples. The SE was happy with the sample reports. We are on clay and have gone the insulated raft route. We dis get a couple of soil investigation quotes and they were very expensive and it was debatable that the detail of information they would provide was required for our site.
  15. We have a 4600ltr tank. Connecting to surface water drainage for our project was £20K and we could get a rainwater harvesting system for £1773 (excluding vat) last January, the price took a bit of haggling with KeyLine. The Kingspan Gama Rain Water system's quite a neat with nice controls. I have had a problem with the system pump which I found was faulty when I came to commission the system and would you believe it was out of guarantee. I'm talking to Kingspan at the moment as I don't think their 12 months from delivery is acceptable especially considering the pump had never done a days work! I've replaced the pump with a Divertron 1200x which I hope is a better pump than the Grundfoss 35. The hole and concrete etc added to the system cost another 1k by the time we had got rid of the spoil. To try and keep the water as clean as possible we have put filter medium in the drains. The water in the tank which had accumulated over the last year is clean and doesn't smell. The system has a feature to allow mains water to be used to top up the tank, so if it does start to show any signs of becoming smelly we can give it a shot of chlorinated water.