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jack last won the day on November 18 2018

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  1. You could consider a red door and garage door. Needn't be a bright red, but something with some colour will tie the two parts of the house together while livening to whole thing up imo.
  2. I think you'll find that integration with most home automation systems is pretty dire, especially if the controller itself has any "smarts". A better way is to have your home automation system handle it, and leave everything else as "dumb". For example, we have Loxone home automation, and it can do this on a per-thermostat basis. Pretty clever, although we don't use any of this functionality due to the way the house is heated.
  3. jack

    Walls, walls, walls!

    You can't leave us hanging like this!!!
  4. I cut it and fit it, but then the weather changed so couldn't glass it. I've therefore taken it up again and stored it inside. Once the weather is right, I'll put it back down and glass on the same day.
  5. No disrespect taken - while I'm alright at DIY, I tend to be extremely slow. People we've had onsite previously would have had the OSB cut and down within a couple of hours of arriving onsite.
  6. Where did I say I was "so good at quoting"? When someone takes the piss to the extent that these guys did, you won't find me going back for a second helping. There're almost no materials in the quote - I already had all fixtures and fittings except for the fibreglass and the glass itself, and this was made clear when I asked for the quote. More expensive than what? The balconies are 10m2 in total (6x1 + 4x1), so that's a grand for your guy to do it. That leaves £9k for these other blokes to bolt (supplied) aluminium extrusions to the house using supplied fixings, then install some glass. I've done the OSB myself. It took less than a day working completely alone. I'll let you know how long the rest of it takes me once I finish, but I can tell you now I won't have spent 10 working days on it by the time I'm done.
  7. Thankfully I don't think we had that with any of the trades we had onsite. Plenty of other issues though, don't worry!
  8. We had a quote for £15,000 (ex VAT) to put down some OSB on two balconies (one 6m wide, one 4m wide, both less a metre deep), fibreglass it, mount channels (already onsite) to support glass, and supply and fit the glass. We'd had the glass priced up at less than £5,000 and the fibreglass materials at several hundred quid. Both of those prices were retail, so I'd expect these guys would get it for less - call it £5,000 all up for materials. As a two-man job, the OSB and fibreglass couldn't take more than three days, getting the channels mounted couldn't take more than one day (more like a half), and installing the glass couldn't take more than half a day. Be generous and call it a week's work. I make that £1000 a day each. Same with plumbing - just had a quote for nearly £1000 to move a water softener from one room to the next. I can't see how it would take an experienced plumber more than a day - call it two on the assumption that I'm overlooking some of the intricacies. £500-1000 a day effective rate. Same with ASHP: fixed price of around £1000 to do the RHI paperwork, replace a failed pump, commission the ASHP and tidy up some of the pipework. One day was spent onsite and (I imagine) half a day at most was spent on RHI paperwork. On the other side, we had two experiences where trades underpriced jobs, then did crappy rushed jobs once they realised that they were going to lose money. In both cases we offered to renegotiate the price once we realised things were going wrong, but both took some sort of bizarre pride in sticking to their original prices rather than accepting more money for doing a proper job. These are just some examples of why I hate fixed price quotes.
  9. We have floor to ceiling windows in our kitchen diner. Wonderful for light and views. A bloody nightmare for furniture! The kitchen/diner layout, including window/door positions and sizes, is one of the things I'd most like to change about our house design
  10. You do need skilled people to lay the slab, for sure. A couple of people on here have had bad experiences, but that's possible with screed too.
  11. The main reason people have built the way they have in the past is responsiveness. If you don't have much insulation, you lose a lot of heat, so you can treat a thin screed almost like radiators, in that it will heat up fast, but also cool down fast. Once you have a lot of insulation, like those of us with passive slabs, the slab becomes more like a storage heater. For that reason, having it thicker works better, plus why pay to lay two loads of concrete when one will do? We did actually effectively end up with a screed on our slab, but that's because we went for polished concrete (late decision). There's no insulation between the slab and the screed though. There'd be nothing stopping you from topping a slab with a separate screed, but why would you if you plan to cover with flooring anyway? If you have any bits of concrete spills left sticking up, you can just grind them flat with a scrabbler or a floor grinder. Lot cheaper than a complete screed!
  12. jack

    "What hole?"

    Utterly terrifying. I swore out loud when I saw that picture (having thought "bloody hell, I wouldn't want to be working in that gap" when I saw the previous pics). "The groundworkers had decided that they wouldn't get in that part of the excavation (between the concrete walls and the bank) in case of further cave-ins, so myself and a couple of mates sorted out the drainage channel." Sounds like you had sensible groundworkers. Please, for the sake of the people who love you, when a tradesperson tells you something looks dangerous, listen!
  13. If you want to talk to an engineer who knows about raft foundations, MBC used (and may still use) Hilliard Tanner. Website is http://www.tsd.ie/ Hilliard REALLY knows this stuff inside and out, and I found him very approachable when we had a few questions during our build.
  14. Thought it might have been!