DreamHouseDreamer

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About DreamHouseDreamer

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  1. Wow, thank you all for this huge quantity of input and responses. All so very much appreciated - even if, for the mo, my brain is spinning with so much tech stuff. I am going to have to digest it carefully, follow up links, research some bits that are complete gobbledegook to my non tech mind and make some sense of this before I can figure out what will work for us, and anything else. My bad for not describing one feature correctly. We will in fact have external roller shutters, integrated into the window fittings - that when fully lowered are total blackout. These should be helpful against solar gain as well as security, and we will have tripled glazed windows and patio doors. There's no way we can have propane in the new house for even a domino hob unit - I've already investigated that. It's what we have in the existing house. In the event of a power cut, if we cannot resolve the power issue, we may be BBQing outside, come rain or shine. Woodburner is a possibility if we can get a 3kW one that I like and is affordable. DHDreamer
  2. Thank you all for your replies. I typed this, went and made a cuppa and responses are already coming in. Wow, you guys are on the ball. To respond to each point made that I can comment on: @scottishjohn Is there really such a thing as a generator with auto start up? While we have dismissed a generator for being noisy, awkward, smelly, where the heck do you put it?, how much diesel would we need to have lying around?, is it safe? and other reasons, it was actually my first thought before 'im-indoors told me I was bonkers. Seriously, I don't see how we could site one in the plant room, with building regs consent, etc. However, I'd be interested to learn more if you are serious. @JSHarris Inevitably, without a crystal ball, I cannot answer how much solar gain we will get - both useful in winter or detrimental in summer. The house is designed to face south - for privacy, to maximise views and for that south facing roof for the solar array. Most of the patio doors will face south. However, the house is designed to not have an endless amount of wall to wall glass like many contemporary houses have, and all south facing windows or patio doors will have powered roller blinds set to lower to reduce excessive solar gain (don't ask how, I cannot get my head round any of that - it's one of 'im-indoor's tasks to resolve). Notwithstanding any of that, when we visited a few new build houses last summer during that heatwave for ideas, as part of choosing architects, while doing general due diligence, etc and despite being told that they're so well insulated, the houses won't be that hot - they were not in every case a comfortable temp, and the owners of some we sweltering and putting on a brave face. Our biggest concern and the real reason for wanting/needing so sort of cooling capability is for sleeping in the south facing master bedroom. Anyway, what you are saying is that some cooling can be easily addressed, I just need to specify the right type of unit. So what features should I be looking out for? Tesla may not be the only player in the power storage market, but they have the most compact power storage units we have seen. We have been recommended to use a different, extra device between the solar collector system and the storage unit to control, monitor, report energy - which presumably would have better user interface/control. Anyway, what other brands should I research? Yes, we know about actually managing to run the house in winter just from self generated power. We are looking into this - and I didn't want to go into too much detail above. We understand there are power suppliers out there who have variable pricing bands and times and in winter we should recharge the batteries overnight from the grid at the cheapest rate to use during the day at peak pricing periods. Have not yet started to research energy suppliers. This needs to be tied to our need for an elec car charging point (a planning consent condition) despite no plans to ever own a EV. @Dreadnaught Your comment on why there are no approved UPS units in the UK makes sense. We got a long winded explanation from one of those darned solar panel salesmen, but I think you expressed it more succinctly. UK networks don't have downstream power safety breaker, only upstream. @Ed Davies I will look at your link for boat/shore power in due course and see if I can understand it. Assuming our storage batteries have enough power to run the house for the duration of any power cut, the UPS would only need enough power to switch the house from grid to battery when there is a power cut. The system clearly would still need to know there's been a power cut so that the house runs under some sort of low power mode with perhaps some sort of a warning if any high consumption items was turned on like oven, etc. Yet another Q for 'im-indoors, then! @JSHarris I'll go google those brands you mention and read them up. Maybe the electricians and solar guys we have been dealing with so just prefer Tesla. It's certainly the brand everybody mentions. Including unprompted when we spoke to those manning stands at the various home building shows we have visited over the last 2 or so years. Thanks again, everybody. Most useful. Watch this space for more questions for those with lots of patience ........ DH Dreamer
  3. In the outline spec for the new house yet to be built, there will be an ASHP, a MVHR unit, large mains pressure water cylinder and wet UFH throughout. That will be what keeps the house warm and will also provide hot water, or so I understand, at all times. Living rooms and bedrooms (and a few other locations) will have fresh air vents. Kitchen and bathrooms (and maybe elsewhere) will have air extract vents. The energy for all of this will be generated, as much as possible, by a solar array on the entirely south facing roof (10 kW capacity has been suggested to us) when possible, and bog standard domestic single phase supply from the grid otherwise. The entire house will run off only electricity, wherever it comes from. There is no gas immediately nearby, neighbouring houses are heated by oil. To store the energy from the roof panels, we are aiming for a Tesla Powerwall 2 (if we can get delivery in time - we are told at least 10 months delay currently). One solar supplier we have spoken to, the only one to so far produce facts, figures, vaguely comprehensible numbers is where the 10 kW roof array size comes from. This individual also warned that to run the house as much as possible from what we generate, we'd actually need 2 x Powerwalls. Our aim, cost and practicalities willing, is to achieve an energy positive house. Yes, we know we missed the boat with FITs, but we also understand there will likely be a replacement in the pipeline, and nothing has been announced yet only because the UK government has been sidetracked by some minor kerfuffle beginning with B. The house will - like most self builds - be as well insulated, air tight and thermally efficient as possible. Thus, we understand that actually, heating demand will not be great and that the house should warm up quickly, even with UFH which can have a 'delayed' reaction. If heating was to be turned off, would loose heat very slowly. So far, so good. I know I don't understand almost anything about how any of the kit mentioned above actually does any of what it is supposed to do, but my role is to influence product selection based on my requirements rather than choose the products themselves or do the technical calculations to size any item correctly. So, what I'm wishing to learn is more what the differences are between what different models/capabilities in terms of upgrades from a basic model that does no more than it says on the tin. For example: Which item of kit would you need to adjust or have a different model, if you wished to be able to adjust humidity in a room as well as temperature? Which item of kit would you need to adjust to enhance fresh air coming into a room? Which item of kit would you need to adjust to enhance/boost stale or smelly or damp air from a room (such as kitchen or bathroom)? What kit (or more than one individual unit) would you need to upspec if you wanted to add room cooling? Is this achieved by cooling the air coming into rooms or by having the UFH pipes circulating cold water? Or both? And the million dollar question: We would really love an uninterrupted power supply set up - and this, as far as we know, is not yet available at all in the UK, and only rudimentary versions are available elsewhere (elsewhere being USA and Australia), and only from Tesla apparently. We get power cuts, in winter when it's windy thanks to all the overhead power cables in our area, we get quite a few. They can last from 30 seconds to 8 hours. We are in a relatively low population rural area with no industry or hospital nearby so we know the area is not listed as priority for reconnection when there are storms (blurted out by a man from UKPN when fixing a break one day! 🙂 ). What's the point of all this high tech kit if you cannot use any of it when there's a power cut? I won't even be able to boil a kettle for a cuppa? I think I've wittered on more than enough. Please ask questions if you need more details to offer any comments. Thank you one and all. DH Dreamer
  4. DreamHouseDreamer

    Hello All, We have planning as of last week!

    Congratulations on getting planning. Join the club - we got our consent in late December 2018 in time to be the best Christmas present ever. We too had that Speer/Dade book and also had a free site visit/consultation from one of them which was most useful. DH Dreamer
  5. DreamHouseDreamer

    Tata Steel v Marley Eternity Profile 6

    @Patrick PM sent. @bobberjob I cannot help with mortgage for a building constructed from so called 'non standard' materials as we have raised funding a completely different way (and possibly even sold our souls to the devil, we shall see! 🙂 ) However, because of our build and construction route we have had a time consuming and expensive time getting site insurance and 10 year warranty in place. We have in the end used BuildZone. As we have no building yet to insure for rebuilding and contents we have yet to get proper quotes, but we already know that many if not most of the big insurers who provide cover for buildings and contents (the types that show up on compare the meerkat, etc) either won't touch it with a barge pole or will charge a fortune. For the moment we have far too many more immediate worries, but I know it's something we are going to have to sort out at some point - and swallow the cost. I should add for completeness: Somewhere else on this forum under a totally different category there are some topics that address several aspects of insurance and warranties, etc. There may be far better advice there, or so I'd hope! DH Dreamer
  6. You have my sympathy about architects. We did a lot of shopping around for architects, twice! First to find one whose work we liked, and interrogated those (and visibly made them squirm about the true cost of constructing the houses). That was an education. We learned that architects actually almost never get involved with building what they design, or not in regard to managing any budget, so have no clue of the true construction cost implications of their fancy ideas, cantilevers, non standard windows, deep roof overhangs and much else. They also build for themselves and most are poor listeners, even when you say you have a budget of £xK. We decided not to use an architect at that point. Instead we then went down the route of looking at package builders, including Potton, especially at their existing designs and those that can be customised, tweaked, etc where they own the copyright. In the end we abandoned Potton, as well. Partly because we didn't in the end find a house we really liked, partly because we worked out their understanding of turnkey and ours did not align - they need to check a dictionary!!! When they talked numbers, lots of crucial elements were missing - and this was not just for the delivery of a timber frame pricing! Then we went back to an architect, but this time with a much better idea of what we wanted. Essentially, I designed the house we wanted on a free software package - SketchUp - and then got an architect to turn it into something suitable for planning submission. We did learn a lot in the meanwhile, but that whole learning process, toing and froing and a refused submission in the middle took a long time. The house we have permission to build is radically different from where we started. There are some unfortunate compromises, the house we have planning for will cost more to build that the initial concept, but actually it's a much nicer design, but we are not there yet, just living in a quagmire. I am under the impression that timber frame constructors and package companies like Potton, etc are actually surprisingly busy at the moment with full order books - which while still inexcusable is part of why responses are slow. We have been amazed how much chasing we have had to do to get follow up from the companies we felt we really did want or need to speak to at every turn, and it's even worse right now. Builders' merchants, contractors, etc are all busy. We are so glad we started to speak to and line up preferred contractors last year even though we did not start signing contracts until full PP was in place. (We had to put in new planning apps in first week of January for a few tweaks and to add our garage, etc, and our number was 32. Applications are given a consecutive number each year (or in our area!) and our October 2018 app was only 75 applications higher than one registered last week at the end of our road and it's mid March.) I cannot speak to costs as our budget and much else is at great variance from yours, including where we live and the costs of contractors in my neck of the woods. Good luck. DHDreamer
  7. DreamHouseDreamer

    Contractor welfare - site caravan?

    @lizzie That was most interesting and enlightening, thank you. We, too, were under the impression we had to hire in a posh site welfare unit - per your description with all mod cons. However, while doing due diligence and visiting as many other houses as pos and asking questions, we visited a house where the home owner had bought a touring caravan (funny story, but not relevant, about the seller) and 1 of the German contractors involved accepted that in lieu of the posh welfare unit as long as it had hot water, heater (yet they built through last summer's heat wave so air con in a tin box might have been more appropriate 🙂 ) and some where to sit and eat. Owing to what we are doing in total, we will need something in place for several months rather than just erection phase, so the cost is high (we've found prices well over £100 per week) and as you say, VAT to be paid. One of the other German companies will provide their own welfare unit, but that's included in their quote and that's VAT free, so no worries there. Our ground worker offered to tow any caravan we find to our site provided it's in a 100 miles radius for the petrol money. Was that extortionate cost for the construction management plan? We got a shocker of a quote for the provision of that, and again, after a bit of pressure discovered we did not need to use their consultant for this provided it covered what clauses they needed in to. In the end I googled for such and found several versions on the internet and our planning consultant said he's just written one so sent me that. We cobbled all the relevant bits from those together and submitted it to the local council and that passed muster, and we got that part of the PP conditions signed off a couple of weeks ago. However, we can't duck the other fees for the H&S guy, and having had our first appointment with him, he's clearly a PITA jobsworth. All checks and balances, grist to the mill. So far my prima donna fashion victim ground worker is very amenable and I'm not going to complain about his fastidiousness if that's carried through to all aspects of the work he and the others do. DHDreamer
  8. DreamHouseDreamer

    New Build Shropshire/Powys border

    As another newbie to this whole topic, welcome to self building and this very helpful forum. We got our full approval as a Christmas 2018 present and started to get a move on in late January, with site clearance commencing on ground worker arrival mid Feb. They had an unexpected gap in their schedule so arrived and got stuck in. We too knew nothing about nesting regs and hedges and got all our hedges cut down in the nick of time. Why nobody told us about that, I have no clue. When we spoke to anybody afterwards and mentioned it, everybody in the building trade knew the rules but nobody had thought to mention it to us. Had the ground worker not started until into March as originally envisaged, we'd also have been stuck for months. Our planning app went in first week October, but again by a stroke of luck, somebody had thought to mention bat surveys as a throwaway line - in the context of costs, not timing - while we were prepared plans and complaining about all the fees and that you cannot duck the VAT charged on them. So we got eco and bat surveys done just in time. Perhaps had we found this forum sooner, somebody would have mentioned any of the crucial dates, but mostly these important things if you are building in the countryside are just throwaway remarks. We are learning on the hoof - far, far more than we ever imagined you need to know about self building - and we don't even really plan to get our hands dirty! Good luck, lovely plan there. DHDreamer
  9. DreamHouseDreamer

    Contractor welfare - site caravan?

    @Christine Walker Spot on! The ground workers bring a second set of clothes, so they don't soil their own vans. When some sacks of MOT and other stuff got delivered from Chandlers, a pack of gloves were included in the delivery, and every time we see them manhandling anything at all, those gloves are being worn. Never seen anything like it in my life. 🙂 @lizzie Yes, similar. Why do you ask? DHDreamer
  10. DreamHouseDreamer

    Tata Steel v Marley Eternity Profile 6

    So does anybody have experience of using Tatasteel Colourcoat Urban in the end? We have allowed for it in our budget based on pricing of materials, delivery and rough erection costs provided by Tata themselves - whose customer support is excellent in regard to the product itself and suitable applications. They won't comment on suppliers/erectors, though. They've supplied a list and none are that close to us, but I am talking to a few for now. The estimates so far are wildly different, worryingly so! We will have an approx 5 degree roof, so very few materials will work well, and we will want cladding in same material as the roof. The roof will have an approx 10 kW solar array and the standing seams lend themselves to somewhat straightforward attachment, or so I'm told. Thank you. DHDreamer
  11. DreamHouseDreamer

    Electrical Connection Help

    I too have some questions. Not sure whether to piggy back onto this topic or start my own, and if so, is this the right part of this forum for such queries. I'm wanting some suggestions on how you coordinate UK PN work, elec supplier work (provision of new dumb/smart meter, essentially), OpenReach/BT, water supplier and related private contractors so that hired in machines are reduced, a single trench is dug for all required utilities, and that kind of scenario. I'm confused about terminology like MPANs, temporary supplies when they're actually seemingly permanent, etc, too. Is this utterly unrealistic? Separately, does anybody have any wayleave experience? Where should I ask about that? Thanks for thoughts, happy to explain further when I know where to ask. DHDreamer
  12. DreamHouseDreamer

    Contractor welfare - site caravan?

    A very belated thank you for all the contributions and thoughts since I last popped in here. Been swamped with other things more important that worrying about contractor welfare. However, the problem has not gone away. Clearly none of you have encountered German contractors! We have signed our life away with the contract terms for that part of the project, including a requirement to provide a heated, weather proof area for break times, complete with running hot and cold water. When we took up references one client told us their site got shut down by the contractor's H&S guy because there was no hot water for hand washing. Hence we absolutely need somewhere for them that is not their van. Yes, the current site workers, Brits, will sit in their vans to eat their sarnies, but prefer my garden furniture that sits in the last remaining bay of the stable block, but that's scheduled for demolition any day now. And these workers charge their iPhones all the time - they even have far newer models than we do. They are all using the Portaloo rather than pissing behind a tree and once site clearance is complete, there will be nowhere to piss behind that's not in full view of the house we will continue to live in! Oh, and they don't bring flasks, they are also using my spare kettle and drinking out of my mugs. Before one would sit on the dusty seat in the digger they hired in, he asked to borrow my Hoover to clean the cab out, a cab with a heated seat no less! The need to store tools overnight has gone away for now. As they have demolished more and more of the buildings on site, so they've taken to taking away their tools. Until there's a new building with any doors and windows, I will be advising further contractors that their tools are there responsibility. Again, thank you for the wide range of ideas and suggestions, some good ideas there! DHDreamer
  13. DreamHouseDreamer

    Contractor welfare - site caravan?

    Thank you all for the replies so far. The trouble with a shed is it still needs a reasonable quality, flat and level base to sit one, and that may be more expensive than the shed itself or the caravan. We will need a new shed at some point, but we cannot figure out where to site it and until the foundation excavation work starts and we see how much beyond the actual position of the new building it will spread, it's tricky to work out where to site one. Most cheap sheds do not fare well if you try to move them! It's not our own tools that would be stored, but contractor equipment and tools. I had not considered the insurance issue, will need to address that. Thanks for mentioning this; must go read the relevant fine print of the site insurance. Yes, theft from buildings sites is a well know issue, I just hope that as our site is not (yet?) easy to spot from any roads, this will help reduce the number of passing opportunists. DHDreamer
  14. It has been suggested to us - all all costing research agrees with this - that rather than hire a posh welfare unit, it would be way cheaper to buy a second hand caravan of some kind and make that available to all site workers. We do not need a portaloo as we have addressed that separately. They don't seem to be expensive and having somebody else take responsibility for cleaning and restocking one seems to be the easiest option for this. However, we need somewhere dry for any site worker to have a tea/coffee break, somewhere for them to sit down and eat their sarnies. We also need some where that is lockable for overnight storage of power tools. We can already see a need of somewhere dry where they can recharge power tools and their phones! Within a couple of weeks, when site is cleared and actual building demolition commences, they will have no access to electricity, but we have figured out a possible way of connecting any caravan or similar unit to power. Water supply for the moment has been sorted. We would want to prevent use/access to any onboard loo, and water source like shower, basin, kitchen sink, even if these are already fitted. Where do we source such a unit? Any guidelines to minimum size or other criteria I should consider? I've looked so far at Craigslist and Friday ads. Thank you, DHDreamer
  15. DreamHouseDreamer

    Hello all fellow self builders!

    This is the only halfway decent photo I can find of the site at all. All the photos I can find are to prove the site is not overlooked, so look away from, rather than towards the site. This photo is taken from the south of the site, the stable building on the right of the photo is the end of the garden and once the stables are knocked down the new house will be sited behind it on the south facing lawn. The photo is taken from the bottom of a field which is part of the view the new house will enjoy. Now I realise we don't have any photos of the site, I will take some with my phone, as I want some anyway - and I can manage that! DHDreamer