Red Kite

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  1. It has been 3 weeks since the last Blog post and in some ways it feel an eternity and in others it seems only yesterday since Plot 1 TF was done - which is where we left the story. So lots and lots has happened since then so this entry will cover 'lots of stuff' in one go. Our main aim is to get both shell buildings up and then get them wind and watertight as soon as possible. The heavy rain we had just after Plot 1 was finished showed that the MBC OSB roof is not in any way watertight as water poured in through the roof and down the stairs - so we tarpaulined this one and then it hasn't rained since - typical. Anyway a huge push to get to a point where we can (hopefully) draw breath in two watertight houses - hence LOTS OF STUFF (good, bad and ugly!) PLOT 2 Timber Frame So MBC finished Plot 1 and moved over to Plot 2 - another big crane day and the lower floor went up in one day and the joist went on the next and then the boys left us for a long weekend back to Ireland as we fitted the UFH pipes. Having done it once already the UFH pipes went in just fine and this time we didn't have to cut all the metal plates so it was a bit easier. Then the MBC team came back and fitted the floor deck and the sole plate for the top floor and then the crane came back for the top floor walls and roof. The wind came up and so we had to have the crane back the next day to finish off as wind is not your friend when you have to lift big panels up and over a three story building! The boys cracked on and decided to work the Bank Holiday weekend and try to finish by the Sunday. We had already had some comments on the noise and weekend working and had talked to our BCO so we posted a polite notice to say because of CV19 guidance we were trying to reduce travel of our contractors so they would be working through. A couple of neighbours were supportive and sympathetic and one of them even invited the boys for a socially distanced beer after work. We had them stop work for 2 minutes at 11:00 on VE day so exactly at that point one of the neighbours switched on his pressure washer - you cant make this stuff up!. Everything pretty much went to plan and after a heroic effort the MBC crew finished on the Sunday evening as promised and both houses finished to shell level in under 5 weeks - and they look amazing. We did our best to look after the MBC crew as they were in local B&B without the Breakfast (or any food component) - its never ceases to amaze us how well simply treating contractors like human beings goes down. We guess that some of their clients must treat them badly - but why on earth would you want to? After MBC left we had a call from Environmental Health and it seems that some noise complaints had been received - it seems that the latest Government edict on allowing longer working hours on construction to get the economy moving only apply to Planning and not Environmental Health so we were suitably humble and promised to be good in the face of some very vague guidance. Given that we have been working on site since August and these are the first noise complaints its obviously not a serious problem, and as we are self building under loads of pressure we will continue to do DIY at weekends - though as quietly as possible. Yet again we find we really do have one or two vile neighbours. Roofing As we have a flat roof to keep the roof height at the same level as the original bungalow it has an EPDM (plastic / rubber single ply) membrane roof. This sits on a 24mm plywood deck on top of the MBC flat 12mm OSB roof and the MBC firring strips - which slope the roof slightly to get the water to run off. Sounds pretty simple but as with all these things its not so simple. First you need airflow in the gap between the two deck layers so there is no condensation to rot the timber - for this you need plastic soffit vents around the edge to stop the bugs and birds getting in so Joe and Chris fitted all these. Then you need to think how you get over 4 tonnes of plywood 9m up and onto the roof (plus all the rolls of membrane etc) and our roofers said they would do the roofing but not the lifting. Simple solution here was a tele-handler which is a huge forklift that makes short work of this kind of thing - just hire one - simple. But then you need a driver - again simple: one of Joe's colleagues Andy drives one all the time on musical festival sites and is qualified and was happy to come over to help out. So Andy and the roofers turned up and after a bit of delay the first pallet of ply was lifted onto the roof and they were away. Again a good crew who worked really hard and seem to be doing a great job. They have spent a week and plyed and membraned the main part of both roofs so we almost have a dry roof. It was really hot on the roof with no shade so ice-cream went down really well (and for us as we were up there working as well). They still need to do all the fiddly bits like rooflights and soil stack, plus all of the top of the oversail roof but the bulk is done. One wrinkle here is that the rear bay on Plot 2 has the same oversail detail and MBC couldn't fit this because the scaffolding is in the way, but we couldn't take down the scaffolding because we needed it for roofing the main roof on the floor above. So when the main roof is done we will have the scaffolders back to take down the back corner and then MBC will fit the roof and then the roofers will come back and fit that section of membrane roof. Oh how it all gets really convoluted and complex really quickly. Finally to add to the simple / complex plan we had the roofers and the window fitters start on the same day - what could possibly go wrong! Windows The EcoHaus Internorm surveyor came out and lasered around and said that the rear bay window on Plot 1 was 30mm too low and the three windows wouldn't fit. Some checking and it was an MBC error that they happily agreed to fix and Brendan popped over and spent a morning cutting 30mm off the underside of the 3 sided glulam frame in situ and in mid air with a skill saw. We were apprehensive about the sort of job he would do but skill saw is an understatement when it comes to Brendan: two saw cuts one from each side that met perfectly in the middle - truly fantastic work. So one week after MBC had finished EcoHaus Internorm arrived to fit the windows (same day as the roofers - but the windows arrived first!). Their plan was to fit all of Plot 1 windows and then move to Plot 2 - but they were all over the place fitting windows at what seemed like random. We had some of the scaffold moved to make space for them and they seemed happy - and we said if they needed anything at all just to ask. So we were working around the back of the house when we heard an almighty crash and ran to see what had happened. They had asked Andy to lift a huge pallet of windows up above the garage level (about 2m) so they could load them through the window opening. During the unload one of the fitters stepped off the scaffold onto the pallet. The load slipped and the windows fell. Included in this fall was the fitter who had stepped onto the pallet. Ongoing discussions with EcoHaus preclude us from saying much more about this except to say that mercifully the fitter was only bruised and a load of windows were damaged (no glass broken though) and will need replacing - it could have been much much worse. They carried on and then discovered than one of the huge panes of glass for Plot 1's rear slider was cracked in transit from Austria, and also that there were no bolts to fit Plot 2's Juliet balcony. Finally, and this is my fault; the front door for Plot 2 is handed wrong and will need a new frame. So they finished fitting what they could but we have three gaping holes awaiting replacements and a bunch of other stuff that needs rectifying. We have to say that the quality of the actual windows is fantastic, but the experience has not been good so far. Just to contrast this with another MBC issue: we discovered that the kitchen window on Plot 1 didn't fit and there was a 300mm gap above the head of the window (window surveyor didn't spot this one). Well after MBC had left site we discovered a 300mm panel that didn't seem to have a home! Quick call to MBC and yes this was the missing piece, they apologised and Mike came over the next day, apologised some more, fitted the panel and problem solved. If only all the people we deal with had the same attitude then it might all be simple! Rooflights, gutter, soffits and facia Since we have been on a cost cutting mission we have taken on much more of the 'doing' ourselves and keep trying to cut costs where we can. One of these is the guttering etc. the original plan was powder coated aluminium. However this would have been about 3x the cost of plastic, and given the really complex oversail roof detail this would have been really expensive to have fitted. So, and with some real reluctance, we have gone for plastic gutter and soffits and facia. We would be the first to admit it doesn't look as good and will not last as well as aluminium but it is 9m in the air and nobody will examine it in detail. Its likely we will compromise and fit metal gutter to the rear bay (when its finished) as this will be almost at eye height and will look much better. So a mad rush as the three of us have been busy fitting all this and trying to keep half a step in front of the roofers who need the gutter fitted before they can membrane the oversail roof. The reality is that the plastic looks really OK - though we are somewhat mystified by the physics of fitting a flat gutter all the way round the roof - anyone done this? We had to call a stop on Saturday as the wind was really strong and the plastic panels wanted to take off and it really wasn't safe. Also as part of the roofworks we have 4 rooflights on the roof :- 3 fixed pyramid lanterns, 1 on Plot 1 over the stairs and 2 over stairs and landing on Plot 2, plus one flat sliding opening rooflight over the en-suite on Plot 2. The fixed lanterns were flat pack so we have just brought all the parts up onto the roof and built them in-situ ready for the roofers to flash the membrane roof around them. The sliding light was ready built and is really heavy and a 4-man lift so MBC helped unload it and store it and the roofers moved it to the tele-handler and we hoisted it up to the roof and they moved it to a point where its a really simple install. We have had to build the upstand / kerbs for all of these so they fit exactly into place - and we were able to test this with the empty frames. We have just placed the completed unit above the landing and it really looks great - the one above the stairs will look great but at the moment the hole is covered with ply as there is a 9m drop below it and we dont want to leave that open for obvious reasons! MVHR Joe decided he was going to fit his own MVHR system as its not too big and complex and he is desperate to save every penny as he doesn't imagine he will be back on live music lighting until next year so has no income and a lot of time. We have all worked on this install and its not too hard, but the sheer volume of ventilation pipework is mind boggling and routing it is a real challenge. Plot 2 is more complex and since we no longer have an M&E person will get CVC in to install and commission - though having done one we could probably do this one as well! As you can see a lot of stuff in the last few weeks - and a real mix of good, bad and ugly! And still not wind and watertight as planned, but certainly a lot drier! Next steps will be to sort the insulation (Plot 2 is really complex) and screed - which needs doing before MBC can test for air tightness and we can start first fix, and also to get the render done so we can get the scaffold down and finally see the houses for the scaffold. On the insulation and screed front we has planned on 150mm of PIR insulation and 100mm of screed, the thick screed to get some thermal mass and delay into the heating/cooling system. In the interests of cost reduction it looks like 100mm EPS + 90mm PIR + 60mm pumped screed will be much cheaper and have similar U value but lower thermal mass - any thoughts on this plan? Or even 200mm EPS + 50mm screed - which has slightly worse performance but lower cost? One nice moment last week was when we were up on the scaffold and a couple walked past, stopped, looked at the build and said 'wow that looks amazing!' . So nice to hear that others agree with us; it really is starting to look amazing!!!!
  2. And BTW my very helpful BCO basically agreed with you lot - but wasn't going to put that in writing 📢
  3. All, we followed the general advice to Crack On and Get It Done - and MBC worked all weekend - Bank Holiday and all - long hours and really not a lot of noise. They kept the radio off and observed the 11:00 silence - only to be upstaged by one of the neighbours who turned on his pressure washer at exactly 11:00!!!! They did a great job and finished up on site late Sunday and cleared off for the next job on Monday! Today we had an email from Environmental Health saying they had some noise complaints and could we talk to them about it which we will do. However the very same day Housing Minister Robert Jenrick announced "Extended working hours will be permitted on residential construction sites as part of government efforts to help kickstart the housing market. From today, builders can agree more flexible site working hours with local councils." Guess this settles it then! Shame we will not likely have contractors working weekends again. And we presume that as Self Builder any work we do (as opposed to paid contractors) counts as DIY and is not controlled at all!!!!
  4. The majority of our new Timber Frame house is to be rendered onto render board, and we were going to use K-Rend Silicone TC 15 - a thin coat render that is low maintenance, flexible etc etc. We have just has a quote back from a company that propose to use Fassa render system: Externa Light render boards - A96 skim coat with fiberglass mesh (5-6mm) , FX526 primer / undercoat and finally RX561 Finish. I have never come across Fassa but it seems very similar to K-Rend and the other Silicon / Acrylic renders - anyone come across these products and any thoughts? Many thanks
  5. An auspicious crane day as a Red Kite flies in front of our crane as it is installing the Timber Frame for Plot 1 🙂 Its been a while as life has been really hectic and keeping up with things on site have meant little time for the blog. This one is exciting and the video shows the MBC Timber Frame for Plot 1 (our son Joe's house) from start to finish. We have cut this to be chronological and cut out the days MBC were not on site so the build looks continuous. The build sequence is that they fit the sole plate to our Beam and Block (apart from one manageable problem it fitted - big sigh of relief - whew!!) and then unload all the materials for the ground floor and internal walls onto the site. Then they build the put up the big silver panels for the ground floor external walls and then crane in the internal walls and rest the joists onto the walls. This is pretty much the end of Day 1 and they can then send the crane away. Day 2 sees the joists set out and the internal walls for the ground floor put in and the Ground floor is pretty much complete. At this point we had them stop and allow time for the fitting of the Under Floor Heating for the first floor (a separate blog entry on this later - and yes there is a school of thought that says you really dont need it). This UFH consists of plastic pipes that sit in/on aluminum plates between the joists and needs to be fitted before the floorboards go down. We had our M&E person lined up for this but he was unable to meet the long communicated and long committed dates for the installation of these and was suggesting approx 10 days delay which was unacceptable. For this, and quite a few other reasons we parted company with him, and though he owes us money (which we think may be hard to recover) it is in many ways a relief because we had lost confidence in his ability to deliver and complete the project. So plan B for the UFH :- we ordered the alu plates and pipe on next day delivery and the three of us amateurs fitted all the UFH in two days. There was a complication because even though all the MBC drawings showed single joists at 400mm centres, when the arrived on site they were double joists at 400mm centres. This makes for a better building but meant every single plate had to be ripped down the length so it would fit. Juliana did a great (but very noisy) job of this with the trusty bandsaw and the job was done reasonably painlessly (with the use of ear defenders) . A bit naughty of MBC to spring this on us but we managed, worse was that the exposed feature glulam beam that runs across the entire building was 'adjusted' with a sledge hammer and left a series of very ugly and visible dents - MBC will face with a thin glulam to cover the dents - but a bit of a blow! Next MBC came back with a new Irish crew who are much more careful and meticulous and they laid the floorboards and then the next day another crane and lorry with the second floor and the roof. Same again :- unload it all, put up the external walls, crane in the internal walls, then the roof joists on top and place all the materials where they are needed. At the end of a busy day the crane leaves and everything is ready for the subsequent internal walls and the roof joists and the roof deck. The roof is simple in that it is flat, but has a complicated oversail detail that took a long time to get done. So in total 8 working days and MBC had the entire shell of Plot 1 done - a testament to the hard work and long hours the MBC crews put in. It is so exciting to see so much progress in such a short time. Fantastic to see the form of the building we have lived with on paper for years finally take shape in front of our eyes. The split level design is so neat and clever - it makes great use of the sloped site and the circulation space is very efficient. One tricky thing was getting between the four split level floors - so we knocked together 3 flights of temporary stairs using material from the skip that make this a dream - as soon as MBC have finished the last of the internal walls we can fit a handrail and safety barrier which will make them much easier and safer!!!! But amazing what you can do with bits from the skip - think its called up-cycling. Oh and we made some temporary garage doors (complete with rainbow) to give us some storage - bit wet inside at the moment but when there is a dry house above that should be fine - one of the problems with waterproof concrete is that water doesn't drain away!) When we have time a separate blog on UFH and Plot 2 The latest video is called Plot 1 Timber Frame plus all the older ones can be found here :-
  6. Hi, our MBC crew were planning to work over the weekend but sadly one of our delightful neighbours complained about the noise mid afternoon Saturday so to keep the peace and to keep MBC from being abused, I asked them to stop and they cleared up, made safe and went to another job (which they were planning to do Sunday night anyway). Noise is pretty light - sporadic nail guns and battery saws and a pretty quiet radio! - so no heavy noisy machines. Our PP has no hours restrictions in it as the Appeal Officer removed the Planning Officers condition because we said in our Appeal that a full construction plan inappropriate - so from a PP standpoint we are OK to work. However our Council has a RECOMMENDATION that no work should happen on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. I am checking with my BCO on this as my argument is that due to Covid 19 travel should be restricted and keeping working helps the crew to do this. Waiting to hear back (the BCO was supportive but its not his call) but it might just get bogged down in red tape and buck passing! I also can across this article See below. Has anyone else seen this - and any more detail other than "under a change in the law being planned by ministers". Having something more concrete would help and with that I would be delighted to tell the single neighbour who has complained to go stuff it - in fact I think I might just do that anyway! Construction sites to open at night and weekends to kickstart recovery The temporary concessions for builders come as officials assess how further extensions of lockdown would affect the economy By Edward Malnick, Sunday Political Editor 26 April 2020 • 6:00am Premium Construction sites will be allowed to temporarily extend their hours to operate during evenings and at weekends, under a change in the law being planned by ministers. The Government is preparing to override restrictions preventing builders from carrying out loud work outside the typical working day, or on Sundays. The move is intended to allow construction firms to "catch up" on work as they begin returning to sites following an initial hiatus during the first weeks of the national lockdown.
  7. Ours had a £1000 uplift if we won the appeal - we did so it seemed well worth the extra - I think the appeal fee was about 2,5k
  8. Oz07 - the basement has part of it as warm habitable space, and part is cold garage so the insulation is complex - the habitable space has 150mm in the basement floor, and the garage has (at least - it varies!) 100mm in the roof (under the B&B). This is all overlayed with 50mm above the B&B. So minimum is 150mm (between cold and warm) which achieves the U values. The reason its all 50mm above the B&B is to get a level floor at 1st floor level, and in the basement the 150mm in habitable vs none in the garage gives you the step down into the garage you need for fuel spill etc. Inevitably there are some cold bridges and less than optimum junctions but overall its not bad - and with all of this there are diminishing returns on refining those junctions. Passive House it aint - but pretty well insulated it is! And all PIR not EPS - though SAP reckons that using Phenolic would have made no difference. Given the benefit of hindsight the overall design adds complexity at every turn in every element (different insulation, beam thicknesses, wall design etc etc) and before going to detail design we should have taken the opportunity to simplify it as much as possible. Some of the complexity comes from our basic requirements (like an underground garage dictated by the side topology and planning restrictions) plus the inevitable evolution of the design as it gets modified and refined, but after that we wish we had stood back and looked at it carefully - if we knew then what we know now! Having said that it all looks like it will work! If you want the really ugly details this is probably a blog post in its own right! Mr Punter - B&B was mainly structural as there are some large spans (6+ m) - but it could probably have been done in timber pozi joists (doubled up) that might have made the insulation simpler. Our GW contractor was OK to do B&B plus masonry, but not sure MBC would have been up for a timber floor - so we did avoid an extra contractor. Working with only two was complex enough - cant imagine how hard it would have been with a third. Another of those - 'wish we had known' things was that the B&B itself is complex in that it has different beam thickness's (140 and 215) running is different directions! which means that there are different heights of supporting walls to get to a flat floor. It might have been simpler to go to all 140mm thickness and throw some more steel in, or over engineer and go for thicker 215 beams everywhere. That cost versus complexity trade off, plus a SE who didn't really grasp the concept of value engineering! Plus of course a huge dose of ignorance / naivety on our part - ho-hum you learn the hard way! And its been really interesting learning, though everyone seems to assume we know what we are talking about, so come to us to resolve the inevitable issues - what the American term 'drinking from the fire hose'! More on those crash decks in the next post!
  9. Its been a few weeks since the last post but for us its not been a quiet time - we hear from friends who now watch daytime TV at a very leisurely pace - if only!!!! As we are at a point where we have a few days breathing space this is the first of several posts to catch up with ourselves. After the scaffold went up round the outside of the build in preparation for the timber frame the next step was to lay the concrete floors as a 'lid' to the basement and sub floor and a ceiling to the next floor up. This consists of long concrete pre-cast beams spaced out across the supporting lower levels and in filled with concrete blocks. This has been a bit fraught as the design is complex (as is everything in our design!) and we are on our second B&B supplier and have taken a 5 week hit to the schedule. Anyway it was on its way and you can see that the first steps were to load in lots of the infill block (hard to source in todays climate) and a temporary plastic scaffold or 'fall arrest' deck to give the guys a platform to work from and also to prevent them falling 3m onto the concrete slab. This is great stuff (if a little wobbly at times!) and you can see it being laid out as yellow plastic posts and black plastic deck. All was well until the fall deck contractors lorry demolished the front pier of the garage and brought down a load of blockwork. Luckily the steel garage lintel had not been fitted otherwise this would have been even more spectacular. So a bit of rework and it all looked OK for the steel and then the beams. These beams are really heavy - hence the crane, but progress is amazing and they laid the entire floor in a day. Again the gremlins struck and the crane went into 'limp mode' and would only move really slowly but they managed to finish the beams and lay most of the blocks. Next step is filling in all the odd sizes of blocks and then setting out and building the 'plinth' blockwork for the timber frame to sit on - both the internal and external timber frame walls come up from the B&B floor on a level plinth. Again things on our build are complex and on Plot 1 the plinth is 250mm high filled with 150mm of PIR insulation and 100mm of screed, while on Plot 2 its 150mm (50mm of insulation and 100mm screed) - the screed and insulation are fitted at a later stage so all the rooms will look taller than they will end up. If only life was simple all the timber frame would start at this 'plinth' level, however there are some MBC steels and glulams that come down below this to bolt down to the reinforced concrete below and its been an endless and fraught process to make sure that this will all fit together seamlessly on the day - fingers crossed! Plus there are a thermal blocks under the doors and floor to ceiling windows. There are to give a thermal break and are very strange foamed glass (called Foamglass) block that are very light and take a huge load and are really expensive, plus there are three sizes of blocks and we have some of all of them!!!! The Architect wanted Foamglass all way round the outsides of both building and that would have been great - but we really couldn't afford them! So the next bit in the video after the beams is the brickies laying a load of blocks and then we can see where the internal walls will come, and how the room shapes start to look: on a bare floor they seem a bit small but that will likely change as the volumes are enclosed with walls. The last thing you see is the scaffolders back again and putting up the scaffold for the front and middle of Plot 1 - they had to work around the brickies but it all seemed to work. So for a timber frame house there is an alarming amount of concrete, steel and blockwork and an awful lot of insulation. So finally after a last minute rush and lots of issues that needed resolving we are ready for the big day tomorrow where MBC arrive on site and start erecting Plot 1 - what a journey but this is something we have been waiting to see for months and months. So exciting and we cant wait for them and another crane to arrive with a house on a lorry. The latest video is called Beam and Block plus all the older ones can be found here :- Our internet is a bit slow at the moment so it may take a few hours (or even days!) to sync up to Dropbox so if you dont see the time lapse video pop back in a day or so - its quite fun to see something starting to take shape above ground.
  10. As per the last post - we live in interesting times and its not getting any easier! The only real upside is that the weather has improved finally. We had the scaffolders in last week and they have built round three sides to roof level and it looks HUGE as it surrounds both houses in one continuous run. It doesn't look it but it is in fact the houses will have the same roof height as the old bungalow (fractionally lower in fact) - we did suggest to the planners that since we have 2 and 3 story houses on either side we could come up to their ridge height with a pitched roof but they were insistent on keeping our roofs at old bungalow level - hence the flat roofs and the deep dig. We cant wait until we have the timber frames up to finally see how they look on the plot. If you look at one of the photos you can see on Plot 1 that the platform steps down which matches the split level heights of the front and back sections. The plan is to get the Beam and Block floor in next week with a crane and then have the scaffolders back to do the front of Plot 1 and the section between the two houses in preparation (hopefully) for MBC Timber Frame the following week. It is still very tight and could easily go off track if one of the steps fails or goes off schedule, or if the guidelines change and non-essential construction is halted. But we have our fingers crossed and are ploughing ahead as fast as is possible and safe.. From the video you can see that the guys (no gals scaffolding on this one - sorry) seem to be maintaining social distancing and its a wide open site with few people and no enclosed spaces so it seems OK from that standpoint. We have managed to take delivery of a few key items for the preparation for MBC - our local builders merchant has been doing a great job but has decided to close as of Friday so little chance of getting anything else. This same picture seems true of the M&E (heating and ventilation) supply but Nick (from Wales) seems to have secured all we need for first fix. The thinking being that even if we get shut down then when we re-start we are all ready to move forward again as that re-start period will be total chaos as everyone tries to source materials at the same time. If you thought panic (or prudent) buying was restricted to toilet rolls .....We hear it from everyone - its a crazy world out there. On a lighter note we decided to pump out the foundation bays which had filled with rain water to about 6 inches (they dont drain as its waterproof concrete!). We dropped the pump in and were just starting to pump when we spotted a load of frog spawn. We stopped and jumped in to collect it in a bucket to take it to a more suitable location when we discovered two (common) frogs - presumably mummy frog and daddy frog. Amazingly they had survived in what was essentially a sterile concrete pond that was impossible for them to get out of. We managed to catch them in a clean bucket and repatriated them, with their spawn to a nearby field pond. Hopefully they are enjoying their new home as ours will be covered over with a beam and block floor and be dry and very inhospitable for frogs! As they say no newts is good newts! We have kind of lost the Week xx thread on the posts - so the latest is called Scaffold plus all the older ones can be found here :- Our internet is a bit slow at the moment so it may take a few hours (or even days!) to sync up to Dropbox so if you dont see the Scaffold time lapse video pop back in a day or so - its quite fun to see something starting to take shape above ground.
  11. We had always heard that self build was not only exciting but difficult and stressful, and it was living up to its reputation as we worked through all the issues of foundations and sub structure to get ready for the Timber Frame. There was a hiccup in the Beam and Block floor supply that pushed the schedule out a week but it was all looking good for B&B on the 27th March and MBC Timber Frame on the 6th April. This was a really tight but achievable schedule, and the Internorm with windows on the 11th of May would have been great - heading to wind and watertight by end of May. Then the world went crazy!!!!! Right now we are pushing ahead, and have been amazed at how committed and flexible our suppliers have been, but who knows what will happen tomorrow - things change hour by hour. Today we have the scaffolders on site preparing for the TF, we have a somewhat tenuous commitment to deliver the B&B floor and crane onto site on 1st April (the irony of that particular date has not escaped us). our groundworks lined up to fit the blocks and prepare the plinth, and MBC on site on the 8th. This all sounds possible - but it is so finely balanced and inter-dependant that one element in the critical path will bring the whole project to a standstill. And we get the feeling that this could happen at any minute. Guidance seems to allow work on site and as long as the folks are safe and able to maintain distance then we are happy to have them working. We are keeping our site visits down to a minimum but as self builders we believe that we are OK to follow the guidance for the construction industry and are able to travel to site - anyone out there been challenged on that? Our intent is still to try to get to a shell, but there is certainly an argument to pull back and sit it out - however we are in rented accommodation so that adds another element of pressure to the equation. Added to this is that most of our build budget is invested and shrinking by the day so funds are tight to the point that we will need to get stuck in and do the unskilled labour to even get close to finishing. Internorm just pushed out the installation of our windows out by about 4 weeks, and subject to review, so if we get the TF up then it will sit without windows for ages - a situation we have been trying hard to avoid. We have a roofer 'pencilled in' but who knows if he will be able to work, or if he can get the materials to site. So , this is not in any way belittling the major world wide disaster that is unfolding around us all - more to just to let you know that we are doing our bit to keep our project afloat and keep the very squeaky wheels of the construction industry turning. While there is some criticism of the construction industry continuing to work, our position is that, providing its safe to work, then if we dont pay the guys then they dont have money to feed their families. We are painfully aware as our Son lost 16 weeks work as a self employed lighting designer when they cancelled his David Gray WW tour as it hit production rehearsals and he lost all his income from that and the summer festival season. Hats off to anyone else who has been attempting the impossible over the last few weeks - and commiserations to anyone who has put their project on hold on these 'interesting times'. As we seem to have some more time on our hands we will get round to the time lapse video and keep our blog up to date
  12. The SAP assessor got back and said he had used TF70 R=0.022 (not the better K103) for the calcs as this was worst case, so going ahead with this will be fine from a SAP point of view. He said he didn't think it would make a difference to the SAP calcs either way - which sounds a bit odd, but well possible. So this is the way we will go because in the current climate funds are very stretched. If, and its a big IF, we get a TF then we will go with seconds, IF we can get delivery in these crazy times.
  13. Hi, we are in the process of ordering insulation for our floors and the Architect has specified 150mm of Phenolic Kingspan K103 with and R=0.018. However this is really expensive so there is an option of 150mm of PIR Kingspan TF70 or similar with and R=0.022 which is much cheaper (about half the price). Does anyone know if this change in material will make much difference to the SAP rating - currently A96? We would like to keep an A rating so we could potentially go down to A92. Given the vagaries of SAP I have no idea what effect, if any, using cheaper insulation will have on the calcs - or if anyone will ever know! From a practical point of view I dont believe going for PIR insulation will make much noticeable difference as there will be a very airtight and highly insulated MBC timber frame structure, but I may be wrong? Changing the insulation depth is not an option, but already looking at Seconds & Co which seem to be OK and much cheaper (much bigger price difference for seconds vs first for Phenolic than PIR)- under 100mm of screed I cant see that a bit of variation will make much odds. Any thoughts from the wise on this? Thx
  14. Red Kite

    We have a leak

    This blog & video from Charlie Luxton shows leak testing on his flat roof (prior to green roof) - might be work looking at? He used Thornton Consultants to test the membrane - but with consultant in their name they may be expensive!
  15. We have 30 frames a second and 30 second interval on our Brinno. We edit the footage to take out when the guys are not on site Hope that helps