Red Kite

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About Red Kite

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    Wilts / Glos border

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  1. Hi Has anyone found a Zero or low tariff electricity provider recently. we have demolished but still have the new supply live on site but not really being used so it would make sense to change if there is anything out there thanks
  2. It may even be worse than that! It seems that if HMRC decide that you are a developer and you are building and selling the house as a business then you become liable for Income Tax at your marginal rate on the profit. In most cases this will result in a higher tax bill than CGT since there is no exemption to offset. Its not clear to me exactly how they decide but it seems to be based on your 'intention' - so if you set out to build the additional house with the 'intention' of selling it for a profit then it is most likely deemed Income Tax and not CGT. You should talk to an accountant to be sure!
  3. Just got the acknowledgement of the CIL Commencement so we are all set to start on site with site clearance, asbestos and demolition - can't wait. We are knocking down an existing bungalow and replacing it with two new build houses (detached) and we came across an interesting 'quirk' of the CIL 'rules' that might be of interest to others (or maybe its common knowledge already). When calculating CIL for New Build you deduct the Existing floorspace from the New Build i.e. you should only pay CIL on the increased floorspace - seems reasonable. Question is if you are building Two how do you apportion the Existing to the two new houses? Our LPA said we could apportion it All to Plot 1, All to Plot 2, or 50/50 between the two - our choice. Now this may not seem a big deal but if, say, you plan to live in one and sell the other then you will claim Self Build exemption for the one you live in, and have to actually pay CIL on the one you sell (its not Self Build so you can't claim exemption). So it really makes sense to offset the maximum against the one you sell and minimise the amount of CIL you actually pay. Certainly worth some thought before you fill in all the tedious forms. You LPA may have different views, but our CIL Team have been really helpful and responsive and actually gave us the option. I am sure that some LPA's may look at it as an opportunity to maximise the amount you actually pay! Not sure what the actual 'rules' say but if you are in the same position its worth arguing the case. For us, our son is Self Building the other house so he also gets Self Build exemption so the total CIL bill is zero - but there is a slight chance that he might need to move/sell within the 3 years 'clawback period' (we plan to stay for ever) so it makes sense to offset all of the Existing bungalow against his house just in case. Note that if you sell any-time in the 3 year period it seems you become liable for ALL the CIL - its not tapered in any way. Our total CIL valuation is over £30k so it is a big deal! Happily we now have it all agreed 🙂 and have approval to Commence on site - Yipppeeee!!!!!!
  4. Ferdinand, thanks for the comments - I would have loved the RO80's - a fantastic car and way ahead of its time - once Mazda worked their magic on the engine it was fine - if a little thirsty (but 265bhp from my 1300cc engine is phenomenal). My RX7's have deteriorated by being kept outside so looking fwd to a nice warm dry garage - and as you can see the design is literally built on the garage requirement. The gap between the houses is not as narrow as it seems on the colour site plan since they have oversail roof detail with a wide overhang - so at the ground about 2.5m - less than we would have liked but another of those compromises you make to fit it all in. Access to the roof is interesting since the Architect is saying that if we do that then we need to comply with lots of H&S stuff and fit safety harness mounts etc. But it does make sense to access the roof from inside as there will be solar panels out there. Access is not a real issue as our son rigs lights for festivals so is used to being a long way off the ground in a rigging harness - me I dont really fancy being on the roof at all! The lift is a 'design in now' then 'fit it if we have the cash' item since we dont need it yet - not that decrepit yet. But with three a three story design it makes sense long term - and moving furniture is a great idea. It is sized for a wheelchair so a useful size but not enormous. I was tempted to measure the angle of the stairs but it is what it is - no easy way to change it now! We are hoping to be able to afford some form of open glass stairs so the light from the skylight above flows down which should be spectacular enough to counteract any steepness 🙂 We did look at the basement WC but actually it ends up being the best compromise possible in the space available. Plus there is a lot of complication (separate MVHR systems with different pressures etc) with an internal pool in an airtight building - keeping the WC in there actually helps a little. So thanks again for the detailed comments - will try and keep up on the posts
  5. Services were sorted today and demolition starts on Monday 🙂
  6. Well lets say it has evolved and been shaped by the titanic forces of nature and the planning process. Its not quite what we initially wanted and has been compromised and compromised over its various iterations and has sadly lost some of our ‘must have’ features. But it is kinda cute, and we do really like it! The site is about 1/3rd of an acre slopping up from the road and has a shared driveway to our neighbours at the rear. In the middle of the plot is a 3 bed 1960’s bungalow which has seen better days – habitable but not great (and don’t mention the asbestos). The site may look big and easy but it is actually quite constrained – with a shared driveway down one side and a shared sewer running across the plot. Together with the slope and trying to keep the ridge height down to appease the Planners (even though the houses on either side are all 2 or 3 story) it is a tricky site. We wanted lots of light and a feeling of space and openness – so that cliché of lots of glass and open plan. We also wanted an Endless Pool and garaging for a collection of RX7 sports cars. We also wanted a crisp contemporary exterior and don’t like wood cladding much. We also wanted low energy – but not hung up on achieving Passive Haus per-se. Oh and it has to be low maintenance and a lifetime house. We initially used a designer who was really great and had an amazing ability to use space in a really efficient way. However for the final design shown here we used a real Architect (with a capital A). There are those who would argue its an unnecessary expense but firstly he came up with a very creative design in a very constrained environment. And secondly the quality of his work probably helped with Planning. We get on very well and he is doing a fab (but not cheap) job. As we are downsizing we would actually like a smaller garden than 1/3rd acre, so that and the economics, has led us to two houses on the site. We have had a few different arrangements of this over time but have come to two side by side. They are different sizes and layouts but they distinctly read as a pair. Height dictates a flat roof – much hated by our neighbours – and supported by the Officer. Our house is bigger and is cut into the slope with the front out of the ground and the back completely in. It has the entrance hall, garaging, plant and an Endless Pool in the partial basement. The 1st floor is mainly open plan dining, kitchen, living areas, with the Sitting Room opening out to the rear garden at the back. Top floor is 4 beds and bathrooms and is topped by a flat roof. The eagle eyed among you may have spotted the Lift - not needed at the moment but designed in and will be fitted if and when we have the cash. It seemed like a good idea with a 3 story house and us not getting any younger! The other house is smaller and split level. Again cut into the slope but only by half a floor. So entrance hall and kitchen dinning hall are level with the front garden and parking area. Up half a floor to the rear living which opens out onto the rear garden. Then up another half floor to the front two bedrooms at the front, and then up half a floor again to the rear master bedroom. All topped by a similar, but split, flat roof. It is just so neat we almost wish it was ours! The overall design responds well to the site and makes the most of it, and the Architect has done his best to make the front façade broken and not monolithic, but simple (and cheap) it aint! It will be mainly off-white silicon type render with some Rockpanel grey cladding panels and grey windows and EPDM roofing – so sharp and contemporary but not the classic white sugar cube. You may be reading this and thinking its not what I would have gone for and its not my taste - our neighbours probably thought the same. Our answer is that if you feel strongly then go find your own land and build exactly what you want - just put your money where your mouth is (and keep it shut unless you do). Though in the true spirit of BuildHub constructive criticism is always welcome! We have spent a lot of time refining the design and hopefully we make the most of the space but as we all know its always a compromise! So having got this through and arrived at something we really want to build its now time to start - more to come in future posts.
  7. A very very long and difficult history to our self-build that we will compact into as short a space as possible to save readers much of the grief we have been through. We have always lived in (and renovated) old, cold, draughty and character-full houses, and our last house (a Victorian vicarage) had lots of glass and double aspect rooms and was full of light. We wanted to downsize but couldn’t find anything with similar light and space, and some of the new build ones we looked at were really poor quality. So we decided to self-build and started to look for land – and as some of you already know it’s not an easy task. Then we came across a tired 60’s bungalow on a 1/3rd acre plot about 2 miles from where we were living – perfect location. All the other bungalows on our side of the street had been developed to reasonably dense new build developments with a real mix of styles and sizes, and outside the conservation area – perfect for knock down and rebuild. Piece of cake we thought – how hard could it be to get Planning (little did we know!!!! and if only we had known then what we know now ....). So after a small round of bidding, that was won; not on the highest bid, but with our throw away line ‘offer not subject to anything’. We won the day, we were the proud owners of a somewhat tired bungalow, and then the fun started! First problem was selling the Victorian vicarage in a downturning market which took about 3 years. So finally sold, and knowing how much cash we had, we moved in and started on the long winding road to PP and self-build nirvana. We started with the German kit houses – fantastic quality and build process, and after a few trips to Germany we decided we really liked the modern sharp style that typifies much of new European houses today (or, rather, doesn’t in the UK). As a tip if you want to see literally dozens of show homes visit one (or more) of the (19) Fertighauswelt (think this translates approximately to “ready built house world”) sites in Germany ( ) – the best 5 Euros you can spend if you want to look for design ideas. Sadly over time and a Pound sinking against the Euro the German kit house was never going to work. And also working with the site and the budget it really started to make sense to build two houses and sell one to subsidise the one we wanted to live in. Unknowingly we had just created the perfect anti-PP scenario:- cutting edge modern design in a street of pastiche estate type houses; being greedy enough to want to want to build two; and being the last bungalow standing and surrounded by FD&H NIMBY neighbours. Rather than taking you through the gruesome blow by blow story here are the statistics:- Total time from first App to final Appeal decision:- 4yrs and 10months 1 Pre-App – which was a total waste of time and money 7 Planning Applications (inc 3 CofL/ PD apps) - 2 Approved 6 (or perhaps 7) different Planning Officers 3 Committee decisions:- 2 Refuse & 1 Approve, all with prior Officer Approval 2 Appeals:- 1 Refuse & 1 Approve (sadly we didn’t win costs) 105 letters of objection & 1 of support (from a London Architect who loved the design – bless him for that ray of sunshine It was a dreadful process and the main reason for the time and grief we suffered seems to be that we are surrounded by vile neighbours who have friends in high places. The public comments generally had very little planning relevance but included phrases like ‘peeping toms’, ‘covert surveillance’ and even likening our design to ‘Grenfell Tower’. We were stoic and kept turning the other cheek but we sent this last one back to the Chief Planning Officer as ‘offensive and defamatory’ – he said it was perfectly acceptable (to quote Joe Walsh ‘You Can’t Argue with a Sick Mind’)! If we thought the public comments (sometimes called ‘solicited hate mail’) phase was bad then let’s say the Committee phase was much worse. Firstly it seems that the decision is made before you even walk into the room, and that nothing you say will make any difference, or even be listened to. Then the Committee infringed our copyright, accused us of greed and telling lies, and told us that they didn’t care at all that we were planning to build low energy houses. If we had any faith in local democracy and politics we have much less than none now. We are certain that the only reason we got one through the Committee is that one of the esteemed Councillors really upset/insulted the Chair (we decided we really shouldn’t print the exact comment); at which point the discussion divided on party lines and incidentally we won! As mentioned the Pre App Advice was a complete waste of time and money (for us). We offered the Officer 3 options and he agreed what he thought the ‘best’. He also gave us a lot of ‘advice’ which we incorporated to the letter in the Application. He then proceeded to keep changing his mind and we did 3 major re-designs over 12 months until he ‘approved’. It finally went to Committee and was refused. The subsequent Appeal which we lost was true goldmine as it contained real data on what was acceptable and what wasn’t. We then built the subsequent Apps on this and the Officer(s) really couldn’t disagree with the previous Appeal comments. Also in the second Appeal we seriously questioned some of the proposed Conditions and the Appeal Officer took out most of them. A real win and we saved our Planning Consultants fee in having a really onerous Design and Methods condition removed. Certainly worth a shot if you ever go to Appeal. If any of you have been through this sort of process then you will know how personally depressing and demoralising it can be – and we have heard worse war stories! We had great and very patient designers and a superb planning consultant and some amazingly supportive friends and family. Also after the initial setbacks we did have a very focused plan on how to get to where we wanted to be in incremental steps, with a workable Plan B. However our advice would be: only ever buy a plot that has PP for something you want to build (unless you have lots of time, very deep pockets and skin much much thicker than a rhino). So finally we won at Appeal, and we are staring to build two really interesting low energy houses – more in future posts. We will try and keep up a Blog as best we can, and having got that backstory out of the way everything should be easy from now on!!!!!!
  8. Hi, just setting up moving existing electric supply from existing bungalow to a temporary building supply, prior to demolition. SSE Networks are less than helpful about what I need to provide in terms of a cabinet. Supply will come down from a (new) pole and cabinet will be close by. I was looking at So questions are :- Is this big enough? too big? Currently have one of the old rotating meter (no smart meter!!!) Is IP 43 OK? What does it need to be fixed to? And how close to the pole (pole hole is not yet dug) Can I attach it to the SSE pole? Will I need a 'hockey stick'? I may be able to use this as the permanent supply for one of the two houses I am building and then have another supply to the other at a later date - is it still big enough? Or is there a spec for this kind of installation? Many thanks
  9. I liked the sink unit- can you share where it comes from? How does the waste work? I would want a splash back to above the taps as I think you will need it.
  10. Hi can you give some details about what the products are? Thanks
  11. It depends if you are just trying to saisfy Planning or find out if a particular vehicle will be able to turn in the available space? If its Planning then you use the generic radiii as shown. If its say a van then there will be manufacturers data about turning circle. Decide if you are between curbs or walls I.e. have you got room for overhang for the bumpers. Take half the turning circle and use that as the outer radius for the swept path. For the inner between curbs subtract the width of the van from the outer and use that as an approx inner radius. Not sure how to do inner path for between walls since there is not usually data for that but err on the side of caution! Inner path is usually not the issue. Also you can usually get a tighter turn in reverse but best to only consider the forwards one. Hope that helps I am no expert! And I think some of the drawing packages will do this automatically I.e. your Architect may be able to draw this up really easily, ours did for our campervan.
  12. Thanks for the thoughtful replies. The MBC Open Panel does include blown cellulose in the roof so thats a bonus. With the walls its a complex cost/benefit debate and my gut feel is that for the house we plan to live in the the PH Walls would be preferable. It is also a debate that this house has a basement and that the levels of insulation below ground need to be similar to those above ground - so how much insulation (and airtighness) is achievable for both areas. And having been in an MCH house with the PH walls (thx Vivien) the level of calm and solidity was palpable - regardless of the insulation / airtightness it just 'felt' right. In terms of implementation I talked to my Planning Consultant (who has been brilliant BTW - PM me if you want her details) and her advice was: First talk to Wessex Water and see if they would be happy and then talk to the Planning Officer and see what they think. If that seems OK. Then apply for a Variance of Conditions to change the passed plans - likely to a bigger change than the scope of non-material amendments and better than a new Full App which would open the door to a complete reconsideration - and lots of contention. Will keep you posted - all I can say is that 'its complicated!'
  13. Well done, it looks great . No blowouts either
  14. Hi, we were just about to push the button on an MBC TF and because of the site constraints we were going to go with their Open Panel frame with extra insulation with an external wall of about 320 mm. Comprises of 140mm Knauf Eathwool and 80mm PIR. This has a U=0.11 and air tightness of 3 AC/hr - not bad but given the choice we might have gone with their Passive wall at about 430mm U=0.12 and air tightness of 0.6 AC/hr - but it just wouldn't fit on site. Obviously we could have reduced the internal size to accommodate but the internal layout was pretty tight and we didn't want to give up the internal space so the Open Panel was a pretty reasonable compromise, and cheaper. Also we would not want to go for PH certification, and its pretty unlikely we would get it if we tried. Well it would seem that we MAY be able to ease the site constraints and get the PH walls in on the site by growing the external footprint a little and keeping internals the same :- we have a shared sewer and when we started (over 4 years ago) the water co was very tight on 'thou shalt not build closer than 3m without our permission'. It now seems that the rules have relaxed and we could get to between 2m and 0.5m from the sewer as long as our foundations are below the sewer invert invert, which they will easily be. There might need to be some discussion but it looks like the water co. would agree. We might also need to talk to the Planners because the footprint will expand slightly, and given the rough and long ride we have had to get PP its not something I want to re-open without good reason. So now the question - do we stick with the Open Panel or go to Passive? The extra cost of Passive TF is about 17% (another £12k). Not an insignificant sum but in the scheme of the entire build not a lot - given that we had already planned for 3G windows MVHR etc so no other obvious up-spec items. Or could I down-spec anything going for Passive walls? Anyone any thoughts about this? What would be 'good enough' and is it worth the pain and expense of the thicker and more expensive walls (which as they are cellulose have a better decrement delay - which thanks to this forum I have learnt is a 'good thing'). And any thoughts on the 'payback' for the better air tightness? Thx. P.S. anyone know why a 320mm wall has a U=0.11 is seen as 'worse' and cheaper and a Passive Wall of 430mm wall has U=0.12 and is 'better' and more expensive?