Red Kite

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About Red Kite

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    Wilts / Glos border

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  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. Hi can you give some details about what the products are? Thanks
  4. 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.
  5. 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!'
  6. Well done, it looks great . No blowouts either
  7. 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?
  8. Try the StairBox design tool on their website - an interactive tool that lets you play with rise, going etc. Brilliant! And.even has a headroom checker!
  9. Hi, we are looking at a basement into a slope in clay soil - front out of the ground. I am trying to decide how to build it and seem to have a choice of ICF versus RC (Reinforced Concrete) - anyone any thoughts about Pro's and Con's? Here I am only considering external tanking and waterproof concrete - to my mind an internal membrane and sump is admitting defeat! I like RC because you can see the concrete and any defects when you take the shuttering away - and my GW does basements like this all the time and is prepared to guarantee waterproofing for 10 yrs (not sure if that is really worth much!). However I am hearing that ICF may be cheaper / quicker - and as I need to insulate anyway seems like a neat way to go. Would I need external tanking to an ICF basement? I am looking at an insulated raft slab under the basement and TF above - and also having the discussion of a concrete 'top' to the basement (cast in situ / hollow core beams etc) versus an 'open box' with a posijoist type roof - again any sage advice would be welcome. It would seem there is no 'best way' and the SE's I have talked to say the reinforcing / concrete for the walls is much the same for ICF and RC Any thoughts?
  10. Adam, I am not sure these comments will apply but might be of use to others - and are just my experience with Wessex Water who may have different rules. I have a plot with a shared 150mm sewer and Wessex Water required me to have a build over license if I went closer than 3m to the sewer. Early designs had the sewer diverted which was expensive as its pretty deep (over 3m in places). The reasons I was given (I have no idea if this is correct) for the 3m exclusion were two-fold: firstly if you are closer then there is potential for the foundation load to transfer to the sewer - so if you go closer then you need to have the foundations below the invert level (in my case over 3m) and Wessex wanted to have a say in the foundation design. Secondly they wanted to be able to maintain their sewer and get a digger in if needed - 3m makes their life easy! So by avoiding the 3m exclusion and a build-over license I can pretty much do what I want which makes life simple. The design we have PP for is outside the 3m exclusion (just) and leaves the sewer alone and doesn't divert it - it does constrain the design but it should work. If you really do have an 850mm sewer I am amazed they will let you get that close - but I would go with that and not argue! You may have some leeway / discussion about the depth of the foundations if you can go below invert level but Wessex went a bit wobbly when I mentioned piles as they were very nervous about the vibration of any form of driven pile. Also with that size of sewer I cant see diversion being an option - probably cost more than your build budget! Another fundamental tip is to make sure the sewer actually runs where everyone thinks it does (not as daft as it seems) - Wessex were unable to tell me where their sewer was so I had to have it surveyed with a sonde :- a radio probe down the sewer and then sort of dowsing above to detect where it was! This gave me a pretty reasonable clue but I have a feeling I will need to do a cctv survey before I am done which will be more cost. I used a civils consultancy not specifically an SE for a drainage design for PP - turns out they didn't want my SE work - its their bread and butter (so to speak) so they knew all the ins and outs of Wessex policy. I used PFA Consulting based in Swindon - they are consultants so surprise surprise they are not cheap but did enough to get me PP which was worth it! The other extra I got out of Wessex was an agreement to put a reduced flow of storm water (1l/s) into their sewer - not normal but if you dont ask you wont get - makes my storm water solution possible as soakaways in my clay soil dont work at all. Hope that helps - but my experience is that dealing with sewers is a pretty sh*** job!
  11. Hi, we have just obtained Planning Permission for 2 houses and were looking to build both simultaneously and sell one and live in the other. As this is somewhat unusual we thought others might like to know what we discovered when we did some research and we talked in general terms to our accountant. Obviously it depends on individual circumstances and the following does not constitute any form of advice - and there may be other ways to look at it and we are no experts and we haven't investigated the details fully yet. CIL - if you self build and live in the house for 3 years you can (if you get the paperwork right) be treated as exempt from CIL. If you build two then you are a developer and CIL is payable. If you are demolishing then you can subtract the GIA of the old building from the total new build GIA to reduce the bill. You MAY be able to negotiate which new build house gets its CIL gets reduced. VAT - if you self build then you are exempt (either at point of purchase or in a retrospective reclaim) from much of the VAT. If you build 2 or more no such rules apply so you would need to be VAT registered to reclaim the VAT. VAT is likely the largest single tax hit you will take so its important to get this one right. There may be some cashflow benefits from getting vat back during the build rather than waiting to do a reclaim - but offset is the 'pain' of vat registration. Not sure but you may be able to reclaim the vat paid on 'services' etc. which you can't as a self builder. CGT / IT - this is where it gets tricky - if you self build one house and live in it for an (unspecified) period of time as you primary residence then when you sell you are usually exempt from CGT on any gain. If you build 2 or more then you are a developer and its very likely that any profit you make will be subject to Income Tax at your marginal rate. It seems rules have changed here as CGT might have applied to this case its not often true any more. It seems that much of the interpretation of this depends on your 'intent' - is your plan to build 2 and sell 1 as a developer? If so this is viewed as your occupation and profits are taxed as income not capital gains. There 'may' be some scope to develop the first house, live in it, establish it as your primary residence, then build the 2nd, sell the 1st, and move into the 2nd as your primary residence i.e. two sequential self builds. However you need to be very careful that your 'intent' was not to act as a developer! In our case the fact that our PP is for two houses from the start is a bit of a giveaway - you 'might' get PP for the first house alone and then subsequently (after living in the first house) realise that there is scope for a second house on the plot and subsequently build something more suited to your needs. There may be some scope (say you own the entire plot) to sell a portion of the plot to a development 'vehicle' run by you - perhaps as maybe sole trader, LLP or limited company. You would need to sell the land at 'market value' as this is an obvious area for scrutiny. You 'should' (not actually testing this theory yet so beware) be able to retain the land and build the house you plan to live in as an individual 'self build' exempt from CIL and VAT etc. exactly as any single self build does. You 'should' also be able to develop the 2nd house within the development vehicle as a separate entity and be taxed on that separately for VAT (you would VAT register the vehicle) and IT, Corporation Tax etc. You do have some scope and flexibility to pay yourself as a director / shareholder of the 'vehicle' but this is getting pretty complex pretty fast! For any shared costs you need to be very careful that they are apportioned on a 'fair' basis and not as a deliberate means to reduce the 'profit' on the resale unit. SDLT - if a development 'vehicle' buys the land then it will need to pay Stamp Duty on this but the rate is less than an individual will pay - need to check this. Also be careful about second home SDLT if you are an individual - again not looked at in detail but there are some rules about reclaiming 2nd home SDLT (if you own one home buy a plot you pay 2nd home SDLT. If you sell the first home within a period of time you can reclaim the 2nd home SDLT) that may fall apart in the 2 house picture. Funding You also need to give some serious thought to your funding if you build two. Self build (regulated) mortgages do not seem to work for this scenario and you need to start looking at (unregulated) developer finance and this is not a cheap source on money - start thinking 1% per month interest! plus a 2% setup fee! Now you may be able to offset these costs against any profit but its still expensive. It seems that if you can get to 'wind and watertight' before taking on any developer borrowing then the rate drops to only say 0.5% per month (plus setup etc) with 'refurbishment' loans. Construction Industry Scheme & Health and Safety - if you are deemed a developer and building more than one house (and are paying subcontractors) it seems you need to register for CIS and comply with H&S as a developer. Both of these appear pretty onerous and costly. CIS seems to be another of those schemes where you act as an unpaid tax collector and have to submit quarterly returns. Not exactly sure what is involved but it would need some research to make sure you are compliant. Well that's what we discovered - bottom line is that building two is tricky and we would recommend you take professional advice early on from a tax accountant who understands this stuff (not all accountants will!). You will need to be very CAREFUL in what you do and it seems that some poor decisions early on may bite you later on so BEWARE! And the last caveat - as with all taxation the landscape can change overnight - so even if you have it all mapped out the taxation rules could change and you could be much worse off. There may be others out there who have done something similar and know much more than we do, so we would love to hear sage advice and hard won experience. Though there is a school of thought that you are daft to even consider one self build - you must be totally insane to even think about two! Hope that helps!!!! We will let you know how this pans out as we learn more.
  12. Wow, much much more complex than I thought possible for such a 'simple' thing as a house! Many thanks for the info on decrement delay etc - my head is spinning! It would seem that the SE possibly doesn't understand it either but at least I am consciously incompetent! I guess that the other part of this is that the real thing about a passive house is that it is ideally just that - passive i.e. no heating and no cooling and it is just immune to external weather conditions. However if in the real world you have a house that does at times need some heating or cooling you need to provide that and control it. At that point you need a heating and cooling system that works best with the thermal time constant of the building in terms of delivery method - for example heating with UFH (long time constant) or say MVHR air heating (short time constant). It seems that the characteristics of a heating and cooling system dont want to be the same since the need for cooling comes from fairly rapid solar gain whereas heating comes from much slower overall weather conditions. So it would seem that as well as considering the time constant / thermal decrement / insulation properties of the house you need also to design heating and cooling that complements that. Or rather makes up for the inadequacies of the building. Also since we are talking low energy etc then the costs of these systems (capital and running costs) need to be taken into account - which is where PH started from I think i.e. very comfortable buildings with low running costs! If our goal is overall comfort and very little changes of internal temperature then the delivery and control of heating and cooling become a consideration so does anyone have any ideas on that - other than design the building so it hardly matters!
  13. Hi, we were planning to build in timber frame - well insulated with good air tightness and MVHR - typical of what a lot of folks here seem to build and some ways down the PH route. Talked to SE and he was very much in favour of high density blockwork / high thermal mass and passive stack type ventilation. External insulation layer and plaster internal layer for air tightness. This was a total curve ball so I wanted to put the debate out there to see what other more knowledgeable folks thought. Any comments?
  14. We have looked into the tax position and are seeing the accountant on Wednesday so will add more after that, Our son is thinking of buying the 2nd house so we may sell him the plot adn then he is a self builder so can get VAT back.
  15. Hi, we just wanted to introduce ourselves and our Red Kite mascot. Our Kite is a life size steel sculpture made by a blacksmith in Pembrokeshire - started out bright steel but is now rusting nicely to a lovely red kite colour. We love it, and its carefully mounted on a temporary post in anticipation of the demolition of our scuzzy 60's bungalow and moving to our snazzy self-build. Well now at last we can join the ranks of the Self Builders - after a 4 year battle we FINALLY won our second Appeal and have Planning Permission (we just can't stop grinning). We can't tell you what a relief this is: 4 years of 'life on hold' and at the whim of an inordinate number of stupid Willy Wonkas who seem to have either egos the size of a planet or brains the size of plankton. Planning has been a complete nightmare and is worthy of a blog post in its own right - a combination of a painfully slow and inconsistent LPA (6 planning officers and counting), being surrounded by some truly VILE neighbours (105 letters of objection!) and vicious local politics with an 'interesting' planning committee ( we made three appearances and vowed 'never again'). So a combination of 1 pre -app (complete waste of time and money), 3 CofL's , 4 Planning apps and 2 Appeals (both with officer approval and rejection by committee), we are there and we can finally move from Dreaming the Build to Building the Dream. It is, as they say, water (and a lot of money) under the bridge, and we are trying to put it behind us but as anyone out there who has been through it will know, it has been a truly unpleasant experience. But now this is where the really EXCITING whirlwind starts - the pace just seems to accelerate, and sure the storm is just starting to build up. So far lots of meeting with Architects, SE's, Timber Frame vendors, Window makers, Money men, Accountants, Services, Groundworkers etc etc. As yet no decisions on build route or construction method but accumulating lots of information, reading this excellent Forum, picking brains and thinking a bit. The plan is to build two contemporary, lowish energy houses and live in the bigger one. The challenges are a sloping clay site with tricky drainage, building into the slope, and a bungalow that we are itching to move out of and demolish! We will try and keep up with a few progress posts and a pose a few interesting questions to the knowledgeable community out there. We are on the Gloucestershire / Wiltshire border so if there members nearby we would love to see what you are doing. Oh and by the way did we say we are just so EXCITED to be building!!!!! We am sure Self Building will have its lows but its hard to imagine it being worse that 4 years of Planning misery.