Alex C

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About Alex C

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  • About Me
    Check out my blog at www.passivehouseselfbuild.co.uk

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  1. A good architect is worth their weight in gold.
  2. Alex C

    Which Brand

    Makita cordless drill, impact driver and reciprocting saw. All used loads during my build and great bits of kit. I have a dewalt track plunge saw which has been one of the best bits of kit I have ever bought. It has had a huge amount of use both on external cladding and second fix internal carpentry. Most trades that came to site seemed to use makita cordless drills.
  3. Alex C

    Cooker hood in a passive house

    It is an elica that was very expensive, but as we have an open plan kitchen living space I wanted one that looked good as well as being effective. https://elica.com/GB-en/hoods/meteorite-islandI'm sure it is possible to get ones that functions just as well for less money, although cheaper ones do tend to be more noisy. We have an 800 wide hob and wanted a 1200mm wide hood so that narrowed choices right down. Plenty of people use the ceiling recessed ones above island hobs, but with a high ceiling these are never going to be so effective. The standard for these seems to be the Westin oneshttps://www.westin.co.uk/our-hoods/ceiling-hoods/westin-stratus/.These were specced by all the high end kitchen companies I visited.
  4. Alex C

    Cooker hood in a passive house

    We have a recirculating extract over the hob that works really well. We also have an mvhr extract about a meter set back from the recirculating hood extract. The flow rate of the mvhr is many times lower than the extract hood, but over time removes any smells and the extract hood removes grease from the air. We have a 30 year old rental apartment with constant extract above the cooker with no filters. The amount of grease this has collected over time and has stuck in the duct is disgusting and really shows the importance of something to trap the grease and not just rely on the mvhr to extract .
  5. Whatever the manufacturers spec states would be a good starting point. I fitted rainclear aluminium clic system which asked for 750mm centers. You need more brackets than you think as the snow loading can get pretty high.
  6. Alex C

    Self build mortgage brokers

    I had no stages at all from Ecology. I could take whatever money I wanted whenever I wanted it. Made life very easy for the build. I am not sure if they were more flexible than usual as I had a lot of equity in the plot. They are one of the few banks you can just ring up and ask questions and you can deal with the same person every time.
  7. Alex C

    Self Build to Standard Mortgage

    My mortgage company wanted a completion certificate but I suspect it is just luck of the draw if they actually ask for it. As far as the bank is concerned there is still a risk without completion certificate that the house will never pass building regs and be worth less than the valuation.Why cant you just get completion certificate before the garage is completed? This will cause you a vat reclaim issue for the garage though.
  8. Alex C

    Timber clad suppliers and advice please

    Have you taken a look at any builds several years after this type of cladding is installed. The burned finish washes off over time leaving a mixture of black char and grey timber.
  9. I'm with @JSHarris on this one. We have 2.4m high glazing to the south in our living room. In June/July the most the sun comes in to the room is 1m, so overheating is not much of an issue. In the winter the sun penetrates 5m across the room and on to the wall opposite generating far more solar gain. This is not a major drama in our house as it is very open plan and any solar gain dissipates around the house pretty quickly. It would be a problem if the south facing rooms were enclosed with nowhere for the heat to travel to.
  10. Internorm offer proper external blinds and also the integrated external blinds that are behind a pane of glass. There is not a massive differnence in price although the integrated ones have a lower U value as the triple glazing pane is not as wide. I have both on differnent windows and the external ones work better as the slats are much wider and work better when only partially closed. The integrated ones work very well on our smaller bathroom windows
  11. They are internorm although the blinds are very similar to the galhoffer ones. Internorm products are great but I really couldn't recommend the company or the installers. I think the blinds are actually manufactured by another supplier and then just bolted to the windows and colour matched, although when installed they are a really neat design and look an integral part of the window.
  12. We have external metal venetian blinds that disappear into the wall above the window when up so they are totally invisible. They are brilliant at stopping solar gain. I have them so they automatically tilt to track the sun but allow maximum possible view through them.
  13. Alex C

    Shadow gap problem

    Fit all plasterboard and trims, plaster everything. Lay your floor tiles and then fit skirting (this will need scribing as there is no such thing as 100% flat floor or level trim). Getting a good shadow gap to skirting is far harder than you might imagine as it is reliant on all walls, door linings etc being absolutely bang on. Crazy idea to have shadow gap to floor and no skirting as this will get knackered the first time you pull the hoover round the house or mop the floor but each to their own. I have been doing these sort of details for years in high end commercial interiors but the standard of workmanship tends to be higher than your average builder is willing or able to do. You shouldnt really be stopping a single skin of plasterboard short of the floor as it should be a continuous fire barrier. Normal practice is to double skin with the second layer stopping short.
  14. Alex C

    Self build mortgage brokers

    I used Ecology Building Society and they were great to deal with and easy to draw money down as and when I wanted it.
  15. Alex C

    Accoya Cladding

    Accoya is not a very attractive timber and is normally painted or stained with quite an opaque finish. Any paint or stain is always going to need re-applying with 7 years being about the max between coatings. I have had samples of all wood effect claddings going and didn't like any of them but plenty of people don't seem to mind them.