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vivienz last won the day on January 11

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About vivienz

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    South coast
  1. It can be quite nice when you have a good excuse for not picking up phone calls, though.
  2. Paying on the spot : why I shouldn't.

    I understand your frustration and I'm sure that I will encounter plenty of it myself over the coming months. Unfortunately, though, much as we would like to exert absolute control over some things, it just isnt possible all the time and accepting that some trades/customers/third parties, etc., can be annoying isn't a good reason to lower one's own standards, as tempting as it might be. If I'm going to be let down anyway, I would prefer to have my own reputation as a good customer intact so that I can try and get other tradespeople in.
  3. I confess that I had forgotten about the emergency services bit, the lady from the council did mention it, and it is a very good reason for going through official channels. I guess that my recent name change request wasn't so bad as it was a change rather than creating a new one and so cost a lot less than a full application. I don't know about challenging it, to be honest. I tend to think that for every successful challenge to lower one fee, something else will go up instead where councils are concerned.
  4. Paying on the spot : why I shouldn't.

    I think it's just plain wrong not to pay on time. OH and I run a (very) small manufacturing company and it generally seems that there is a directly proportional relationship between the size/wealth of the customer and the amount they mess around with paying. Some are just hopelessly bound up in their own over complicated systems (we had to chase ICI for invoices that were over 2 years old. Yes, years) but others are arrogant and unpleasant. The fact is that we have already had to shell out for raw materials, wages, energy bills, courier charges and probably more just to get the goods to the customer. For them to then take additional time to pay on already generous credit terms is unbelievable annoying. Trades also have their own bills to pay and it's no different. If you owe someone money, pay them.
  5. Paying on the spot : why I shouldn't.

    Mais, oui, très wonky, mon brave!
  6. Paying on the spot : why I shouldn't.

    I don't want to get personal, Ian, but why have you gone all wonky? Your posts are displaying as though they've shifted over and gone out of alignment; nobody else's, just yours. Or have I got a case of selective wonkiness?
  7. Conflict of interests

    Thanks again, all. I will get the inner hedge down this weekend. The trees that were near the house were taken out a while ago so it's just the hedge left. Brush cutter at the ready!
  8. Conflict of interests

    I have my brush cutter at the ready. It's only this one inner hedge that I need to sort out as I've already arranged for the rest of them to be done at the weekend. All comments noted, though, and sound advice.
  9. Conflict of interests

    Thanks, all. The inner hedge is being temporarily retain only for root protection of the outer hedge, so as long as we provide this, I guess it shouldn't be a problem. The planning consent said only to take more of the eco recommendations. I will get the hedge dealt with along with all the others this weekend. The soil report chap said that he would add a forceful note to his report that the hedge must come out, so there's plenty of help on it.
  10. I had a soil survey done on the new site last week and it confirmed that we're on mostly clay; the results have been sent for analysis to find out whether it's shrinkable or not. The new house will be next to a lane and separating the curtilege from the lane is a double hedgerow. The arboricultural report stated that we should keep the inner hedgerow in place during construction as sacrificial root protection for the outer hedgerow, and then remove it once everything is done. However, the soil chap said that the inner hedgerow should be removed ASAP and, in particular, before it starts coming back to life in the spring as it's mostly hawthorn and will be very thirsty, which will make construction difficult on the clay ground after it has sucked all the water out of it. So, ideally, I'd like to get a digger in there ASAP to drag out the inner hedge, but don't want to fall foul of the PP conditions. Currently, development and everything is waiting on a licence from Natural England to do a supervised, soft demolition of the roof as it's a confirmed summer roost for bats. We should have that back by mid March. Any suggestions as to a course of action that won't jeopardise the new house or the planning people?
  11. ....because we have clay, and lots of it. A soil test was carried out on the site today as MBC need to know what they're building on to do their sums for the foundation. I used a firm called Mini Soil Surveys (South West), run by a chap called Martin Shirley. My selection of which firm to use was detailed and exacting - they were the cheapest. Or should I say, least expensive. Actually, I had no idea what was involved in this other than punching a few holes in the ground and looking at which flavour of mud comes out of it. That's broadly it, but in a much more sophisticated manner and it took a fair amount of time, too, starting at 9.30 and finishing some time around 2.30 in the afternoon, which was much longer than I anticipated. I rang 4 different companies, both in Dorset and a little further afield, with prices ranging from about £1,400 (inc VAT) up to about £3,000. A mini drilling rig (my terminology is probably entirely wrong here, so please excuse my ignorance) gets trundled onto the site and 3 locations, roughly triangulated on the extreme points of where the new build will be, are chosen. At each site, 3 sample cores at increasing depths are taken and then bagged up for lab tests, if thought necessary. Unfortunately, mine are due to a lot of clay coming out in the samples. The main reason for the lab analyses is to find out whether the clay/soil is shrinkable because this could have a major effect on what gets built on it. It will take about 10 days for the lab tests and report to be done, so I just need to wait this out and then let MBC know the results. It's not essential for the client to be there, but Martin was keen for me to attend if possible as, in his experience, other things often come to light that may be relevant to other plans for a site apart from the main build. Although it was a little repetitive towards the end, I did find it interesting and it brought up another job that is time critical and needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. The urgent task is to deal with a large amount of hedgerow that runs around the existing bungalow and to do it before it all gets going and growing in the spring. I had already planned to get the majority of this chopped down (hopefully next weekend) before birds start nesting, but I need to get another long row, an inner hedge between the bungalow and the hedge that separates the site from the lane, as this can have a significant and negative affect on the clay soil there. It seems that the water demand of hawthorn hedges is enormous and especially so in spring when they get going after their winter dormancy, and by virtue of absorbing so much water from the soil, it causes the clay to shrink massively and the whole lot becomes difficult to build on. Having to put in piles is a possibility. Once the diggers are on site, I can get all the roots grubbed out then. The arboricultural report that was done for our planning submission had recommended retaining the inner hedge to act as sacrificial root protection for the outer hedge during construction, but it looks like it will instead need to go and I'll have to get some other sort of root protection in place to satisfy the PP requirements, but I don't think this is particularly tricky to deal with and it's a better course of action than leaving it and having to put piles in. The final point that came up was something that has no bearing on the house, but possibly could on my sewage plant and rainwater reservoir. Between 2m and 3m depth, the sample had lots of sparkly crystals in it which are some form of sulphate crystals. Very pretty and all that, but it seems that these, when water gets to them, can attack and weaken concrete. Both the sewage plant and rainwater reservoir will be anchored into the ground with concrete at just about that depth so I need to make sure that I specify sulphate resistant concrete to make sure that the tanks stay where they are put for the long term. It's a simple and insignificant difference in cost on the concrete spec, but one that I wouldn't have known to do without the survey. Another day, another load of new stuff learned.
  12. When I was looking around at how yo get our house built, I looked at Scandia Hus and really liked what they did - I was very close to using them and it was only the lack of confidence in being able to achieve the required accuracy of foundation that stopped me. As far as I went with them, they were a very nice firm to deal with.
  13. Dropped Ceiling Feature

    That looks very pretty indeed.
  14. @JamesP - here's a link to a thread specifically on sunamp, but there's plenty more elsewhere on the forum. sunamp heat battery thread The big picture principle is relatively simple, the task of applying those principles to a domestic heat storage system is anything but simple and way beyond my pay grade! It is, however, a clever and new solution to storing heat energy without the use of a water tank that is certainly gaining popularity amongst members on the BH forum, including me.
  15. A small flock of guinea fowl regularly sit around in our field from spring up autumn. They usually move on when they see me eyeing them up - super tasty chicken.