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dnb last won the day on December 31 2020

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About dnb

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  • About Me
    Building a SIPS panel house on the Isle of Wight, in the muddiest swamp I could find.
    Just call me Shrek!
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    Isle of Wight

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  1. I decanted the sloe vodka today. Had to taste it because it wouldn't all fit in the bottles. A little bitter now but this will reduce as it ages. Something to drink at the end of the summer.
  2. dnb


    Keep looking and don't give up the dream. It took us a couple of years to find the right place and secure it, with many disapointments along the way. Good luck for the next stage of the search.
  3. dnb

    Having a Go

    I can only dream of that. All my blockwork is either right on the ground or below knee height. I too am a fan of cheap(ish) laser levels and string. A good class 1 tape and a bit of maths helps with dimensions the other way, making sure the right angles are indeed right.
  4. The side flashings are silver. Originally the panels had a silver edge, but somewhere between placing the order and the delivery happening there was a stock shortage and they got switched for black edged panels however the rest of the order wasn't changed to black. I was not motivated to do anything about it because I thought it would all look fine given I was not using the metal top flashings (there's very little room up there!)
  5. I've never had to do anything more than put patches on old cars so I'm no expert by any means but I think that third picture shows very clearly that the company in question are using trained seagulls.
  6. I give my New Year resolution of updating this blog a bit more frequently until the first really cold snap in February. Simply because I need content, and I can only get this by being on site in the cold when I could of course be sat in a comfortable warm office writing Matlab simulations, sorting through endless sets of test data (I enjoy it. Each to their own...) and drinking coffee. So the big progress for this entry is actually the paperwork. The structural warranty people have sent me an update and they have finished looking at the design documents I submitted (SE stuff for foundations, SIPS structure, drainage etc) and have accepted it is all adequate for the job. This is quite a relief because I was proceeding at risk by this not being complete before I started significant building work. There was little else I could do thanks to Covid slowing everything down and I always believed the risk to be very small, but even so it is good to not have it there in the background any more. There's still some paperwork to go, but it is for parts of the build that are yet to happen. Maybe I will feel inclined to do it when it's cold at the weekend - I wasn't keen on roofing when the slates were frozen together. Now for something visual. I've begun to get the fire breaks around the windows installed as agreed with the BCO. I needed to be at work this week, so passed the job to Jeff and he's done a very accurate job. It is beginning to look a bit more house like now - sometimes small things make a big difference. It now shows the windows to be vast. Much bigger than the plans and elevation drawings would suggest. Might have been able to save some money here, but I've lived in a house with windows that are too small for much too long. It will average out as correct over my lifetime if I'm lucky! I spent Saturday getting the last few solar panels on the roof. I haven't yet bolted the bottom four panels down permanantly because the DC cables are not yet finished. It got cold and dark in a most unreasonable way so I couldn't see to drill the holes for the cables by the time I had done a few other jobs on site that were demanding attention. The house certainly looks the part for a "low energy" building now. Looks like I have lead work on the list tomorrow. The window frame tops each need a lead cover fixed back to the SIPs.
  7. I agree with DevilDamo, the answers here would get more accurate with a bit more information about the project. I suspect that the £20k work package duplicates things you might already be paying for elsewhere. The obvious example would be the timber frame structual design - the timber frame supplier ought to have their own on the payroll. I also suspect that the design management element is the job of passing the information between the various SEs that will be working on the job. e.g the foundation designer needs to know about loads imposed by the building. I dealt with this aspect of the build myself, supported by my architect so that I didn't make too many mistakes. I did all the drainage designs myself and both building control and the warranty people seem happy with this. (I am a professional engineer, but nothing whatsoever to do with buildings). Unless you are building a proper grand design I can't see £20k worth of work there unless you want to be really hands off on your build. I don't believe I have spent anything like that on SE work with mine.
  8. Had a Bosch dishwasher. It lasted just over 10 years. Not bad considering it was very cheaply acquired from a seconds outlet because it was damaged in transit when we bought the first house. (It was an easy fix - simply extract all the small stones from the anti-flood mechanism!) I discovered that integrated and non-integrated Bosch dishwashers were at the time built identically. The difference was that the free standing appliances had more parts bolted to them, and were therefore cheaper! Go figure. We have a Miele dishwasher now and it does seem to be that little fraction better at everything. The rest of the appliances were Neff. All are integrated and are now 20 years old, and I keep expecting them to fail spectacularly the week before we move out! Apart from the induction hob. That spectacularly let all of the smoke out of one of the two power supplies and since it was over 15 years old there were no new spare parts available. The new hob is not as good as the old one - the controls were seemingly designed by an alien with four hands each with three fingers no thicker than the average pencil, and the response to applying heat and the sizzle in the frying pan changing seems to be artificially slugged by the control system. (As my good lady is often known to say: "I liked it as it was!") Neff and Bosch always used to be the same underneath the label. Not sure if this is still the case.
  9. Yes. On order since October so too late to change things. It seemed a considerable cost uplift to me when we discussed it, but looking back now they might have changed the design of the opening section for a more expensive set of extrusions at the same time. I agree it's much less risky to have it all built in but since this is only a "toy" feature for the house I didn't want to commit too much resource to it when everything else is seemingly increasing in cost weekly. If all I end up with is something that tells me a window is closed, but can't tell if it is latched, then that's still a useful input to the HA. Those are the exact ones I found on Amazon last year - even down to the same photos. They look very much like like unbranded versions of one of the Honeywell sensors.
  10. Close enough for government work as they say... I remember the flying leads being longer on the ones I found but that isn't a concern.
  11. I would indeed prefer not to have hundreds of cables around the place. It's not the end of the world to have a microcontroller sat in each room to report to the HA about open windows. The uC is going to be there anyway to report on temperature, ambient light and probably some air quality measure (etc - add features until there's no spare input pins...) anyway. So why not give it another job. This should divide up the problem a bit. I saw these too and thought they were a bit big. Ideally I would like something about half the diameter, but I could probably work with them. I found them once so I will do it again! Identification is probably possible with not too many windows using a resistive ladder and an A to D converter. In theory at least - the voltage drop of the long cables probably spoils things a bit. Let's say probably Loxone. SWMBO likes their light switches and I think the product scheme looks well thought out. But in all fairness I'm not all that impressed with any of what I have seen in the market sector. It's still the land of early adoptors with all the problems that go with it.
  12. As part of my home automation ideas, I am considering "instrumenting" all of the opening windows in the house. Ideally I want the sensors to be extremely unobtrusive, preferably invisible, and definitely not be wireless or require batteries. Oh, and each sensor needs to be fairly cheap because there are quite a lot of opening windows! I'm not against carefully drilling the frames during window installation to fit the sensors so they are totally invisible with the windows closed. I have all the cross section drawings and assembly data for the windows so can do this without fear of compromising anything. I found some ideally suited small sensors (based on reed switches and magnets I believe) lurking on Amazon early last year, but they appear to have disappeared without much trace. So I wondered what people here had done? A quick search yeilded nothing much, other than an interesting thread about fire safety systems. (Still useful, but for a different thing...) I must confess to not being totally sure what the house system will be asked to do with the information. Currently thinking along the lines of displaying security warnings and to give a bit of intelligence to the HVAC.
  13. Thank you for all the kind comments. I am very happy with the roof, but as always you take away lessons how to do it better next time! (And that will be the garage roof in 2021 with a bit of luck.) Really looking forward to a couple of glasses of Glengoyne tonight. It got viciously cold just before I left site.
  14. Good luck. I hope you enjoy the build as well as the finished house. I am really pleased with our SIPS kit so far. The supplier was supurb to deal with and it is so much easier to work on the structure when you can rely on it being accurate.
  15. I haven't posted much of late because everything is happening around me in slow motion. Or at least that's how it appears. I am told (by another self builder) that this is fairly normal for this stage. Progress has been limited by shortages of materials (including a supplier going under - wasn't much fun for anyone concerned) and labour shortages - i.e. us both having to do our day jobs! Corona virus is still making self builds difficult. Add to that my recent discovery that at 42 years old, I'm not actually able to do the physical work of two 21 year olds. This was demonstrated by me picking up a very wet pack of roofing battens, putting them on the Range Rover roof rack and then staggering to bed for the rest of the weekend, not attending site after work all week and sitting bolt upright at my desk, causing concern amongst my colleagues still on site that I had started taking the whole work thing seriously. So on to the progress, and maybe a few pictures so you can tell me what I've done wrong! The windows were all ordered in the middle of October. No sign yet, but I am advised of significant delays, so I am hopeful of some of them in very early January. The difficult arch windows will arrive much later because the window maker seemingly forgot how circles work and wanted to make some very expensive hemisphere templates. We offered to send them a nail, a very carefully measured length of string and a pencil. This didn't go down well but it made the point, and the expensive template was suddenly not required. Building control have visited the site while we were in tier 1. Nothing much wrong with the house structure or roof. Just a few simple observations to make sure I don't forget to do some things that are on the list but easy to forget. The battening plan for the cladding was discussed and approved and I now know how cable holes through the structure need to be done - something I've had very mixed advice on from local sources. The cladding and battening is (hopefully) all arranged and we should be ready to start this part of the work as soon as the last ridge tile is screwed down. So on to a few photos of the roof. First fibreglass valley in place. The BCO was keen we didn't use lead because we have a plan to implement a rainwater capture system at some point in proceedings (especially if we need to demonstrate low water usage - SWMBO gets very disagreeable without her swimming pool sized bath) The capping detail of the valley. No idea how to get this to sit nicely - it's just the wrong shape. Hopefully slates will cover it and I won't have to ever look at it. Not a bad view while I sort out how this dry ridge system is supposed to work. Slates on the left of me, solar trays on the right, and me stuck in the middle with my nail gun and saw... Doesn't quite work as a song. While I mention solar trays, all 20 are up and bolted down. They do look a bit bigger than I intended, but I've got a single phase 6kW export allowance so I'm damned well going to use it. First slates on the south roof. It was a bit odd only putting up one slate-and-a-half and one slate on each row. But that's the way it needed to be to get the best out of the solar panels. Otherwise the bedroom roof put too much shadow on the lower right hand panels in the winter. The bedroom roof finished but for a couple of slates in the corner and seating the gable end ridge tile in place. Still working out how the dry ridge system interacts with the dry verge at the gable ends. There are a few annoying slates where my grading could have been better but overall I don't think it's too bad a job for someone who was afraid of heights until this year and has never done any roofing before. Sitting astride the bedroom roof. Only one small section of slates to go now. I think I need to wash my gloves though - too much slate dust over everything. Another 100 or so slates and some solar panels to go, then I can finish the soffits and look at cladding. I need a holiday when the scaffolding comes down. I am told that digging drainage ditches counts as a holiday. Not convinced myself, but at least it's on the ground.