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About Stewpot

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    S. England; and a plot in S. Scotland

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  1. But doesn't get past the plastic lining on the inside of a modern house...effectively living inside a plastic tent with a building around it. Well, yes. But no. If you've designed the building with lime in mind, you wouldn't then go and ruin one of it's advantages (vapour permeability) by installing a VCL. Really, you highlight the point that building with lime is not just like building with OPC, but quainter. Building with lime can offer advantages, but to make the most of them, it also requires a different approach to the philosophy of the building. Some people confuse vapour permeability with air tightness - they are not the same thing, but the common (mis)use of the word 'breathability' often makes people think they are.
  2. Ain't that the truth. However, I find that if you ask people who actually know and understand the stuff, this doesn't happen (so much).
  3. Just to preface this, I am by no means an expert. By no means. The more I find out about using lime in building work, the more, I realise, I don't know. But I have used it a little over the years, have read lots about it, and plan in using it in my own build (if the planning department ever get around to my application). Mixing and using lime mortar is a little different from a more usual Ordinary Portland Cement mix. For a start, you need to be more exacting about the quantities you use. Whereas with OPC you can make a perfectly good mix by measuring it out by rough shovelfulls, you will need to be more accurate than that with a lime mix. Many people would use a pan mixer for lime, as it can clog and ball-up in a barrel mixer, and generally require more attention. And be careful with the water. If you're mixing from lime putty (non-hydraulic lime), you may not need to add any extra water at all. To an extent, a stiff mix becomes more pliable, the more you work it, so give it plenty of time in the mixer. Using it can be a nicer experience than an OPC mortar - a good mix is workable and pliable stuff, has a much longer open time, and can be re-knocked up to bring it back to life. The long curing time of lime means that you have to give it some after care. Keep it damp and protected from direct sunlight to help prevent it drying out for at least a couple of weeks, and this will help carbonation to continue throughout the depth of the mortar. It may take months, or even years for the full curing process. You wouldn't want to use OPC and lime mortars in the same element, but if they are discrete units - ie. they don't form part of the same structural element - you may be able to do that. But why, if you are going to the trouble of using lime mortar, would you be using OPC in an adjacent element? A major advantage of lime over OPC is that it is 'flexible' - ie. if the building settles or moves a little, the lime will be able to accommodate this. It has a very long curing time, and to a certain extent cracks can be self-repairing. The other main advantage of lime is that it is vapour permeable, so it enables wet masonry to dry out, and can help with problems like rising damp. Some will tell you that it's permeability improves the internal atmosphere and living environment, too. A hydraulic lime mix is more like OPC than a non-hydraulic mix, as it has a faster initial set. To some extent there is a trade off between the advantages of lime and this quick set time, but you will still have to give it the same after care in order for it to reach its full strength. As lime mortar is not generally used these days, and its differences from OPC are no longer well understood, there is an assumption on the part of many builders that it is basically just the same stuff. I would want to be using a builder who is experienced with it (as opposed to someone who says "Oh, yeah, I've used it before"). Some builders also make the mistake of thinking that hydraulic lime is the same as hydrated lime, and as the latter is easily available in builders merchants for use as an admix in OPC mortar, these builders sometimes think they are experienced with a lime.
  4. As someone once said, the difference between a professional snooker player and an amateur is that the professional chalks the tip of his cue before he misses.
  5. If the problem is caused by the sealant, the product description itself says that it will be difficult to remove once it's dry. In that case, I think you should refer this back to the people who applied the sealant. If they did so without your instruction, or if you didn't discuss it, and any possible problems it may cause, then I think it must be for them to put things right. If the patio is dangerous to use, it is clearly not good enough. As a last resort, you could try using something like this not so much to remove the sealant, but to roughen the surface and make it less slippery. But I fear it may also damage the appearance of it.
  6. I could be wrong, but I can't see any foundations. If the rebar isn't connected in to foundations, they may be strong, but the columns will have no stability.
  7. Here's an idea: Talk to the builder about your concerns. As you do so, casually lean against one of the columns. Wear a hard hat. If the column doesn't move, and the builder doesn't flinch, maybe they're stronger than they look. However, I reckon the column will fall, and when it does the builder will leg it. Two tasks completed at once.
  8. To begin with, I thought some of the other comments were overly harsh, but the more I look at it, the more I feel the need to join in. I disagree somewhat about the mortar beds. What we see is not particularly pretty, but in close-up, I don't think they are overly thin, and a knob-end filling in that gap, whilst not the pinnacle of best practice, is not unusual. The important thing is, is it all straight and plumb? But has the building inspector been involved in this at all? It may come under permitted development rights, but it still has to be built to a satisfactory standard. Who designed it? Others have already asked, but what do you mean by a floating extension? Surely you don't mean one just sitting on the ground, do you? I ask, because suitable foundations are hard to spot in any of your pictures. No sign of any trenching, or of a raft. And as has been said, if that lintel shuttering is complete and all there is to it, the finished lintel will have badly inadequate overhangs for it to bear upon the columns. In fact, I would feel better if those columns were buttressed in some way, not just a stack of unsupported blocks, one on top of the other. Does the rebar go through into any foundations? Are they going to be tied in to the adjacent structure, and if so, how? With the apparent lack of foundations, and inadequate lintel overhangs onto seemingly unsupported columns, I for one would not want to stand under that lintel.
  9. Both of me??? Maybe we're both making the same point. Mine was that what appears to be a 7 in 12 chance of a win, isn't. It's a sham, and, assuming there actually are 'winners', the algorithm behind it is doing something else. If your comment about it being random is to say that it is based on a random selection across the customer base, then maybe that is right (who knows). What it certainly ain't is representing what it purports to be - ie. an equal chance of landing upon any sector of a wheel divided into 12. But it's not statistics (the domain of those who want to sell you something, or get elected), it's probability. Spin a coin. As you say, every spin is a new event, and previous results are no prediction of the future. It's possible to spin it a dozen times or more, and get the same result (statistics). It's possible, but it won't happen (probability).
  10. I've been with Octopus for 18 months now - not through choice; my previous company was taken over by them. I've not seen any signs of trouble with them, however they've just emailed me to say that prices are going up for the second time since May (I'm on a variable tariff). As an aside, I submit my meter readings every month (gas and electric), and in return, I get a free spin of their "wheel of fortune". It's just a graphic that you click on. The wheel is divided into 12 sectors - 5 win nothing, 5 win £1, and 2 win 50 and 100 quid, so I get 7 out of 12 chances of winning something twice a month. After 13 months I had won nothing, so I wrote to them to point out that this makes me the unluckiest man who has ever lived (the chances of losing 26 consecutive times at those odds is less than 1 for every person that has ever lived - by a considerable margin). I don't trouble with it any more. They replied that it was meant to make meter reading 'fun' (Jeeezz..!), and assured me that people do actually win on it. I still think that it should actually behave as it appears it should.
  11. Hello and welcome to the forum. Perhaps tell us a bit more - what is the patio made of, what sealant was used (ideally a product name), why was it sealed, and is it slippery all the time, or only when wet?
  12. Back in the days of black and white TV, Candid Camera (prototype reality TV) did a gag when they built a prefab around a piano, the doorway of which was smaller than the piano. Then, at different times, call in the removal men, and see what happens as they try to get it out. Much muttering of "Well they got it in..." Oh!, the hilarity.
  13. I've just watched a Youtube video of Big Clive reviewing a cordless mini chainsaw. The chainsaw itself seemed pretty good (for a cheapy), but he decried the fact that the trigger didn't have and interlock for precisely this reason - a nudge in the toolbag, and off with his fingers... I suppose the advice must always be to take the battery out before stowing it. But I also remember my dad telling me that when he was young (1920s, I suppose), if you went for a job in a factory, they'd often ask to see your hands; if you had a set of ten still intact, you were unlikely to be an experienced machine operator. Along the lines of "There are two types of machinists - those that have lost a finger, and those that are going to".
  14. It seems a curiously anti-self build regulation. I'm planning to do my own building with my own two hands - I'm a slow worker, an old geezer, and money will only become available over time. I'm reckoning at least 5 years building time, maybe 10. More fool me, but I didn't discover this strange Scottish peculiarity until after I'd bought my plot. I spoke, briefly, to an architect about it - he seemed to think that the renewal is discretionary, and only for (I think) a year, but also thought that you should be granted one, possibly two renewals without difficulty. After that, he was of the opinion that things might get more difficult, especially if the building regs. have changed since the original warrant - you would then have to apply for a new one, complying with the new regs. Quite what happens if you have the shell completed, but the regs. change regarding the foundations, I don't know.
  15. I would not do that. I deliberately haven't in my own application. My reading of both the Caravan Act and the Town & Country Planning Order is that they categorically permit you to put a caravan on site to accommodate people working on the building. Further permission from the planning department is therefore unnecessary. However, if you do include them in the process, they can then put conditions and restrictions on it, so the less they know about the caravan, the better, I'd say. One thing I'm not clear about is whether PPP is sufficient, or whether Approved Matters have to be granted - both acts state that permission has to be granted before a caravan is permitted, but the wording seems open to interpretation regarding the level of permission. If you want to keep the planners ignorant of the caravan, then, ipso facto, you'll have to wait until you have full permission, but apparently few planning departments are doing site visits at the moment, so maybe PPP is adequate. A touring caravan would certainly be easier to get onto site (and remove for a while, if it seemed prudent to do so). I've also considered having two cheap tourers and using one for sleeping and washing, and the other for living and cooking - but I can see that some neighbours might be uncomfortable about an apparent encampment suddenly appearing.