Gus Potter

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About Gus Potter

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    Regular Member
  • Birthday 20/09/1964

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  • About Me
    Signed up after having reviewed the questions, comments and responses. Very refreshing and positive. The enthusiasm and knowledge of the contributors to this site is infectious!
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    Near Glasgow

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  1. Good question Revelation. Just a thought.. make sure you buy flooring with a BBA and a CE certificate /mark, in other words make sure you buy structural chip board flooring. Once you get this stuff it's very much up to you. If you don't look after the materials on site then no matter how much you spend you are wasting your money. Have a look at the manufacture's data (fine print), they spell it out in terms of material handling and storage etc. If you are going for UFH then you want to get it as dry as you can. The plastic film is favoured by developers as they get a longer window before wind and water tight, also they need to spend less on the commerial clean after the tapers/ plasterers have been in. But generally the developers are not doing UFH. I would buy the unfilmed stuff, look after it and get it as dry as you can. Then once you are ready for the carpets, oak flooring, get down on you hands and knees and give it a good old fashioned scrub with a cloth and a brush!.. twice at least. Then enjoy the fruits, you can walk about in your bare feet..it's great!
  2. Hi Revelation. As an aside. It would be worth checking if the joists can take a sand/ cement concrete screed. Ask the Engineer if the floor can take a bit extra load, this is a simple option, but it works and it's easy to lay. The heat does not perhaps transmit as fast but at the end of the day heat rises and it will come out eventually. Look up Jeremy Harris on this site as there is some great info and lots of good contributions from the other site members. Take a basic sand cement infill between the first floor joists. You just need to set the timer to come on a bit earlier. Unless you want to try and make UF perform in response time like radiators? You could save a lot by not having the spreader plates. Your first floor will almost "tick" over as you'll get heat transfer from the ground floor. In other words (crudely) the ceiling below will also be heated by the ground floor UF and the heat gets up the stair well too. I'm not being too scientific here. The key here is that if you have not got some heat into the building and reduced the humidity then the last thing you need is chipboard with a plastic layer, it will just seal in the moisture. It's a pain but get the chipboard, stack it up with packers so that there is a gap between each board, let the wind into it and get it as dry as you can. Leave a gap at the edge of the floor for when you go on holiday and the heating is off .. it will swell. Screw it (chipboard) down with plenty glue , you can then go over it later and adjust / add more screws to stop most of the creaks / squeeks! It's hard to stop them all but that is part of underfloor heating life! But when you can walk about in your bare feet in luxury, you just learn to avoid the odd squeeky bit! And, when you get older and a bit deafer you don't hear the noise anyway. Before you lay the oak really be patient and condition it, it will pay dividends!
  3. Hello Balraj. It's worth starting from under the ground up and getting a handle on the foundation cost. This is the bit that introduces uncertainty, and can "burst your football.. burst the baw in Scotland" , it can put the rest on a bit of a back burner. A bit of time spent on the ground conditions here can save you a pile of money which you get to spend on the things that matter, the things you see, the functionality and so on that you want, and sometimes more too! One great thing about self building is that you can experiment, do stuff that no one else has and is unique to you, often at a budget cost. Put in the research work and get a handle on how things work and fit together. Adapt it to suit you, not something that a developer wants to sell you. If you get stuck ( say on ground works, passive slab / insulated slab design and the ins and outs) then just ask folk and you'll be surprised at the positive response you get. Many get to a self build point where they can price the windows, roof, finishes, kitchens, lighting, bathrooms and so on. The uncertainty can lie in the ground, drainage, choice of foundation, soil conditions, and type of superstructure (the bit above the ground) and so on. Can I suggest, although a bit dull that you go back and review from the bottom (foundations) up. Start by looking at the ground and what is best to put on top of that. There may be good savings to be made. If you are not sure post here and you will get a lot of help. It's hard to wade your way thought the merits of different designs and insulation offerings / methods but much of it is not that complex. Yes, it is complex if you are working on high rise high end stuff but you can still get a pretty good outcome by simplifying things while still keeping the innovative concept... without the associated cost and design fees. Have fun and all the best.
  4. Following this. Just a thought. Are you close to the sea? What kind of barn is it, traditional ? If not is the structure moving about and overstressing the fixings of the cladding causing the ovalling , hole enlargement?
  5. Hello Jamie. You may be able to look at this in a different way. A lot of Bifold / Sliding doors now days are bottom supported. That means the floor etc carries the weight. Think about a lift and slide set of sliding doors, you turn a big handle, it lifts the doors and this lets them slide. Most of the weight is carried by the bottom runner and the top runner is there to stop it falling out and moving in. There are other types that don't need a massive handle, but they are a bit more higher end. Let's say you go for bottom supported doors and now you can follow a different design path. What you look to do is to hold up the roof over the opening rather than the roof and the associated weight of the doors and the added deflection the door weight brings. Now you only need to design for the roof load rather than the roof load + the weight of the doors. Your starting point here is to go back to the roof loads. If you want a decent job then mostly roofs are designed for it's own self weight + an access load. They are also checked for wind loads and for snow drift loads. Mosty snow drift loads don't govern the design unless you live at higher altitude or say in Aberdeenshire etc. To get you on the ball park on a small roof like this. If you fix it well at the corners the wind load will not be an issue, also, unless you have the "cave" right next to a larger building off which snow can blow this snow drift problem often "goes away" A standard roof access load is about 60kg / sq metre before safety factors, roof self weight varies a bit but you can work this out depending on what you want to make the roof from. Jamie.. post some more on how you are going to construct the walls & roof . If you have an inclination towards timber construction this drives the design, you could go down the composite insulated metal panel route, then over clad that...,and there are more options. For something like this you often don't need a heavy found, pads and so on. In fact, with something like this you almost want it to "float about on the ground below" Folk may cringe at this but let the thing move about, just control where the movement takes place, design for the movement and save money. It sounds complex but it's not really, much is common sense. Oh, and lastly if you can make some savings on the founds and goal post and opt for a higher end doors with thinner mullions then choose you sizes. You may want to knock it down later and use the doors to fit into that fab extension that is next on the bucket list! If you are able to do some of the work yourself you could get something pretty good for your budget.
  6. Good posts. Don't skimp on the smoke alarms. You'll often see folk complaining (maybe not so much on build hub) about say activity spaces in kitchens, bathooms and smoke alarms. The building regulations are, in part are designed to keep you safe. For me, the fire regulations need to be improved and made more robust. Overall, it's a small extra amount. If you have ever been in a fire it is no fun, you want to make sure you can get out first, then be glad that you did it the right way and that the insurance will pay to clean up what is left.
  7. All the best. It's some journey but can be very rewarding. Try and have as much fun as you can. Take plenty photos too as a record. You can look back later and think to yourself " I did that"
  8. Hello all. Gow I think quoted part of an earlier post I made "If an SER certificate is presented then the council have to accept this, even if they have reservations." Could you expand? Your post stops.. so not sure what you are asking. Gow you also asked about normal times for warrant processing. My experience (Pre COVID) is that with an SER certificate in Glasgow you may get you warrant a couple of weeks sooner than if you submit calcs. However, much depends on the overall quality of the submission. You can get hung up on say the positioning of a CO alarm! If you have a designer that is in regular contact with BC then many potential queries are sorted out, clarified, just in the day to day process. The BCO does not have to spend time writing comments and so on when they can just get a reasoned explanation over the phone or if need be get a note or two added to a drawing. At the moment it's all over the place. I had a warrant through from one of the Renfrewshire Councils in less than five weeks with calcs rather than SER route, often faster than pre covid. On the other hand I have one with another Council that at the moment is just stuck in the admin / computer system ether although the BCO and checking Engineers are happy. The computer just says "no" Don't forget that a lot of the council IT is well behind the times. A lot of the Planners and BCO's are doing their best, it's just that the systems are not able to cope at moment. The Sole makes really good points. Different Councils operate in different ways. So If you are in Argyll and Bute then you should try and seek out designers like the Sole. One thing I have tried to highlight is that as a self builder /extender in Scotland you are not confined to the SER route alone. Look at the options you have and the best thing for you.
  9. Scottish John is bang on. They did use large lumps of stone, smaller ones on top and a bit of compacted clay / straw say on top of that. You can use the same engineering principles when looking at foundation depth in terms of frost cover to your founds and so on in today's day and age. For example if you have site that is founded on rock (or soft fractured / partly weathered rock) it can often be hard to explain to the less familiar why you are not following the warranty provider's guidance on mimimum depths to the underside of the found.
  10. Hello Bonnar. Cost /value ..Your post is interesting and also I think relevant to the typical self builder / home extender on this site, thank you. Please excuse the lack of formality.. and my spelling, Firstly, there are a few posts on this forum from folk who have been asking how much of an uplift (extra profit, or value) they will get if they do something along the lines of "Passive House", i.e a well insulated house, ICF that keeps the energy bills down, while also, if you are inclined, to contribute to the environment. I'm a follower of looking at the overall carbon footprint, more than " whole of design life footprint etc" which makes me a bit of a heretic in that part of the commercial world. In other words, I don't accept narrow definition. Some self builders/ habitual developers want to not go to full "passive" registration but want to "equal" it to some extent. They also want to see if they can get an uplift on the sale price on the basis that it is an "eco" type house. I'll include here repeat self builders who are doing this as way of income rather than a one off "forever home" If you search on this site there are a few really experienced folk that say.. you may not get your money back on the full if eco route if you sell on. I agree with this as the average purchaser has a life to run, and they are not bothered that much about the "leccy" bill as compared to the sky footy sub, it's just another cost. Yes they would like to buy an "eco" & "Architecturally designed house" to keep up with their pals, but how much uplift will they pay for the environmental credential? It makes sense to me that commercial developers as well as self builders will be here on this site, or at least monitoring it and looking ahead. ICF is still a small niche market, but it's not yet a volume market. Funnily, in terms of Structural Enginnering most of it is pinched and adapted from commercial design, say cold stores and Canadian/ American permafrost design - reversed and tweaked, and a few bits of other stuff. In Engineering terms we are not reinventing the wheel here in terms of ICF and ground bearing slabs, it's often just presented on a fancy web site with good graphics. This cost will come down in the future no doubt. Any good developer looks to the future, self builder's want to save on their energy bills, some on their carbon footprint and so on. It's all to play for here. In summary Bonnar, you're onto a good thing but I would not hang my coat (too shoogly a peg) on the value that ICF is going to bring to the property when you look ahead to sell at this stage, rather , concentrate on what value it brings to you and your family, and that you are in a cosy castle you built yourself, anything else is a bonus. Look at all the alterantive structural options in the coldlight of day, wiegh it up and as you already probably know the solution will stare you in the face! Clearly there is a drive to reducing our carbon footprint - U values etc . COVID has stalled legislation on tighter U value to some extent, but it will come. Often to effect change you need to show folk where the money is..sites like Buildhub actually are providing a lot of free market research for developers, and they lobby the government. To me the energy performance regulations will become more stringent. In Scotland they are a bit more onerous but that change took years to effect. It will come at some point down South but it wil take few years to actually get written into the building regulations. To finish Bonnar. I would say concentate on you own home first, your castle, then if all goes well then by all means look at doing it to "make a living" if you make a good job of it then it will provide more equity to fund a development business? All the best.
  11. Some "old school stuff" on timber rot / infestation (woodworm etc) theory. It does not thrive in; dark, cold, dry and draughty places. So when designing aim for that, then you can add to it modern theory and treatments. Bear these fundamental principles in mind and you are off to a good start. Design well and you may not need a lot, if any added chemicals... and save money to boot! Ask this.. how did they manage to do it in the past before we had all these added treatments and formulae paints etc? There are timber framed buildings that have stood for hundred's of years! Keep it out the rain splash zone that Onoff mentions and so on.
  12. Nick's is bang on and I think speaking from experience. If you have a couple of spare tiles and you can still get into the back of the wall then bite the bullet and have another go. I think Nick is trying to guide you. If you don't get these fittings lined up right then you'll end up with a leak in a few months . There is not as much play in the fittings (cranked etc) as you would like to think. It's ok to make a mistake from time to time.
  13. Do you have any spare tiles? Can you get to the back of the wall without to much drama, or can you set a side a morning to carefully take off the two tiles? Yes it will take that long possibly. But each following morning you get into the shower you'll know you did it right. Even if you can't get to the back of they wall all is not lost. If you burst the plaster board weave in a dwang (nogging in England) to catch the edges when you reinstate, use a bit of water proof glue too to stick the dwang in place for good measure. I learnt that if you don't get all the fittings aligned then you always worry about leaks. Best to bite the bullet if you can and take off a tile or two.
  14. Thank you internetknowhow and for your encouraging comments. To expand on what you say. Here is a thing for folk that are starting out, it is also applicable to "veterans" as sometimes it's worth reflecting on where you started out.. and maybe why you have become a "crusty old git/ gitesse" If you are reading this then you'll know (if you don't then spend a bit more time here as it will save you money and if you get stuck folk will chip in and help you) that this is great knowledge bank. I learn something new here all the time. I have made a few posts where I mention that this is a people business but I don't mean that you should be a soft touch. Do your research and this will serve you well. They say "walk softly.. but carry a big stick!" your stick is your research in some ways. The key for an enjoyable build is not to have to actually have to use the stick. Sefl building can and should be mostly fun not a nightmare.
  15. To add to.. and to thank everyone for all the good posts. I you can't drive a machine yourself then another option if you are selfbuilding is possibly to look for a driver /machine owner.. or if you are hiring in from a larger machine contractor (machine + operator) is to explain what you are doing and that you want an operator that has worked on a few self builds, extensions etc. Maybe don't haggle down to the last penny at the beginning. Seems odd but this it's also a people thing. What you maybe really want is an operative that is a bit older...the younger ones can drive fast..but they crash.. older drivers (ask saga) are a bit slower swinging the bucket around but they easily compensate by bringing experience. A good experienced operator is worth their weight in gold.. well not quite..but often much more than a few pounds and hour plus the fuel. Often if you get to know them and make an effort to get on then you'll find that they say things like.. "Are you sure you want to dig there? .. Do you really want to double / treble.. quadrupal handle this soil, why not put it over there?" (..all of a sudden they have saved you money) . They often also say.. I was on another site and this went wrong, and so on, "maybe you want to have a look at doing it this way". I have worked with operatives that love giving a hand, they will jump out the machine and muck in if you are struggling on a pour say and so on. The next thing they say is , oh! I know someone who can help with your next stage. If you are not on site all the time they will also help / keep an eye on the young / less experienced folk for you. If you have a machine on site the operative will often offload material, stack it all right and say to the other contractors things like.. " you should cover that before the client" gets back and so on. This can really start to work in a rural location as the same driver will often end be in the same village / as a neighbour. But even in the town there are a lot of operatives that are descent folk. All you need to do is get off on the right foot.