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About jonM

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  1. jonM

    Alternatives to lead soakers

    Water that has run over lead will strip a galvanised coating, so a non-lead alternative might make more sense if you are using a galvanised steel guttering.
  2. Not sure if it is "normal" or not, but the developer covered the S106 contribution when I bought my serviced plot recently. CIL charges were against the individual plot purchaser, but as each plot was considered as an individual development, I was able to apply for a self build exemption.
  3. Thanks - very helpful post. One thing to add is that if you are lining up base units with the bi-folds you will need to put end panels to the left and right of the appropriate base unit to ensure the base units stay in alignment with the bi-folds. You can use one end panel, cut it in two and put the halves either side of the appropriate base unit as the base unit will be covered by the worktop.
  4. We are in the process of building a house to passive standards but again will not be seeking formal certification. A key point for a cost effective build is to keep the form of the house fairly simple in order to achieve the necessary airtightness, so it may be worth optimising the existing design. It is not impossible with more complex designs, just more expensive. Detailing is absolutely critical and having someone on your team who has experience in detailing to reach passive standards would greatly increase the chances of a successful outcome be that a timber frame manufacturer, Architect or passive house consultant. The German "factory manufactured" firms such as Baufritz offer turnkey solutions which reduce risk but you do pay a premium. There are some UK based companies that will get you to a lockable shell guaranteeing a certain level of airtightness or your build team can take responsibility for meeting the required standards. Before thinking about build methods and companies, I would get the design looked at by a passive house consultant and modelled in phpp first if you have not already done this.
  5. jonM

    Building the Timber Frame

    Not a Cullen design. It has a simple form so not too complex to build but at the same time the I think the design is pleasing to the eye and looks elegant. Yes - it's pumped cellulose insulation which is going in next week.
  6. jonM

    Building the Timber Frame

    That's a nice way of putting it. It's been fascinating watching all the pieces fit together.
  7. jonM

    Building the Timber Frame

    Thanks. I will include some close-up photos in the next posting. Costs for the stick build are working out as per budget, so no surprises so far. I didn't do a detailed costing for a factory made timber frame, so I can't say if it was more cost effective or not. I-Beams and Glulam cost £9500 ex. vat but there is wood, flooring, panelling, membrane and of course labour on top of that.
  8. Having got all of the groundwork out of the way, it was time to build the timber frame. We were carrying out a stick build, ie: we purchased the i-beams and glulams and the carpenters cut and assembled everything onsite like a huge jigsaw puzzle. We had looked into using a timber frame manufacturer, but we had a good team of carpenters who had experience of stick building a frame, so it didn't seem to make any sense changing a proven formula. Initial jobs were to get the scaffold up and sole plate down. First i-beams were installed on 3rd Dec and by the end of the day, the main i-beams for both gables were up. The work is not helped by the weather which is cold and wet. You need to be pretty resilient to be work outdoors in this weather, nevertheless good progress is made and by 6th Dec the walls are up and parallam beams and ledgers have been fitted. Big day on Dec 10th as we finally manage to get the electricity switched on. No more generators which should make everyone's life a little easier on site. We now have water and electricity on site and only need to connect to the mains drains at some stage in the future. First floor joists together with the MVHR ducting that needs to pass through these joists is next to be installed and state of play on Dec 12th is as pictured below. The first floor is glued to the joists on December 14th. The view from the top of the scaffold isn't bad either. There is no way the big heavy glulam ridge beam is going to be manually handled up to the top of the roof, so on the 17th Dec a crane is hired to help out with this operation. It is the only time during the build that a crane is required. Everything else has been manually shifted into place. The i-beam roof rafters can now be put into place and on the last day before the teams Christmas break, most of the rafters are in place. Following a couple of weeks break for Christmas, the rafters are quickly finished off and by January 9th the skeleton of the house is in place. Over the next couple of weeks the house is clad with panelvent on the outside and smartply on the inside and then wrapped in membrane so that by the 22nd Jan, the house is looking like this.
  9. We make a start on 15th October with the diggers arriving on 16th October. By the 17th October, state of play is as per the picture below. The gabion wall on the right of the plot was put in by the vendor as part of the infrastructure works. The trench on the left is for a gabion wall that we are putting in on the other boundary. As there is quite a slope from back to front, we are putting another gabion wall across the plot to act as a retaining wall. All OK so far, but there is a surprising amount of muck that came out of the trench for the gabion wall which will need to be taken off-site. On the plus side, the plot had already been stripped of topsoil and as we are using a passivhaus foundation there was not too much extra muck on top of this. The builder we are using has been involved since the early stages of the project. We didn't go to competitive tender but worked with the Architect to look for someone with experience of the build method we are using who we felt would be able to build to our budget. We are living around 3 hours drive from the site and made a decision out of necessity to continue working in our day jobs throughout the build, however we are purchasing all of the materials ourselves or via our own accounts which we expect will make the build more cost effective. This arrangement works to my strengths as whilst my practical building skills aren't great, I should be OK tracking costs and getting good prices on the materials. Original plan was to get the gabion cages in place and fill them as time allowed, but the Passivhaus foundation could not be delivered for the requested date of 24th October, so once the drainage is complete, filling the gabion cages becomes the main task to keep the team onsite busy. By 26th October, the majority of the drainage and gabion walls are complete The following week is spent finishing of the gabion walls, landscaping, groundwork and preparing the grit base for the Passivhaus foundation. There is however a further delay on the Passivhaus foundation, so a decision is made to push on with the garage to keep everyone on site busy. At the end of the week (2nd November), the slab for the garage is laid The garage progresses quickly the following week and the Passivhaus foundation arrives on 8th November. There are some small dimensional inaccuracies with the Passivhaus foundation base that need to be corrected, but I am thankful this is spotted before the concrete pour when it is relatively easy to fix. It is however another delay and distraction we could have done without. On the bright side however, there have been no nasty surprises with the groundwork / drainage. Work continues on the garage w/c 12th November with prep for the house slab starting at the end of the week. DPM and steelwork for the house slab go in on the 19th and 20th and following a review of the weather forecasts, we go for the 23rd November for the concrete pour. The concrete and concrete pump are ordered again, the rain holds off, temperature is ok and the pour goes to plan. Garage has also now been boarded.
  10. Finish our build without too many dramas and moving in. I set myself a goal to move to a more rural location when I finished university, but life and work rather got in the way of that. Hopefully 2019 will see me meeting that goal (albeit 30 years later 😁).
  11. Thanks @PeterW and @JSHarris. The feedback is invaluable. I don't think that high temperature DHW is something that is really needed so it sounds like a standard ASHP with an unvented cylinder is the way to go here.
  12. Responsiveness, simplicity and a requirement to heat upstairs together with differences in floor surfaces downstairs (slab) and upstairs (IBeam). We will have to go with radiators now as the slab has been laid, but are looking into oversizing and using K2 radiators to allow us to reduce the heating flow temp and make the most of heat pump efficiency.
  13. I am in the process of building a Passivhaus. As there is no gas, I will be using an ASHP for Heating and Hot Water. Heating will be via radiators located downstairs and upstairs. I am in the process of deciding between two Mitsubishi heat pumps - the 4KW QUHZ (CO2) which is matched with a Thermal store and the 5kw PUHZ which is matched with a Hot water cylinder. I have phoned up Mitsubishi and spoken to them about the QUHZ (CO2 air source heat pump). There is no additional maintenance required for the QUHZ. I also asked them about reliability and there view was that as they've had to increase the spec of the QUHZ in several areas to take into account that CO2 is the refrigerant so they expected the QUHZ to be as reliable or more reliable than the PUHZ. I think there is a big difference in the way that it heats up the water as the QUHZ uses a thermal store rather than a hot water cylinder used by the PUHZ. Not an expert in this area, but research I have carried out suggests thermal stores are less complex than hot water cylinders. Idiots guide from Mitsubishi was to use the QUHZ if your hot water energy requirement exceeds your energy requirement. Using the more detailed data for range of temperatures supplied by Mitsubishi the services engineer checked performance in PHPP for specific loads and temperatures for our house. It indicated that the heating is indeed slightly better with the standard unit but hot water is considerably better with the QUHZ which correlates with the feedback from Mitsubishi. These were both modeled at 45 C heating design flow temp and 55 C DHW supply temp. So on the surface it would appear the QUHZ is better suited to my needs. The only caveat is that it is a relatively new technology for Mitsubishi (introduced 3 years ago) and I think in the market place in general. I had an early condensing boiler fitted to my current self build and it was always breaking down, so I am a little cautious of using anything new on the market because of that experience. Heat pumps seem to be tried and tested technology however so maybe I am worrying unnecessarily. I would welcome any thoughts / feedback on this.
  14. jonM

    Getting to the Starting Line ...

    It is a very clever system. Not something I had come across until I started looking into Passivhaus. Fortunately my architect and builder are familiar with this system so it was the natural choice.
  15. jonM

    Getting to the Starting Line ...

    Hi Peter - yes we are stick building on site with the i-beams. We have made good progress erecting the frame, it is just that I have been a bit delayed setting up the blog due to everything else going on with the build. On the surface, it sounds similar to your self-build - I enjoyed reading your blog very much.