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About Andrew

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  1. Andrew

    Electric Gates Emergency Access Override

    Brilliant thanks all. I'll mention the hex nut and show some manuals (thanks @lizzie). It's funny as I think this it's the emergency fire brigade access that has prompted this question. Of all the emergency services, I can't imagine a set of gates would keep them out for very long.
  2. We are planning electric gates and an access control system. It's early days so details are sketchy at the moment but as part of our plans submission I've been asked the following from the BCO. Btw BCO is on holiday for a couple of weeks otherwise I'd ask - just trying to get answers to all the questions before her return. I've done some extensive googling around the subject but can't find anything either in terms of the requirements or solutions from the gate equipment suppliers. There does seem mention of a fire key which can be used to override the gates but this only seems to be used on much larger gated communities and such. Does anyone have any experience with this and if so, how did you provide emergency access to satisfy the BCO? Thanks.
  3. Andrew

    robo mowers

    I’m sure they do. Ours is hidden round the back but I do put it in the garage if we are going away. It has an alarm, which is of limited use, and a fob that can be removed to disable, although that’s mainly for safety. If they knew it was there, there would be nothing to stop someone nicking ours whilst we were out.
  4. Andrew

    robo mowers

    Our Robomow Rx20u (£450) is cutting the grass of our rental as I sit inside and type this. I hate gardening with a passion which is why I bought it. I set it off manually a couple of times a week as it doesn’t have a rain sensor like the big expensive ones. Lawn is about 250 m2 and has a very complex edge pattern. In terms of the cut it does miss the edges which is not ideal. I bought a cheap Makita strimmer which uses drill batteries and it takes me about 15mins once a month in summer to do the edges. Shame you can’t use a strimmer - edging shears would take ages. However, you could let the robot mower do the majority of the lawn and then just run the mower round the edges once a month. Should say also you’re not going to get stripes with a robot. I believe most of them just make random passes across the lawn like mine rather than an up / down pattern you would make with a mower. I love mine as it saves me from doing one of the jobs I most hate, money well spent.
  5. Andrew

    Utilities costs

    Thanks @JSHarris. I didn't realise they would put a supply into a kiosk and treat it as a permanent supply. The VAT is only a couple of hundred quid - given the time it will take them to re-quote, we'll take that one on the chin.
  6. Andrew

    Utilities costs

    I'm just in the process of accepting our offer for a temporary electrical supply. I noticed that their quote included VAT which I've queried. They told me that a temporary supply is considered a commercial supply and is subject to VAT. Is that correct - did others who took a temporary supply early in their build pay VAT? This is Scottish Power Networks btw.
  7. Andrew

    Ground beam costs

    That's for 220mm diameter bottom-driven steel cased cast insitu reinforced concrete piles driven to an assumed depth not exceeding 6.0 linear meters. The price was for 33 piles @ £7722 plus £900 mobilisation, so that's £261 per pile all in. I've actually since had a cheaper quote, to the same pile specification, of £130.00 per pile up to 4m with £30 per meter per pile add-on for additional required depth. Mobilisation costs are £1200 with this one, so if we needed to go down to 6m that would be £226 per pile all in. There was no mention of pre-augering in the quotes I received - don't know if that's implied or unnecessary. Our ground is definitely not firm / stiff. My structural engineer has taken it upon himself to re-engineer the entire piling layout for 150mm piles so I'll be gathering some quotes for those soon. I did find a great variety in the quotes I received, the highest being about £600 per pile.
  8. Andrew

    Self Build Lenders & NHBC Builders

    They will come and inspect as the build goes. I'd suggest looking at one that does building control in tandem as in theory they should be able to co-ordinate inspections for both functions. I've just got some pretty competitive quotes from Protek for combined warranty and building control -
  9. Andrew

    Glazing defects - what is acceptable?

    Unfortunately I can't offer any experience or advice on the defects, but I can agree that I think you're right to be unhappy with them. I'd certainly not be willing to accept that as normal, especially given the price of windows.
  10. They've just got back in touch unprompted to say they are going to double check with their accountants, so fingers crossed it won't be a fight. I think this is probably the real answer here. To be honest I took the risk as they could start immediately and were £5,500 less than the other quotes I'd had. If I had to pay the £500 VAT I'd still be a long way ahead of the other quotes.
  11. I have an invoice from a company who have carried out some site clearance for us, which includes standard rated VAT. I have explained (and linked to notice 708) that this activity should be zero rated as it's closely related to the construction of the building and is not ruled out by paragraph 3.3.6, as planning permission is granted. I've had a pleasant reply explaining to me that as they are VAT registered they have to charge VAT on everything and I may be able to claim it back directly from the 'government'. Obviously this incorrect but I'm struggling a little to strike the right tone in my reply. I'm imagining I will need to send this email many time through the build, so I wondered if anyone had standard form of words they had used which had been effective in getting suppliers to zero rate their invoices? Thanks
  12. Andrew

    Ground beam costs

    That’s really helpful, thanks Russell. Good to know I’ve got a decent quote on the table. The variation in piling quotes is massive. Got one today for piling only which is 4x the best quote I’ve had. They clearly didn’t want to do the ground beam.
  13. Andrew

    Ground beam costs

    Thanks for the response. I've spent the morning ringing round and have found another couple of companies to quote, so hopefully they will be better.
  14. Andrew

    Ground beam costs

    Looks like we are going to have piled foundations with a ring beam and an insulated block and beam floor. I've been gathering quotes for the piling, which has been challenging as there doesn't seem to be any local piling contractors. The only quote I've had which wasn't clearly a 'we don't want to do this' price seemed fine for the piling (at about £220 per pile + £900 mobilisation) but the price for the ring beam was higher than expected at almost £9k. The length of the ring beam is approx. 85 linear meters and the cross-section size is 350mm by 450mm. I make that around 14 m3 of concrete which SPONS tells me should be around £150 per m3 - £2100. There's the cost of the rebar, which SPONS prices per tonne, but being really conservative with my estimates that's an extra £1.5k. Which leaves £5.5k of labour. I should also mention the quote specifically says it assumes the concrete can be poured into a neatly dug trench (prepared by others) without the need for any temporary formwork (formwork is an extra £2,210 if required). So with that in mind, I'm looking for any thoughts on whether my feeling that the ring beam quote is expensive is valid or not. I'm trying to get more quotes but it's difficult in the piling black hole of South West Cheshire.
  15. Andrew

    Strip, raft or piles

    This is the perspective the builder is providing - he knows what's been built locally and it's all strip foundations. It feels like science (investigations and engineers) vs the builder's nose.