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About Andrew

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  1. I’ve installed one of these smart pumps - It’s meant to learn usage patterns and modulate accordingly. We only moved in on Wednesday so can’t yet comment on effectiveness or energy usage.
  2. I had estimators online (other online estimating services exist) do a cost estimate from the building regs drawings, tweaked it a bit and submitted that. In practice it was just passed on to the valuing surveyor who came up with their own build cost estimate based on RICS tables and sq. footage. This was £225k more than my (slightly ambitious) cost estimate. Ecology didn't seem bothered by this higher build cost estimate as there was plenty of headroom on the LTV and affordability to increase the loan if necessary. I have found Ecology very flexible and pragmatic.
  3. Same happened to me. I was in collecting 7 wastes and traps and they asked if I was a plumber. Told them no, but I was building a house and that was good enough. Quite enjoy going through the special door whilst there's a big queue of people at the main counter.
  4. We originally had a single phase temp electrical supply to our build, but in December last year this temporary supply was moved into the garage and upgraded to a 3 phase supply. We have high electrical demand with 2 x electric car charging, 12kW ASHP, 2 x double ovens, etc and the electrician has done his planning and diversity calcs based on having a 3-phase supply into the garage + house. We are part way through the 2nd fix and a 3 phase consumer unit has been fitted. The problem is that we only have a single phase meter attached to the incoming supply and I'm tearing my hair out trying to get a 3-phase meter installed. Originally the temp supply was with British Gas then we switched to Ebico to take advantage of the zero standing charge, but ironically they were bought by British Gas and we ended up back with British Gas. I called BG early in January this year and enquired about having the meter swapped to 3-phase. They said during lock down they are not doing any meter swaps. So I contacted Octopus and asked them if they were installing 3-phase meters during lock down. 'Yes' came the reply, so we switched to Octopus going on supply at early Feb. Since then I seem to have been caught in a nightmarish loop of broken promises and declarations of 'it'll be a few weeks'. Latest excuse is that the 3-phase smart meters are stuck in the Suez canal - I kid you not. I've lodged a formal complaint today but I'm coming to the conclusion they they either can't or don't want to install a 3-phase meter for us. Btw I'd like it to be a smart meter but at this point I will take any 3-phase meter if it gets us connected, something I've told Octopus repeatedly. I don't think it will be possible to move into the house until the 3-ph meter is installed and our very busy electrician is using it as an excuse to stall 2nd fix. So I think I'm going to have to switch providers again to get the 3-phase meter installed. The question to the wisdom of BH is - does anyone have any experience of an energy supplier who will be able to quickly install a 3 phase meter for us? I really don't want to switch again and be no further forward. TIA.
  5. I didn't bother in the end, mainly as budget is under stress and whilst the quote was only £1500, all these 'only' 1500 quid items add up. I have laid a duct from the plant room under the driveway to the boundary so if the ASHP turns out to be a disaster we can connect it without digging up the drive.
  6. The valuer who valued our build, twice, was a complete bell-end (sorry I really can't find a more accurate term). He'd been everywhere and done everything, the self-build he did was bigger, more expensive, more complicated, blah de blah. He valued the completed build £75k less than my conservative estimate and £50k less than the recently sold new-build house across the road with 2 fewer bedrooms on a smaller plot which had been built to a lesser standard. He was based 30 miles away and had no clue about the local market. At the end of the day the valuation was enough to get us the borrowing we wanted so I just bit my tongue rather than start kicking up a fuss. The second time he came to value mid-build he just asked me what my rough guess was of the cost to complete and he just put in a current valuation of his original completed valuation minus my guesstimate of the cost to complete! The valuation bit took him 2 minutes but he was on site for over an hour telling me of his greatness.
  7. It's a room in the roof type i.e.
  8. Our garage has a room above which I will use as an office. It has a bathroom with shower and a small 'kitchen' area. Our architect marked it as 'Studio' on the plans and we didn't have any issues with it through planning. Not sure if we just got lucky as I know of others nearby who have had their ambitions for over-garage accommodation neutered by planning. These are the plans which were approved, if they help at all.
  9. I have lots of valleys in my complicated roof and valley boards and noggins were always a requirement for everyone involved in the build. They weren't part of the scope of the timber frame contract but I paid the frame erectors directly for a couple of extra days to put them in. They also needed to put in noggins between the rafters so the roofer would have somewhere to fix the ends of the battens as they run into the valley. This is a photo from last year just before the roofer started. They used a ridged GRP valley trays, but still needed the valley boards. This is one of the valleys mid-way through felting and battening. I too can't really see how the trusses would provide any additional support for the valley or how you can go without valley noggins as otherwise the roofer won't have anywhere to secure the end of the battens (perhaps they just don't get fixed at the end?). Do you have a photo of the roof as it is without the valley boards?
  10. Use a pair of these to create a wireless link to the house The loco are about £50 each and are powered via Poe. I used a couple to build a link to site for cctv. Had a rock solid connection over 2km, albeit with line of sight.
  11. Get the trees cut down now but I’d be careful doing the access. You wouldn’t want to trigger a CIL start before you’ve done the appropriate paperwork, could be costly.
  12. We bought our plot with an existing planning permission and initially just wanted to tweak that design. Spoke to the architect who did the design for the planning application and found him defensive (why do you want to change my brilliant design?) and worst of all he enjoyed speaking much more than listening. We then spoke to a local architectural technician who I found on the MCIAT website who was the polar opposite. He convinced us to put in a new application for a design closer to what we really wanted (which I’m really grateful he did), he listened to our brief carefully and pretty much hit it out the park on his first attempt. We only used him for planning and building regs and cost was about 2.5% of build cost, which is great value. He’s been really helpful through the build offering input and advice to tricky areas - he even came out one Saturday to check something out and give an opinion. I told him to bill me for the time, but he wouldn’t send one. In the end I think it’s about finding someone on your wavelength who you can communicate effectively with. In my view, It doesn’t matter if they are an architect or a architectural technician, as long as they are willing to engage on your terms. Maybe we were just lucky but I definitely think you need to trust your instincts at the first meeting and if you don’t click then sack them off. You may need to kiss a few frogs along the way!
  13. Here's a picture of the almost complete cladding btw. The two elevations you can't see are also clad - there's three gables similar to the two on the front round the back.
  14. I wouldn't put it as parting ways, bottom line is the guy agreed to do the job and then changed his mind as I presume he had some other work that was better paying or easier for him. I had the hassle of finding someone else to do it. The work to rectify the battens wasn't huge, probably about half a day I'd say, but I don't have any visibility of what the guys who actually did the cladding added to their price for it - I suspect they probably assumed the worst. True. I did supply the materials. I think this is the approach I'll take. I'm not in a hurry to pay the invoice and they certainly aren't hard up. When he gets in touch I'll have a sensible discussion with the guy and I'm sure we'll be able to come to an agreement.
  15. We agreed back in June with the carpenters that built our timber frame that they would install our Siberian Larch cladding. A (fairly generous) price was agreed and they understood that the timber would not be delivered until September as it had a really long lead time. Three of them turned up for two days in August and installed all of the battens to carry the cladding. Come September and the cladding arrives. I text the main guy to say the cladding has arrived, when can you come and install? No reply so left it a couple of days and phoned him. He said they'd picked up loads of work and were committed for the next four weeks and then had another job that was probably another seven weeks. "So when can you come?" I asked, an awkward silence followed. In the end he admitted he didn't really want to do it anymore and "it's probably better you get someone else to do it". Not much of an apology or anything else. I've since found some others to do it, but they said from the beginning the battens weren't right and needed adjustment and have allowed time in their price to make amendments. They'll be finished tomorrow and have done a great job. Yesterday I received an email containing just an invoice from the original guy. No message, no apology for letting me down just an invoice for 4 units x £200.00/unit - £800 (whatever that means). I assume it's for the couple of days they spend battening but without any other communication from the guy I have no idea. I'm in two minds what I think about the invoice - they obviously did some work so I guess it's fair enough that they should be paid for it, however the invoice out of the blue with no other communication has pissed me off. I will speak to him but wondered what other thought - should I pay without complaint, try to knock him down due to the money I've paid for others to rectify the battens or simply tell him to jog on.