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About Andrew

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  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. My experience of this has been fill out a form, email it to my contact at Ecology, money in the bank a day later. I panicked and requested a valuation at the end of July as I worried that they would be really slow after lock down and we had got the roof on and windows and doors in the frame. The valuer called me the afternoon I requested the valuation from Ecology and popped round the following morning. Valued our progress at £370k which is far in excess of the £200k we are borrowing, so happy days they will release the lot. Haven't needed any of the money yet, but it's really reassuring knowing they will release it quickly when we do.
  7. That's internal dimensions, the two external walls of the plant room already have 140mm of fibreglass and 50mm of celotex. Yeah, I think there's another reason for him wanting it pre-plumbed, the space argument isn't really making much sense... I'm sure he has. The general builder who did the foundations and brickwork (very well) recommended him and said he'd done UFH/ASHP/UVC in the past for him. He's time served and been around the block. He readily admits the electrical / controls side isn't his thing but the electrician does lots of renewables and is happy to lead that side. A bath is only 1700 long - why not a full bathroom 🙂
  8. I went for high enough to be out of the way but low enough to reach from steps.
  9. Thanks for the replies all. He says due to the available space - he reckons pre-plumbed will be more compact than he can plumb it. It's not that tight, it's going in a 2m x 2m plant room (albeit with a UFH manifold, MVHR unit and all the electrics / networking). I suspect it's probably just easier for him although he has offered to knock off the time it would take him to plumb from his price if I can get a pre-plumbed one. Good to know. It doesn't show the twin immersions on the technical data PDF, but I can see it in the feature list on their site. I'll give the sites suggested a try and see what they come up.
  10. Just doing our first fix plumbing and the question of which cylinder came up. These are the requirements :- - Unvented - 400 litre (we'll have 5 bathrooms) - Single indirect coil suitable for a heat pump input. - Spark wants two immersion heaters so that the Solar PV diverter can run on the second. - Plumber wants a pre-plumbed cylinder. It's going in a fairly tight space and he argues a pre-plumbed cylinder will be more compact (and I suspect easier for him) I was planning to get the Telford heat pump cylinder but it's only available pre-plumbed up to 300 litres and doesn't have two immersions. I did ask Telford customer services but they were mostly useless and just pointed me at the merchant, who didn't really want to know as it obviously wasn't a quick standard sale. Does anyone know of a cylinder that might fit the bill? Thanks.
  11. This is where I'm considering buying my Samsung ASHP from - Don't know if that's a good price or not for the Ecodan.
  12. We’ve just finished having our frame insulated and they used this between the studs - Didn’t seem to be any shortage as far as I could tell and seems to have the same performance as Frametherm 32.
  13. If a business is VAT registered it has to charge VAT on all eligible goods and services irrespective of who delivers the service. If they are going to be invoicing for the work, both the materials and labour should have VAT applied, which in your case would be zero rated as it's a new build. If the fitting element will be invoiced seperately directly by the non-VAT registered fitter then that would not attract VAT but that would be quite a messy and irregular way of billing.
  14. Thanks for the suggestions. I've got a magic sponge on order along with some stuff called the pink stuff which the window company have suggested. If neither work (I have fairly low hopes) then I'll have to explore swapping the trim. It does seem to be a bit of a drawback of timber frame that the expensive (and relatively delicate) windows and doors go in before the external finishes. Anyway lesson learned, everything else will be covered in clear plastic before they start near it.
  15. This is my own stupid fault for not covering it up, but the brickies left some mortar that had fallen onto the cill of our backdoor overnight. It looks like it's etched into the finish somehow and everything I've tried so far (fairly mild cleaning products) hasn't had any effect. Does anyone have any tricks up their sleeves for how to get this out? I've contacted the window company to see if they have any ideas but it's like a ghost ship as everyone is on holiday and I can't get a reply. They are Rationel doors so I guess it may be possible to buy replacement trims and swap them out. All the windows and doors near brickwork are now very well covered up.