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Found 12 results

  1. Hi, We have had the heating running for around 7 days and the interior temperature of the house was around 11 degrees today according to the builder, the outside temperature has collapsed to 3 today. This is clearly not helped by them being in and out all day leaving does open etc. Also the front door is not in so it is just a frame with waterproof sheeting over it.(It may be in now) the MVHR is not on etc. I tried to calculate how much energy required to get the house up to temperature. I reckon there is around 600tonnes of concrete and blockwork inside the heated envelope. This would require around 3000kwh of heating to raise the temperature 20 degrees. Plus any heat losses which are probably running at a few hundred kwh per day in the current unfinished state. Heating up the air will require a negligible amount of energy in comparison. Does anyone have any experience of heating up a blockwork or ICF house and how long it took to get up to temperature. We need it to be in the high teens by Tuesday for the kitchen to go in. I had not really considered this but due to the much higher weight of this kind of construction, even if it is as well insulated as a wooden house it will require much more energy for initial heat up. The heating went off at one point after running through 2 large bottles of Calor gas in a 4 days. That seems to be around 1300 kwh of gas We are restricted on how much we can turn up the heating flow temperature so as to not cause cracking. I thought this was not a problem as the flow temperature should not have to be high. This is true once the house is up to heat but starting from a low temperature I am worried that the 30-35C flow I think we are running will not be enough to heat the house up quickly.
  2. Hardcore compaction issue

    Hi all. Quick question, I had 8 tons of 6F2 recycled aggregate dumped on my garage site about 4 months ago, this contained some pretty big stuff - 3/4 bricks and lumps of concrete, fine it was just to get the base fill and once spread over 30m sq it was not that deep so the first layer of type 1 filled all the small voids, this first fill was just about perfect for running a vibrator plate over (less than 150mm rise in fact) and would have been the perfect plan at the time but that didn't work out. I then got another load type 1 delivered and decided to place that round the perimeter of the area to build it up as some will run off into a lower area, at this stage it was still within first compaction limits. I was then on the phone to my merchant who was looking at my account and said he would do me a better rate on the type 1 going forward because I was not being given the full trade price and had bought a lot, so I just jumped at the chance and ordered another load. This load was carefully tipped at one end of the site so my plan was to compact the area that is about level and then shovel all the new stuff out then compact it again, the issue is the area the stuff was dumped on, I am going to need to dig it back down to a suitable depth for first compaction then whack it all, then pull the type 1 back over the area. This just sounds like a lot of extra work, my fault I know but what are peoples thoughts on whacking say a 250mm depth of type 1? By the way, this stuff was compacted to an extent as it went down as I continue to park my Defender on the hardcore and the area that would need dug up has been run over with the Landy about 100 times and feels like concrete now. The loose stuff now sits on top of this. I am going to get the whacker tomorrow morning so could get a fairly big one, I was thinking of the 400mm 12kN or if it would help with my depth issues I could get the 500mm with 15kN but at the same time I have been advised by my structural engineer that using too big a plate could cause issues with surrounding buildings foundations and could also damage my rear retaining wall. So, what are peoples thoughts here, any similar stories or issues?
  3. Block and Beam Quote

    Hello Everyone, I am progressing with some quotes for the foundations for my Potton home. I must admit, the prices have me a little daunted as they seem to be a lot MORE than I was told about 6 months ago. I am not suggesting I am getting "shafted" but I want to run it past you guys to see what you think. I am building a Potton Timber Frame and have been advised that Block and Beam would be the way to go ....easier and more friendly on the surroundings (i.e better received by planners) The house area from looking at the architects footprint and adding on roughly 50cm around (I just did this to be on the safe side for my working out ...I am not sure if it actually done) ..I am coming up with an area of 121.81 Sq Metres with a Perimeter of 49.82 Sq Metres. Now I have the first quote and it is over £23k, I know this company is trusted and has done many foundations for timber frames...But does this seem expensive? I have snipped the basics from the quote below you can see what it entails ...hopefully someone on here will know what some of the specifics mean thanks
  4. Making my own formwork

    I'm due to start the digging out of our basement, it's set into a slope and once dug, it will be open at the front, onto a grassed area. Having received some reduculous quotes for the basement walls, a mate suggests we get a locally recommended concreting company to cast the slab and he and I construct the basement formwork. He's just done some, as a subbie, for a stand at the local football ground. He suggests he and I could do the work for half the cheapest quote. How hard can it be? After all I have the structural engineers drawings to work to and millimetre accurate foundation drawings from Hilliard?
  5. Finding the Level

    OK, so I know my slab isn't level, you only need your eyes to see that. As an example; on the large sliding door I've got 20mm difference from one end to another (over 4m). I've got 5 sets of doors with level thresholds. Huge amounts of pre-planning detail was put into ensuring the doors would sit correctly into the slab so that the slab floor was 18mm below the FFL to allow for the tiling that is running through the entire house. I was lucky enough to be lent one of these: so in a spare hour yesterday (whilst nursing my severe man flu, sympathy please) thought I'd have a look at "how the land lies" (quite literally! ). Its an incredible peice of kit, very clever. But alas all it did was make by brain hurt . The floor levels run all over the place and I'm failing to see how a tiler is ever going to create the beautifully flat level access around the house which was so important to us. But im no pro tiler and so perhaps I'm just worrying too much (as we all know a self builders biggest affliction). So what now? MBC have offered to come back and level the slab but from the measurements I've taken where they will level one door they'll throw the levels out elesewhere. I was was wanting to use the laser above to gauge out the various level changes so that I got what I wanted (I'm not entirely convinced MBC have got the skill set to put this right). But with so many conflicting levels I just got myself lost. So so some specific questions: 1. How do you choose a rooms datum point. I assume it's normally the highest point and work out from there. Or do you just go with the middle of the room? 2. Can a pro tiler (like our resident @Nickfromwales) "loose" these level changes? Presumably by feathering out across as big a distance as possible? 3. Is it sometimes better just to grind off an area of high spot? Presumably there are tools for the job that are designed to do this and get into corners? (Without trashing my expensive frames!). Many thanks in advance.
  6. Concrete sweet spot

    When should I make my own? When should I order it in? Or rather what's the maximum amount of concrete you can sensibly make on your own? My mum taught me how to deal creatively with anger: she scrubbed the floor with varying degrees of fury. The cleanliness of the kitchen floor was an indicator of her mood. Super clean - beware, modestly so - all was well, dirty - she was on holiday. Then I had to do it. I inherited that gene from her; but I've got several similar ones that all deal with the urge to cope positively with stress. There's one that sends me running, another that leaves me cold and silent, yet another which makes laugh nervously. Yesterday was a bad day (well the first bit of it was). Thinking about it, I got this sudden urge to mix a load of concrete and pour the gable ends of the piggery: about a cubic meter. Mixing that much (and humping it up a ladder and pouring it) should take the edge off my annoyance shouldn't it? And then the thinking gene cut in. Tell me; what's the most concrete you'll mix and pour by hand on your own? No help, no cheating, no fantasizing, no fibbing allowed. No Welsh one liners either @Nickfromwales
  7. To pump an ICF, you need two things: a pump and concrete. Pumps cost £550 +VAT. The concrete costs what it costs. What do you do if the company sends out concrete that's too stiff? Durisol needs to be of Scotch Broth type consistency. I'm trying to avoid wasting the poor pump driver's time, and lightening our bank balance by £550 at the same time. And how -on the spot- do I judge what the correct slump is? The only way I can think to get it right, is to order a small amount of concrete at XYZ slump and see if the company actually delivers it. Concrete's interestingly tricky stuff innit? Fascinates me
  8. Hi All, !6 cube of concrete booked for 11am today. Batch plant broke down approx 3miles from site but did not find this out until end of first pour. Upon asking how long till the next load I was informed about an hour as he has to go next nearest batch plant. I was not happy but what can you do. By approx 3pm all concrete in place and started to finish the screeding. The beam screed was 6.2m long with two vibrating units on it and it weighed a ton. With about 2 metres left to do the belt on one of the units was playing up and started vibrating badly. At this point the wooden beams that are used to secure the engines to the beam came loose due to a combination of excess vibration and the securing threads on some of the bolts had been stripped. Then the unit completely packed in as the shaft that drives the belt had a severe bearing failure.(stress level rising by now.) By the time we had removed the whole beam, removed faulty engine, cleaned beam and relocated it was past 4pm and it was at this time that we made a bad decision. As the we looked at the concrete we realised it was a mess where the wooden beam had dropped out,when we placed the beam back it left a big mark right across the slab. We decided to go over the whole slab again with one engine ( rung hire company and they did not have another) and it was a nightmare.Trying to pull that beam with only one engine on concrete that was starting to set was horrendous and thus we have ruts across the slab spaced evenly as I took a step to start the next pull. So the reason for the rant I now have a slab that is sort of ok for a garage but if you had seen the finish of the concrete before it all went wrong you would be as disapppinted as me. I rushed to the hire company just before closing to get a bull float but it would not even touch it. Would a power float touch it tomorrow? Or what else could I do? SWMBO said it looks ok as it only a garage but every time I go in there I will be reminded of the day when it all went wrong through no fault of my own. TIA
  9. Concrete explanantion

    Morning guys, Having a little issue with finding a concrete supplier who will give me the exact spec I require, which is: DESIGNATED CONCRETE to external walls Designation: RC32/40. Fibres: Not required. Aggregates: - Size (maximum): 10 mm. - Coarse recycled aggregates: RCA permitted. - Additional aggregate requirements: Rounded coarse aggregate. Special requirements for cement/ combinations: CEM 1 Consistency: S2 slump range with an ideal slump to around 80mm Chloride class: Normal. Admixtures: Waterproofing admixture below d.p.c. to wall system manufacturer's approval or a high cement concrete to BS8007 with minimum cement content of 325kg/cu.m and water cement ratio of 0.5. Just looking for some help with what things mean. Firstly, the RC32/40 - is that the strength of the concrete? From other posts, I believe the R stands for reinforced as it will have rebar in it? I've been assured that having a minimum cement content of 325kg pcm and water cement ratio of 0.5 will give me a waterproof concrete without the stupid expense of waterprrof additive, but has anyone come across this before as I'm a little worried about that? Vijay
  10. Garage Build Start - slow

    Well those of you who read my introduction may well know that I am planning on building a new garage and converting a sun room into a proper room for a new kitchen. Anyway, I have started the garage, although I still have no planning permission I have started the ground works, even if there are changes in the proposed garage much of what I have done so far still needs to be done - even if we were outright denied planning I would still pave this area for parking - hence works not a waste. I have not fully exposed the site to keep the garden secure for now but I have cut in most of the shear key for the concrete and then dug the trench for the rear found - it needs squared off etc. but that was the first dig to get it all into rough shape. I will have a 1.5ton excavator soon so I can scrape the rest of the site, I am also building up the lawn/dropping the patio as part of these works so the current lawn will be dug up, then a deeper hole or trench dug that the gravel from the garage site can be dropped into a good few feet down (if it was cleaner I would have used it for the first layer before hardcore for the concrete - I guess I still could), then working carefully I will then scrape the good topsoil off and that can go into the lawn. Then I will lift a big patio, scrape the sand and whatever else is down there off, if good sand I will work that into the soil for the lawn, then basically pull the whole patio area down into the current lawn, I will then basically accept whatever level that leaves me with, but it will be the same level throughout with a very slight incline to the garage. I will keep this posted as stuff happens. This will be a true build thread and it will be slow as I am doing it after work and weekends as well as other projects and interests.
  11. Right first time. I'm making a set of foot square samples of concrete so @MrsRA can choose her favourite mix of glass and concrete, and then agonise over which colour she wants. I have yet to polish one sample, let alone the half dozen I'll need before making a choice. I have a decent Bosch angle grinder. My usual approach is to look at videos and I fancy this approach But I'm not a fan of mixing sparks and water. Advice, please!
  12. As some know, I've been pre-occupied this week tarting up the only room in our current house (which is shortly going on the market), that I've not decorated or renovated, the downstairs loo. It's always been grim, but it works and we've just got used to it, so have never done anything about it. It's green. In fact everything in it is green, except the ceiling. Green tiles from floor to ceiling on all the walls, green WC and cistern, green wash basin, green vinyl flooring, even a bonded to the wall green ceramic toilet roll holder. It even had a green loo seat until we changed it. We had a minor disaster a couple of weeks ago, when a load of tiles fell off one wall, it turned out they had been stuck on to an emulsion painted wall................... This meant I had to do something with it, as there was a right old mess left and there seemed no point in trying to patch it up. The decision was made to buy a cheap white fitted WC unit, back to wall pan and a very narrow white basin unit, with a slim white ceramic basin on top (it had to be slim, as this loo is so small it wouldn't come close to passing current building regs). This is what it looked like when I'd picked up all the loose tiles and made a start on the wall behind the door: Lovely, isn't it? That's the main stopcock on the floor at the right, with a stub of black alkathene pipe coming up through the slab and a lovely neat coil of earth bonding wire clamped to it. I think the green colour of the WC, basin and tiles is probably "sage green" or something similar. I've always thought it was hideous, but clearly someone went to a lot of trouble to get the same shades of green everywhere. It's undoubtedly original, from 1982/3 when the house was built, although why on earth they painted the walls and then stuck tiles on them is beyond me. AFAICS, there is only just a thin mist coat of emulsion on the walls, too, and the paint on the skirtings was applied after the tiles were put on, as the top of the skirting is bare wood when the tiles are removed. We've lived in this house for a few years now, even though it was only ever supposed to be temporary, until we found the house we really wanted, as we had to move in a hurry. When the government compulsorily move you around the country (as they do when you get to a certain level) they give you a "generous" five days to find a new house -any longer and they don't pay your removal expenses and legal fees. I've learned over the time we've lived here that the joker that built it had some unusual building practices. For example, when we came to replace the doors and windows, we found that the thin plywood external soffits extended over the top of all the windows and were plastered inside as the top of the window reveals. Another surprise came when I re-did the bathroom shortly after we moved in (that was also floor to ceiling green, like the loo). The loo wasn't screwed to the floor. The screw holes were filled with something like mortar, which I thought at first was just covering the screw heads. It wasn't and so after an hour or so of trying to work out how it was fixed down to the concrete floor, I just smashed it up with a lump hammer. What I found was that the loo had been fixed to the floor with a large lump of concrete. Knowing this, when I came to remove the other loo I had a feeling that it might well be fixed the same way (it was the same colour, so I think was fitted when the house was built, like the one in the bathroom). Knowing this, I decided to just run a masonry drill down the fixing screw holes, and lo and behold there were no screws, So I drilled both out as deeply as I could, to reduce any key to what I was sure would lie underneath, another girt great lump of concrete. I didn't want to smash the loo, as it makes a hell of a mess to clear up, so decided to gently tap around the base with a bolster and lump hammer. To my surprise, after a few minutes the whole thing lifted clear, leaving this delightful lump of concrete stuck to the concrete floor: The next job is to chisel this off the floor, then remove the stuck-down vinyl flooring and crack on with getting the floor tiled, so that I can fit the new loo and washbasin units, with a new stop cock inside the wash basin cabinet and new wall covering. Because this is a budget job, the walls have had the tiles removed, been belt sanded to get them roughly smooth and are being covered with PVC wall panels, in a sort of cream colour. Much cheaper than tiling, and much quicker, and I reckon it will tidy it up enough to sell. I do just love the "lump of concrete to fix the loo" idea. I think I've replaced around 8 or 9 WC pans over the years, and have never yet seen one fixed down like this, yet for this builder/plumber (a local firm, still in business) it seems to have been his normal method.