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Found 4 results

  1. Good morning all, Thank you for allowing me to take part in this forum. Just to introduce myself, my name is Eric and I'm a newbuild homeowner. The reason why I am writing on this forum is to seek guidance from other more knowledgeable users in regards to landscaping. I am based in East Devon, in an area which is predominantly very clayey. The land where my development was constructed used to be farmland, and so I assume that it is quite fertile. Anyhow, I think I'll just start off describing my concerns in chronological order: At reservation stage, the developer provided us with a standard specification setting out finishes, colours, etc. One of the items in the spec was the finish to the garden areas (back garden and a strip out front along the facade). The spec stated that the ground would be finished with a 150mm thick layer of topsoil. I was quite glad that this was the case, as my concern was that the underlying clay would challenge the garden's ability to drain rainwater. Fast forward to completion, we get the keys to the house and to my surprise, the garden was topped off with site-won material, i.e. clay. In addition, the plot was plagued with stones the size of fist. To me that didn't look like topsoil... However, the next question I asked myself was: what is topsoil anyway? Doing some research, I found that there is a British Standard entitled "Specification for topsoil" (BS 3882:2015 - in case you're interested). This standard sets out the requirements for a soil to be classified as topsoil. One of these requirements is that the "maximum coarse fragment content" greater than 50mm has to be 0%. In other words, stones greater than 50mm in diameter should not be present at all, which is something that my garden clearly doesn't meet. I have gone back to the developer with this (it's been more than a month already) and they are still figuring out what to respond. I am not trying to be picky here, but I've paid a large sum of money for my new home and I will always try to make sure that I obtain a quality product that meets the minimum standards. I should add that the NHBC standards specify that gardens should be finished with a minimum of 100mm of topsoil. NB: my neighbours have placed a ver thin film of topsoil on their garden after picking out the majority of big stones. They then planted some grass seed and it's growing well. However, I think as soon as they start transiting the grass, the clay will compact and it'll become boggy with rain, which will eventually compromise the health of the grass, etc. I would be grateful if others could share their views/experiences on the matter, as I'm not sure if I'm making this a bigger issue than what it really is? Thank you very much, Eric
  2. Hello all! I have been reading the wealth of information (thank you ?) from this site for months & finally joined yesterday, don't know what took me so long! My husband, 6yr old daughter and I began a project on our tired 1950's bungalow (which we have lived in for 9 years) in May, which has involved pulling half of it down, and putting up a two storey extension in its place. We have gone for blockwork construction (dense externally, lightweight internally with 50mm PIR part fill in the cavity) and will be cladding in larch. We have lovely views all around us and so glazing has been key for us, but without wanting to go ultra-modern with the design. Our budget is very tight so we are putting our money into the structure with any fancy finishing touches just having to wait. Any advice is greatly welcomed.
  3. Looking for a good structural engineer for our build on the Devon/Cornwall border. We were strongly recommended to go with Michael Foulkes down in Looe. Sadly he is to oversubscribed to contemplate taking on our project. Any other recommendations?
  4. I introduced myself back in the ebuild days but I've mostly been lurking here since... thanks for all the interesting posts which I have enjoyed reading. For many years it was our intention to self build but failure to obtain planning permission (long shot) and failure to find another suitable plot meant we have settled for a renovation project instead. We dreamed of getting close to passive house standard on a new build. We have been living in our 1950s house in East Devon for a few months now and are trying to make decisions on what to do. Having read so many interesting response to people's queries I'm looking forward to asking a few questions. The highest priority for us is getting some heating, the old Aga that keeps only the kitchen warm has to go and we need something a bit more modern. We have filled the 50-80mm cavity with polystyrene (ThermaBead cavity Carbon Saver), which may have got the block/cavity/brick wall U value down to somewhere near 0.4. The loft has c. 200mm mineral wool. The Crittall windows will be changed at some point. I'm considering a GSHP. Given our EPC's heating requirement is quite large I think the RHI could be significant, especially as we have space for trenches so don't need the expense of a bore hole (we have spring water, I've got some questions to ask on that in another post). My question relates to floor insulation, or the absence of it. The ground floor is 67 sqm which is made up of 40 sqm of suspended floors (living room and dining room) and 27 sqm of concrete floors (kitchen, hall and cloak room). Taking up the suspended floor to insulate is relatively easy. Taking up the concrete floor would be a far less pleasant task. Having attempted to calculate the heating demand under a scenario where the whole floor is insulated verses one where only the suspended floor is insulated suggests it's not that big a difference. We're going to have plenty of cold bridges under the walls anyway. Would it be foolish not to take up the concrete floors and do the full job? Any tips on taking up a 1950s concrete floor?
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