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  1. We are building a 30m2 timberframe single storey annex and want to minimise our use of concrete. We want to include a wet underfloor heating system. For the flooring we are thinking the layers would be: compacted ballast compacted sand PIR insulation board UFH pipes screed wooden flooring Thinking that we don't need a concrete slab for stability because if it shifts a little and the screed cracks the wooden flooring will cover over those defects. The question is how to constrain the flooring? Can you use blocks without foundations, but supported by earth on the external side, to create the footprint of the building and then compact and build up the flooring within the fooprint? The timberframe structure can be supported by ground screws. All the examples of using ground screws that I've seen have the building suspended slightly above the ground - is that essential? Can you position the ground screws so that the base of the timber frame sits ontop of the footprint blocks but the weight is supported by the ground screws? Is there a better way to combine a single storey timberframe build with a solid floor whilst still using minimal concrete?
  2. Hello self-builders. The more and more I think about what I would like in a home the more and more building it myself seems to make sense. I used to want one of the old Victorian or Edwardian properties but then I realised that the maintenance and cost of heating those properties would be ridiculous. Now I would like something very modern and most importantly eco. The more electricity and heating I can produce myself the better. I have ruled out the cookie-cutter new builds as whilst they do have a lower EPC than my granite tenement flat I think we can do better. I'm very much at the start of this journey so I'm looking forward to scouring this forum for ideas. I have seen a few plots of land in the right areas that come with planning permission although I don't know if I want to build exactly what there is planning permission for. I also need to decide if I want to remain in North East Scotland or return to the Central Belt but first I need to research and save those pennies.
  3. Hello all, I stumbled on this forum as part of a search for information about SunAmp batteries. I’ve spent a bit of time reading other threads on the topic and this seems to be a friendly and helpful piece of the internet. I’m on a quest to reduce the CO2 generated by the 3-bed 1960s semi (approx 98 sq m) where I live with my partner (no kids). We’ve insulated the upstairs, added some loft insulation, upgraded the double glazing and last year, we installed 5700W of solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall 2. I’d estimate we generate around 5000kWh a year from the panels, and export around 3000kWh of that. We’ve got our grid electricity usage down to about 500kWh per year. The biggest element of this being our electric shower (the Powerwall can only ever supply 5kW of the 10kW load). Gas is used for heating and hot water via a 15 year old Worcester combi-boiler - which I’m guessing is nearing end of life. Our gas usage is fairly low, but I’m looking to reduce that next, from the current 5000kWh per year (more when we have a cold winter). I'm not planning on replacing the gas boiler, meaning we'd be 100% reliant on electricity for heating and hot water. We’re on a deemed solar export tariff, and I’m looking to use as much of the energy generated as possible. I’ve also recently begun the switch to Octopus energy to take advantage of their Agile tariff, so it might be possible to shift much of our current gas energy usage over to electricity - but what would be best for us? GSHP not an option here (small garden) ASHP may be, but I’m conscious of the effort and cost of installing Underfloor heating. Air to Air an option? Right now I’m thinking a SunAmp for the hot water, or could the Uniq 12 supply our heating and hot water? Maybe we could supplement that with and a couple of electric radiators in the lounge and bedroom to keep us warm on demand? I’m not sure if that would be what we need especially if we have a long cold winter like last year (I’m on the South Coast of England). I would be grateful for any thoughts from anyone who has done similar or knows more than I do about these things. With thanks, David.
  4. Hello fellow self-builders! Having lived in the South East (nr Reading) for over 30 years in various cookie-cutter boxes of varying quality, after a 2 year hunt we have found a building plot on which we are going to build what we intend to be our "forever house". We are currently in the purchase of the land stage, so fingers are still crossed as we wait for all the legal and financial stuff to conclude, hopefully next month. The plot comes with OPP for an eco-designed house (architects were ARCO2 in Bodmin) which we intend to make minor tweaks to as we apply for DPP and Building Regs approval to proceed. Our intention is to perform as much of the labouring ourselves, both being practical minded, in order to be able to spend more on the materials. Personally, when younger, I helped my parents build a major extension to one property and renovate two others, I have renovated and rebuilt two classic cars, and undertaken re-wiring and re-plumbing in our current property - I'm reasonably confident in doing the work. On the Quality/Time/Cost triad, Time is the one that will be most variable :-) I'll probably be using these forums to seek input on the steps and order of tasks for project planning purposes (if anyone has a good starting template I would be very interested!), to discuss various material choices (e.g. raft v strip foundation, ICF v timber frame etc.), and delve into the variety of construction experience that exists here, so on the basis that there are no stupid questions ..... :-) Cheers Stuart
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