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  1. Morning All! It’s my first post on here (so be patient with me please!), but I have been lurking in the shadows for a while now! My wife and I (& our 2 daughters) currently live in a grade II listed gate keeper’s lodge (conservation area) which has been subject to some terrible building work in the past (leaky flat roof extension…). We’re in the process of trying to secure planning permission to drop the extension and build something which is sympathetic to its surroundings, larger (in terms of internal floor space) & more energy efficient. We also intend on addressing the poor condition of the old part of the house (which they will naturally be a lot stricter on given its status, but is in poor state of disrepair nonetheless). The property is currently single storey & ‘off grid’ in terms of gas and mains sewage; a good opportunity to research alternative energy sources (ASHP/GSHP, potentially PV if they allow it) as opposed to our current oil fired boiler, together with moving towards a sewage treatment plant (given the change in legislation & the fact that our proposed extension scheme incorporates an element of subterranean, and moving the tank to the lowest point in the garden would enable the system to remain gravity fed). I’m a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer by profession, and have some experience renovating our previous grade II listed cottage (stripped all walls back to stone, addressed structural issues such as roof spread, put down limecrete floor, new heating/electrics/plumbing/underground drainage/windows etc!). We’re hoping to be quite hands on through the project (partly financially driven as usual!); hoping to buy a 2nd hand digger, quite happy getting my hands dirty, using AutoCad & learning in general! I have done a bit of reading into the principals of PassivHaus which are appealing, however am aware that in its raw form might not be totally compatible with the requirements of a traditional building construction; we’ve had first-hand experience of the trials and tribulations in dealing with solid stone walls and the necessity for good breathability/circulation in our first house (we bought it riddled with damp, so much so that the mortgage lender placed a retention on their offer after the initial survey!). I have come across a few examples where PassivHaus has been incorporated into older buildings, however from memory these consisted of a ‘box within a box’ concept to avoid upsetting the balance of the old building. Unfortunately this is a luxury I doubt we can afford given that we do not have a great deal of floor space available; I’m assuming that once you take into consideration the air gap required + internal insulation to make it worthwhile, you’ve eaten into quite a bit of volume. Below is a quick and dirty brain dump of the main plans / ideas / concerns floating around: Thermal efficiency: · Improve floor performance by introducing a Limecrete base (unless there are any better suggestions out there?) – current flooring is laid directly onto earth… · Improve window performance – Main outer frames are currently timber, however window opening sections are metal, with all glazing currently being single. We’re hoping we’ll be granted permission to migrate to double glazing (slim-line most likely). With regards to the thermal bridging brought about by the metal frames, current thoughts are either secondary glazing units, or having thermally broken frames made. We’ll also need to think of ways to create the most efficient seal between the metal window frame and timber. · Improve front door performance (all timber) – currently very drafty! Thinking the frame might need to be replaced to provide an adequate sealing area – wondering if any modifications can be made to the door itself to help matters (granted that we have no chance of replacing it…) · Roof / Ceiling insulation – Currently cold roof setup, however we are thinking of opening it up to expose the vaulted ceiling. I’m minded to think that the main moisture management we’ll have to contend with would be in the walls & floor, and hence might be able to use more modern materials and methods for this area if of a significant advantage. Our thinking is that we will manage room humidity levels through an MVHR? · Chimneys / fireplaces: Currently two present, however we’re thinking of closing one off. The idea is to install a log burner in the other…not sure what people’s thoughts were on the associated penalty in doing so (vs blocking it off). Renewable energy options: · Have read quite a bit on ASHP vs GSHP and have begun to lean towards ASHP – my concerns however are whether we can bring the house up to a level where the energy requirements can be fulfilled by an ASHP without running in regions where it’s COP isn’t quite as appealing, and if it would also be able to cope with DHW needs, specifically children and baths...We’re happy to go with UFH throughout to maximise efficiency in terms of supply CH temperatures, however have not done enough research into the viability of relying on it solely for DHW. With respect to GSHP, I understand that the initial outlay is significantly higher for potentially not that much COP gain across the year – potentially the need to dig up a field to lay the drainage field for the sewage treatment plant or the need for piled foundations might mean that we could combine this work and bring costs down to a more favourable bracket? · PVs – Not really done a great deal of research into what heritage range are on offer and acceptable within conservation areas (I suspect terribly expensive though from experience?). I’m also not sure how well the house orientation + current roof design would lend themselves to this option, and the additional complexities / cost associated vs reward… Extension · I’ve mentioned earlier that we’re hoping to incorporate a subterranean element as this was the only solution we could find in order to fit a 2 storey structure which would give us the necessary floor area gains without its presence dominating the original lodge. This adds quite a few layers of complexity – we’d need to underpin a portion of the rear wall of the original lodge to create the lower level, whilst also needing to implement a suitable waterproofing system (although the rear elevation of the extension will be completely out of the ground). From the limited research I’ve done so far on this aspect, I would be more comfortable with an external solution (Type C?) to avoid having channels internally and the complexity involved in having to introduce some system to keep it clean and clear to flow freely etc. However I also appreciate that incorporating a Type C waterproofing method when one of the walls is a retaining / underpinning structure might be somewhat challenging, unless we sacrifice internal area and step another wall off that etc. · The next challenge is the proximity to two mature trees (oak 18m tall, Yew 12m tall)…we’re intending to be within 3% of the Yew tree’s RPA…I’ve had a little test dig in the RPA which looked fine and that the Arborist was happy with, but I am wondering if this might imply the need for pile foundations, or whether we could possibly get away with a different type (raft) & if this would lend itself to insulated foundation systems. · Construction method: Haven’t really made any decisions in this department…I like the idea of ICF but potentially not terribly straightforward given the abovementioned challenges? Externally, the lower ground floor level will need to be clad in stone, together with stone quoins on each corner. Upper floor level will be rendered. There is probably quite a bit that I’ve missed from the above, but hopefully I’ve made a good start on explaining the project (renders below should help!). Any comments / suggestions / observations would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
  2. Hi guys, thought it was about time I introduced myself after lurking in the background for the last few months absorbing as much information as I can. By way of background, I’m based on the outskirts of Belfast and been granted planning permission for a single storey flat roof extension to the side and rear of our property which will give us a new kitchen, some open plan living/dining and a utility room/garden store. We’ve employed the services of an architect to get us to building control approval stage but I’m questioning the value of taking his services forward after that. The current plan of action is once we have building control drawings and then use my wife’s QS contacts (they’re doing the work for really reasonable rates) from her old job in a Planning Consultancy and ask them the pull together a detailed specification and BOQ which will allow us to know exactly what we require when going to builders for quotes, the QS has also said they’ll evaluate the quotes to make sure we’re getting value for money. Does this sound about right to everyone or am I way off base? One other question, am I better sourcing my kitchen and widows myself as a supply and fit or is this something that I could do with my builder, just thinking they might be able to achieve so steeper discounts than little old me. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply. D
  3. We are hoping to build a rear extension to our semi detached property. I know the new rules are 6meters, i was thinking what if i go longer and not the full width of the house. For example if i were to go 6.5 meters back and take a bit off the width to keep within the square footage? Please help!
  4. We are installing a downstairs toilet in our extension but it will be 12 meters from the drain and the drop is only 1meter deep! Will this be enough to flush and not cause problems in the future or do i need a pump installed? Help!!!!
  5. Hi all, Only my second thread so apologies if my knowledge is slim on things. We have pretty much secured our first house and the sale is moving through very quickly (first time buyers, no chain and a friendship with the owner). We have opted for a bungalow which was on a generous plot size in comparison to the house. a little different for a 21 year old but I see the potential to make this a very nice home. I would like some of your experienced opinions on where and how best to utilise the available space. My first thought for real change is that I feel it needs an extension. It isn't a big bungalow by any means but its adequate for me and my partner for now so we have time on our hands to search around for the best option. My thoughts are to extend out the full width of the house back as far as possible and open the current back kitchen wall to create an 'L' shaped open plan kitchen, diner and new living room (the rear of the house is south facing). This would free up the current living room as a new bedroom, making it a 3 bedroom bungalow which will add value, right? I need your help on how to best go about this. How would the roof design affect the extension, would it have to be a flat roof? My other thought is to extend out the back and leave the 'loft' space above the extension open for a possible loft conversion in the future but again, I don't know if it would be possible because of the roof without it looking out of shape. Also, the current 'sun porch is coming down ASAP. I am open to timber frame extensions etc and I have a lot of family and friends in the building trade which will hopefully bring the cost down. I don't know if its worth noting but we are the end bungalow, the house next door is a 2 storey building. Pictures attached. Thanks for taking the time to read and help.
  6. Hi all This is my first post - I hope it's in the right place! :-) I am considering buying a ground floor flat in a small-ish block. Ignoring that I will need planning and freeholder permission (I realise neither are a given - there's no history of anybody attempting this before), is it physically possible to build a ground floor extension for a building with this many storeys? I also realise that every building and conditions are different, so this might be an impossible question to answer, but thought I'd try, as the extensions I have seen online are of buildings with less storeys. We would probably redesign the interior and likely would remove the outer kitchen and master bedroom walls as well as the wall dividing them to then create a large open plan extension. Any comments or advice are greatly appreciated. Cheers!
  7. Hi all, just joined the forum to seek some advise and knowledge on my new smallish project. Have a 3x4m single storey extension to an existing workshop. It's a lean-to against the main house.. so planning class it as attached and hence an extension... Even thought the lean to is not linked structurally. House and workshop are both 1860ish solid stone. Workshop is 18" thick solid stone walls and concrete slab floor. Have planning approved to extend by the 3x4m with same external materials. I'm at the stage of starting ground works to dig out foundations.. there is not a lot as it's only 2 wall - about 5m. Ground is a bit of top soil then seems to be some large rocks (too heavy for me to move by hand) about 30cm down. It's bedrock in the local area. I was under the impression that foundations for this wont need to be very deep (50cm)- but do I need to remove these huge rocks - to then replace with concrete foundations? How do I work out the width of the foundations? Any suggested type of foundations... Strip or trench fill?
  8. How to chose the most suitable building material to add an extension to a 1939 red sandstone mid-terrace house I attached the plans to my earlier post. Planning permission has been granted. What I have read so far: (1) Timber - benefits as well as being cost-effective, timber frames are highly versatile, as they can be clad in almost any building material. But, problems can arise with the shower room in the timber frame extension due to mould. The easy answer is to install a shower cubicle but that makes wheelchair access more difficult The other options are (2) Brick (3) Prefab (4) Modular (5) Anything else to be considered before approaching local builders? I haven’t a clue. Usually building firms usually work with one type of building material. Guidance would be welcome Thanks
  9. Hi all, A bit about our project - we have planning permission for a large-ish double storey side extension for our house in Hertfordshire. There is a single storey infill extension (block and brick) that I built in 2014, attached to and converted one of two detached double garages that were already there.  I’m at the stage now where I’m researching different build types for the extension and am really drawn to the ICF and SIPs style of build, particularly Durisol. The problem I’m having is finding a structural engineer that isn’t going to charge me an absolutely fortune (£8000 the first quote!!) for an existing foundation review and design of a raft foundation so if anyone can recommend a good structural engineer with experience of ICF in particular I’d be eternally grateful!! I really get the impression that the professional services see that you’re a self-builder and add a zero onto their quote!! I’ve attached the existing and proposed elevations and the ground plan that shows the existing foundation make up. The existing flooring on the plan that shows the Family Area is block and beam, the kitchen and garage are a concrete slab on strip foundations and the utility area is proposed ie. hasn’t been built yet!!Any advice would be really appreciated!!
  10. I'm planning a ground floor extension to a student property that we own. It will be to make a couple of bedrooms more spacious and form a new kitchen/diner/lounge area. One side of our house forms the boundary with a neighbour, and the other side of the house is within 3m of the other neighbours. I understand that I do need to comply with the party wall act. Both neighbours are nice people and accommodating and I'll be speaking to them next week to see whether they have any objections to my plans. I understand the notices that I need to serve on them to comply with the act - do I need to get a solicitor involved if everything proves to be straightforward?
  11. Hi, We're planning to build a ground floor extension to our 1960/70s terraced house, which is semi-detached at the end of the row.We have a manhole cover to the side of where we plan to build the extension and although we don't plan to build over it, we were wondering if anyone could give advice on whether the sewer pipe is public or only serves our house. Photos below. If anyone could advise the best strategy for dealing with sewers/drainage, so as not to risk any issues when creating the foundations of the new extension it would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, JM. 1. This is the man cover removed. To the top left is the end of our house, the extension would continue along this line of brickwork. 2.Close up of sewer pipes. 3.Sketch showing layout of sewer and house.
  12. Hi all, My name is Callum and I’m emailing from the television production company Remarkable – I’ve attached our site address at the bottom but essentially we produce factual and entertainment shows and are responsible for many renovation TV programmes. We are currently looking for home owners who are looking to renovate or update a part of their property for a brand new primetime series. The premise of the show is to give people expert help with their designs using architects with cutting edge graphics. We are looking for people who are ready to make changes and would love to hear from anyone who could do with expert help. I’ve attached our casting flyer to give you an idea of what we are doing, and if you or anyone you know may be in this situation and needing help - please get in touch! Likewise, I'm happy to answer any questions or queries. Many thanks, Callum [If you are interested please contact via PM - Thanks Admin]
  13. Hi, We have recently moved into our new (terraced) house and are about start planning a rear extension. Our next door neighbour's are about to start building work on their similar extension in just 3 weeks time. If possible, it would be mutually beneficial in terms of space that we share a party wall along the party line, rather than each setting a ~300mm thick wall 150mm from the party line. We'd both gain ~300mm on the width of our extensions, which is a lot given that we are both fitting two rooms across the width of the extensions. However, I am aware that we may have just missed the boat here and we don't want to add any unneccessary complications. So before raising the idea I want to be sure it is a good idea. Please can you give me your thoughts. Here are a few points to note: Our neighbours are pretty much ready to go with all the drawings and permissions etc and a start date. This change would have a number of impacts on their design. Would it affect their planning permission too? (which states offset from party line). We don't yet know if we can afford to extend as far out as our neighbours (5m from house). We don't yet know if the height of our extension will be the same as our neighbours. We are extending on the first floor (over the middle of the ground floor extension), so the wall in question will have a universal beam terminating at between 3 and 3.6m from the house. Hence the foundation requirements may be different to that of our neighbour's. There is a sewer running parallel at 3m from the house, making the above point a little trickier. (Our neighbours drawings for bridging the sewer appears to meet Thames Water's requirements.) If a wall is built on the party line and it turns out to be inadequate for our use, presumably we would have to build a new wall futher inside the party line and hence end up loosing space. If a wall is built on the party line, can the remainder of our foundation be satisfactorially joined up with the party wall foundation? And can our rear wall be satisfactorily interleaved with the party wall? There may well be other complications. I may have just talked myself out of it by writing this post, but am interested in your thoughts. The plan is that I will do the majority of the architectural work with the support of various resources. We will employ the services of a structural engineer and use a good builder who can advise us too. I am a design and project engineer of electro-mechanical products for various industries, hence I have a solid engineering approach but don't have much experience in the specifics of the architectural application. So I'm more self design than self build - I hope that is ok on this forum? I'd love to build it myself but its just not practical for us. Attached is a rough drawing of our proposed extension, viewed from the rear. The party wall in question is shown by the red line. Thanks in advance!
  14. I had a visit from a retired teacher this week, who wanted advice on replacing a single glazed old conservatory with something new, and how to find a builder. My points: 1 - Build an extension with a real roof not a conservatory. Seasonality of conservatories. 2 - Local word of mouth recommendation for a builder. It is a little too far to recommend a builder. 3 - It may not require PP depending on the distance from the boundary. Is there anything better I could have said? One complication - that one side of the conservatory is moderately close to a boundary. We were playing "the one that got away" games to try and decide how far, and she was concerned that planning permission may be needed. But I think that if an extension needed PP so would a conservatory. Ferdinand
  15. Into detail design stage for an extension to existing stone cottage. Basically a timber clad 2 storey box with a glass link to replace single storey hotchpotch that is there now. MBC have quoted for a passive slab (ouch£!) but due to size restiction will go for u=0.14 walls (open panel , 300mm finished) and u=0.14 flat roof by MBC if I can deal with the + VAT price. Existing gravity DHW gravity fed with pump for shower, supplied by a 2009 year oil fired Grant 15/28 kw utility condensing system boiler that also runs the rads. The rads will have to stay in the cottage but how to run UFH in the extension.. Based on an MBC house build nearby I'm pretty sure I won't need any heating on 1st floor apart from electric towel rads and/or electric mat for en-suite (although they don't have a link to a drafty cottage so slight concern!) Yes I'd like to do away with the oil boiler but not sure I can considering the poor performing cottage and potential costs. I'd like to go mains pressure also so UVC, (mains flow rates of 40 L/m). If so then potential for solar PV or solar Thermal if worth the investment. Do I fit a buffer for UFH to stop short cycling? Any thoughts? Any alternative schemes?
  16. Hi all, Over on the old forum, I described my plans for an extension to our semi-detached house in Berkshire. Since then, lots of time has passed, planning issues dealt with and drainage details fought over with Thames Water. I've found a builder to take on the project, and have engaged a TF supplier too. I have BC approval, but want to make some changes, and also would like a sanity check from the collective thought of the forum before finalising things. I've attached BC drawings for reference, and would welcome any comments please. The floor slab is currently to a traditional design - hardcore, slab with mesh, insulation, screed with UFH pipes. We have decided on Karndean flooring and have confirmed with the installer that they will latex screed whatever floor exists to a depth of 3-6mm. On that basis, I wanted to change the design so to insulation under concrete slab containing mesh & UFH pipes as I've read others have done on here. Builder is happy to do it, but I need some guidance on the spec please. Reading all about cold bridges and wall/floor junctions, I'm concerned that I haven't paid enough attention to this area. The plan is to have a brick outer skin to the TF, as per the attached detail from Silvaframe. Thanks Chris Edited as the attachments didn't list exactly as intended! Further edited to add a link to the recent images from a Google visit: P702-01-master-First Floor Plan Details.pdf P702-01-master-First Floor Plan Structure.pdf P702-01-master-Foundation Plan Drainage CB v3.pdf SilvaFramePackage-SilvaStandardPlus.pdf P702-01-master-001 Site Layout.pdf P702-01-master-002 Existing Floor Plans.pdf P702-01-master-003 Existing Elevations.pdf P702-01-master-Build Over Detail.pdf P702-01-master-First Floor Plan Dimensions.pdf P702-01-master-First Floor Plan Structure.pdf P702-01-master-Foundation_Plan_Drainage_CB_v3.pdf P702-01-master-Ground Floor Plan Details.pdf P702-01-master-Ground Floor Plan Dimensions.pdf P702-01-master-Ground Floor Plan Structure.pdf P702-01-master-Posi-joist layout.pdf P702-01-master-Proposed Elevations 1.pdf P702-01-master-Proposed Elevations 2.pdf P702-01-master-Rafter layout.pdf
  17. Well today was a bit of a milestone for my extension project as the structural engineer has approved the existing foundations and walls which is great, I guess in a way that's us now out of the ground albeit the next stages are demolition. So here is the story, you may know from my other post there is a garage being built, well it will once planning comes through, planning is joint with this extension - planning didn't assign our application to an officer and well that was 10 weeks ago! It will be with me in 4 to 5 weeks I am told! Oh good! So the build is an existing sunroom being converted into a proper room which will become the kitchen - our back garden is about 1500 below floor level so the sunroom was obviously built up to match FFL in the existing house, so there are decent founds and a good going block cavity wall, so my plan was to reuse all of this. My architect put in my building control application at the same time as the planning and it seems to be going slightly more smoothly. The BCO came back and asked for a certification for the founds, the SE visited tonight and has confirmed he will be happy to write to BC and confirm they are suitable for my proposed build and gave me some good tips and advice on how to do some bits and pieces - one of them was based on a suspicion that the existing floor joists are held up by joist hangers fixed to the inner block wall - this leaf will be demolished to top of joist level anyway as the timber frame will sit partially on the block and the rest on the timber frame, if hangers have been used he advised for the sake of 15 or so joists I should demolish the inner block wall down an additional block and run new joists over the top of the wall so it sits on it rather than hangs from it so that the loading is not such that it is trying to tip the block inwards. Made sense to me and is something I can easily do myself and I don't mind having to remove the joists because they will work perfectly as studs if they are OK or if a bit rough in the garage build. So I am expecting BC approval very soon and hopefully the build can commence mid to late August once planning consent is granted. So I am starting to think about the build and how I will do it, my plan is to get the existing Sun Room removed and get the walls demoed to the various heights etc. myself, and make good any bits and pieces, I will also then be able to either confirm the joists are fine or run in new ones. Then I was going to build the timber frame myself, I am very confident about the actual building, but my issue is experience of BC approved practises and accepted methods, once I am happy with these through talking to you guys, my architect and my structural engineer it won't be an issue, I just need to check and double check all my dims and make sure it's all spot on, so herein the first question, the frame will sit against the original house in two places, do I run a piece of DPM between the house and the first stud then fasten the stud to the house with the same fixings as speced for the roof beam? I cannot actually see a detail for this anywhere, I assume it gets tied into the existing wall? Once I build the frame I assume I can then just fix my wall plate and lay in my joists - now here is the second question, I asked for 2 skylights in the roof, I looked at the drawings at the time on a mobile as I was on business and said yeah looks fine, mistake! My architect didn't include the skylights, so how can I get these in now that the BCO is about to approve the drawings... Can I email him after approval and discuss - I would say I will sister the beams either side and affix the tie beam in with all the correct metalwork. Do you think he will accept it at that and let me go for it? What is the script with variations with BC. Thanks
  18. Hi Folks, Just thought I'd say hi, just finishing the purchase of my new home and will be starting the planning for the demolition of the existing 2 story extension and construction of its replacement which will include a kitchen/diner and laundry room on the ground floor and Bedroom (ensuite) and Bathroom to the first. Lots of questions I need to answer hopefully with your help, hoping to do the majority myself, looking to construct timber frame and clad in wood or sheet material to avoid brickwork (not my forte). Hopefully, I can also bring something to the table, although a manager in the Building controls industry now, I'm an Electrician by trade. I like to think I'm reasonably knowledgeable although I'm sure plenty would disagree... Thanks
  19. Hi, I am looking at further details for our planned bungalow to a house conversion. We will be adding first floor with a couple of bathrooms and bedrooms there. What I want to know is whether there is a requirement to have more than just a trickle/purge ventilation. The reason I am asking is I am contemplating whether to install standard MVHR unit or one of Fresh-R units with a view to install another one downstairs later as well. According to this I do not have to have mechanical extraction since there will be openable windows in bathrooms. Have I missed something? Any recommendations please?
  20. Bits of this don't quite fit the title, but the sub sub sub forum said it was lonely. I have a small detached property on a largish plot (650sqm) with a long term tenant (5 yrs +). T has asked for a "utility" room, which really means somewhere for stuff for pets, second fridge, garden sink etc. I'm fairly happy to spend on it within reason. The T may well be there for another decade. However, the ultimate logical use for the house will be an extension from 2 bed, 1 recept, to upscale 3/4 bed 2 recept, as that is what the plot will take. Would cost perhaps 60-80k at current prices, and I would more than get it back on sale, but it would be crazy to do that as it would be a terrible rental return and not relevant to the current tenant. A - Going for full PP for a finished plan, and putting the foundations in to lock it in, and either building part of it designed to be a suitable room, or putting eg a leanto garage on the slab with an external grade door from the existing. B - Putting in a single garage for now, then removing later if I extend in a decade or so, with an external door from the existing. The garage could either be a simple concrete sectional leanto, or something insulated and heated. C - Build on a single story extension. That feels like 12-20k by the time it is done. To my eye A looks too complicated, as I do not feel a great need to lock in the PP now. So I think that this is a KISS project, and probably a single garage is the option - ideally one that can be reused elsewhere later. Does anyone have any views on the options. Any recommendation for garage builders? Ferdinand