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About Me


  1. Hi All, I have multiple Durisol blocks left over from a self-build extension, would suit anyone looking to build small garden building, retaining walls, or similar. I was planning to build a sunken hot tub but plans have had to change. D365/120S-PIR = Qty.143 D365/100S-PIR = Qty.57 D365/100C-PIR = Qty.20 D170 Face = Qty.6 D170 Standard = Qty. 27 D250/180 Standard = Qty.40 D250/180 Face = Qty.48 Please get in touch if these could be useful to someone. I'd rather rehome them than break up and destroy. Tks.
  2. Hi - Does anyone have any ICF supports / braces for sale / rent or know where I can get some? Thanks James
  3. I'm trying to work out best option for external render onto an ICF woodcrete block (Isotex). Architect has recommended K Rend but their tech suppot does not seem to have experience of the woodcrete type ICF block and their recommended build up is based on a Polystyrene type ICF build. Has anybody used K Rend or similar on a woodcrete type ICF block? What basecoat/topcoat would work best?
  4. Hi guys, Any Structural Engineer recommendations for my ICF Basement?
  5. Hi all, Just to introduce myself. We are just about to finalise our renovation/extension project in the West End of Glasgow. Detached bungalow which we have pushed out the back 6m and also added another storey to it. The last two years, to be quite frank, have been pretty hellish, not only in terms of financial outlay (budgets - lol, aye ok) but, personal energy investment. I don't think we really realised how big an undertaking it was until one day, standing with my brother in law and we had no roof and it was just basically a shell. My brother in law looked around and went "fk me" and then it kind of hit me, square in the face or what we have taken on! We would have been quicker and cheaper, flattening the house and doing a fresh build but we weren't allowed to do that (a story for another day). Anyway, external wall insulation has just been completed and we are about to to start the roughcasting externally. Because we look at the building everyday we don't kind of realise how impressive it is and its totally out of context with the neighbours single storey 85m2 detached bungalows(we have 18 objection letters from the neighbours and even neighbours as far as 1.5 miles away, councillors, mp's the lot) as ours rises 6.2m at the back (the neighbour calls the wall facing him The Berlin Wall!). I work in the insulation industry but to be honest, I have learned so much more about insulation, insulation u values, lambda values - the works. We have made mistakes yes but fixed them. At the end of the day, we have built a house in which we are only temporary custodians but this house will stand proudly (Berlin Wall-esque) for a long long time and with excellent insulation and air tightness values, solar panel power generation and we are really proud of what we have achieved. Incidentally - never again!
  6. Hello, We are designing a 4 story carbon neutral, built for purpose office block on stilts (as it is in a flood zone). ICF was originally specified for the walls during planning phase to achieve the best thermal performance, air tightness, security and acoustics outlined in GBS's Sustainability SPD and client brief. This was also backed up by our sustainability consultant. Over the last year of waiting for planning permission, the client has taken a liking to the single faced ICF system (based on aesthetics) and the Architect seem to prefer the more traditional methods with steel frame with light weight metal stud, sheathing, cladding railing system and all the insulation/membranes/tapes/etc. In my opinion, I feel like we will struggle to achieve the above requirements outlined in the SPD with steel frame while the RC frame/ICF will provide these properties inherently. The only negative I can think of for the ICF although will be a heavier build and therefore more piles/thicker caps. If anyone has had any experience achieving almost passive standards with Steel frame/light weight metal stud and possibly also has ICF experience to compare the two, it would be greatly appreciated? Also, I was hoping to see if anyone has had any experience with the 'off the shelf' single faced ICF systems (Nudura/Integraspec) as well as potentially using systems like Quad-Lock that don't offer a single faced solution but could easily adapted to do so. (Fixings 8'x4' ply sheets too the ties at 12" H&V centres). The main reason for trying to "re-invent the wheel", is mainly cost of the material, cost of importing the smaller/expensive sections of pre-drilled wood from Canada and also speed of build. I am however, concerned about how well the wall will hold with pour heights of ~3m. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Many thanks
  7. I've begun the process of designing an extension and an fairly certain I'm going to have an insulated raft with icf walls. This will be adjoining a (likely strip foundation) cavity wall house. I've had a quote from isoquick for the raft approx 6m² but I'm not sure if it's worth extending this to cover the garage floor? It would essentially double the price, but the alternative is going to create a strip & Insulated raft & strip or raft monstrosity combo. Is it going to lead to problems? should I just swollow the extra cost even though its going to be a waste of resources and is an insulated raft even suitable for a garage floor? The upside I suppose, is that if the raft is continuing then it simplifies things and if someone decides they need another huge room downstairs in the future the prep will have been done....
  8. Hi all, I got reading the forum over Christmas and am finally saying "hello" after six weeks of voyeurism. I can't hide from the fact that I am a long time ICF proponent and having been installing mostly one brand over the last 6/7 years. It's all the company I work for does; ICF shells from ground to weather tight. I'm here for two reasons. The first is actually to provide a bit of support, expertise, terrible anecdotes in order to even out the playing field between self builders and the world of ICF obfuscation. Second, if I make some contacts, expand the network, raise the profile, I'd rather do that here than on LinkedIn. Hopefully this is okay with everyone. Will gladly take any advice on content should Mr Undiplomatic wades in. Cheers, Dom
  9. I am constructing a single storey ICF building with 3 sides being close to neighbouring boundaries and not visible. What would be the options for rendering these 3 elevations economically? Thanks - Andy
  10. Hi all, anyone have any recommended ICF contractors in the SE/ London area? want to get quotes in as tbh would much prefer someone else doing it faster and better then I would. thanks guys,
  11. Has anyone had problems with blowouts when placing concrete with these blocks and are they as easy to self let as they say
  12. Hi all, I'm in the very early stages of my project. I've been reading this forum for the last couple of months and getting some great info, but i think it's time I start asking questions directly! I'm based in the west of Ireland and am hoping to build my house using ICF to passive standards or very close to passive. I'm drawn towards two different systems but cannot decide which one to use, either Izodom 2000 or Isotex. I have a few questions for you all. Does anyone have any experience using these systems and what are your thoughts on them? What are the differences in cost between them? Are they easy to work with for a first time self builder with no real construction experience? Should I hire a contractor/project manager instead of self building? Thanks in advance for the help! ?
  13. Hi guys, we now have planning approval for our demolition/new build. We will be having an ICF basement with a sunken garden. Are there any reasons for not using the ICF for the sunken garden walls? Appreciate they might be a different type of block depending on the provider.
  14. Hello everyone, first post and just wanted to introduce myself as you all seem like an extremely informative and helpful bunch - I hope one day to provide the same level of contribution and advice when we finally get to build our dream! We are hoping to build a 4 bed Passivhaus in North Somerset, about 8 miles south of Bristol. We are still in the very early stages of planning, as in, not sure if the plot in question has any potential for planning as yet, so have been spending a considerable amount of time reading about the Local Plans, NPFF and what the implications are of trying to build a village washed over with the Green Belt and is outside of a settlement boundary. The plot is part of a large garden, so might be considered a windfall plot but the two issues I mentioned are obviously very difficult to overcome, if at all. We do not have the sort of budget for a Paragraph 79 house but nevertheless given the location, we felt it was an avenue worth exploring further. In any case the research we have been undertaking generally won't be a wasted effort, since I feel it is helping us understand the build process and makes us better informed clients. In terms of build systems we are very keen on ICF, and going through the process now of trying to understand what the pros and cons are of the various systems - of which this site has proven very helpful already! We have also started to try and make a short list of architects that meet the following criteria: have demonstrable Passivhaus experience, have ICF experience, and can provide a Passivhaus design beyond just a box (yes I know that it is the most efficient design in terms of energy efficiency, but hey, its our dream :). this has proven difficult to say the least, the vast majority of architects who are local who have Passivhaus experience seem to only have experience with timber frame or seem so fanatical about the concept of eco design that I wondered whether we would be chased away with pitch forks if we even broached the idea of a monolothic concrete house. :). The other type of architects we found with lots of Passivhaus experience seem to be based in London, and frankly I wonder whether they would be so fancy that our fairly modest budget just wouldn't be of interest to them. If anyone can recommend an architect who meets the above criteria that would be great. So anyway, that's a brief synopsis of where we are, I sincerely hope to be able to contribute further to this site with updates!
  15. We are getting things finalised for our extension and summer house build. The main chosen supply at this stage had been reluctant to give a figure of any sort over the last ten months until we had some drawings, which i get in part. Over the development of the projecr communications have been rapid. And responses swift. People "who understand" the product have been suggested to us but this is the big but no one would seem to give us ball park figures stressing they needed drawings. My partner is a chartered accountant in financial control she LOVES approximate costs. So that's been an added worry. Our design and size isnt anything too unusal.. So 48 hours ago we received the big news of their costs. I guess a big issue has been covid in that they offer trainung usually which i guess they may offer more insight on the product and costs. The architect gave us resssurance on his visit that what we are doing was a ball park figure of less than we had budgeted, not much but a few hundred. So to the quote they had done basically two quotes..which looking over them in detail, im now at a loss as to why they dont do ball park quotes. One extension has been quoted with no doors or Windows to me thats just sloppy. Being told when you work out the doors just deduct them. Windows and doors are on the scaled plan! Which they have said we cant give exact figures til they had the plans. Two quotes one they do all the work, we had stressed in many conversations i intend to PM it and be the main person doing the build buying in elements from others again talking to their staff you could buy days of their time. 48 hours ago that talk was lacking again, having been told at Swindon what we had requested IS information they have and do distribute! Frustrating we cant have it. We were looking at two forms of ICF from thsse people, chosen because of the ability we have been told to do it ourselves. Then they suggest as a urgent need a soil survey at sub 5k... Oh then on the quote they have included delivery in four parts which we had been told would be able to delivered on one wagon but each element has a delivery charge. 990 1080 700 750 Which the dev manager says oh we can talk about those...talk about them? Too right when the materials cost circa 20k The site is an accessible surburban setting the materials are being distributed and delivered to 80 miles or so 70 plus of the trip being on the m1. I feel a bit mugged off if truth be told.
  16. Hi, I'm planning a new build as an end of terrace next to an existing 1950's solid wall house with external insulation in Bristol. I'd like to make it fit for the future, so definitely not cavity wall construction with it's myriad of inherent problems. I'm attracted by ICF as it is so easy to achieve high insulation values and airtightness, high internal thermal mass, as well as good sound isolation. However, I don't know which of the many competing systems to consider, particularly for builders who haven't used it before! Any advice would be very welcome. Chris
  17. But never mind I haven't paid the bill yet.... (despite having followed proper procedure) I have a strange feeling that Aesop is sitting on my shoulder. Bless 'im! This is my fault; naivety coupled with just enough money, and a general bias towards optimism. Let me tell you a story. Sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Our house is built using Durisol. Cheap, cheerful, targeted at noobies like us. Common on GD. Good U value, easy to handle yadda yadda yadda. By a quirk of fate (the Planners asked us to chop the front of the house off), part of the insulated front of the house is inside the house. In other words, inside the heated envelope. Well ! Guess what! I had a brainwave (can you hear the punch-line building yet?) Don't need the insulation inside the house? Well, chop it out then! Yo Sushi ! Go Team Salamander ! Check with the manufacturers, and the SE (very nice man, very very nice man haven't had his bill yet), it's all OK. @Stones came by and marvelled, @ProDave came by and marvelled. Look ! part of a structural wall cut out and no need for a lintel. Bit like Look mum, no nickers! Ya should have seen their faces: polite concern writ large. Any road up, SWMBO soon had an idea for the space freed up. And off I went happy as a sand boy to dig the insulation out. Now then boys and girls, look at this , and what do you see? I mean, beyond a Teutonic propensity for taking the wall to bits in neat squares ? I've dug out two columns of blocks (the equivalent of one Durisol block) exposing the concrete behind, and cut off only the face of two blocks (LHS) exposing the insulation. So far so good. Now look at this ... Look at the bottom right hand column Yep, insulation missing. Had I taken it out? - Nope. I'm exposing (cutting the face and insulation off) about 2 full square meters of wall. And so far found four instances of this little piece of laziness. Duplicate that randomly over the whole house and ..... ? Look on the bright side Ian ! You'll know what to do when the black mould spot pops its ugly fizzog on the wall inside the house. 6mm SDS , 300 mm long , squirt squirty with my new-found tool of choice. Insulation foam. Ahhh, isn't that nice children? If it you do it all yourself, you know how to sort out cock-ups. Now then, sit up straight and let's see who can go home early ! Not you @Nickfromwales, I want to see you when everyone's gone. .... Again.
  18. Hi This ICF section of the forum seems very dormant given that in other sections numerous people have eluded to their build being in ICF. Clearly there's a predominance of timber frame builders here. Perhaps we can all come out of the woodwork and identify ourselves to each other? I'm currently leaning towards Nudura as I intend to put it up myself and value the wealth of backup in the form of their training, all the videos, a huge user manual, they're a big company that seem to have evolved the blocks to maximise their practicability. I also like the large block size to minimise the amount of joints as they're the obvious weak spots during the pour. I'm not seeing another ICF that has anything 'better' about it, however i've not yet got quotes.....and i'm bracing myself for Nudura to have a bit of a premium (i might be wrong). Is anyone a bit further along in their experience of selecting which ICF?
  19. Hi, We have full planning and we have been obtaining quotes for the build. We are looking at ICF and the plot is on a slope, with the lower area being flood zone 2. Two of the companies have asked why we did not go for a basement as the below would not be a problem. We did have an FRA as part of the planning app and it said : RECOMMENDATIONS This report assesses that the development is located in Flood Zone 2 and 3. Therefore, as the site has a high risk of flooding. A number of recommendations can be made which may lower the risk or consequence of flooding. The key recommendations of this report are: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A raised threshold should be included within the design, consideration must be given to raise above 15.71m AOD to mitigate against residual risk e.g. surface water routing through the site and uncertainty with the EA modelled flood levels. Avoid the construction of basements due to the proximity of the river unless a suitable design has been met to passively exclude ground water, to the satisfaction of the EA. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs) should be considered for incorporation into the design where feasible and the final proposal should ensure no increase in surface water runoff. Due to risk residents and those responsible for the development should be encouraged to sign up to the EA’s FloodLine Service so they are made aware of river levels. How would we find out if this would be possible? Could we submit a Planning - Non material amendment for a basement? If it's rejected would we lose the full planning? Thank you,
  20. Hi, We're about to start our project - 250m² 1.5 story house with basement on a sloping site in Holywood, Co. Down. Drawings all done, just waiting for planning to come through. My background is an engineer/project manager in the water industry, so I'm planning on using a lot of innovative, rapid, and non-traditional construction methods - focus on safe, rapid construction and simplicity and reduced dependence on trades. We're also aiming for passive levels of insulation and airtightness - south facing site with lots of glass. So, expect lots of posts about insulated foundations, ICF systems, tanking, shuttering concrete walls, floor deck systems, MVHR, the lot! Thanks.
  21. Have a look at this; This is a view into our Winter Garden from way above the roof. The yellow column represents (way out of scale) one of three vertical steels, each of which supports horizontals which in turn support the barn-style cladding. For clarity, I have omitted the other two verticals and all the horizontals. The winter garden is an empty area, outside the heated envelope (see the slats allowing air to circulate) The steel structure is linked to the house : how is my question? We could drill into the ICF and bolt it on that way or we could embed anchors in the ICF and drill the steels to suit on site The first is messier than the second. There is no guidance from the SE (Tanners) on how we should marry the house ICF and the Steels. But, (I have learned to ask), how hard can it be? I mean we could just pop down to Halfords and buy some cheap M6 nuts and bolts eh?........ well perhaps not.
  22. @Sue B wrote a post in this thread telling us that she was due to attend an ICF pour. It strikes me that it might be useful for us to make a simple list of the things that guests watching the concrete pouring process might look out for. This list refers to pointers to help guests - not the plot and building owner - because that is dealt with elsewhere. (here ) Get explicit permission to be on the property. Ask for permission to take photos Wear Hi-Viz Wear wellies Keep out of the way Note the access for the boom (if used) and concrete supply lorry. Note the shuttering arrangements (if any) Think about where you are going to store your shuttering before the build. Watch what happens if there is a burst: use that as the starting point for your plan for a burst If this pour is one of a series, have a look to see how previous bursts were repaired Make a detailed plan and preparation for a burst on your site. (we had several and became really efficient at reinstatement) Look at the number of people involved in the pour Note the arrangements for pipe flushing Where is excess concrete poured to? Be aware of the noise level and the difficulty that causes for communication If you can, note the level the pour at start and finish Look at the site in general: notice how many trip hazards there are. Try and reduce that risk before your pour. Ask how the builder checks the concrete slump Check the price of the concrete and the boom (delivery system) Offer to make a brew for everyone There'll be loads more; when the list is complet(ish) I'll edit and pin it. Ian
  23. Hi all. Nice to be here. Two years ago we moved to a house in disrepair sitting on a 0.5 acre plot. We were initially thinking of renovating, but now decided a better option is to erect new house next to the existing one and demolish the current one when the build is finished. I am designing the house myself (using https://www.homedesignersoftware.com) and will be using planning consultant to get us through planning. Right now, we are at a point where we will need structural engineer who knows their way with concrete buildings or, ideally - the ICF method. This is to validate the design and ensure it can actually be built at reasonable cost. A recommendation or two would be really helpful ... Thanks Pav
  24. Ive been researching the many different ICF products on the market recently and have complied some data for comparison. A lot of the info is available online, but details from some manufacturers aren't so easy to find. The spreadsheet is far from complete or exhaustive, the products with the most detail are the ones I've been personally interested in and have sought quotes. Ive settled on a product now and my motivation has moved on to the next pressing decision! Hope this is some help to anyone thinking of building with ICF
  25. Hi all! First time posting, but I've been devouring the contents of the site for a few months whilst getting funding sorted for the next phase in my building. (A great source of information and debate!) Warning, it's a long post! A bit of background.. I bought a plot with an existing bungalow in 2011, the previous builder had run out of cash mid-build so that the site was in a real state to the untrained eye. At this stage, I pretty much struggled to change a lightbulb, so it was a fairly huge undertaking to build the 5 bed home that I had in mind. One of the first things I did whilst we were waiting for completion was to grab a shovel and start digging up some of the garden. About 3 hours later, back aching and hands raw, I'd only scratched the surface of what is almost 0.8 of an acre! That was when my builder came past and recommended I hire a rotavator, that was the first of about a million lessons I learnt on the build! Present So I've managed to build a nice 5-bed bungalow that we've been happily residing in for the last few years and still have foundations in place from the first builder for a fairly huge garage block (11m x 9m) and also another detached annexe (9m x 6m). The intention was to finish the outbuildings/ do the driveway when funds allowed, however, one thing has lead to another and the plans have grown so that the detached garage attaches to the main building, creating a more useable space with another floor above it with additional bedrooms. The reason for this is that my family has increased since we moved in (my brother is now married, my parents live with us, and I've had 3 children!) so we'd like to create zones for each family. The Plan I've been messing around with plans whilst sorting out funding and have come up with something that I think looks good and has all the space we'd need. The main limiting factor in our case is funds, the plot is more than large enough and our area has a fairly high ceiling for house prices. With this in mind, any advice on keeping the building costs as low as possible will be much appreciated. Another reason for sharing my plans with you guys is that with your vast knowledge of whats to come, I'm hoping you might pick up on some aspects which I may have overlooked. I'm not an expert by any means, though I've gained enough skills since the initial build with further projects that I feel comfortable managing the build myself and getting my hands dirty where I can to save money. Things I'm considering/ decided and would welcome your experiences on... Heating and Hot Water This is a pretty big consideration to be honest, my current thoughts are to install a ground source heat pump with boreholes, this will provide the UFH throughout the new build. The current part of the house I'd like to keep intact as much as possible so I've not intention of ripping the floors up and installing UFH, so the existing rads will have to do, but ideally I'd get rid of the combi boiler which is struggling to meet our demands at the moment and isn't in great nick. I'm not sure whether a system exists that will give us a whole home solution, with hot enough water and low running costs. As I have gas, I'd be reluctant to install an electric hot water tank, I'd imagine a gas fired would be significantly cheaper to run, though I've never seen this paired with a Ground Source Heat Pump. Tesla Solar Roof Ever since I saw this, I've wanted it! With the limited information there is out there, the cost of installing this is going to be somewhat similar to a slate roof but with the added benefit of providing enough solar energy for our needs, including electric cars (we already have 2 Nissan Leafs!) Obviously, the main drawback is that I'm going to have to wait for it, I've already put a deposit down which doesn't mean anything for timescales but I'm willing to wait a while longer as I think this will both add value to my home, provide the energy we need and also look outstanding too. However, that's not to say that I'll wait forever, and with my budgetary restrictions, this is definitely a luxury so I'd appreciate some alternatives or suggestion you guys may have. ICF I intend to build the extension in ICF, I'm currently favouring Nudura simply because my architect has recently completed a project using this system and there's a fairly local supplier. The reason I'm favouring ICF is that I think I could handle putting the shell together (with a little help) and I believe this will not only save costs, but time too as well as taking away a trade we normally sub out. Additionally, the added benefit of a tighter shell with better u values than block and render is a welcome bonus, especially with the amount of glazing I'd like. Cladding For some reason, I'd always assumed the cheapest way to clad a building was to render it, so I've not really explored many other options. Based on some calculations, it seems that many cladding options such as wood are going to cost a similar amount so it's something I'd like to know more about, how have you guys decided what to use and why (design/ budget/ maintenance etc.?) Structural Spans At the moment my architect (he's not a full architect) hasn't began work on putting my design together, but before he does, I'd like to know if there are any major structural issues that make my design unfeasible. I will obviously use a structural engineer too, but before it gets to that stage, I'd like to know the impact of my design and whether I should try to create an internal structural wall that can reduce the span (9m). Are there any other options? Costs I'm going to be adding somewhere along the lines of 600m2 including the annexe, ground floor, first floor and mezzanine levels. Going through some of the build cost calculators gives me some rather worrying figures but they don't necessarily account for the fact that most ground works are in place, including services which i took the liberty of adding water/ gas and network cabling to the other buildings already. Since our existing home serves our purposes for now, there is no rush to get everything done from the get go, so I envisage completing areas and rooms as and when time and funds allow, so my main budget needs to get the shell built including the roof and windows, electrics and plumbing (both 1st fix only). Ideally I'd like it to be clad and looking finished from the outside baring any landscaping and driveway which will be the icing on the cake eventually. I think I'm going to have a pot of around £200k-£300k to get to that stage, so I'd be interested to know if you think I'm crazy or not! With all of this in mind, I'd love for some cost saving measures you think would be relevant to the build, I know the basics such as shopping around, thinking outside of the box with suppliers (direct from factory etc) Thanks for taking the time to read, I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys make of my project!
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