K78

Concrete Lego blocks and BC

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^^^^^^ totally agree with @PeterStarck sounds like In This situation it (could)  work. Again really looking forward to seeing a  hubber pioneering new build methods. Triple check everything before putting your order in ! 

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13 hours ago, dpmiller said:

Have you any idea what portion of your £80k is actually for laying blocks? How any sqm is the house? What is the roof and FF construction?


I have a look for the quote. His quote for internal joinery for first floor and the roof structure alone was over £40k. Like I mentioned, I’ve had basic timber frame quotes for half of that supplied and erected. Strip found and block labour made up the rest. 

No one is interested in taking the job on a block rate for less than £2 a block, and they are kids from mybuilder site, so I’d need a experienced builder overseeing everything. When I factor in weather delays, scaffolding costs and time it is not feasible for me. 
 

I have a tight cash budget and no mortgage. Using the blocks for the retaining wall saved my site and sanity. 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, PeterStarck said:

@K78 Looking at your pictures I can understand your concern about possible breakout with ICF and how you could install bracing to counter that. I like your idea of using the lego blocks and hope that you are able to complete your build using them. It's nice to see different construction techniques being used rather than the same old methods. Good luck with the project.


Thanks mate. In theory this should be the most simple. If the first course are spot on everything stays straight due to their Lego interlocking design. Having built a wall on a 10 degree incline with much bigger blocks, I’m really confident in our ability to quickly stack a house.


 

 

Everything will be checked 10 times and signed off. Thanks for the encouragement.

11 hours ago, Cpd said:

^^^^^^ totally agree with @PeterStarck sounds like In This situation it (could)  work. Again really looking forward to seeing a  hubber pioneering new build methods. Triple check everything before putting your order in ! 

Edited by K78

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2 minutes ago, K78 said:

No one is interested in taking the job on a block rate for less than £2 a block, and they are kids from mybuilder site, so I’d need a experienced builder overseeing everything. 


That is mad - whats included in the price ..?

 

If it’s mixing muck then go with readymix - cheaper in the long run, no mixer and less waste. 
 

3 minutes ago, K78 said:

His quote for internal joinery for first floor and the roof structure alone was over £40k.


What are the plans for this house ..??!! Can you post the plans as I think he’s quoting off the scale unless he has included all the scaffold, skips etc. 
 

My floor quotes (110sqm of Easyjoists and Caberfloor install) was £1650 and in the end I did it myself.  It’s not rocket science and you can easily DIY. 
 

Roof pricing round here is about £50 a truss installed. Again, it’s a DIY job if you take your time. 
 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 08/01/2020 at 20:04, PeterW said:


That is mad - whats included in the price ..?

 

If it’s mixing muck then go with readymix - cheaper in the long run, no mixer and less waste. 
 


What are the plans for this house ..??!! Can you post the plans as I think he’s quoting off the scale unless he has included all the scaffold, skips etc. 
 

My floor quotes (110sqm of Easyjoists and Caberfloor install) was £1650 and in the end I did it myself.  It’s not rocket science and you can easily DIY. 
 

Roof pricing round here is about £50 a truss installed. Again, it’s a DIY job if you take your time. 
 

 


It is a basic 6 x 12.5m box.

 

All brick and blockwork as to the drawings including cavity insulation £37000“, “1st floor joist and boarding out for the first floor £15,000”. Are 2 examples from his quote. Strip foundation labour was £15k. I didn’t think it fair to attach the quote. His prices were not inclusive of VAT either which he seemed to think was chargeable and I’d claim it back. 

 

It seems every builder I approach wants to quote for everything and they want to supply materials too. I can only assume there is a lot of more lucrative work in the Manchester area?

 

Tbh mate I’m at my wits end at dealing with different contractors. Finding a retaining wall solution was a expensive nightmare. Many false dawns and crazy quotes. It seems this is going the same way. The cheapest labour only quote I had was £60k. Seeing the tiny £48k single storey extension my friend just had built. I’m not surprised. I think they just see a self builder as someone with money to burn and think what the house will be worth at the end?

The thought of me and my mate stacking these blocks as we did with the wall is much less stressful than dealing with builder issues, weather issues, scaffolding costs and waste disposal. 
 

I appreciate it is not for everyone, icf is a better house building product (light weight, fast, cost effective) and some will think I’m mad. But it suits my situation if I get the go ahead. I’ve always loved Lego too. 😊
 


 

Edited by K78
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Ok so using rates I pay and going straight through, you’re at about 185sqm of brick / block. 
 

At £1/brick and £2/block laid, that is about £15k of labour at best ... 6 weeks work for a 2+1 gang at good money. 
 

Flooring at £15k is mental - that’s £200/Sqm..!!! Are you sure these are not full supply and fit prices ..??

 

Strip founds in a day would be easy for a JCB although I wonder how that retaining wall would affect the structure ..? Are they 1200 deep founds ..?

 

Is it a brickwork finish to the outer skin or render ..?

 

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Posted (edited)
On 08/01/2020 at 21:22, PeterW said:

Ok so using rates I pay and going straight through, you’re at about 185sqm of brick / block. 
 

At £1/brick and £2/block laid, that is about £15k of labour at best ... 6 weeks work for a 2+1 gang at good money. 
 

Flooring at £15k is mental - that’s £200/Sqm..!!! Are you sure these are not full supply and fit prices ..??

 

Strip founds in a day would be easy for a JCB although I wonder how that retaining wall would affect the structure ..? Are they 1200 deep founds ..?

 

Is it a brickwork finish to the outer skin or render ..?

 

 My first reaction was exactly the same. I phoned and asked if this for materials too? I was expecting £15k labour max by my own estimate and hoped to reduce that by 20%. His reaction was “fair enough” and we left it at that. 
 

I had many similar experiences with builders when looking at retaining wall options. Did not get a quote under £40k iirc.  One guy quoted £80k for soil nailing.
 

Only other builders to show any interests have been young, newly qualified individuals from mybuilder looking for work generally. I’m nowhere near capable of managing or directing them so would need to employ a project manager. 
 

I think it’s because of all the new developments in the area. Work isn’t in short supply.


I’ve had soil strength tests and my SE said that the proximity of the wall isn’t a issue for standard strip foundations. The wall is complete overkill for its purpose. The bank had held without moving for 4 years. 
 

The only thing that has been a bonus in this whole process so far is my ground is good. Glacial sedimentary river bed rock. 
 

This is the wall design. It is a incline gravity retaining wall commonly used for eroding river banks. It has been back filled over the bottom 2 courses with 6 loads of clean broken brick. If Iran launch nukes on us I think that wall will be the last thing standing 😊

 

It is crazy to think that this wall cost less than the Geotechnical design quote for a king post wall. I actually had a £42k quote for a timber crib wall, and wasted £1000’s on over engineered SE designs. 

 

Edited by K78

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9 hours ago, K78 said:

All brick and blockwork as to the drawings including cavity insulation £37000“, “1st floor joist and boarding out for the first floor £15,000”. Are 2 examples from his quote. Strip foundation labour was £15k. I didn’t think it fair to attach the quote. His prices were not inclusive of VAT either which he seemed to think was chargeable and I’d claim it back. 

just blank off all names and tracable details of contreactor --then there are plenty people here who will tell you if its a sensible quote--

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11 hours ago, K78 said:

The thought of me and my mate stacking these blocks as we did with the wall is much less stressful than dealing with builder issues, weather issues, scaffolding costs and waste disposal. 

You want to enjoy it as much as possible. Getting stressed when building the house is no fun. IMHO do what you can afford and are happiest doing.

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On 07/01/2020 at 08:20, Russell griffiths said:

Can you explain the risk with ICF not really with you, and what is the risk on your site ?

if I look at the Lego blocks you are talking about I can think of so many reasons NOT to  use them, and that is without trying. 

What are you going to do regarding block length? Will you be limited to building to block sizes, if you cut a block will the next row lock on top or not. 

 

How can icf be 3 times more expensive 

are you really adding up all the elements correctly 

lets say you have built your block structure with no problems, then what?

you then need to add insulation to the outside to the whole structure, how??

you then need to cover the insulation, again how 

by the time you have brought your insulation and fixed it on you will be wishing you had never started. 

 Not as far as I’m concerned 

you will need a structural engineer willing to sign off on it to design the lintels. 

What about foundation design, how heavy will it be. 

What about gable walls how will you cut them. 

 

 


The only reason icf would be considerably more expensive for myself, is that I would need a lot of extra bracing to make it safe. The only viable option would be to employ isotex or Durisol to build the house and I haven’t got the budget for it. If I had,  I would instruct Jamie (Isotex) tomorrow to save myself the stress. 
 

If the lego walls are stacked in 2 days my labour cost including the machine would be £360. The same farmer with digger would do my strip foundations. 
 

There are many insulation cladding systems using wood or fibre cement over eps. They are not that expensive, easy to diy and I have 2 joiners assisting me with everything once the walls are up. 
 

The photo that i posted in a earlier reply clearly shows the danger specific to my site. It would be a public danger. 
 

Sometimes posts on forums can be read/interpreted differently from how they are intended. If I had a regular plot I’d buy isotex and enjoy building my own house. 
 

I am not for one minute saying concrete Lego is the future, and that everyone should go and buy it for a second. I’m just trying to explain why it suits my situation.
 

No doubt it’s dangerous too. I nearly lost a finger stacking that wall. 
 

I really appreciate everyone’s opinions and advice as I’ve previously said. It’s all taken on board and considered. 
 

Edited by K78

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I can find many examples of dry stacked buildings likes this.

 

Surely with a adequate strip foundation, thin set adhesive and EWI they would be fine for a house?

 

I will get a answer from the supplier on Monday when he’s back from a extended Xmas break.    

C38C6AA5-C198-4E36-BB46-11C279D33355.png

Edited by K78

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7 hours ago, K78 said:

Surely with a adequate strip foundation, thin set adhesive and EWI they would be fine for a house?

once you accept that you need thinset --then why not build from celcon areo type blocks ,that you can lift in one hand and cut with a wood saw.

thinset goes of in 3 hrs like tile cement --so no danger of falling over -and you and stop start as much as you like and i,m guessing 3 or 4 rows a day will be enough for you to do in a day 

same as lego blokcs --get firsat row perfect and they will not topple ,easier to work out lintels and openings

Edited by scottishjohn

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8 hours ago, scottishjohn said:

once you accept that you need thinset --then why not build from celcon areo type blocks ,that you can lift in one hand and cut with a wood saw.

thinset goes of in 3 hrs like tile cement --so no danger of falling over -and you and stop start as much as you like and i,m guessing 3 or 4 rows a day will be enough for you to do in a day 

same as lego blokcs --get firsat row perfect and they will not topple ,easier to work out lintels and openings


I have no block laying skills what so ever mate. 
 

The great thing with concrete Lego is it keeps itself straight/plumb and doesn’t need scaffolding hire. I could just buy a couple of towers for cladding. 

 

Whenever I mentioned thinset and lightweight blocks to builders. They rolled their eyes and told me about issues with cracking, cost, availability and other issues. I really can’t bring myself the waste time and effort meeting another contractor. It’s seems all the good ones are booked for months, if not years. 
 

There is a American guy on YouTube who uses aircrete for everything. Shows you how to make it, build etc. It’s is a interesting approach. 

 



 

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Got a positive response today. They have built everything but a house (barns, underground bunkers, swimming pools, warehouses etc). They do sizes all they way down to 300x300x300. Lintels are blocks with reinforced steel cages inside. Currently go up to 1.8m long but could do 2.4, if there was demand. 
 

His concern with BR was insulation. He wasn’t really familiar with EWI systems. He is a concrete guy after all. 
 

They are bonded with a 2 pack resin which is suitable for industrial applications and swimming pools, so I can’t see it being a issue with a house? They let us build houses out of osb polystyrene sandwiches if we want to after all. 😊

 

Im also not the first crazy person to do this. He is sending me details of a house in Holland that was built from 300mm concrete Lego.

 

 

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@K78 sounds like you might be onto something. If you can get all your structural openings to marry with the size of the lego blocks so you don't have any cutting onsite it would be an easy build.

 

One thing I think you may have missed when it comes to ICF is that when using the larger blocks (200mm EPS on outside skin) the chance of a blow out is zero. With my build I added additional strapping on the outside for the first pour (up to 2.8m) but was told this was totally unnecessary.

For the second pour I put nothing on the outside at all. The inside was obviously fully braced and strapped. No blowouts, no bulges, no movement on the outside skin in the slightest.

If you think about it a 200mm block of EPS sandwiched in on all sides cannot twist or deform enough to blow. Different story for the 70mm inside skin where I do have a couple minor bulges in places where the bracing was not sufficient.

 

Might be another option to consider if the Lego doesn't stack

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3 hours ago, K78 said:

Got a positive response today. They have built everything but a house (barns, underground bunkers, swimming pools, warehouses etc). They do sizes all they way down to 300x300x300. Lintels are blocks with reinforced steel cages inside. Currently go up to 1.8m long but could do 2.4, if there was demand. 
 

His concern with BR was insulation. He wasn’t really familiar with EWI systems. He is a concrete guy after all. 
 

They are bonded with a 2 pack resin which is suitable for industrial applications and swimming pools, so I can’t see it being a issue with a house? They let us build houses out of osb polystyrene sandwiches if we want to after all. 😊

 

Im also not the first crazy person to do this. He is sending me details of a house in Holland that was built from 300mm concrete Lego.

 

 

Who are you speaking too for supplying the blocks and where are you based?

 

I am still a consultant in the precast concrete industry so happy to suggest some local suppliers. Delivery is usually the killer on these items.

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19 hours ago, iSelfBuild said:

Who are you speaking too for supplying the blocks and where are you based?

 

I am still a consultant in the precast concrete industry so happy to suggest some local suppliers. Delivery is usually the killer on these items.

 

 

The block supplier is 5 mins from site. He supplied my wall blocks at a great price. I use Wotmix for all my concrete.
 

I’d highly recommend them. Really good to deal with and excellent customer service. 
 

I agree delivery was a issue when dealing with companies further away. 


 

 

Edited by K78

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7 hours ago, K78 said:

Wotmix

are they the block makers?

 I suspect i will need some lego blocks for retaining walls et --but delivery really is a cost  problem for me --

basically its around £7-800  per delivery of an artic load -1.800x600x600 =27 per truck 

Edited by scottishjohn

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Interested myself so a quick google and they are a concrete ready mix company which serves the Manchester area. Bit far for you😄

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1 hour ago, scottishjohn said:

are they the block makers?

 I suspect i will need some lego blocks for retaining walls et --but delivery really is a cost  problem for me --

basically its around £7-800  per delivery of an artic load -1.800x600x600 =27 per truck 

 

I know where to get the moulds from ;) They really are the most basic of production, no reinforcement and a single lifting anchor wiggled in. You could buy the mould and put it in at a ready mix place and ask them to dump the waste loads in. Surely they pay to get rid anyway and once they see the potential sell them the mould back.

 

Failing that you have Solway Precast in Girvan near you, would be shocked if they don't have lego block moulds.

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1 hour ago, iSelfBuild said:

 

I know where to get the moulds from ;) They really are the most basic of production, no reinforcement and a single lifting anchor wiggled in. You could buy the mould and put it in at a ready mix place and ask them to dump the waste loads in. Surely they pay to get rid anyway and once they see the potential sell them the mould back.

 

Failing that you have Solway Precast in Girvan near you, would be shocked if they don't have lego block moulds.

want too much for them --already asked

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7 hours ago, scottishjohn said:

are they the block makers?

 I suspect i will need some lego blocks for retaining walls et --but delivery really is a cost  problem for me --

basically its around £7-800  per delivery of an artic load -1.800x600x600 =27 per truck 


Yes. They have stacks on site. By far the biggest supplier in my area. See their readymix trucks everywhere. 
 

I was quoted £900 by some southern comapanies for delivery. They really are the best retaining wall option imo. 

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8 hours ago, scottishjohn said:

looking at this lego block maker they say up to 8m - free standing

 

https://blockwalls.co.uk/


They build columns in to the free standing walls for extra stability. 
 

 

Edited by K78

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