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MEA light wells?

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Hello - can anyone advise on how they purchased their MEA light wells for a basement? I have an email in to the German contact for MEA but in the meantime would like to gather information. I can't find a UK supplier, head office said they don't sell them in the UK. We will be installing 2 of their 1500x600 wells. I'd appreciate any info or advice on installation on an ICF wall, or any alternatives anyone has found (I haven't found any other this large), or really anything you think I should know! Thank you in advance.

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3 minutes ago, Cookie said:

Hello - can anyone advise on how they purchased their MEA light wells for a basement? I have an email in to the German contact for MEA but in the meantime would like to gather information. I can't find a UK supplier, head office said they don't sell them in the UK. We will be installing 2 of their 1500x600 wells. I'd appreciate any info or advice on installation on an ICF wall, or any alternatives anyone has found (I haven't found any other this large), or really anything you think I should know! Thank you in advance.

 

I bought three direct from MEA in Germany, using currency fair to do the FX transfer.

 

I got the biggest ones they did - 2000mm x 600 I think.

 

Install was easy but I did it to a cast concrete wall, however you could adapt to ICF - in fact, may even be easier in some ways.

 

The wells come with a 200mm deep XPS perimeter (ours in two halves) which is glued to the concrete wall using supplied adhesive. The internal aperture should exactly match the window hole in your basement wall. In this perimeter are holes to take coach bolts to secure the GRP lightwell.

 

Now for me, fixing the perimeter was a bit tricky as the adhesive took a while to go off and it was heavy and wanted to slide down so I had a lot of props and braces to hold them in position.

 

For ICF, I would offer the perimeter up, mark around it and then chop out the ICF insulation until you get back to solid concrete. You can then bond the MEA perimeter in place and if you do a neat job, the rest of the ICF insulation should hold them snugly in place while that happens - do brace them on the perpendicular though to make sure they're tight against the concrete. Foam any gaps with LE foam.

 

On my build, I applied sheets of 200mm EPS to the rest of the basement exterior so would have ended up with a similar finish to yours.

 

To fix the lightwells themselves, I waited until we'd backfilled more or less up to the level of the lightwell as they are quite heavy and you don;t want to be lifting them up far.

 

There is a little drain at the bottom, on ours we just fixed this to a small section of pipe but as the backfill was large stone (100mm) any water just flows through that so was a bit unnecessary.

 

I got them in position and put in the coach bolts with a few turns each to bite. I then applied the adhesive all the way round and then screwed them tight home. After 24 hours I put the grilles on and then covered to stop too much crud getting in. Finished the backfill.

 

Quite DIYable and a spare pair of hands won't hurt, even though I did mine solo.

 

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4 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

 

I bought three direct from MEA in Germany, using currency fair to do the FX transfer.

 

I got the biggest ones they did - 2000mm x 600 I think.

 

Install was easy but I did it to a cast concrete wall, however you could adapt to ICF - in fact, may even be easier in some ways.

 

The wells come with a 200mm deep XPS perimeter (ours in two halves) which is glued to the concrete wall using supplied adhesive. The internal aperture should exactly match the window hole in your basement wall. In this perimeter are holes to take coach bolts to secure the GRP lightwell.

 

Now for me, fixing the perimeter was a bit tricky as the adhesive took a while to go off and it was heavy and wanted to slide down so I had a lot of props and braces to hold them in position.

 

For ICF, I would offer the perimeter up, mark around it and then chop out the ICF insulation until you get back to solid concrete. You can then bond the MEA perimeter in place and if you do a neat job, the rest of the ICF insulation should hold them snugly in place while that happens - do brace them on the perpendicular though to make sure they're tight against the concrete. Foam any gaps with LE foam.

 

On my build, I applied sheets of 200mm EPS to the rest of the basement exterior so would have ended up with a similar finish to yours.

 

To fix the lightwells themselves, I waited until we'd backfilled more or less up to the level of the lightwell as they are quite heavy and you don;t want to be lifting them up far.

 

There is a little drain at the bottom, on ours we just fixed this to a small section of pipe but as the backfill was large stone (100mm) any water just flows through that so was a bit unnecessary.

 

I got them in position and put in the coach bolts with a few turns each to bite. I then applied the adhesive all the way round and then screwed them tight home. After 24 hours I put the grilles on and then covered to stop too much crud getting in. Finished the backfill.

 

Quite DIYable and a spare pair of hands won't hurt, even though I did mine solo.

 

Fantastic, thank you so much. I've watched their installation video and it looks straightforward but not easy. You've put my mind at ease to some extent. I'll wait to hear from MEA then and hopefully they will be able to sell them direct still. We will have ACO drains set underneath the lightwells as the soil is clay and drainage poor. Thanks again for all the info!

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On 21/06/2021 at 14:35, Cookie said:

Fantastic, thank you so much. I've watched their installation video and it looks straightforward but not easy. You've put my mind at ease to some extent. I'll wait to hear from MEA then and hopefully they will be able to sell them direct still. We will have ACO drains set underneath the lightwells as the soil is clay and drainage poor. Thanks again for all the info!

I hope you don't mind me picking this up again and asking. Our architect is confused by lightwells in GRP. He thinks we don't need them and a simple wall in ICF or brick can be built to do the same job, with a concrete base with a drain in it. This feels clunky to me, and I don't have faith it's suitable for the clay soils but he is insistent it works. I don't think he's ever worked on a lightwell. He also thinks the top should be left open and I totally feel this is wrong on many levels. Is this architect entirely wrong or am I missing something here? I think the GRP is the right solution.

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A light well by definition is usually open topped and they have been built in brick/stone and concrete for 100+ years.

clay can destroy lightweight structures during swell and shrink cycles.

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Posted (edited)

His way would work and I have seen it done but it will cost you a lot more £££ and you still need to stop people or animals falling in so would need a grille or parapet wall. Also, how deep would it be? How would it attach to the basement wall itself? How would it be waterproofed?

 

I really don't understand how anyone could be confused by the MEA system though. We left a simple aperture in the basement wall to fit the MEA light well internal dimension and then just ordered a window to match, works perfectly well and as it sits in the 1m backfill zone, is surrounded by clean stone so not exposed to the surrounding soil. Took me, a complete amateur, a day to install each one

 

Still looks great 5 years on and very easy to keep clean. The internal surface is curved and polished to efficiently reflect light into the room and does so very well.

 

Oh, and you are the client so just tell him what you need.

Edited by Bitpipe

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Posted (edited)

Having another look at this and didn’t see the title of the thread.

Putting MEA aside I suppose the first question should be … how big will the light well be? Last one I did was 6m long, 1.2m wide and 4 metres deep so maybe we are thinking and talking about completely different animals … well features.

oh, and it had handrails around the top and a pumped sump to drain

Edited by markc

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