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Construction Method and Lintel Advice Please


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Hi All,

Our builder called round yesterday to say he'd had a cancellation and could start our small, single-storey extension next week (about 6-8 weeks sooner than we had planned) if we wanted him to do so. Given how difficult it is to get a decent builder to even quote for a job at the moment I rather hastily said it would be fine. Now, as I realise how unprepared I am I'm starting to worry a little. I like to be fully prepared for something like this and that includes understanding the methods and materials that they'll be using. It will be at least a week after they start until they actually start building (there's an existing structure to remove, drains to lay, water main to re-route and foundations to dig and pour) so I have a little breathing room.

 

The extension will be 3.2m x 1.6m and sit in the L of two existing solid stone walls (one of which is rendered) so we're effectively building just the two new walls. We are knocking the exisitng outer wall through to make a larger kitchen, that wall is 400mm thick stone. I asked about what type of structure they would use when knocking through and they said proabably Catnic lintels supported in the wall on one side and on vertical steel posts at the other. Having looked at Catnic lintels I'm not sure whether they are the best choice for stone walls?

 

I'd also be grateful for your opinions on construction methods for the walls. The builder proposed three different methods: double skin wall of concrete blocks with insulation between, single skin block with timber frame inside and insulation in the framing, timber framed with either timber cladding or a stone veneer. I imagine that each method has it benefits and drawbacks but as of today which do you think would offer the best combination of thermal efficiency, acoustic insulation and value for money (based on both material and labour costs). Is there an alternative construction method that I should be aware of that isn't overly complex, expensive and suits the scale of this project? As far as looks are concerned there is exposed stone to one side of the extension and rendered stone to the other so either stone or render will be cohesive, I suspect that timber may look slightly at odds being a third material type.

 

I feel like my back is to the wall somewhat but I don't want to pass up the opportunity to have the work done if it means I have to wait another 6 months to get them back again. My builder and agreed to take the weekend to consider the project and discuss it again on Tuesday. By then I'd like to have a clear idea of my best options so I don't get strong-armed into something I'm not entirely happy with.

 

As ever, all thoughts, contributions and opinions are greatly valued.

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First of all You builder will understand that HE has brought the job forward and any lack of preparation can’t be blamed on you 

Second Block and Block with a good fill of insulation is probably the cheapest and less likely to be effected by material delays 

 

Third 

You would probably have been theses same thoughts in six weeks time 😁

Better six weeks early than six weeks late

 

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21 hours ago, nod said:

First of all You builder will understand that HE has brought the job forward and any lack of preparation can’t be blamed on you 

Second Block and Block with a good fill of insulation is probably the cheapest and less likely to be effected by material delays 

 

Third 

You would probably have been theses same thoughts in six weeks time 😁

Better six weeks early than six weeks late

 

Thanks Nod. I know exactly what you mean, we do tend to operate on a "just-in-time" basis 😆

 

Block and block certainly sounds quick and cost-effective.

 

After a very amiable meeting with the builder for almost two hours on Friday afternoon about the project, and after a fairly sleepless night thinking about the project, he called my wife (he couldn't even call me!) on Saturday to say that he wasn't going to be doing the job... AT ALL!! Without any reasonable explanation he just decided he wasn't doing the work. I was floored! We had nothing in writing because in the 15 years or so that he's been doing work for us we've never needed it, he's always been as good as his word. So now it loks like we're back to square one again, choosing a new builder and then waiting in line for goodness knows how long.

 

Come Tuesday I'll be on the phone in the quest for another builder.

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Good luck. Ours did similar and just stopped talking to us as did a spark that was all keen. However it turned out well in the end if not better than it would have. However there were a few sleepless nights  and it took a while longer!

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Thanks All. At this point I'm seriously considering doing it myself but I'll sleep on it a while longer and see how the hunt for a builder goes.

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