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    • Ok I've posted a bit about this before.. here is something similar.   In the past I used to be a Contractor who site built a lot of Tfs. Now from time to time I design them as an SE and produce the panel drawings for others to knock up on site.  Yes a site built kit can be top quality and also it gives you more flexibility if you want to make design changes.   I can see that for folk on BH it's very hard to compare like with like when getting prices for TF's..   If you go to folk like MBC or say Scotframe in Scotland then you need to ask:   1/ What is the price for the bare timber frame walls.. in other words the studs, sheeting, lintels and floor joists.  2/ What is the price for the roof.. could be trusses or a loose cut roof. 3/ What is the erection price.   Now you have itemised and costed the structural frame.   Next you have the rest.. insulation.. vapour barriers, fire stopping,plasterboard, door frames etc .. every quote you get will throw a spanner in the works so you can't compare.. it's apples with oranges... this is deliberate as the real profit( the cream) for the TF folk lies in not in the simple TF but elsewhere. They also play about with the U values and chuck in assumptions.. like say windows with a U value of X of a floor insulation of Y and things like to be "specified by the SE".   You may think that your self build is a big money job.. but the thing that really keeps the TF and roof truss companies ticking over is the volume market. Your self build is just a bit of PR and a chance to make a whacking profit. Also, as they are dealing with novices (mostly self builders) they factor in the hassle factor.. which us folk that do this as a day job don't give them.   As a designer I say to my Clients.. we can go to a local joiner who can do your frame on site .. but for comparison you can go to the likes of MBC. Now when we get the prices back let's weigh all this up.   The outcome on a self build is usually the folk I recommend get the job doing it as a site built frame / making it in a local barn. Of course it takes a bit longer to build a kit on site but you cut out a whole load of hassle, the design can be alterered easily.. avoids delay etc. Some Clients just want that big name.. it is all just done fast.. but once I start checking that all the interfaces are compatible.. often folk wish.. hey we should have gone the whole hog and site built the frame.   Also the beauty of stick building it is that you don't need to pay an unsecured amount of money up front to TF folk. You buy the timber and pay a joiner to cut and nail it together. This can be handy when borrowing money..   My gut feeling is go for a site built TF by a local joiner and then package up the insualtion all the way through to the door sets / finishes etc in different ways and get prices from the mechants big and small.   Most of the TF guys that stick build for me have served part of their time with the big builders anyway so it just a case of you ordering the material and letting them get on with it.. you cut out the middle man and from time to time you may want to make a cash donation for their kids charity run.          
    • https://abbeypynford.co.uk/products/treesafe/ The above do an engineered footings and slab when building close to tree's 
    • I visit social housing often, and round my way a good few years ago some bright spark thought they’d foist huge ASHP units on properties as replacement boilers without changing the rads - I assume the business case was based on not needing annual gas testing.  The result was overworked pumps that were therefore noisy and on constantly and cost so much to run that loads of tenants got into debt, and that was before the price hikes of the last few years.   A good way to generate bad press and general loathing. 
    • Wasn’t really worried about it now. But I was 4 years ago when i started researching it, and still was 3.5 years ago when I had to make the decision, so that’s why i went with gas. But everything is pretty much setup for converting to something greener in the future, so one day we will hopefully change it.    Reading the news article I posted just reminded me of my worries…
    • This is a big subject.. and I'm still learning about this as every day is a school day.   About 15 -20 years ago I designed a training Gym for a well known London football club, they made the film Chariots of Fire there and when we were doing the work we found the long jump pit in the film.. made my year really.. what an exciting life you can live as an SE! .. it was a bit of nostalgia for me.. but very important to community.   Anyway, as you can see in the film there are a lot of iconic trees, classic British refinement, elegance.. the council and local community were crawling all over us which I totally appreciated. The Client was less inclined to see things the way everyone else did. But I explained that as I'm primarily trained as a Civil Engineer (work for the community)  then unless they engaged in a Civil manner there would be no new training Gym .. or they could sack me .. play hard ball.. but the council and community had them over a barrel. At the end of the day it was only a few weeks wages for one or two of their mid range players.   Now we all talk about on BH about heave, soil shrinking and swelling but when near big trees we also need to think about water starvation of the root system. You don't want a big tree dying and falling on your house, also if under a TPO.. you will be liable if you cause it to die say a few years down the line because you starved it of water. On the Charoits of fire job I ran the roof water drainage back under the building.. but now I know what I know I may have starved the soil from worms and oxygen.. who knows?   This is a great point from Jilly although she has not explicitly stated it. A tree needs structural roots to stop it falling over and roots that seek out water and nutrients.   @Bluebaron yes you can build close to big trees but you'll need to spend time to understand how the tree is living as you could waste a lot of money just following general guidelines. In the round I think that we should be able to design to live with big old trees and as an SE / past builder/ into the country side this is something that intrests me. The big challenge is to convince others in an evidenced based way. That costs money which is not something that BH folk tend to have.. unless they put in time to learn!   Folks there is no free lunch to self building.. it is hard work but very rewarding. When I finished my first self build I though.. add you own comments.. how good did you feel.. there are few folk that can do it!   Post a bit more info and if you make an effort the folks like myself and others may chip in with a bit more detailed advice and a few pointers for free.            
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