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Self-Build Questionaire


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Steveo1982

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 07:33 PM

Hello all,

I am currently studying BSc Construction Management at Plymouth University, and undertaking a dissertation which aims to explore self-builders opinions of the Government’s agenda for zero carbon homes by 2016.

If you have recently self-built, are currently building or plan to begin building your home in England before 1st January 2015, I would be grateful if you could spare 5 minutes to fill in the questionnaire accessed through the link below.

It does not matter if you do not know what the Government’s agenda is, but in simple terms (if enforced) it will require all homes built after 2016 to have high fabric energy efficiency standards (highly insulated) and possibly require the use of on-site low or zero carbon technologies, such as solar thermal panels.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/THLTJDJ

If you would like to know about the findings of my research, PM me and I will contact you when the dissertation is complete in spring 2014.

Many thanks, Steve

Edited by joiner, 06 December 2013 - 09:56 PM.
Typo


#2 temp

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

Your survey asks if you plan to install a "High efficiency gas powered boiler". I would have to answer "Definitely not" only because there us no mains in the area.

#3 ProDave

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 07:46 PM

I answered the survey, in spite of the fact I am in Scotland. Everything still seemed relevant (other than which part of England I am in)

I would like to say that my major irk with government policy is difficulty and uncertainty of things like the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed in Tarrifs (FIT's)

They seem aimed at retro fitting to existing houses and there are obstacles for self builders.

One member on here has found that the RHI payments are so low, and the extra cost of getting a system installed by someone registered is too high. He is actually better off just buying the stuff and installing it himself.

And FIT's for solar panels. You must get an MCS installer to fit them, and you can only apply with an energy performance certificate. So you can't apply for the FIT on a part built new house as you won't have the EPC until completion. My dilemma is I want to get the solar panels now, for fear the FIT rate might be much lower, or even non existant by the time the house is complete, but I can't.

So I don't see how these schemes are actually encouraging self builders to use renewable energy in any way?

#4 Steveo1982

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:02 PM

View Posttemp, on 06 December 2013 - 07:41 PM, said:

Your survey asks if you plan to install a "High efficiency gas powered boiler". I would have to answer "Definitely not" only because there us no mains in the area.

Thanks for that, i'll take that into account when I analyse the data.

Thanks also ProDave, your feedback is very useful.

Steve.

#5 jsharris

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:18 PM

I've completed your survey, Steve.

I hope you hang around here and read some of the threads that are directly relevant, and follow the blogs on here of those of us who are actually building zero energy, zero carbon (or close, or perhaps even better) homes.

My major problem is the total lack of knowledge and interest in zero energy building by architects (at least all those I contacted) the vast majority of builders I contacted (with the sole exception of our chosen frame supplier) and the view from many tradesman that what I am insisting upon (mainly them not penetrating the internal airtight/vapour tight barrier) is OTT.

Edited by jsharris, 06 December 2013 - 08:19 PM.


#6 Steveo1982

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:39 PM

View Postjsharris, on 06 December 2013 - 08:18 PM, said:

I've completed your survey, Steve.

I hope you hang around here and read some of the threads that are directly relevant, and follow the blogs on here of those of us who are actually building zero energy, zero carbon (or close, or perhaps even better) homes.

Thanks jsharris, i'll most definitely make use of the forums. I hope to self-build myself someday, so it's something I am personally interested in too.

Lack of skills and knowledge amongst professionals and trades is still very common. But, that will have to change as demand increases, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I've had 3 respondents to my questionaire from this forum alone already, that's great, thanks guys.

#7 Alphonsox

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:02 PM

I've also completed the survey - but I'm building in Northern Ireland so please adjust as necessary
The see the cost of MCS accredited installation as being a significant barrier to many people. Like several people on the forum I will probably self install and live without the government handouts.

#8 jsharris

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:10 PM

I get the feeling that the major problem is with older, more set in thier ways, tradesmen. Some of the youngsters I've had working on our house have been great, very keen to learn about the build methods and the critical factors that have a major impact on performance.

The biggest shock for everyone on site, bar no one (apart from the builders, MBC Timberframe/Viking House), is that fact that the house sits on a thick block of expanded polystyrene. Everyone, without exception, is amazed when I lift the DPM around the skirt and show thm that the house is really just sitting on polystyrene foam, with no concrete in the ground at all.

The next surprise will be when I have the electrician in next week for first fix. With two of us going flat out the house is going to get seriously warm. Days like today (around 8 deg C outside) needed me to open three windows just to keep the working temperature inside tolerable, with a heat input of three wander lights plus me working reasonably hard, so maybe 350 to 400 watts in total.

Edited by jsharris, 07 December 2013 - 07:42 AM.
typo


#9 notnickclegg

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:03 PM

Survey done.

Jack

#10 wittenham

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:31 AM

View Postjsharris, on 06 December 2013 - 09:10 PM, said:

]snip]
The biggest shock for everyone on site, bar no one (apart from the builders, BC Timberframe/Viking House), is that fact that the house sits on a thick block of expanded polystyrene. Everyone, without exception, is amazed when I lift the DPM around the skirt and show thm that the house is really just sitting on polystyrene foam, with no concrete in the ground at all.
[snip]

The retired couple next door are also having major works done, including building a separate building in their back garden. They were literally speechless when they came over and saw the styrofoam in the slab. It was actually quite funny to see them struggle for words when they were clearly thinking 'these terrible Irish guys are ripping off this inexperienced couple'.

greg

#11 jsharris

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:58 AM

I had one of the roofers (who's a local Salisbury lad) look at the foam under the slab, express amazement and then remark that stuff like that must be OK as Salisbury Cathedral (foundations laid in 1220) is, allegedly, built on a massive foundation base of straw, upon which the foundation stones were laid. This was done because it's built on the water meadows, so is essentially sitting in the middle of a flood plain. The cathedral weighs somewhere around 110,000 tons. The Scandinavians and Germans have been using foam foundations for years (systems like Super Grund http://www.supergrund.se/ and IsoQuick http://isoquick.de/ for example). When I was reading up on it I even found a foam foundation system designed for supporting railways and roads over soft ground.

Edited by jsharris, 07 December 2013 - 07:59 AM.


#12 Steveo1982

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:59 PM

View Postjsharris, on 06 December 2013 - 09:10 PM, said:

I get the feeling that the major problem is with older, more set in thier ways, tradesmen. Some of the youngsters I've had working on our house have been great, very keen to learn about the build methods and the critical factors that have a major impact on performance.

I think you could be right. There is also still not that many universities or colleges that teach sustainable methods of construction. Luckily for me Plymouth Uni are very keen on it.

I'm a bit surprised by the polystyrene. I have only seen that where the polystyrene acts as formwork for concrete to be poured into.

Thanks jack.

#13 jsharris

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:06 PM

There's a really good technical report on the Kore/Aerobord polystyrene foundation system that Greg and I have used here: http://www.viking-ho...eport Large.pdf

Well worth a read, as it explains in detail how the loads are spread into the underlying ground, and how soft ground can be compensated for by adding a deeper layer of crushed stone, or by using a counterpoise system, where the depth of soil removed equals the weight of the house to be constructed, so ensuring that the ground stability remains as it was before construction.

#14 Steveo1982

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 09:40 PM

I had a look at the report. I must agree I have not seen foundations anything like that before, impressive stuff! And great from a thermal performance perspective.

Edited by joiner, 10 December 2013 - 07:53 AM.
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#15 Steveo1982

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:03 PM

Just wanted to bump this up in the hope that I get few more participants. Thanks to all who have participated thus far.

#16 Steveo1982

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:31 PM

Thank you to all who have filled in my survey.
Are there any self-builders in the south west who could spare roughly 30 minutes?
I am looking to informally interview 6 people who are soon to build, currently building, or who have recently built their house.
The purpose will be to find out a little about your house with regards to its design and any energy efficient construction or low/renewable energy technology that may be used. I would also like to get your opinions about energy efficient homes, and what their benefits and challenges are to you.
With your permission I may take a couple of photos of your home and record the interview to aid the write up. In accordance with the University’s ethical policy this data would be treated confidentially and deleted on completion of the research.
Please let me know if you are interested and I can message my contact details to you. I can meet most days, at a time and place convenient for you.
Regards, steve.

#17 sarahsouthwest

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:45 PM

Hi Steve I answered your survey over on ultimatehandyman and pointed you over here. I'm in the south west (there's a clue in the name!) and would be happy to have a chat if a chapel conversion will do instead of a new build. DM me here if you're interested.

At first I assumed I'd be using all the energy efficient stuff available, but we discovered if your electricity supply is poor you can't have air source heat pumps (even with an inverter) and it all went down hill from there...

ATB sarah

#18 jsharris

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 09:08 PM

More than happy to help, Steve.

We're *just" in the South West, midway between Shaftesbury and Salisbury.

Use the Personal Message system here to get in touch (mouse over my user name and you'll get an option to send a personal message).

#19 Steveo1982

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:50 AM

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for filling in my questionnaire. Sorry I didn't respond on the handyman forum, I am starting to lose track of all the forums I have posted on.

Thank you for offering your time, I would love to see your conversion, but unfortunately the government policy only covers new builds so I wouldn't be able to use the data. It is interesting to hear about the difficulty you had with the heat pump, it seems to be a common barrier for new technologies, particular in remote areas.

I wish you all the best for your build, Steve.

#20 Steveo1982

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 09:51 AM

Hello Jeremy,

For some reason your PM box is not accepting new messages, so I'll message you here for now.

You have always been very helpful, so thank you very much for that. It would be great to see your build, but is it ok if I get back to you when I have arranged a few more interviews? As you are a 2-3 hours away I may be able to arrange it so I can interview others in a similar area on the same day.

I'll hopefully know more by the weeks end.

Kind regards, Steve