There's A 'Stranger' In The House!
Posted 26 September 2015 - 08:32 PM
I recon our borehole has saves around £3100 so far.
Posted 26 September 2015 - 08:47 PM
I've found a disused well in the garden. Disguised as a flower feature. Having dug out earth and weed mat I've found a load of rubble. Might it be worth attempting to remove more rubble with a view to finding a water source (for the garden, not drinking. Though a neighbour tells me she was using her well when she first moved in 30yrs ago). Is there a safe way to do it once it gets below ground level (thinking about gas etc sinking into it)?
Or is the safe route to get it properly and securely blocked?
I used it as both a rainwater soakaway for my garage and later the extension we built. I also had a pump down it for drawing water for the garden.
In order to drill through the concrete tubes to insert a pipe, I put a ladder down, descended down the well with an extension lead and an electric drill. Several people afterwards told me that was a very silly thing to do for a number of reasons. Don't try that at home.....
Edited by ProDave, 26 September 2015 - 08:47 PM.
Posted 23 October 2015 - 10:28 AM
Having read through a lot of information on this excellent website over recent weeks including all 38 of the blogs from Jeremy Harris we have just exchanged on a plot so I have now signed up. My wife and I are retired and looking to build a highly insulated home with low energy needs to live in for the long term. The plot has detailed planning permission for a contemporary take on a barn conversion clad in a mix of stone, render and timber and is currently sized at 129m2 internally. It is in a small village between Stroud and Cirencester so no mains gas and no mains sewage. The site is small at 398m2, with a steep slope at the rear with Cotswold brash or bratch soil down to at least 1.25 metres in the flat front 3/4 of the plot and increasingly large lumps of stone at the rear. A retaining wall of just over 15 metres length by about 2.2 metres high from ground floor level has to be built by us. We have to fit both the sewage plant and a rainwater soakaway and if budget allows I would like to put in a rainwater harvesting system. In my dreams I would also like to fit in earth pipes to feed the MVHR but budget will probably rule that out. Hopefully we will complete purchase by early December which is a wonderful time to be starting groundworks- it took five months to get from offer acceptance to exchange.
With all that time we have added to and amended the design and will have to go for a fresh planning application. Externally we want to lose the timber cladding for long term maintenance reasons. Thinking of K Rend through coloured acrylic render or the like again for long term maintenance reasons. Aluminium clad windows ditto.
We built a house in Bristol to be close to our kids and their families in 2010/11 so we have the scars that self build gives you. It was a hell of an experience, totally absorbing in the minutest detail, and you get to meet some fantastic guys in the trade- boy do they know how to work. Fortunately for us we found a gem of a builder and he would only work with good guys himself so we had a really good bunch working on site. We needed them too because it turned into quite a technical build. In the end I decided to go for pile foundations (tree roots and clay) with a reinforced concrete ring beam. The floor was concrete beam with extruded polystyrene between and a fibre reinforced concrete screed over. The house had 14 corners with a complex multi hip roof and to finish off...raised eaves. The structural engineers recommended four extended leg steel A frames, steel ties between and then cut timber rafters. I found U-roof on line and we went for that. It worked out really well giving us floor joists, raised eaves and rafters in bolt together panel format for half the price of the alternative.(No I have no commercial or other ties to U-roof.)
The house was a joy to live in but after thirty years in the Cotswolds we could not bear city life and had to move back. Once you have lived in a well insulated draught free house there is no settling for less. We looked at so many tired old houses as possible renovations but they needed so much work doing to them, would still be compromised by poor internal layout and were so over priced that we realised we had to self build again.
If planning permit we will build a 152 m2 house having added a utility/plant room and extended part of the two storey rear section of the house to squeeze in two bedrooms and a small family bathroom leaving us with a decent master bedroom and small en suite. Thinking long term an extended snug/office/fourth bedroom downstairs will now have a wc/shower room for when one of us may become infirm. There will be a separate small guest wc.
Having built in masonry with cavity wall PIR partial fill insulation, with stud internal walls on the first floor and a second floor made entirely of rolled galvanised steel U sections I am being drawn to SIP construction. I worked in a cad/cam equipped production environment and the accuracy of these processes is fantastic. I also like the idea of minimising on site insulation effort though I think we will have to wrap the shell in 60mm of additional PIR. The floor will be a reinforced concrete slab on 300mm of EPS like Viking or Isoquick and similar to the current Potton Passiv Haus build which is shown on YouTube. The SIP will probably be a 172mm Kingspan Tek via Glosford (but don't tell them that I don't want them to think I am a pushover!). Ideally we are aiming at U-values of around 0.10.
Windows and doors need to be triple glazed passiv standard and alu clad as already mentioned. I am struggling to find an affordable alternative to Internorm for a 3.6 metre wide sliding patio door as it does not seem to be offered by Munster Joinery. Pity UK producers have not got their act together yet. Perhaps one of the Czech or Polish manufacturers might have what we want.
Next step is to get revised drawings out to key suppliers and submit planning application. The retaining wall will be first after the site is cleared and levelled so I have to get a price and design from a structural engineer, who will also need to do the calcs for the reinforced concrete slab. Calcs and detailed design drawings should come from the SIP supplier working from our Architects cleaned up and amended planning drawings.
Building regs approval is also required which I hope to do myself though the SAP calcs don't sound like fun- now I am signed up I can look at Jeremy's download for guidance.
I hope this doesn't all sound too naively optimistic. The realities of budget in particular, availability of suitable options and the need to get on with it will no doubt take big bites out of our wish list but hey ho Mummy didn't breed a quitter as the saying goes. To be continued.
Posted 23 October 2015 - 10:48 AM
You mentioned k-rend as a finish. Have you trees close by as they make the finish go green fairly quick. Also any sides of the build that are in shade will get mould. Have a look on sliders blog and see the efforts he went to to find an alternative.
We got a price for sliding doors for Munster for a 3.6m opening. Ended up with French doors and two side lights though.
We also had a retaining wall to build to form the driveway and it is over 15m long and at its highest would be over 2m. We went with a dry wall which needs no mortar or concrete and to be honest is easily done by yourself.
Edited by joiner, 23 October 2015 - 01:27 PM.
Posted 24 October 2015 - 08:45 AM
The sliding doors on the Munster website are their Ecoclad range rather than passiv standard but can be triple glazed. Will ask them for more info when I send drawings for a quote.
The Acheson-Glover product is impressive but I am looking for a rendered finish and apart from transport costs we cannot get artic. loads to the site so we will have to go for a locally sourced solution. Think it will end up as two leaves of block with wall ties and about 200mm of steel mesh reinforced concrete in between, subject to Structural engineers spec.
Probably too long a hello but it was good displacement activity as we were awaiting birth of a grandchild, now safely arrived, so perhaps I will be more succinct on future postings.
Edited by NeilS, 24 October 2015 - 08:46 AM.
Posted 14 November 2015 - 12:08 PM
Just working on a timber frame extension to the timber frame house I built 14 years ago
I'll be picking your brains I'm sure
Posted 04 December 2015 - 07:35 PM
In the meanwhile we got the draft of first floor plans from "architects". The reaction is a shock and not a good one. They suggest a 7+ meter long room with a single window - and NOT facing our beautiful garden! No elevation views. Massively disappointed and preparing my comments.
Posted 04 December 2015 - 07:49 PM
I share your views about many architects, and would suggest you look at using an architectural technician, rather than an architect. Often they are more practical, and more receptive to the views and requirements of their clients. They are also often a lot cheaper!
There are some very good architects around, and for what these good architects do they are pretty low paid. On the other hand, my experience is that finding a good architect is pretty challenging.
I'd suggest writing a clear, bullet point, brief for architects/architectural technicians to look at, in order of importance to you. Make it very clear that the highest priority requirements are non-negotiable, and MUST be considered in the design.
Finally, if, like us, you cannot find an architect to deliver what you want consider producing your on design. I have zero experience of house design, yet I've made a reasonable stab at designing our new house, that others seem to think is reasonably OK (and which we think is perfect!) and all it took was a crash course in house design by self-learning (including a lot of help from this forum).
Posted 04 December 2015 - 08:15 PM
In fairness, I suspect the company we are working with are indeed technicians, this is why I used quotes. That is OK, I think we do not need anything particularly challenging. We had a good meeting with one of them discussing the needs and I hoped they took it on board. I just expected people to be a bit proactive, I can not treat them as just drawers of what we asked, some common sense must me applied. But we will get there.
Posted 05 December 2015 - 05:45 PM
Posted 09 December 2015 - 09:19 AM
This is my first post on this forum and having read some of the other comments on here I feel as though I am crossing over from the Dark Side.
I'd like to introduce myself. I'm 90% through my first self build which is in East Kent. It's being built to PH standards and if my calculations are correct we won't need conventional heating. Let's hope they are correct or my other half will not be happy.
I've enjoyed reading some of the blogs on here and realising that my self build is not the only one where sometimes things don't run smoothly.
Posted 09 December 2015 - 09:22 AM
Posted 09 December 2015 - 09:22 AM
How you doing? You know a fair few people here, and what to so, so there won't be any surprises.
When you say 90% is that hardware or time
Posted 09 December 2015 - 10:23 AM
You're right, things rarely seem to run smoothly with a self-build!
My advice would be to trust your calcs. I ran our design through my own calcs, then PHPP then SAP and got a fairly consistent set of answers that indicated that very little, if any, heating was needed. I frankly didn't wholly believe them, so spent weeks deliberating over heating systems. The house has been virtually finished as far as being airtight and heated for over a year and heating isn't really needed much, only in really cold weather and even then only for an hour or so at most. Cooling in spring and autumn (when the sun is low and can penetrate more deeply into the house) has been a bigger problem to overcome.
You've probably noticed that this place is a bit busier than the AECB forum - pity that seems to have almost died now.
Posted 09 December 2015 - 10:39 AM
We started in February 2010 by knocking down the existing garages on site so it's coming up to six years. Easy if you say it quickly. We've done half of the landscaping and we've still got second fix, decorating and installing bathrooms and kitchen to do. The old bungalow has to be demolished as well. Thinking about it maybe it's not as much as 90% after all, oh dear.
I'm not very confident about SAP which indicates an even lower heating requirement than PHPP for my design. You're right there seems to be hardly any activity on the AECB forum these days.
Posted 09 December 2015 - 10:45 AM
What did you go for, for DHW production and how many bathrooms / occupants?
Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:47 AM
Someone posted on here recently they have done 90%, and that only leaves 90% left to do.
Posted 09 December 2015 - 04:28 PM
There will be two adult occupants immediately after it's finished, but in the future who knows.
It often feels that there's still 90% left to do but I really would like to be in before next summer to give me some good weather for demolishing the bungalow.