Well – as predicted things are getting hairy – but we have made terrific progress this week – we have begun the preparations of the dining room ceiling ready for the delivery of the conservation roof light from The Rooflight Company.
We did have a small hiccup when we discovered that the new ridge beam and cross ties that the structural engineer has described would not accommodate the size rooflight that Alex had ordered – but with the help of the supplier we sorted this out with the minimum of fuss.
Our main priority this week was to make sure that we were ready for Flowmax (www.flowmax.co.uk) to lay the underfloor heating on the first floor – we set battens at exactly 47 mm to the underside of the floor to support 30mm Celotex between the joists giving a stable base for the diffuser plates of the underfloor heating.
There were lots of little niggles discovered – noggins, nails, brickwork, coach bolts, off kilter joists, but with careful consideration of the details we prepared what was later described by Martin at Flowmax as “one of the best jobs of preparation I’ve ever seen” right down to insulating the notches with reflective silver tape (see pic to the left). There is really only one way of doing something – the right way! (FH comment: smug eh – let’s see you keep that up to the end of the job)
The final fitting of the UF heating was completed by Martin and his team and the result was a thing of beauty – shame we’re going to cover it up really!!
There were lots of other things happening this week – the first fix plumbing has been completed and tested, the Sentinel Kinetic
Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) pipe work from Vent Axia has been fitted – just waiting for the unit itself now.
We have also used Warmcell – recycled newspaper insulation – bought from Eco-Merchant behind the wall in the downstairs master bedroom – this has the double purpose of thermal and acoustically insulating this master bedroom from the living room in the house next door.
There were lots of other little things happening – Eleni from Eleni Shiarlis Lighting Design visited us on site to have a discussion with our electrician and finalise some of the plans for lighting – which as Eleni will tell you can make a huge difference to the overall “effect”.
What – else, hmm… oh yes – we had a small problem with the reveals to the windows in the bedrooms downstairs. As we want to be able to come back at a later date and replace the windows we only had about 18mm of space to be able to insulate the masonry – which we have to do.
So, the solution was some rather expensive but very effective Spacetherm from The Proctor Group which was the first time Bright Green Homes has used this product, but the technical and sales team at Proctor were very helpful. The result was that 10mm of Spacetherm with a thermal conductivity of 0.013W/mK is roughly equivalent to 20mm of Celotex – so we have used this bonded to ply, which we can plaster directly onto (with a bonding agent) – it leaves us just 1mm tolerance once the painting has been completed to be able to remove the windows at a later date without too much disruption.
So – another first for us, and another solution found! Phew.
And finally, as we were ahead of the game with the floor upstairs, it has allowed the lads to get on with laying the groundfloor, this includes 30mm of Celotex between 47mm battens (all FSC certified timber used on this job) – which means that we have a ready made space for the Rehau diffuser plates (17mm deep) – and we have to make completely new floors in the bathroom making sure they have an overall fall away from the doors. A new stud wall built for the main bathroom and a dividing wall to divide the en-suite to the master bedroom into a small wetroom and a dressing room.
Well – I think that’s enough for this week! All ready to get cracking next week now!
PS from FH: In the meantime I’ve been running hard to keep up with decisions taken on site so that we can submit a comprehensive Building Regs Application – I know, here we are nearing the end of the job and not done it yet. I’m very grateful to our Inspector who we talked to early on and who has been very patient – thanks Steve! Eco-refurbs really do need to be done ‘on the fly': you have to open up all those corners to discover practical ways to insulate and make airtight, hidden repairs needed, new ways to run services to keep them cosy. Only the main principles can be established ahead, and then you find the last builders didn’t actually follow the record drawings …. I wonder whether the big boys who are setting up to profit from future eco-grants (Tesco? M&S?) realise just how site-specific eco-renovation has to be.