Week 7 – starting to come together

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insulating the dormer window

150mm of Celotex in the dormer window roof makes the space above the kitchen a hundred times warmer

So, the beginning of week 7 sees us moving on to the start of the finishing touches – if that makes sense? The insulation is now installed on all of the external surfaces – we have 150mm of PIR insulation in the roof taking the U value to 0.15W/m2K which is a 20% improvement on the building regulation 2010 level Part L1B of 0.18W/m2K for upgraded thermal elements. And 100mm on the external walls (U value 0.19W/m2K – a 60% improvement on the building regs 0.30W/m2K).

Warmcell recycled newspaper in the loftspace

We are almost ready to install the MVHR system. We have tested it, and now the job is to site it in the rather small loftspace. Once again a job for our “supersized” general builder/electrician


testing the MVHR unit

The system seems to be working which is as every one will testify is a bit of a relief – it would be too late to go back and make amendments at this stage – so the relief is palpable. Anyhow, this syetm is now set up and running – and because the plastering has begun this week is already sucking the moist air out of the building.

So – mentioning the plastering – two additions to our overall team this week are Kev and Rob from Kev Drake Plastering services (tel: 01273 732 250 www.kevindrakeplasteringservices.co.uk). Adding to the overall joke count of the week and also making the whole building feel like we are proceeding in leaps and bounds. Its a funny quirk of building that I think I have mentioned before that for quite a lot of time, things don’t feel like they are progressing because much of the preparation is behind the final surfaces – well plastering is one of the final stages which gives the final finish. That’s why a good plasterer is worth his weight in gold (but don’t tell them that!).

watching the plasterer

a good plasterer is really a craftsman - thats why the other lads will watch when they have their tea - all a little in awe!

The utility room is built this week, a new conservation rooflight from the Rooflight Company (www.therooflightcompany.co.uk) fitted above what will be the clients dining room

new conservation rooflight

new conservation rooflight

The effect on light in the room is really quite remarkable. The beauty of this is that it also has an environmental benefit. By increasing the natural light within the space, it reduces the need for artificial light during the day. Thus reducing the need for electricity and the knock on effect of reducing the burning of dirty coal in power stations (each kWh of electricity produced in the UK creates approximately 0.537kg of CO2 from coal fired power stations).

plastering is an art

plastering is an art

What else has happened this week? Ah, we had a little hiccup with the underfloor heating. When laying the chipboard over the top, a momentary lack of concentration saw a screw being driven into one of the hoses. This could have been a total disaster, but as it was discovered early on (ie before the final flooring was laid) we were able to remedy this without too much fuss, and Flowmax (www.Flowmax.co.uk) were able to get to us really speedily so it didn’t hold anything else up. Nevertheless – there have been quite a lot of jokes flying around about a certain person on site (who shall remain nameless) responsible for said wayward screw!

plastering the new bedrooms

plastering the new bedrooms

The ceilings on the ground floor have now been plastered, and the decorator who has already started on the outside of the building will be able to get his teeth into the internals next week. Which reminds me – we have forged a partnership with Pure Paint www.purepaint.co.uk to supply us with natural paints. Another example of local green businesses working together towards a common goal – the eco-refurbishment of more homes in Brighton.
a pile of tools

a tradesman can be judged by how tidy they keep their tools and site.

Finally, once again we have used the Green Van Hire company (www.greenvanhire.co.uk) to dispose of a van load of waste – taken responsibly to the recycling centre where they proudly state they recycle 90% of all waste (www.kingspanwaste.co.uk).

Now the first fix electrics are done, next week we’ll be fitting the bathrooms and tiling, painting and decorating, architraves and skirting, more finishing the walls and plastering… lots to do and the clock is ticking ….

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