Not so much a blog as a weather report! Lots of fog, freezing the air and the ground, weakening the already weak sunshine. Creating a big fat inversion layer above Loch Lomond but allowing the grandeur of the mountains to rise above.

Building Control Certificate

We are in!

No news is good news..and also reflects the lack of an internet connection.

The ideal low energy house?

What we've set out to do at ECF is to build a house which will use 70% less energy than one built to current building regulations. Its timber frame construction detailing hasn't wavered too far from the 'norm' to present any major problems for a timber frame kit manufacturer, decent building contractor or building control, and the costs of going this 'extra mile' haven't been excessive to the extent that they will be paid back within a decade in terms of reduced energy costs.

Earth Hour

I've spent part of this evening contributing to a National Park meeting on renewable energy and sustainable building design and feel quite fired up on the whole subject. I came home, had a great discussion with Steve (before he went to Ikea for late night house shopping), then watched Grand Designs revisited about an underground house which essentially didn't need heating even in winter.

Wind and watertight for Christmas!

Saturday morning

Its just turned 9am on Saturday and we've taken a further delivery of Pavatherm Plus insulating board so the joiners can finish off the external insulation layer. There was relatively little activity on site yesterday as we were waiting for this delivery and the sliding door sets (3 off). The latter is now likely to be next week, but apparently has arrived from Penrith. I think these are around 6 weeks overdue and it's dissappointing that the windows from Norway arrived some four weeks ago and are now installed having been ordered at the same time as the patio doors! The main front door is also late and is sourced from Sweden.
The other happening this morning relates to the lame hen. Although it had a couple of better days in the past week it has now gone lame in both legs and is incapable of independent movement. So we had to wring its neck. I thought I could do this yesterday when it probably needed to be done but hen started clucking at me and I just couldn't so now that Steve has returned from working away he did the deed this morning. No, we're not eating it. There's no meat to speak of anyway but as we're not sure what's wrong with it it seems the best move....anyone with greater knowledge please advise!
We've got a fox prowling around. I need to repair/replace a bit of wire at the bottom of the gate to the hen pen before we go out this morning. There are fox prints on the top of the nesting box and on the roof of the hen house so we need to be sure to lock up quickly at dusk.I wonder if that explains the dead hares and rabbit the other week although I thought there would be more damage to the prey?
Rural living!......... we're off to Edinburgh today to see Santa, reindeer, lights, ice sculptures etc.

Lots of trades on site.

The underfloor heating folk have been here today. We are not having any heating upstairs except for underfloor heating in the 2 bathrooms. This will be served by the ground source heat pump as per the ground floor, albeit in trays rather than embedded in the concrete as they are on the ground floor. As the first floor is laid the guys have to work from the underside of that floor, I can't imagine that's easy but they seem to be managing just fine. The 6 joiners who are here are covering various tasks - the exciting one for us is seeing the main first floor picture window being framed out. A number of adjustments have been made to this but it is now looking good. Inside the first stages of first floor interior walls are being established; the children have already decided which 'bedroom' is theirs by virtue of which windows they have adopted. There are lots of issues we are trying to resolve - the wrong cladding being one. More on that later... Weather report - its positively balmy here today. I think we are becoming so hardy and acclimitised that we don't realise its December.

One Week On

Roof progress & problems

Since last week when I mentioned that it hadn't rained much it has of course chucked it down most days this week! Ironically we had no water for most of yesterday as there was a burst water main somewhere on the west side of Loch Lomond which is a good distance from here.
Even the joiners finished early yesterday as they were soaked to the skin but this was also around the time that Steve and I realised/believed that some of the roof windows were not in the positions we had expected/designed. We arranged for the architect to visit site this morning....

Up on the Roof

Since last week's blog progress has been slow but steady. The roof is quite involved and various references have been made back to the timber frame manufacturer and the strucural engineer during the course of the week. To an extent it appears to be over-engineered (but I'm only a surveyor!) We employed a structural engineer to undertake much of the design as this was meant to save time with the timber frame manufacturer; I'm not sure this has been achieved and certainly the cost seems to be a good chunk higher. If we did this again we would handle this aspect differently but 'it is what it is'. The gloom of some dreich November days don't help and I'm beginning to hate the small cold caravan bathroom!!

Daily Changes

The two joiners erected much of the ground floor on Monday and Tuesday which has been really exciting. Its terrific to see the rooms take shape and we are really pleased with the size of the window openings, particularly as we spent a long time last winter working through that element of the design. The joiners can't progress further until the steel arrives, this is delayed but due next Wednesday. In the meantime the scaffolders have been taking delivery of their kit and today have erected scaffolding on the west and south elevations. This photo is taken through the caravan window.

By and large we've had good weather since the start of the build, it is very mild at present which makes life comfortable for early mornings in the caravan.....however the past 2 days weather have included a large amount of rain and the area at the back of the house is somewhat muddy. Thankfully the caravans are on a concreted area.

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