Month: October 2008

VAT Reclaim – Preparation

I know that many UK readers of this blog are interested in Value Added Tax (VAT) in relation to conversion projects. As we'll be nearing the end of our own project over the next couple of months (fingers crossed), I thought a refresher on what the current policy is and what you need to do to make a claim was in order. So here's my brief & scrappy mbc summary of how to prepare for your VAT reclaim. Read Notice 719. Selected Highlights: Non-residential building converters both professional and amateur can reclaim VAT on eligible goods and services, or in…
Read More

Insulation ~ Wood Fibreboard

Made from pulped wood, wood fibreboard is potentially a local material for all. As such the challenges and costs (both financial and environmental) of transportation can be more easily managed than some alternatives. Description The pulped wood is held together to form boards, the adhesive used will influence the sustainability and environmental impact of the specific board. A resin adhesive is sometimes used to bind fibres, in some the natural lignin present among the fibres fulfils this role, or the fibres can be interwoven. Features Non-toxic (usually) & non-irritating. Biodegradable. Renewable. Adaptable. Can be used between wooden studs or in…
Read More

Insulation ~ Strawboard

Made from straw, a practically global resource strawboard is potentially a local material for all. Best viewed as an insulating ecological alternative to chipboard rather than purely as an insulator. Description Strawboard is made from straw waste that is pressed and then exposed to heat. Heated straw sweats out resins which create a natural binder. Strawboard can be sawn and painted and treated as a building material as well as an insulator. Features Biodegradable. Renewable. Low embodied energy. Locks in carbon. Fire resistant. Highly compressed strawboard panels do not bear enough oxygen to be flamable. Strong. Stramit strawboard panels will…
Read More

Attention to detail… October 2008 update

You can't beat a good list - this is the current position: In Progress Flooring and tiling We've bought slate wall tiles for both bathrooms and will buy slate flooring shortly. We've selected oak flooring for the first floor and a nice champagne coloured sandstone for the ground floor - orders for both will be placed shortly. Photographs of all this coming soon. Internal doors (find some that we like). Still working on that one. StorageWe've got a utility area in the kitchen and will install cupboards in the dressing area and second bedroom. Also hopefully we can install shelving…
Read More

Building Progress ~ to middle of October 2008

The South facing gable end of the barn has been one of the biggest issues we've faced. It always looked very sound and had been repointed recently. Once work started it become apparent that the pointing wasn't as sound as it looked - in fact the higher up the wall you went the worse it looked. I even managed to find stalactites-in-our-walls - which was nice. The wall is pretty exposed to the valley and gets all that wonderful rain thrown at it - a lot of which seeps in through the dodgy pointing just doesn't want to leave until…
Read More

Parasitic architecture

Whilst bringing to mind images of ticks and leeches, parasitic architecture is an umbrella term, used to refer to self-contained new buildings that are attached to an existing structure. Parasitic because of the use made of existing infrastructure. Personally, after the time and energy that have gone into my barn conversion project the prospect of picking a unit and dropping it on site is very attractive. A few examples... spacebox >> spacebox.co.uk Closely resembling storage containers of the type used to transport goods by sea and road, spacebox is a Dutch designed: '...high specification low-cost, studio-housing unit that can be…
Read More

Building Progress ~ September 2008

As Autumn (and an end to lime pointing) approaches things have come on at the barn. Plastered! We've been plastered. Plastering has been completed except for right at the 'top' of the barn, where the ceilings have yet to be completed. Cabling and pipes for the solar panels and other services are carried through a small roof space that we can't close up until everything is in place. The plastered walls give the whole place big push away from being a barn to being a house. I managed to get the top of the west facing aspect of the barn…
Read More

Heat pumps

Many people visiting this site are looking for information about heat pumps, being one who believes in giving the people what they want I thought an up-to-date summary was in order... Heat pumps take heat from a donor heat transfer medium (earth / air / water) and condense it for the purpose of heating water or air. The basis of heat pump technology is something we are all familiar with as it is similar to that used in refrigerators or air conditioning units ~ but in reverse. The heated water generated by a heat pump is often used for space…
Read More

Management and Control

I've given my opinion and explained the pragmatic approach to project management (some might call it a lack of management) that I employ. I've also described some of the tools that I use ... Google documents & Basecamp ... and some of the questions to answer when deciding 'how to manage your project'. Progressing with this I'd like to suggest to any would-be renovator to not over-manage or over-control your project. A successful renovation project requires skilled and talented people to be engaged and translate their talents into tangible parts of your renovation. With all the will in the world,…
Read More
No widgets found. Go to Widget page and add the widget in Offcanvas Sidebar Widget Area.