18th Nov: Fully Erect

Crane boys back doing a great job. Again 😉

What a week, but a thoroughly splendid one by anyone’s standards. Duane, Chris and Phil disappeared on Wednesday afternoon. I should really have updated the blog to show you just what a brilliant job they did – I could wax lyrical about it for hours. Imagine, building half a house in only six days. But I’ve been a little busy as Richard’s Ma and Pa came for their first visit since the ‘Van was delivered back in May and, more importantly, before any of the work had started. Rich Senior declared it was ‘Alright’, which is high praise indeed. As penance, Stu and I set him to work making the site clear which meant another ruddy great fire. Obviously, my Rich got in on the act and burnt his face. Again. I swear he’s a pyro, my hubster.

Our bedroom. Obviously it will have windows rather than membrane 😉

View from the utility room. WC on the right, front door straight ahead

Anyway, the really utterly amazing story is that we have an entire extension and, for the first time, we’ve been in the space that’ll be our bedroom – with the roof on. Hooray. I was a little concerned about the height of the walls as effectively living in the eaves, I didn’t want there to be a bit of unusable space (even for short-arses) like us. Originally, Lazy God applied for planning with dormer windows – which I hate with a vengeance so was delighted they were kicked to the boundary line by our ten year old planning officer. Instead, we’ve got Velux windows shedding light in our end of the gaffe – one for the stairwell, one for the dressing room, one for the shower room and two for the bedroom. That’s in addition to the four metre span of windows on the gable end. Rich and I did have a sneaky, dusty lie down imagining where our bed will go. Lying there, the only thing we’re going to see is stars. How romantic, even after ten years of marriage. Well, it was, until DependaPaul came in and joined us 😉

Phil, flying the SIPS kite…

Here’s what it looked like from the scaffold round the chimney

I think as we’re just over halfway through the build schedule, it’s only appropriate to do some before and after photos. Even now it’s difficult to remember just how bad the house was when we took it on. We’re utterly delighted with the progress so far – I think it’s even better than we hoped it could ever be. Looking back at the original photos, we must have been bonkers…

A while back

Looky look, no holes

Er, what were we doing?


It wasn’t that bad

Actually, it was worse

Paul’s bedroom before

Paul’s bedroom after

Indicative of the state throughout. We saw a bathroom

Not quite so much imagination needed!

The dream

The reality

See? Completely insane. Long may it continue 😉



11 responses to “18th Nov: Fully Erect

  1. Yes, they chase between the stone courses, pump resin in, put bars in (flexible) then more resin. Great stuff but expensive. Still, if it stops the old gal moving then it’s worth every penny.

  2. Hi, I’m going to follow your blog with interest as my husband and I are about to embark on a similar project. May I ask what heating system you are planning to install? (We’re not on mains gas so are considering a ground source heat pump.However, we don’t know that much about them at present). Thanks Gill

  3. Hi Gill
    No mains gas here either. After much consideration and research, we’re putting ground source heat pump in. Quite high capital outlay but we’re planning on staying here so it makes longterm financial sense – especially with the renewable heat incentive. Basically means that the cost of electric to run the system will be lower than the money the government gives us to run it. It’ll cost approx £500 per annum to run (heating and water) but we’ll get £900 back – a guaranteed, tax free payment. If you have the ground space, then it gives a better return than air source but there are plenty of options available. Are you if in the UK? If so, I’m happy to pass on my info/contacts if they’re relevant. Also, building with SIPS means far lower running costs because of the levels of airtightness, insulation, thermal bridging, etc – although obviously this doesn’t count for the old cottage part!

  4. Hi, ours is an old stone built cottage. We’re planning a renovation of the cottage with an extension. We’re wondering how effective a heat pump will be in the cottage part. Are you planning external insulation of the original cottage? And may I ask if you will be boring down or installing a trench system. We’re in Wales, by the way. Like you, we’re not planning to move so are willing to spend a lot initially if we think its going to be worthwhile in the long term.
    Thanks so much.

  5. Hi Gill, we’re installing the ground loop system as we have the land and it’s a bit cheaper than borehole. No insulation of the existing cottage – although it will have insulation in floor, thatched roof and double glazed windows. With underfloor heating throughout, it runs on a far lower temp than a normal radiator system – our expected running costs (due to calcs) are about £500/year for heating and hot water but we should get approx £900/year back from the government for the renewable heat incentive (this keeps changing though) – it’s guaranteed for min 7 years too. There are also some other grants – ground source gets £1250 back on installation. First fix plumbing starts in a couple of weeks – obviously, I’ll be covering it all on the blog!
    Hope that helps


  6. Thanks Emma. This is really useful information for us and we’ll definitely be researching this further. We’ll be following your project with interest.

  7. Are sip panels pre chased? I’m contemplating a 2 storey sip extension which would need to be dbl pitched and wondered how much pre planning needs to go in for location of down lights, switches, plugs,pipe runs etc. Would you also deem it necessary to get underfloor for a 7x4m kitchen/diner/garden room?
    Thanks for a very helpful blog!

    • Hi Edward, I wouldn’t worry too much about the pre-planning stuff – the council don’t really look at stuff like the internal changes (even the layout can be easily changed around). The SIPS panels aren’t pre-chased. They’re effectively the entire structure with windows and doorways built in – cladding/rendering/stone/brick/whatever goes on the outside and internally, there are a couple of methods for finishing. We went for double plasterboard – you chase out the first layer for utilities and then cover with the second before skimming. Hope that makes sense? Essentially, the actual panels have no bearing on services at all. (I think the other method is battens and single board with services behind boards – we thought double board would feel a bit more solid) HTH. Emma
      Oh, the heating? Depends what kind of system/boiler you’ve already got. If it can cope, then I’d go for it although it’ll obviously be more expensive than rads. The UFH does give a fantastic ambient temperature, without any cold/hot spots.

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