Thursday, December 21, 2006

Good news and bad news

Bry beginning the preparations for the new conservatory
First the good news: we got planning permission for the large conservatory that we wanted to build onto the front of the house. The intention was and is for passive solar heat capture. So now I'm starting the major excavations needed to prepare for the foundations and insulated floor. We're aiming for low U values throughout the structure so the floor and support wall will be well insulated. I try to do a couple of hours of levering and excavating of huge stones each day.

Now the bad news: Despite trying hard to get everything right so far as building regulations are concerned when constructing the eco-cottage, we've failed on several things in the final check. We are both quite angry and upset about this because we feel strongly that we just didn't get the support we needed, as self-builders, during construction. Let's hope matters are resolved satisfactorily when we meet up with the Building Control Manager in early January. Elsewhere in Europe, self build is common but in the UK, very few people have the courage and commitment to do it themselves. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is because 'the authorities' don't much like them and the system simply doesn't allow for non-professionals to receive kindly guidance so that they get the regulations bit right first time. In our case, you'd think that our cottage would be a shining beacon of effective renovation and proper construction for the low carbon build which we should all be aiming for. But nobody seems interested in our massive insulation and SAP rating of 107 (the maximum possible is 120). Shame!