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Building Progress ~ April 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal May 18th, 2012 by mbc

…finishing touches…(temporarily halted)…

So with our new arrival (Amy, born on the 14th of April) progress stopped in April.

I’ll make this post for the sake of completeness, but have no real progress to report: just some general tidying, feeding and seeding the lawn and clearing out the drainage channels prompted by all the rain we’ve been having.

Right, now back to work and hopefully some progress to report in May…

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Flue Guard

Category: Barn Conversion Journal April 22nd, 2012 by mbc

As mentioned in previous progress reports, I’ve been working a fire-guard to go around the flue that runs through the second bedroom. The purpose of the guard is to stop anyone (small children) and anything (paper, clothing etc.) from accidentally coming into contact with the flue when a fire is burning and the flue is hot and thus getting burnt or setting alight. I couldn’t find an off-the-shelf (or hearth) solution that fit the bill so decided to make my own from perforated sheet metal, aluminium ‘L’ shaped strips and a wooden base. The parts are all attached together using a resin based ‘welding’ gel (two tubes of paste that you mix together, apply to the surfaces you want to join and allow to set) bought from eBay.

Hopefully it will also conform to building reg’s, the relevant regulation – Document J Building Regs 2010, section 1.45, (heavily edited) states:

‘where a chimney passes through a … storage space … providing a guard…’

From Barn Conversion 2012

It wasn’t a cheap solution, although I guess cheaper than the alternatives, each of the perforated sheets was over £40, but I think it does the job and looks acceptable.

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Building Progress ~ March 2012

Category: Barn Conversion Journal April 13th, 2012 by mbc

…finishing touches…continued (slowly)…

Hhmmm, wondering exactly what I did achieve in March…

Painting the door frames: I made a start on this back in February and some slow progress in March. I’ve chosen a simple white painted door lining, frame and architrave that I think looks good partnered with untreated, natural oak doors.

I used an ‘eco’ soya oil paint (I think the brand is eco2, but it’s not entirely clear from the packaging) for the first trial doorframe – the one between the kitchen and the utility room – but I wasn’t happy with the finish. In fairness the paint was a couple of years old, having been used on downstairs skirting boards then resealed, but it left a grainy finish and tended to slide off the primed architraves. So looking around and with some advice from @charliebudd on Twitter I selected Little Greene paint for the job – a combined primer and undercoat then a white oil (vegetable) based eggshell. I summary, it is lovely paint, coverage and application are great and it makes the task of painting the frames slightly less onerous (yet still hardly soul lifting!).

Early Welsh Summer: We’ve had some lovely weather of late and we all suspect an even earlier summer than usual with drizzle expected from May onwards! The good weather has driven me outside…

I’ve started to rearrange or remove some of the debris in the yard and around the garage, mainly wood and stone from the barn, with the aim being to achieve more home-like / less building-site-like outside spaces.

With some much help I also managed to remove a partly fallen bough from the large scots pine tree that stands at the top of the yard that was damaged during storms last autumn – pictures coming soon.

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Doors before

Category: Barn Conversion Journal March 23rd, 2012 by mbc

My current main indoor job is painting the door frames & linings that are still in their original state – untreated timber linings and white coated MDF architraves.

Here are a couple pictures of them in their ‘before’ state. I suspect there won’t be a great deal of visual difference ‘after’ as all I intend to do is paint the door frames & linings white and leave the doors as they are, but we’ll see.

I’m using Little Greene undercoat and eggshell paint following some advice I received via Twitter user @CharlieBudd, so far it seems to be a nice product. I’ll provide a more in-depth report later on.

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The Green Deal – summary of Greg Barker speech at Ecobuild

Category: Barn Conversion Journal, News March 21st, 2012 by mbc

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker had plenty to say about the Green Deal in his speech at the Ecobuild conference in London yesterday. The full text of the speech is available on the The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) website.

My summary is:

  • Confirmation that the Deal will be launched this autumn.
  • Not only aimed at ‘a whole range of home improvements beyond insulation’

    The Green Deal will act as a catalyst to stimulate innovation so that more and more energy savings products come to the market.

  • Interesting statistics:

    The UK building stock was responsible for 43% of total UK emissions in 2009.
    We estimate that this year up to 4.1m households will be in fuel poverty in England alone.

  • The Green Deal varies from previous schemes in the breadth of the measures that should be eligible for it:

    The Green Deal has been designed to finance the installation of a broad range of measures across the energy efficiency market. Our goal is to enable the property to benefit from all the improvements that can create savings.

    The heating, glazing, lighting and Microgeneration industries will all be able to use this innovative financing mechanism.

    Less we-known measures which improve energy efficiency, such as flue gas heat recovery and waste water recovery systems will also be eligible for finance under the Green Deal.

    The key is for measures to be self-financing – able pay for themselves over their lifetime. However, even partially self-financing measures can still be part-financed under the scheme as part of a package of improvements.

  • The Renewable Heat Incentive and the Green Deal will operate side-by-side. Some technologies covered by the RHI will be eligible under the Green Deal as well. Work will be undertaken to further integrate the two schemes and how they are marketed.
  • A new Green Deal advice service goes live on 2nd April
  • Some of the hurdles to entry for providers have been removed or diluted. The requirements for Green Deal providers to have a surety bond in place prior to authorisation, for them to provide an independent conciliation service and to hold warranties for the length of the plan have been removed. Instead of the independent conciliation service “we are procuring a bespoke Green Deal Ombudsman to deal with any Green Deal complaints” – whatever that means!
  • The British Standards Institution recently published a new set of standards for Green Deal installers. Companies wishing to install measures under the Green Deal must be certified to this new standard.
  • There’s also mention of the Big Society (cringe!). With a expectation of collaborations within communities delivering change.

No mention of delays in launching the Green Deal, although DECC officials have recently been speaking of a phased launch or a slow start to the scheme.

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…