Monthly Archives: May 2013

Update on 3 phase electricity

Written by stephen gale

We had a visit this week from an engineer from Northern Power Grid to look at the solution (or solutions) to the supply of 3 phase electricity to the property.  It turns out to be easier than we thought.

The pole that is carrying the current single phase supply is also a 3 phase supply too.  Now the engineer has pointed it out, I can see the transformer on a pole in one of the fields across the valley.  It is this that is providing the 3 phase supply.

He now has enough information to provide us with a quote.  This is the final piece of the jigsaw before we can place the order for the ground source heat pump – there was little point in installing one if it was going to cost £10K to install a 3 phase supply.

As it turns out, it looks as if the 3 phase supply, and the alterations to the single phase supply, (assuming that we dig the trenches) is around £2K.  But we will have to wait for official confirmation.

It is cheaper and makes more sense for us to dig the trenches as we will have a machine on site to dig the foundations for the extension as part of Phase 2.

3 Phase electricity

Written by stephen gale

It looks as if we are going to need a 3 phase electricity supply due to the load that the ground source heat pump is going to put on the electricity supply.  The calculations have been done by NuHeat (the ground source heat pump supplier) and it has been recommended that we use a 24Kw unit.  It is possible to use two smaller units, each running on a single phase supply, but using a single unit is both cheaper and takes up less space.

So the challenge now is to get a 3 phase supply to the property. This is arranged through Northern Power Grid (www.northernpowergrid.co.uk) who provide the supply rather than E.on or EDF who you might actually provide you with a bill.  I filled in an application form online to request the supply.  There were quite a few questions that I needed help from the heat pump supplier to answer.  But with a few exchanges of emails, it was all sorted.  Once the request is submitted, it takes around 5 weeks to get a quote for the work.

In discussions with Richard the builder it turns out that it might be a good idea to get the single phase supplies altered too.  Currently, the electricity supply comes in via a pole and then a couple of cables attached to the outside of the property.  The supply then runs along the front of the property to two separate electricity meters – 0ne in number 8 and one in number 10.  The obvious thing to do is to remove one of the meters and then move the remaining meter to the new utility room (yet to be built) and in the process bring the cable from the pole underground to the utility room.  This removes the need for an ugly electricity cable across the front of the property.

I rang Northern Power Grid to see what I need to do to get the single phase supply moved.  As luck would have it, it appears that I already put in a request for one of the electric meters to be removed on the application form of the 3 phase supply.  It appears that I had forgotten about it (blame my age).  Anyway, the request for the 3 phase supply, disconnecting one of the single phase meters and putting the cables underground has now been added to a single job request.

This is a major result as it simplifies a number of requests into one.  Nice one Northern Power Grid!

The builders have arrived

Written by stephen gale

Work started first thing this morning and there is already progress being made.  The skip that we had removed last week, has now re-appeared, but this time being paid for the builders. 

Scaffolding has started to be erected at the rear of the property, but it will be the end of the week before it is complete.  This is in preparation for removing the roof.  This should happen next week.

We also had a visit from the engineer from Northern Power Grid.  He is looking into the feasibility of providing us with 3 phase electricity for the ground source heat pump.  We would also like to re-route the existing single phase supply so that it is not attached the front of the property.  It would appear (at least from today’s conversation) that both requests are pretty straightforward.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

I an going to be down in London over the next few days, so it will be Friday before I get to see the house again.  I am really looking forward to seeing how much progress they manage to make for the rest of the week.

Day one and the scaffolding has already started to be erected.  The roof comes off next week.

Day one and the scaffolding has already started to be erected. The roof comes off next week.

Day one and some real progress.  Also lots and lots of rain.  For once, the weather was great over the Bank holiday but then terrible during the week.  Time for me to catch up on some paperwork indoors.

Day one and some real progress. Also lots and lots of rain. For once, the weather was great over the Bank holiday but then terrible during the week. Time for me to catch up on some paperwork indoors.

Dry stone walling: Day 24

Written by stephen gale

We had three great weather days in a row – and over a Bank holiday too!  We have now completed 25.5m of wall in the orchard with only another 22m to go to!

Dry stone wall in the orchard

Written by stephen gale

I guess we must be approaching the half-way mark with the dry stone wall in the orchard.  Must be time for a photo.  Here’s a (slightly messy) panorama of the progress so far.

This is the current extent of the rebuilt dry stone wall in the orchard at the end of day 23.

This is the current extent of the rebuilt dry stone wall in the orchard at the end of day 23.

Dry stone walling: Day 22 & 23

Written by stephen gale

Well, the weather over the Bank Holiday weekend has been great so far.  With any luck we will end up with 3 good days on the trot.  Difficult to believe when Friday’s weather was so cold and wet.

With most of the work done inside of the cottages and the builders due to start next week, our attention has turned back to the dry stone wall in the orchard.  It is a real pleasure to work outdoors in such fine weather.  With two of us working on it together, we have made significant progress in the last couple of days.

The wall at the start of day 23.

The wall at the start of day 23.

End of day 23.  The wall closest to us has just foundation stones, the next section is about 50cms high, the next section is complete but without coping stones and the wall furthest away has coping stones.

End of day 23. The wall closest to us has just foundation stones, the next section is about 50cms high, the next section is complete but without coping stones and the wall furthest away has coping stones.

Removing the gas meters and gas supply

Written by stephen gale

There are two gas meters attached to the front of the property – one for number 10, the other for number 8.  These need to be removed before the outside of the property can be sand blasted, furthermore the gas supply needs to be cut off entirely if the concrete at the front of the building is going to be removed.

Both of the gas supplies are turned off at the meter and the gas pipe is capped off inside the building (just in case someone opens up the meter box and turns the gas back on).  British Gas supply gas to number 10, EDF are the supplier for number 8.  A quick call to British Gas a month or so ago sorted out removing the meter – due to happen on 17th June.  EDF work in a different way and asked for a local gas fitter to remove the meter and for us to then ring them and they will come and collect it.  So far so go.

Capping off the gas supply to the property isn’t quite so simple, although it should only mean digging a hole in the drive (and not the main road).  I was told that Transco are responsible for this, but this is not the case.  You need to contact your local gas transporter.  To find out who this is ring 0870 160 0229 and provide your postcode or have a look at this map.

A quick call to Northern Gas Networks (0845 057 0605) got the ball rolling and I got a call back later in the afternoon to say that the planners had had a look at the maps and the estimated cost would be around £800 and could probably be completed in about 8 weeks time.  More expensive and more time.  Hopefully, this is not going to hold up any of the building work. 

There is a separate charge for reconnecting the gas later on.  This can take 10-12 weeks so needs to be planned well in advance.

Clearing out the cottages

Written by stephen gale

HD9 Construction, the Phase 1 builders, have started to arrive.  Some materials and a cement mixer are now stacked in the rear field. 

The final bit of fencing has been removed from the rear garden.  There was some old corrugated steel sheets leaning up against the fence, but that went to the scrapyard yesterday. 

The gas log fire was removed yesterday as well.  Although it uses a stainless steel flue, it would appear that the chimney was not swept before the gas fire was fitted.  As a result, I got covered in soot when I removed the fire.  I had a bit of a “sense of humour failure”.  We will put the fire on Ebay in due course.  It is better than putting it in the skip.

Later in the day, I went to see our neighbour to let her know that the building work is going to start next week.  Top tip – look in the mirror after you have been removing a gas fire – it was covered in soot and I only realised when I got home at the end of the day. Goodness what our neighbour thought!

Dovre 500 gas log fire.  It needs a bit of a clean before it goes on Ebay, but it has to be better than putting it in the skip.

Dovre 500 gas log fire. It needs a bit of a clean before it goes on Ebay, but it has to be better than putting it in the skip.

Preparing for the builders…..

Written by stephen gale

With any luck, the builders are due to start next week, so this week it is all about getting ready and finishing off those last-minute jobs.  And there are a lot of them!

First job today is to collect up all the scrap and take it to the scrapyard.  I had been waiting to take down the porch so that we can add the lead to the haul.  With the porch having been demolished this weekend, it is time to go to the scrap yard.  Our haul today came to £125.  Of which, £30 was the lead flashing from the porch roof.

The temporary orange fencing is becuase some of the corrugated steel sheets are longer than the pickup - even with the tailgate down.

The temporary orange fencing is becuase some of the corrugated steel sheets are longer than the pickup – even with the tailgate down.

The porch

Written by stephen gale

Ever since we have owned the property, we have wanted to get rid of the porch.  It is a later (much later) addition and has never really fitted in with the rest of the property – white uPVC windows and Welsh slate on the roof doesn’t really help.  We have resisted demolishing it until now as it will make the site look like a building site, but with the builders due to start next week, it is time for it to go!

The first job is to remove the gutters and the rainwater pipes to allow access to the roof.  Then it is time for the plaster board inside the porch to be removed together with the polystyrene slabs of insulation inside the roof space.

The most difficult job is to remove the slates off the roof.  The slates are pretty green and slippery, so climbing on the roof isn’t a great idea.  So we removed the slates from the edge of the roof while standing on a set of ladders, then it was a case of climbing on the roof and working from right to left removing the slates as we go while standing on the battens.  The slates were pretty damaged and with a small roof like this, there is little point in trying to save them – you might end up with a dozen or so good slates.

With the slates removed, the battens and the felt come off next.  Then the underlying timbers are removed.

The double glazed units were a little more of a challenge since they were screwed together before the glass was put in.  This means to take it apart requires removing the glass units first.  Alternatively, you can prize the units apart and use an angle grinder to cut through the retaining screws.

 

Here's the porch before being removed.  The dates that we found on the double glazed units when demolitioning it stated that they were manufactured in 1999.  I suspect that these were a later addition so this porch has been here for a while.  I don't really understand the two bricks at the base of the retaining wall (next to the steps).

Here’s the porch before being removed. The dates that we found on the double glazed units when demolitioning it stated that they were manufactured in 1999. I suspect that these were a later addition so this porch has been here for a while. I don’t really understand the two bricks at the base of the retaining wall (next to the steps).

The inside of the porch with the plasterboard ceiling removed.  Various bits of polystrene had been put into the roof space to insulate it (in a bit of a half hearted sort of way).

The inside of the porch with the plasterboard ceiling removed. Various bits of polystrene had been put into the roof space to insulate it (in a bit of a half hearted sort of way).

Apparently, it isn't fair to let an 80 year old climb on the roof.  Oh well, I guess, I'll have to do it.  Jo's dad looks on.

Apparently, it isn’t fair to let an 80 year old climb on the roof. Oh well, I guess, I’ll have to do it. Jo’s dad looks on.

Slates and felt removed from the porch

The slates, felt and timber removed.  The lead flashing is still attached to the main wall.  This will be removed to go to the scrapyard next week.

The slates, felt and timber removed. The lead flashing is still attached to the main wall. This will be removed to go to the scrapyard next week.

Slates, felt and timbers have now been removed from the roof of the porch leaving just the double glazed units.

Slates, felt and timbers have now been removed from the roof of the porch leaving just the double glazed units.

Just the small retaining wall left with the rendering on the inside of the porch.  This will get removed before the property is sand blasted.

Just the small retaining wall left with the rendering on the inside of the porch. This will get removed before the property is sand blasted.