Feb 012018

Before the rain arrived (about 3pm ) we got out there to get up and installed the six rafters we had made way back before Christmas, into the “P” section of the roof.



These rafters were simple straight ones coming down from the O Ridge beam to the “P” wall, four of them had full eves sticking out and the last two didn’t.
Then after tidying up all our tools, under the steady patter of rain, we went and measured the last P4 rafter position so we can update the spreadsheet and then have the sizes for the last 4 rafters (P1 through to P4) to finish off the whole “P” section of the roof’s framework, covering the Great Room and alongside the conservatory.
We also measured on the other side for the middle rafter in the “N” section coming down from the O Ridge to the corner of the N and M walls. This particular rafter the only straight one in this group of rafters and it is situated in the metal bracket on the O Ridge so once that one is made and installed, we can measure alongside this rafter, on both sides, and get more measurements for the spreadsheet and we then can calculate what we would need to make the “N” rafters.
Finally, we returned back into the dry workshop and drilled bolt holes and sanded little slopes on the webbing so they can slide onto the leg and spread out the glue better. That concludes the work for today and the rain can do it worse. Hopefully, we can see dry weather tomorrow or else, we will be in the workshop and start preparing for those final P rafters!

 Posted by at 4:02 pm
Jan 312018

This morning, a slight change of plan as the weather has come over wet again, so we got on with the job of cutting the bevel ends on the rafters going into the near corner of the Great Room near the front of the house. There were six in all, 5 were the full size rafters and the last one was just the top flange piece.
We dusted off the Slicing Saw Machine and got the template out of the shed and proceeded to slice the angled ends on these rafters.
And that is it for the day as the weather is now hailing frozen blobs of water so we will have an afternoon off and resume in the morning when we can start to put up these rafters and the others into place at last .. .. weather permitting!!!

 Posted by at 1:47 pm
Jan 302018

Today, we went outside, all kitted out in thermals and work clothes for the first time in weeks and tackled some jobs around the site that needs to be done.
The first little job was to repair the tarpaulin cover over our stack of 89mm CLS timber where bits of the temporary wooden framework have been pulled apart in the strong winds we had several weeks ago. It also ripped the tarpaulin. But we managed to screw back together the framework again and then reattached the tarpaulin back onto the framework, avoiding the rip.
The second job was to bring in all the rafters that will need the bevel cuts on the ends. We were planning to do those in the afternoon when the daylight fades. These rafters have been sitting outside in the middle of the house under many layers of fresh tarpaulin.
And then after lunch, we removed the broken old plastic fence along the Loke Boundary which had finally been broken by the winds. We replaced the whole section with new wooden posts and a new plastic black meshing too.

Repairs To Tarpaulin Covers Over Timber and Boundary Fence Replaced


The whole length was 30 metres long and we situated a new post (using off cuts of 63mm CLS treated timber) every 5 metres. We dug a hole using our hole digging tool and a narrow spade to make 500mm deep holes to hold the post vertical and bedded down tight.
The last 5 metre section was angled inwards towards our driveway and manhole cover to the sewage system.
We finished quite late as it was getting dark and we felt that was enough for us for our first day of real work again!!
Tomorrow, we will start by installing the long rafters up into the “P” section of the roof and then cut the bevel ends after that.

 Posted by at 5:02 pm
Jan 292018

Today, we just remembered that we got to do our tax returns so the day was spent doing that instead!! Oh blow! Another day lost!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jan 272018

Another week is lost to another bout of cold or flu virus attack! It is the second lots for us both and this time, it is likely to have been the flu virus. It is definitely noticeable to how much more worse this winter has been with these bugs flying around than previous years.
But we are well on the mend now and on Monday, we will slowly get back into the routine of work again, it is going to be very odd after so much time lost!!

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jan 202018

As a companion to the report Winter Cold Virus Hits the Workforce!, this blog describes the last two weeks of our building work.
so with the background noises of coughing, sniffing, sneezing and talking with croaky voices, we have been analysing the design of our Glazing Framework for the Skylight. We are thinking of reducing the number of glazing wooden rafters from the regular 600mm spacing to more like 1000mm instead. This would make the aspect of the skylight more pleasant to look at and to look through too. It would mean less physical number of elements to construct, assemble and install.

Structural Analysis

But first, we had to analyse the structural requirements of our roof to make sure the glass can take the strain and loading of various weather conditions, like for example, a foot of snow or gale force winds, as specified in the Building Regulations for our easterly region. The result of that research was that our primary glazing layer needs to be 6mm toughened glass, spanning the 1200mm by 1000mm of support.

Size and Spacing

Next, we took each section of the Skylight in turn, to adjust the size of the glass so it is a regular spacing, for each room upstairs, taking into account the maximum we are allowed as per calculation of research we did, as follows:

  • Great Room: 1 module – 1200mm and lots of triangular pieces
  • Spare bedroom: 4 modules – 1011mm
  • Hall & Stair: 2 modules – 813mm
  • Study: 2 modules – 1008mm
  • Workshop: 5 modules – 1061mm plus more triangular pieces

The other side of the skylight (where our solar electric collectors are located), starts with more triangles and a 1200mm section over the great room then a regular spacing of 917mm most of the way along the whole length, in 13 modules followed by a last few triangle pieces. This deliberate design choice allows us to fix and clamp the sloping wooden rafters right through the ridge beam for extra strength and security and allow

Thermal Properties

the solar panel modules to all the same size.
Another part of our analysis we have been doing, is the thermal properties of these glazing units, whether the cost of double or triple, or even quad glazing would payback and how quickly. Plus, the added complications of wear and tear to these sealed glazing units, during a hot and cold heat cycle and that causes physical stresses to the joints that seals the layers of the glass panes together. Thermal expansion is one of the most powerful forces out there and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it, apart from engineering the joints and seals to cope with the stress and strain of this physical effect.


At this moment, the results of our research in heat loss, the weather conditions and thermal properties of the various glazing options, here is a summary (for the whole Skylight):

  • Heat Loss: 12050 kWh per year using a 10 year historical data
  • Energy Cost: £1205 per year with single glazing
  • Double Glazing extra: £2000 to buy but Energy cost cuts dramatically to £140; payback time is 2 years!
  • Triple Glazing: £3000 to buy; £85 per year for energy; 3 years payback time
  • Quad Glazing: £4000 to buy; £60 per year; 4 years payback time.
NOTE: One aspect of this research that have not been included in these calculations, is the Solar Gain factor. This is a very powerful energy source and our Skylight is very large and will be collecting a great deal of solar energy during the daylight hours and we haven’t incorporated this into our calculations. But roughly, it will save us even more money and the payback time would reduce even further!

These payback times are all based on a fresh start as the building is constructed, but it would be a completely different story if after 20 years, we have to replace the glazing units and it would be a pure fixed cost spread over the lifetime of the product. Everything fails eventually so one has to get into the frame of mind that we should be saving some money away in a piggy bank so we are ready for the replacement. Glazing units are now given a lifetime of 20 to 25 years so if it costs £4000 up front, then we need to put away £250 per year for 20 years, as no doubt the prices will rise too! eeek!
Our next job is to translate all this into a construction plans, building an order for materials and plan procedures etc.

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
Jan 202018

This is a report of several days of illness for our two man workforce, both being subjected to the damn annoying winter cold viruses, but not at the same time!!
The week beginning the 8th January (Monday) was lost with a few days of no action. Then the 2nd attack occurs in the middle of the following week (16th January Tuesday onwards) lying both workmen low separately and consecutivly – how annoying!!
We may see work resume on Monday 22nd January onward, if the weather is kind to us, but we haven’t lost all these last 14 days, we did manage to do some design analysis towards the procurement of items to build the Skylight, more info in the Glazing Framework Type, Shape and Size Final Adjustments report.

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
Jan 062018

The last couple of days, we have been doing a couple of odd jobs and today, clearing the storage yard ready for the arrival of our Oak Timber.
We repaired a puncture in the tyre of our large flatbed trolley and used it today to transport three piles of PU foam boards and also the six containers holding our thermal solar tubes and moved them all inside our main building to get them out of the way.





We then repaired our two large door mats which were tearing apart and stuck them on to a sheet of hardboard using our builder’s silicone glue and did some other little odd jobs too.

So on Monday, hopefully with good weather, we will get on with installing the “P” rafters and get back into the flow of creating more rafters to finish off the last few sections in our roof!!

 Posted by at 5:33 pm
Jan 042018

We finalised and double checked our Oak Timber quantity and got a final quote from the timber merchant today.
The major difficulty we have is that the large quantity of the Oak timber, amassing to 6 cubic metres or about 5 tons of timber, needed some means of being off-loaded from the delivery truck and we don’t have an on-site forklift truck and also we are down at the end of an unadopted narrow lane too.
So we are having to pay for the hire of an lorry with all-terrain forklift vehicle, being transported alongside the Oak, from the merchants themselves. It is about £500 but that is less than 10% of the total order which is not so bad, and just something we have to accept as part of our building project’s overheads.
The timber will take about 2 weeks to come and we will do some site management and re-arrange piles of insulation boards and move them into the house and make a cleared area, ready to receive the Oak.

 Posted by at 3:21 pm
Dec 252017

It is Christmas!!

We have blitzed the whole workshop, to tidy it up and make it as clean as possible, ready for having our family around to celebrate this festive moment of the year!



The completed “P” rafters, all eleven (and one little chunk of timber!), are now outside in the middle of the house, all covered up in two layers of tarpaulin to keep them dry and in the new year, we will resume work and install them!!



Also during this holiday break, we will do other small jobs like repairing tyres on the flatbed trolley, unblock guttering and downpipes (on our temporary storage building) and anything else that has been put off all year! Eeek!

So Merry Christmas!

 Posted by at 9:54 am