It’s not something I’ll ever forget again! – learning in a revolutionary way

As an adult, it is easy to forget the joy of learning through doing. I have recently had the luck of having my passion for learning kinaesthetically reignited and I would recommend this workshop to absolutely anyone and everyone.

Fitting my own TRV’s – thermostatic-radiator-valves

Lifting the ambient temperature in the kitchen and bathroom will help prevent moisture fall out, during cooking and bath times. When Spring comes, it’s possible we’ll only want to heat these two rooms for this purpose. So, it was here we decided to start.

A beautiful 1850’s Semi – a history of chimney damp spots

  Since purchase in 2016, various damp problems have manifested in numerous locations, several of which focus upon the centrally located chimney stack. Despite multiple attempts to resolve the problem; chimney and roof repairs, clearing and repairs to gutters, the symptoms have persisted. Following a recommendation and introduction from London […]

Having signed up for a plastering workshop…

Plastering with lime is often portrayed as very complex and difficult process, however this workshop proved to me that everyone can learn. Having never plastered myself before, after two days of learning and practising, I gained some good understanding and the confidence to plaster in my own home.

Playing with plaster

The BEACON project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government, and the primary aim is to undertake company-relevant innovation and R&D in relation to biorefining and the low carbon economy. One of our interests is in plants as building products. This week, together with Neighbourhood Construction, we have been working on creating samples of breathable plasters containing plant materials, in order to investigate their thermal properties and their capacity to buffer moisture. 

76-year-old non-scientific woman gathered the following

One of the things I have been impressed with is the idea of the partnership between ‘customer’ and ‘provider’ of work. The ethos of the Co-operative is to encourage the owners to join in and experiment for themselves. This can cut down cost and spread the knowledge around.

Don’t beware the temporary measure

The evidence-led approach provides a clear understanding of why, how, what and where the house is reacting in this way. Looking at things in context, short medium and long term also, makes you think about future ownership of this house and how I could make a more positive contribution as part of its history.

Moving on…

For the past thirteen years I have lived in fear of selling my house and “downsizing”. Down deep is the fear that a prospective buyer will discover just how many faults this huge Victorian house has. The Neighbourhood Construction home tutorial showed me that these fears are totally unfounded.

Cold damp and rather miserable – Victorian house

We spent the best part of a day looking at my project in my house. It was one of those moments when all of those question marks, all of those suspicions about what I could do, or should do with the property were crossed off my list. Decisions that I had put off for three years were made that day.

What is third fix carpentry?

Most of the work I do revolves around fixing doors and windows. Draught proofing them is often what people come to me for but the door or window in question is often malfunctioning. It usually has some form of wear or damage that is stopping it from performing it’s primary function thus creating the draughts in the first place.

Replacing the stove top kettle

Following the Home Tutorial, it was time to put into practice some of the suggestions made by Neighbourhood Construction. Regarding the kitchen, I popped the kettle on and took a look at the gas meter, to see how fast the dial spins each time I make a cup of tea. The answer, is faster than expected!

Start with the large

Two areas of damp in the kitchen were both sitting either side of the kitchen door. One of the main reasons for this were some cold air draughts coming in through holes in the kitchen wall. How can there be holes in the kitchen wall? They were hidden behind the fridge and washing machine. The first was a large one, left in place from a previous tumble drier and half-heartedly filled with rags by a previous owner. The others were left over from the current and previous waste pipes of the kitchen sink.

Could burning gas be making your house soggy?

An interesting thing that I was made aware of recently, is that the natural gas piped into our homes produces a surprising amount of water vapour when it combusts.

With modern boilers, this is not a problem since they are well sealed and vented via flues to the outside. However, where there are gas fires, gas hobs or gas ovens, these might contribute to the total amount of moisture in the house, thus raising the humidity & potential for condensation.

The beginning of the solid wall insulation retrofit journey

Traditional methods such as lime plastering are often the preserve of buildings deemed to be of historical importance, yet it seems to have been forgotten that more modest properties such as the ubiquitous Victorian terrace were also built with solid walls, lime plaster and a need to ‘breathe’. The designers and craftsmen who built them were creating a carefully balanced internal climate to ensure occupant comfort, avoidance of damp & protection of the fabric of the building and its structural integrity.

Landlocked kitchen and bathroom – extractors not connected to outside

Previous surveys were undertaken by preservation and treatment companies, (April 2013 and June 2016), have diagnosed rising damp and have recommended a chemical damp proof course and cement render, and yet the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors describe ‘rising damp’ as a myth. Following an introduction from Building Managment Company, Simon James Lewis, Neighbourhood Construction CIC has been invited to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property.

Making things safe with a collaborative rewire

Having recently moved into a two-story Victorian terraced house this homeowner was keen to embark on with a comprehensive, room by room refurbishment. Concerned that the old wiring could make the house unsafe, not only to live in but more importantly whilst working on it, especially as a leaky roof in […]

Bio-aggregate workshop – a practitioners perspective

Last week David attended a workshop on energy-retrofitting the traditional hygrothermal envelope. This included preparation, mixing and casting bio-aggregate mixture of hemp and lime onto existing masonry. The workshop, run by Neighbourhood Construction, taught the installation though kinaesthetic learning, a process that worked very well in understanding all the elements of delivering a project like this for a potential client.

Dead-legs and pipe-lagging

“The hot and cold pipes ran around under the study… twice, before heading up three floors” Smitten by the fittings, it was only after moving in that it was discovered how long it took to get lukewarm water to the upstairs bathroom. The source of this symptom was two floors below.     […]

Measuring is simple… right? Installing polycarbonate secondary glazing

“I had been meaning to draught proof the windows for ages.” I had contacted some companies and received extortionate quotes and then watched various DIY youtube videos. We live in a Victorian terrace house with sash windows that I love the look and feel of, especially the few panes we […]

This property presents itself very honestly – conveyancing report

A survey report undertaken on behalf of the prospective purchaser has highlighted symptoms of moisture. Following an introduction from the vendor’s surveyor, Simon James Lewis, Neighbourhood Construction CIC has been invited to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property. A site visit was […]

Listed Georgian property – unwittingly damaged by electrical installation

Unnecessary and irreversible damage has been sustained to this Listed Georgian property, timbers have been cut unnecessarily, lath and plaster have sustained avoidable damage and masonry work has been unnecessarily chased.

Uncontrolled ventilation and dysfunctional extraction

Following a previous site appraisal, The estate management company requested a further site visit and report be undertaken at an adjoining property, to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property. A site visit was undertaken on the afternoon of Wednesday the 9th […]