Windows and SIPs Roof Structure Ordered

With about a month to go before work starts on site it makes sense to order the items with the longest lead times so they don’t hold up the build schedule later. In particular:

  • The SIPs structure for the second floor walls and the roof, which needs to be ready to go on as soon as the cavity walls are up to second floor level. Since this is being contracted as a design/make package with the supplier (Sips UK) the detailed design work also needs to be completed soon in order that the thermal performance can be checked in PHPP and so that the load-bearing assumptions for the masonry structure can be confirmed.
  • The windows and external doors, which have a 10 – 14 week lead time once all the dimensions and specifications have been confirmed. I’ve settled on using windows and doors from Europe’s leading Passivhaus-certified window manufacturer Internorm, located in Austria, supplied and installed by their leading UK distributor ecoHaus Internorm who are based near Stroud in Gloucestershire. While the Internorm windows are not cheap, I’ve looked at a few alternatives and I’m happy they represent the best value for money – both the build quality and the performance are excellent.

Placing orders for these sort of items means paying a substantial deposit. As with most of the building work, these sub-contracts are being managed via my main contractor. Since we’re not quite ready to sign the main building contract these initial orders have been covered under a Letter of Intent which will get subsumed into the main contract once that is signed.

Main Contractor Appointed

After much discussion with the contractors on my shortlist, following up their references and refining the specification for the house in order to fit within my budget I have finally decided on a Main Contractor for the build phase – Steve Yardley and the team from Burton Building Solutions. As with all good contractors they’re booked up for the next few months but they’re forecasting being ready to start work on site before the end of September.

My main reasons for choosing this particular contractor were:

  • They’re pretty local and work with a good team of local subcontractors. They also know the local Building Control and Planning people.
  • They impressed me with their attention to detail throughout the tender process. I’m confident they have quoted for exactly what I asked for and they won’t substitute items without prior agreement.
  • They have a proven track record of delivering Passivhaus levels of performance, especially with regard to Air Tightness which is particularly sensitive to the quality of the on-site workmanship. I’m happy they understand the importance of the high standards they need to achieve and that they will be able to deliver them.

Apart from the small matter of getting confirmation of a very substantial mortgage, everything is now lined up to turn my plans into reality.