Diary of a house build near Munich

Bob the Baumeister is on the job

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Johnny English
@sarabyrd -

Pooltable - check
Dartboard - check
Table Footbal - check
Gamepod Driving Simulator - check (might need 2 of these)
Xbox connected to Plasma - check

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Johnny English
Topsy just reminded me. The world's slowest house build is still continuing. As you will all have noticed it has been a bitch of winter. They have been waiting for 2 clear days above freezing to lay the roof tiles, and this just hasn't happened!!!

Windows are in, first fittings (electrics and plumbing) are in. Tiles are now on. Next stage is plasterer (he needs warmer weather!!!), then underfloor heating, and then they lay the floor screed which needs to dry for 6 weeks (unreal). So sounds like July moving in to me.

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Johnny English
Picture of underfloor heating being laid:

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Johnny English
And some more progress shots. They have laid the floor screed, so must now wait another 2-3 weeks until they can lay the tiles and do further internal work. That said it is pretty much all there, windows are in, roof tiles are on - next is tiling on ground floor and cellar, tiling bathrooms, fit kitchen, doors, external decoration, fireplace and stuff like that.

No dramas so far to be honest. German workers have been excellent so far, architect has kept things moving nicely - only the bad winter that really slowed things up. I think should be finished mid-late June.

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Johnny English
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Overall at this stage I would say NOT to be scared of building over here. German builders are much more professional than their UK versions - always turn up on site, work hard, do not cause problems or aggro etc.
That is my experience anyway!

Housebuilding is cheap at the moment over here, and I saw in the Sunday Times that there are new UK funds being setup purely to invest into GERMAN property as it is looking like good value (and rental return is higher than the cost of funding etc).
OhFFS
I'll swap you your half built house for a paperclip.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4918184.stm
Topsy
the house looks fab, JE
peterwallace
Any particular reason why the underground heating is done in such a way (funny cicrlar shapes)? They are water pipes right ? Will they be set in concrete or under wooden floors . What kind of temperatures of water or oil can you pass in them ?
Johnny English
the house looks fab, JE
- thanks Topsy, shame that the new TT system is now pointing out that it has been built in the arse end of nowhere! But hopefully I will be a comfortable hermit.

Any particular reason why the underground heating is done in such a way (funny cicrlar shapes)? They are water pipes right ? Will they be set in concrete or under wooden floors . What kind of temperatures of water or oil can you pass in them ?
The first picture was before the concrete went down, then you can see on the next photos AFTER the concrete has been laid on top. They are indeed water pipes (heated from gas boiler in the cellar), and I think the idea is just to spread the heat roughly evenly through the concrete.

No idea what temperature the actual water runs, but you can usually "feel" the heat coming through on underfloor systems with your bare feet. As it happens we have also been looking into adapting the system so that it runs cold water in summer - this would technically work to cool a house down.

However we have not installed this as we also have one of these new "air exchange" systems. The idea is that it can recirculate all the air in the house every 4 hours with fresh from outside. There is a heat exchanger that "sucks" any warmth out before changing for fresh air. So the idea is that you can keep the windows shut (keeps flys and warm air out in summer), plus there is a further heat exchanger sunk into the garden earth that will "cool" the air by a few degrees in summer as well. But it is not air-conditioning as such.

In theory the air exchanger not only provides fresh air, but also filters out particles so the house "should" be less dusty. Humans constantly shed skin so dust is actually produced inside a house!

I am no "dust" or "fresh air" crank but the problem is when building your own house, as some of you will hopefully discover (rather than purchasing), you can't help getting drawn into fitting the latest gadgets because of course it will always be "too late" to add these later.

So it is a kinda "hidden cost" I would say when comparing building to buying - it is very easy to talk yourself into the latest stuff. For instance I think the glass is some special insulated gear or something.
kitkat64
Hey JE - what kind of flooring are you putting down over the heating system coils? We have natural stone floors and, let me tell you, they are like ice-cubes in the winter (if you don't have the heat on) but are very cool in the summer. In fact, the whole house stays much cooler than you would think in the summer. Of course, we have some very strategically placed trees that really block out most of the sun over the winter garden so it stays cooler.
Johnny English
Ground floor is tiles, stairs are tiles, most of the cellar is tiles except the guest room and my boys room which will be carpet. Then carpet upstairs in bedrooms.

We quite like the european leaning towards tiled floors - easier to keep clean, and you can break stuff up with rugs if you fancy.
Allershausen
I've got tiled floors with underfloor heating, in my case some sort of electric matting and it is excellent. The only drawback is that you have to have the heating running all the time, no point in turning it off or down at night because it takes forever to heat the tiles up again the next day.
kitkat64
Exactly, Allershausen. It takes forever to heat them up. There is no such thing as 'a warm house in an hour' with this stuff.

BTW, at home today and listening to the workers setting up the scaffolding around our house. Time to get the facade fixed and the whole house will be repainted with a slightly lighter color this time around. The darker color (it's a terracotta color) is supposedly bad when it comes to heating up and cooling down - more susceptible to cracks - which is what happened in our just 5 year old house. Luckily, the original builders are making good on the warrantee.
Johnny English
Agreed. Underfloor heating is certainly slow to get going, but I think it is a big advantage not to have ugly radiators that get in the way of furniture positioning etc. Also I like the idea that the heat is spread evenly rather than literally "radiating" from certain points.
HellesAngel
Talking of tiled floors and breaking things up - my flat has stone floors and I've noticed that you only drop things on them once. As you point out, easy to sweep the bits up.
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