We’ve gone for a Panel Wall System from Kingspan Century

After looking at a range of construction options we settled on a timber frame wall system using factory-assembled panels. These Structured Insulated Panels come with door & window openings already in place, insulation inside and are bolted onto the foundations.

The whole house frame is assembled on site in less than a week helping to speed the build to completion. There are several other advantages to the SIP system including very precise and accurate construction, high insulation values, high airtightness and slim wall profiles.

We chose the Kingspan Century Ultima wall system after much deliberation. There are a small number of Irish suppliers of SIP systems and all offer a good product but the Kingspan package won on a combination of cost and features in the overall package.

The Ultima Wall SIP system combines an insulated timber panel with airtightness membrane and high performance insulation on the inner face and a battened service cavity which is enclosed in plasterboard after all the trades have done their pipe work and wiring.

For more information on the Ultima wall system click here : http://www.kingspancentury.com/cent/product_ultima_wall.html



Mortgage Approved – the project begins now

We are ecstatic with the news that our mortgage application has been approved by the Bank of Ireland.  We’ve to sign lots of paperwork, submit forms and such-like but it means we can finally get down to signing contracts and getting the whole build process underway.

I’d like to acknowledge the support of the mortgage team in Bank of Ireland, 125 O’Connell Street in Limerick and in particular Daryl & Gerry who were most supportive of our application and provided valuable feedback to allow us to make a comprehensive application.

I know the whole property market is in turmoil at present but the belief and support for our project has been encouraging and it shows that there is some mortgage lending going on in the market, at least to us anyway, so we cannot complain!!

Thank you Bank of Ireland .. Here we go!

Mortgage Application Submitted

So the final application and all the paperwork has been submitted to the Bank for the Mortgage.  We took time to put together as comprehensive an application as possible with lots of supporting documentation to back it up.

We can do no more but sit and wait for a few days to see what the decision will be.

Fingers crossed.

Pricing the Build of the House

We have been getting quotes for all the elements of the house and preparing a Bill of Quantities which we are using the work out the total build cost.

We have piles of brochures and materials from suppliers, an email inbox full of correspondences and spreadsheets of various types to gather the costs together.

There are so many elements to consider from the groundworks, foundations, walls and windows, roof, wastewater, heating, ventilation, plumbing, white goods, carpentry etc.

Finally we are approaching the end of the process, we have several quotes for most of the key elements of the build and a fair idea of the total build costs.  Now we have to put together the paperwork for the Mortgage Application.

Will we go for a Passiv House?

I completed a 2 day workshop in Dublin last week organised through the SEAI in the use of the PHPP Application which is designed to help you to calculate the performance of the house in terms of energy efficiency with the aims of achieving the Passive House standard.

The Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) software is basically an Excel Spreadsheet with a load of hidden formulae & calculations. It needs a good level of expertise with Excel as you’ve an awful lot of data to fill into the system.

Anyhow, after 2 days of calculating, measuring and filling in values you get a few key results which give you the energy requirements of your house and if you’ve achieved the standard to get Passive House accreditation.

  • Annual space heating requirement of 15kWh/m2a treated floor area
  • The upper limit for total primary energy demand for space and water heating, ventilation, electricity for fans and pumps, appliances and lighting not exceeding 120kWh/m2a, regardless of energy source; and
  • The air leakage test results must not exceed 0.6 air changes per hour using 50 Pascal over pressurisation and under pressurisation testing.

I think I am comfortable enough with the software to get a fairly good idea of the overall performance of our house design but the software will help us work out what difference certain types of insulation on the walls/ceiling/floor and window types will make.

I don’t know if we are going for the full Passive House standard and accreditation but we would like to get close enough as the principles and performance of the standard are worthwhile.

Planning Permission Granted

We received a letter in the post on the 9th of February from Clare County Council which confirmed the granting of Planning Permission for the house.

Thankfully the terms and conditions are all pretty standard and there is nothing too complicated or unusual in the requirements.

Now we have to get all our costs together and start planning the next phase of the building..  More updates will follow as we select suppliers for the build.

Out for Tenders

While we await the decision from Clare County Council we are moving along with costing the build of the house and have begun with the collection of quotes for suppliers of the various elements of the building.

We are looking at a possible Structured Insulated Panel construction with the main house structure constructed offsite and then assembled on-site.  At present we are looking for suppliers who can provide this type of construction solution and to date we have contacted SIP (Structured Insulated Panels) manufacturers but we haven’t finalised on SIPs yet and still have to review the detailed costs.

Windows & glazing are a critical part of the house design and we are keen to find a supplier for the sliding doors from the dining room to patio area.  We have a 4.8m opening and we want to get as much of the area to open while retaining a system that has good thermal performance and reliability. Ideally we want 3 panels with 2 sliding sections but have not found a satisfactory solution .. yet.

As our roof is pretty flat we are looking at some form of flat roof technology and we have contacted Bauder who have been helpful.  We await quotes from suppliers on the roof system to see what is possible, affordable, functional, practical.

Other elements include concrete floors, home heating using geothermal and/or solar and/or something else, heat recovery & ventilation, rainwater recovery and wastewater systems.

Yes, the fun has well and truly begun.