Pages tagged #house

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1. Monday 02 August 2021
The last few months have felt like an awful blur. Some of it is the birth of my third child, Julia, with all the impacts to one’s routines a newborn brings with them. Some of it was gearing up to bring everyone to England in the middle of a pandemic for my brother in law’s wedding without either catching covid, despite that England was riddled with it, or getting trapped by borders closing – in the end, we rented a campervan so we’d never need enter indoors anywhere, and took ferries which brought us back to Ireland via Northern Ireland, all of which was most stressful and very draining, but we got it done at the start of July, and it all worked out well in the end (equally, I would not wish to repeat it ever again). ...

2. Friday 03 September 2021
I’ve made a start building prototypes of the Home Automation described in the first post of in the series about my future house build. This is my prototype, hand made, cove lighting: My hand made cove lighting prototype This is five metres of 120/m density 3000K warm white > 95 CRI (Colour Rendering Index) 2835 LED strip mounted into an alumnimum heat sink and diffuser firing along the direction of the ceiling. ...

3. Monday 13 September 2021
I received my industrial quality Devantech dS3484 board which cost me €75 inc VAT, a fraction of near equivalent boards from National Control Devices or National Instruments, yet provides similar functionality and uses proper 12v powered industrial grade components same as they do. As I described in the last post on the topic of my future house build, this board is capable of running a proprietary BASIC-like scripting language called dScript which lets you program it to carry out a fair bit of local automation, thus reducing how much control complexity you need to encode into a network controller such as Home Assistant. ...

4. Sunday 19 September 2021
Last weekend in my series on my future house build, I looked at the physical board of the keenly priced industrial grade scriptable PIC32-based Devantech dS3484 ethernet relay and input board, and I got a demonstration LED being PWM dimmed using a small program written in its proprietary dScript programming language. This weekend my goal was to get an actual solution to automating my prototype cove lighting up and working, including user selectable PWM dimming and automatic on-off based on outdoor brightness and whether there is someone in the room. ...

5. Sunday 26 September 2021
In the last post in my series on my future house build I had hoped to get a custom Home Assistant integration implemented this weekend for the custom logic I wrote in its proprietary language dScript for my keenly priced industrial grade scriptable PIC32-based Devantech dS3484 ethernet relay and input board. I can say that its learning curve was too steep for me to conquer this weekend – though I made excellent progress and it’s just a question of more time to finish it – but ultimately there is only so much completely new material that one can grok through and master after midnight, even after drinking coffee (I honestly can’t think of the last time I drank coffee so late in the day, but it really was needed if I was to make any decent attempt at all that Home Assistant programming documentation). ...

6. Sunday 17 October 2021
For several recent posts now in my series on my future house build I have been hoping to implement a custom Home Assistant integration for the custom logic I wrote in my keenly priced industrial grade scriptable PIC32-based Devantech dS3484 ethernet relay and input board. Last post three weeks ago I said I was feeling pretty burned out from all this post-day-job work, so I was going to take a weekend off, which I did. ...

7. Monday 08 November 2021
Today I’m going to divert from my usual focus on embedded systems in my series on my future house build. Last post I said I’d been quite fatigued during the two weeks since I fell ill, and I’m sorry to say these past three weeks have not been much better. Apart from sleeping and working, I have had no energy to do much else – no WG21 papers, no open source, no embedded systems programming, no custom Home Assistant integration work, no gym nor anything outside work and sleep. ...

8. Thursday 18 November 2021
Last post in my series on my future house build I described the house we have designed and submitted for preplanning feedback using Virtual Reality via the Oculus Quest 2, and I did some rough ‘back of envelope’ energy modelling to see if it would meet Passive House energy consumption standards. I concluded by looking forward to seeing if a PHPP model of the house (PHPP is the computer modelling software for Passive Houses) would match my crude calculations. ...

9. Sunday 06 February 2022
It’s been just under three months since my last post in my series on my future house build, and during which of course Christmas occurred. Since the New Year pretty much all my free time has gone on getting the planning application ready – it was submitted last Tuesday, and so I now have the time to write up what happened since mid-November. The preplanning feedback came back the week of Christmas, so we didn’t really get much time to digest it before everything stopped for the holidays. ...

10. Sunday 17 April 2022
Two and a bit months have passed since my last post in my series on my future house build where I showed computer renderings of the ‘shrunken’ seventeen metre wide house designed to fit inside one site of the two I hope to build upon. This was the conservative design intended to not be controversial to the planners, and last post I expected a final decision by June. I am glad to report that the planners moved a bit quicker than expected, and we received notification three weeks ago that they intend to grant planning permission in early May if no appeals to the decision are lodged. ...

11. Monday 04 July 2022
There has been a most surprising update to my future house build – the two-site planning permission was granted! This grants us a slightly longer house with outhouse and both sites merged into one. This was very much not expected, the second planning application asking for permission to amalgamate the sites was expected to be refused – indeed, I had already paid for a third planning application to be created! ...

12. Tuesday 09 August 2022
Since planning permission was granted for the slightly larger edition of my future house build, progress has been frustratingly slow. 90% of the emails I send to people looking for quotes to give them money go unanswered. If you ring them up two weeks later, they usually saw the email but didn’t get round to replying due to ‘being too busy’ i.e. really they are saying that they aren’t taking on new work. ...

13. Saturday 24 September 2022
Last time I wrote a post on my future house build, I mentioned how progress had been frustratingly slow due to people not responding to email or phone calls. That hasn’t got any better (indeed, currently most builders aren’t responding to requests for quotes, and if they do, they give lead times well into 2025 ), but my wonderful sister Aoife did manage to get me some groundworks done by pulling favours: ...

14. Friday 22 October 2022
Around a year ago in my series on my future house build, I wrote about a Devantech ethernet relay board, then I went on to review the state of the market as of Q3 2021 comparing various microcontrollers and microcomputers, and I decided at the time to plump for a mixture of STM32F4 and Raspberry Pi Zero for my house automation. I made a custom Home Assistant integration for the Devantech board (it and the cove lighting continue to work perfectly, incidentally, I type to you now under said cove lighting), and all seemed well until August just gone when I mentioned that instead of all that I had bought fifty ESP32 boards, with a promise of a future post about them. ...

15. Monday 21 November 2022
There isn’t much update on my future house build during the past month as everything is blocked on my accountant finishing my 2021 company accounts before I can apply for a mortgage. I’m out of cash to spend on the house or site, I’ve spent all the savings I accumulated, so without a mortgage everything pauses. I did get this finished in the past month however: Strictly speaking, it’s actually the last four months because I bought the roof sheets in July, and it’s taken me well over two months to get the wall painted and to erect the support beams. ...

16. Friday 16 December 2022
I’ve made reasonable progress in the past month on my future house build. Temperatures dropped below zero, which means it finally stopped raining, and that meant the ground dried out enough that I could finish the earth rod installation for which I had dug the holes well over a month ago: You can see the four conduits coming out of the ground, with 16 mm2 cable sticking out the top. ...

17. Saturday 28 January 2023
Very little visible progress in the past month on my future house build as we were in the US visiting Megan’s family for much of it. I also lost a weekend to visting a site build by one of the builders we are considering in Jersey, so the only physical work I’ve got done is I finished the conduit installation on the south west of the wall, though no cable inserted as yet. ...

18. Sunday 26 February 2023
I’ve made good forward progress in the past month on my future house build despite losing two weeks to the WG21 meeting in Issaquah near Seattle. I’ll start with the bad news: my mortgage broker who was handling the Permanent TSB and Bank of Ireland mortgage applications came back to me with unhelpful lending conditions. I had submitted the fixed price quote from EcoTech Homes which brings the house to Builder’s Finish for €606k, so to reach bare minimum viable for the purposes of ticking the mortgage lender’s definition of ‘completed’ at which point the mortgage turns into a normal not self build mortgage: ...

19. Sunday 26 March 2023
I’ve made no further progress in the past month on my future house build – the AIB still haven’t come back to me about my mortgage application with them even though three months has now passed since submission. So we all sit on our hands and wait. Whether it’s good or bad news, I figure at least get the Ground Air Heat Exchanger (GARE) and other service ducting installed into the site this summer, so we are ready for foundations to go in. ...

20. Wednesday 26 April 2023
This post was actually mostly written on the 17th and 18th because I returned from annual vacation in Belgium with a chest infection given to us by my eldest, and I was running a mild fever so I took those days off work and tried to keep myself from boredom by writing the material below. I’d normally watch movies or TV when sick between bouts of sleeping, but that sickness was a bit weird – I wasn’t up to writing code or concentrating overly, but I felt a bit fidgety to be doing something productive rather than just lying around passively. ...

21. Saturday 06 May 2023
Two posts ago in the series on my future house build I said I’d write a separate post about the ‘lego’ concrete blocks I bought with which to build the earth retaining walls on the site. Having spent last weekend driving a six tonne digger around to relocate those blocks from where the provider dropped them off (at the front), to where they need to go (to the back), I now have before and after photos. ...

22. Friday 26 May 2023
Despite not being able to spend any money on my future house build in order to reach the required unborrowed cash amount that the AIB require to give us a mortgage before August, there has been a significant design change! I’m sure you remember the GARE, the Ground-Air Heat Exchanger which was a 46m length of 200mm diameter buried pipe through which the air intake for the house flowed, thus cooling it in summer and heating it in winter? ...

23. Monday 05 June 2023
It was only a month ago in my series on my future house build that I talked about the ‘lego’ concrete blocks I had bought with which I intended to erect a number of earth retaining walls, including part of the wall with my neighbour. The long weekend during which I intended to erect my part of the neighbour wall was this weekend just ended, so let’s see how I got on. ...

24. Sunday 25 June 2023
I ended up finishing my UK tax return rather later than expected – stupid scanner kept choking, in fairness it came with us from Canada a decade ago so it’s getting old, but it’s annoying when stuff nearly works but needs standing over – so I’ll need to make this quick. There has been zero physical progress since my last post on my future house build as I went from wall building at the start of this month straight to Varna, Bulgaria for an ISO WG21 C++ standards meeting. ...

25. Wednesday 02 Aug 2023
A little over a month since my last post on my future house build, we’re just before the long August weekend during which I shall be driving a six tonne digger again, this time to complete the concrete ‘lego’ blocks at the back of the western wall. This is the current temporary stack of blocks there: These are on bare unlevelled earth, they need to be removed, the ground levelled and packed crushed rock laid on top as a foundation, and then the blocks laid into their final positions. ...

26. Saturday 26 Aug 2023
Weirdly it doesn’t feel like much has happened since my last post on my future house build, yet there has been. For sure, there has been zero movement on the mortgage or getting mains electricity turned on. But progress on those is outside my personal control, so there is nothing more I can do with those other than send nagging reminders. I did drive around that six tonne digger three weeks ago. ...

27. Saturday 16 Sep 2023
It has been a month of good progress in my future house build. Apart from mains electricity not being turned on, the wiring for the western wall is finally complete, a good five months later than I had originally expected last year when I planned this all. If you plug in the generator to create mains power, all this is fully working and functional: Broadband internet via the Starlink satellite dish. ...

28. Sunday 01 Oct 2023
Last time in my series on my future house build, I said next post I’d have the temporary solar panels up. That didn’t quite happen, but I did get the first half up at least. I have been slowed down by two muscle tears, one in my upper left arm and the other in the Achille’s tendon in my right foot, both of which were painful enough to exhaust me during the day, but also simply in terms of loss of limb power and strength made further work impractical. ...

29. Sunday 22 Oct 2023
We are getting towards the end of the prepatory phase of my future house build, believe it or not. Next weekend should be the last time I rent a digger for the foreseeable future, this time shall be to clear the vegetation at the back of the future walled garden and to drop the last of the concrete Lego blocks to make the rear boundary wall. After that, the site has reached ‘build ready’ for the professionals to turn up and get started: ...

30. Sunday 06 Dec 2023
This post in my series on my future house build is late, I have been down with flu for the past week. Only coming out of it now, and even then writing this has consumed a fair bit of effort over multiple days of sickness. Apologies if it’s a bit disjointed as a result. Last post I said only some digger driving remained to complete the Lego concrete blocks to the rear of the site, and we got it done: ...

31. Friday 29 Dec 2023
Last post on my future house build I described the foundational lighting plan for the house, and said that when all the stuff I had bought during the Single’s Day and Black Friday sales arrived, I’d write it all up. DC wall dimmer switches You may remember that my original intent is for the ESP32 microcontrollers or some PWM (Pulse Width Modulation, a common technique for dimming a light) board (e. ...

32. Sunday 21 Jan 2024
There has been a major step forward since my last post in my future house build: the plans were finally finalised, and sent off to the builder. The builder has come back with his first round of questions, and we should ship a set of answers to him early next week. I would expect a few more rounds of that with the builder before he signs off, then begins the structural engineering design. ...

33. Thursday 22 Feb 2024
This time last month in my future house build things looked like they were finally moving forwards. The plans were finally finalised, they’d gone off to the builder at long last, and it was now a matter of weeks before we would commence the build. The mortgage would get drawn down before it expires in May. All was looking rosy. Unfortunately we had to go get a new builder, so we have been pushed back by six months to the end of his queue and the cost of the build has jumped by over €100k. ...

34. Saturday 16 Mar 2024
A key deadline is getting close for my house build: on the 24th of April the council development contribution levy subsidy will expire, along with the Irish water connection fee subsidy. These are worth about €8k and €6k respectively, so it is important to claim them. Had the previous builder not fallen through, we would have commenced the build before the deadline, now with the change in builder we had to come up something which is sufficient to claim that the build has commenced. ...

35. Saturday 06 Apr 2024
As described last post in my house build, if we didn’t commence the build before the 24th April we would lose €14k of subsidy from the government. I am glad to report that we have successfully commenced the build: We ended up not fitting neither the land drain nor the soakaway as the soil 1.5 metres down turned out to be much more dry than expected, and thus capable of handling an inundation more than needing additional drainage: ...

36. Saturday 11 May 2024
Very little has happened since my last post in my house build. We are basically stuck in the timber frame supplier’s queue, and there is nothing anybody can do but wait until they get to us. It does feel weird to have free time back. I haven’t had any in so long, I am not used to not constantly having to find time to pare down chores lists. I am using the opportunity to clear backlog, all day today was chores and all day tomorrow will also be chores. ...


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