There is a tide in the affairs of men: Swansea tidal lagoon should be a no-brainer

Swansea tidal lagoon

19/05/2016 A few years ago, while on a walk along the South Coast of England, I came across a place just outside Newhaven called Tide Mills. Unfortunately there is not an awful lot left to see because the British Army used it for target practice with artillery shells and they were a little too accurate. It might not have the …

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Daylight robbery


Roger Bisby discusses the history of the window in building design and considers how modern property developers and homeowners can satisfy their lust for light. The window tax was the not so bright idea of  William III aka William of Orange. It was introduced  in 1696 and, despite being a very unpopular tax, remained in force until 1851.  Those who could …

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The best drill test on Youtube or a waste of time? You decide

roger bisby

Roger Bisby takes us behind the scenes of the latest Skill-builder 18 volt drill test  which puts drills from Makita, Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Metabo, Festool, Hitachi and Panasonic through their paces. The Skill-builder 18 volt drill test has proved to be our single most successful YouTube video ever with over 3/4 of a million views and rising. It has also …

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Safe as houses (or schools?)

school building closures

The partial collapse of a school wall in Scotland has led to the closure of 17 other schools in Scotland while urgent checks are carried out.  Thankfully nobody was killed or injured in this incident but it does raise some interesting points; first about the design of these 10 year old buildings and also about the inspection during the build. A …

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To Google or not to Google? That is the question.

Some years ago I was working at a house and I discovered that a boiler flue that passed through a floor void had become detached and was leaking into the floor void. I told the householder and she said that both her daughters had once used that bedroom and had become ill. They went to the doctor and he started …

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Welcome to Skill Builder

Skill Builder logo

Welcome to Skill Builder, the resource for everyone involved in a building or renovation project. We provide practical guidance for all aspects of building renovation. We aim to give you plenty of hard information, as well as a good deal of inspiration. We recognise that the learning curve in building can be steep and relentless. As regular viewers of programmes …

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Busman’s holiday


I have just returned from a one week holiday in Cyprus.  It was a cheap break and we weren’t expecting fantastic weather at that time of year but we stayed in a 5 star hotel with plenty of facilities and a good sea view. We would both have been quite happy to sit and read a few books but as …

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The renewable heat incentive that’s anything but

Renewable Heat Incentive

Regulars will know I'm underwhelmed by government’s Green Deal and the way the RHI favours companies willing to cut the red tape required to become an approved contractor.

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Oxley Woods

My heart goes out to the people who bought homes in Oxley Woods. These modern style houses on the outskirt of Milton Keynes started life with such promise. For a start they were designed by a partnership that included Richard Rogers. They were bold, bright and beautiful, built from prefabricated panels with sleek lines and maintenance free exteriors. No more …

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Printing 3D concrete

If I had a pound for every time I have seen an invention that promised to revolutionise house building I would have at least £32.50 by now. This latest one is a 3D printer for concrete, simply load up the shape and dimensions of what you want to build and watch it chug away building up layer upon layer of …

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