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

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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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Dealing with floods

Well we can’t say they didn’t warn us about climate change, more rain, rising seas, extreme weather. The television is full of images of flooded homes and the miserable aftermath. People being interviewed say that they have never known it this bad. Houses that were once considered above the flood plain are now being deluged and everyone is looking for …

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A curious incident

The recent incident of The Apollo Theatre ceiling collapsing on the audience thankfully resulted in no deaths, though it appears there are some very serious injuries. No doubt even many of those lucky enough to have escaped unscathed will have nightmares and may hesitate to enter old buildings for a while. At the very least they will become habitual ceiling …

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Holding your ground

It’s raining again and it looks set to carry on for days. My daughter phoned to say that the problem of damp around one of her windows has returned. She lives on top of a hill and the gable end of her house catches everything that nature can chuck at it. We have had all summer to fix the problem …

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The damp conundrum

I have always been a sucker for a challenge. If someone tells me that they have a problem that nobody has been able to fix, I am there. Rising damp is not usually baffling but rising damp in a third floor flat is. Yes I do mean rising damp and not penetrating damp, the proof being that some of it …

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