Skill Builder launches Ask Skill Builder

Skill Builder, the video and web resource for building professionals and enthusiasts, has launched a brand new video series giving viewers the opportunity to get their building and DIY questions answered.

The series, which is being aired on the Skill Builder YouTube channel, is hosted by Roger Bisby and Georgina Bisby. Roger Bisby is known for his expertise in the British building industry – as well as featuring on Watchdog and Rogue Traders, Roger has written a number of building-related books, provided product reviews and insight for Professional Builder magazine for over thirty years and hosted a fix-it phone in radio show so he knows only too well how hard it can sometimes be to get to the bottom of building problems. Georgina Bisby is a journalist and editor with extensive experience covering construction and industrial news and technology and a passion for investigative journalism.

Whether it’s a homeowner with a longstanding problem which no professionals seems to have been able to solve; a self builder looking for advice on where to get started with a project; or an issue encountered by a tradesperson which is proving elusive to solve, the Skill Builder team will endeavour to provide useful advice and help solve the unsolvable.

Roger Bisby says: “If we can’t help you we probably know someone who can and if you have some relevant knowledge or experience that you want to share we would be delighted to hear from you.”

“We also welcome the input of manufacturers with problem-solving products that they think can make a genuine contribution,” adds Georgina Bisby.

The first episode of Ask Skill Builder is out now and covers a mystery wetroom leak, an issue with water running too hot and trouble with yellowing paint.

Viewers are invited to send photographs, emails and video clips to


About Roger Bisby

Roger Bisby
Roger Bisby is an English television presenter and journalist, known for his expertise in the British building industry.


  1. Avatar

    Hi Roger I’m currently building a 6.1m extension I’m at the stage of the foundations but have hit a massive problem. I have a live mains sewer that needs access to the manhole, I’ve been told by anglia water that they will not permit having it inside the house even being double sealed etc. Is it a hard task to build another manhole away from the house and do i really need an interceptor installed?. Many thanks

    • Roger Bisby

      Hi Mark
      Hello Mark
      It may seem like a massive problem but it happens a lot and there is always a way around it. The manhole in the building has to go but some people simply leave them in place and concrete over the cover. You then need to build a manhole outside the building. My approach is to run all the connections to the new manhole and renew the sewer run under the building. The last one I did like this cost about £300.00 for the clay pipe and fittings. Unfortunately, the water company wanted it to be built in brick even though the clay drain manufacturers have plastic chambers that simply slip in and won’t leak. One thing is you can’t argue with them so best to just get on with it. Once it is done it is done and you can get on with the fun part.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for your reply Roger, I’ve been advised that because it goes down 1.9m i won’t be able to have plastic, but I’m prepared to take it on the chin as its a job i won’t need to worry about once it’s completed .

  3. Avatar

    Hi Roger & Georgina.
    Good advice re the water board, it’s their kingdom below ground so you can’t beat them! I have a drainage problem too. Converting a single garage into a bedroom, 3 metres away from the house and a manhole. Manufacturers rep and a self certifying local plumber have both said only need a 50mm plastic waste from the shower/toilet combo to the manhole, approx 3 metres. Building control drawings from architect state 100mm clay must be used, just before Christmas building control said they wanted to come to site in January but haven’ decided yet if there is an issue. Who is right? Also do I need permission from Severn Trent as well. If the plumber can self cert his work to B/c?

    • Roger Bisby

      Hi Mark

      I would say that any pipework above ground can be run in 50mm waste pipe but if the pipe is buried it needs to be a proper 100mm (110) drain pipe. I would have thought plastic would be good enough. If it is shallow then it needs a topping of lean mix concrete and a good support of the same. Dong it in Supersleeve means it can be left with a bit of pea shingle around it or just back filled with as dug material.

      My approach with any pumped waste is to pump it up and then let it fall to the drain by gravity. If you attempt to pump it along under the ground or along an outside wall the pipe might freeze. Hence my preference for pumping up above the drain and then letting it work as a normal drain with 1 in 40 fall.

  4. Avatar

    We’re looking at building a single storey extension on our armi house. It’s 22ft long by 10ft wide. The roof will be a hip coming from under the bedroom window. We have had mixed answers about using single block work 12” or doing a cavity wall so it’s got air flowing. The roof will be slate to match the house.
    We also have a water pipe running underneath to all the houses at the back…. it’s not for our house as we did ours when we first moved in. It’s very old and has no access via ours it just runs underneath- will this be ok?
    Sorry last one- we were told the extension measurements have changed so do we still need planning permission as it’s increased now?
    Many thanks

  5. Avatar

    Hi Roger,

    The houses on my road share a common waste pipe running along the back garden. Each garden has a square pit with an in/out joining the houses and a tap to each house.

    The problem is the concrete path in the garden runs across the manhole cover. But it is raised about 2inches above the path or perhaps the path has sunk overtime or it a building reg that it has to be raised ?

    I would like to rebuild the path to make it level with the manhole cover.

    Many thanks


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