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

Check Also

MAS174 - Acoustics of megabuilds

Megabuild Acoustics: Why Vibration Control is Vital For Luxury Hotels

Adam Fox from Mason UK explains why megabuild acoustics and vibration are a growing problem for many hotels in London and what can be done about it.


  1. 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

    • 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. 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. 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?

    • 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. Morning,
    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. 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


    • Hi Terry
      We have an Ask Skill Builder feature on the YouTube channel where you can send photographs but there is no reason why the manhole cover should be above the pavement level. Most sit flush and it is usually just a question of cutting down the first course of bricks and bedding the frame back on.

  6. Hi Roger
    I am looking to extend from the rear of my house but have a seperate brick garage can I incorporate the garage into the extension and will I need additional planning?.
    The extension is 5.5 m long x 4 m deep

  7. Hi Roger

    I am doing a rear extension am wondering what the best lintel to us for my bio fold door, 3000mm x2100m do I use a heavy duty lintel, RSJ or rolled steel lintel


  8. Hi Roger
    My 40 year old pitched garage roof seems to be on the move! Looks like the timber frame rafters are starting to lean. It looks as though the rafters were not correctly braced across one and other Is there a cheap but safe way you can think of that we can straighten the lean without having to remove all of the tiles first?

  9. Hi Roger, really appreciating your double storey side extension. Just a quick one we have almost decided to change from the thermolite blocks to porotherm. However having seen your build it was supposed to have porotherm and it was changed to hemelite blocks. Very keen to know why the change? Mainly as we are about to confirm the specification so the build can start.

  10. Dear Roger,

    You are doing an excellent job of showing people how the building trades work, please keep up the good work. I have recently got planning approval for an extension, which areas of the country does your building company undertake work in and do you cover Buckinghamshire? What is your recommendation for getting quotes for a building project and choosing the right builder for the project.

    Kind regards,

    Moh Ansar

  11. Hi Roger,

    I would like some advice please regarding my 40 year old 3 bedroom detached house and conventional floor standing Ideal boiler, the first question is this:

    1) The system has never been power flushed or had much maintenance (we purchased the house 2 years ago), I have fitted a Hive control system which is great but I feel that the boiler really could do with a clean after 40 years, would you get it done or just treat it with chemicals?

    2) There is a 6in x 6in slotted air vent in the front wall of the house feeding the hallway (good size) and it lets a load of cold air in, would it be safe to block this vent off? The boiler mentioned above is sited in a large cupboard just off the entrance hall (with a load of vents into the hallway), would it cause an issue with that?


  12. Thanks Roger for taking the time to answer this. I am planning on building an outbuilding at the end of the garden within the 2.5m height restriction.

    It’ll rough be 4.7m x 2m. I’ll have trench filled concrete footings possibly 450mm wide x 600mm deep (these are the dimensions of the concrete), above that will have around a further 200 – 300 mm deep footings the exterior isn’t level (it has a slight drop decline)

    The original plan was to build out of the trench with Yorkshire stone work (single akin at 140mm on the bed). Would recommend this or would it be better to bring out to dpc level in blockwork (around 150mm above the exterior ground (at the highest point and then render this (on the outside) with sand and cement. Then lay the Yorkshire stonework on top of these 7n blocks with the dpc and dpm tucked into the bit between the block work and Yorkshire stonework? The inside will have a 100 – 150mm concrete slab dropped in. The other option would be to bring to ground level with 7m blocks then Yorkshire stone to DPC, tuck in the DPC and DPM and continue with the Yorkshire stone work till I get to the wall plate?

    Dependent on which builder I ask they completely contradict each other. Looking online there’s a plethora of info but nothing that says this is a better option Over the other?

    By the way it will have a wall plate and a flat roof using 6 x 2 rafters and firings under a
    Fibreglass roof.

    Any advice from you would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Hi Roger and Georgina. We were inspired by your YouTube Skillbuilder channel (been subscribers for 5 yrs) to take the plunge to move and buy a property to have renovated; by a building firm as we are not expert DIYers. Three years later, we are nearly there (panning and architects, COVID; all brought about delays), and boy it’s an amazing transformation, so thank you for all your videos which made us realise renovations are nothing to be scared of. It also furnished us with the ability to make decisions about works alone the way and what’s possible. Anyways, to the question- We had our kitchen/dining area tiled along with our bathroom. We moved back in a year ago and gradually those tiles, laid on single sheets of ply, on top of the original floor boards, are starting to move and cracking the grouting. This means every time we vacuum we loose another strip of grout. The floors also creak in different places. We know the ceramic tiles were laid on ply, over the original floor boards. We were advised by the builder, the ply boards were screwed down every 6” (and I have no reason to doubt him) . He’s inspected the floors and his solution, in the kitchen, is to put some wooden supports underneath. He will do this by removing the odd tile and cutting into the void (2 feet I reckon), to keep the floor rigid. However, due to the lack of void under the upstairs bathroom floor boards, it is impossible to do the same here. I wasn’t aware the floor boards were originally creaky, but maybe the lifting of boards to rewire and put the new CH system, we’re not secured properly? I was just wondering, with your years of expertise and probably seeing every single building issue that has ever come up, if you have a better solution for the kitchen floor or at least one for the bathroom. We don’t really want all the floor tiles taken up (also we are nervous about the hall floor as it’s tiled in the same way), as the thought of the mess around on new, shiny kitchen units, sinks, ovens, newly decorated, just fills us with dread. We are keen to know what you would have done differently. Thank you very much.

  14. What was the material James used to make the custom windows with Ian?
    Does it require regular painting?

  15. Hi , I want to use the space above my garage for storage. My garage is single skin brick with reinforcing pillars (2 at roughly 2 m spacing). Centre wall is concrete block with pillars. 3.2m wide and 6m long. I want to put pressed galvanised steel joists at 600 centre to match roof trusses and then around 30mm chipboard flooring.
    How much weight will this hold?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *