We’ve asked our local man-with-a-digger to enlarge the footprint of the millpond slightly.  This has had the unintended consequence of giving it a phallus shape.  Hopefully when it’s full of water no-one will notice!

Meanwhile our architect has given us the seemingly simple task of getting some quotes for an air or ground source heat pump.  We contacted the two local companies he recommended.  The first quoted a ridiculous £18,000 (when the current edition of Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine says you should pay no more than £8,000 for an air source heat pump.)  The second, after some chasing, finally gave us a quote but it was for the wrong thing.   We’ve not heard from him since.

We have given up on the Energy Saving Trust.  They finally got in touch offering me one (and only one) appointment time which was in the middle of a weekday when I’d be at work 200 miles away.  They can’t do evenings or weekends (although if you’re in Glasgow they seem happy to visit you in the evening to offer you insulation you don’t even want – see a previous blog post!)  So we had to find some more companies ourselves.

The first told us a very sad story.  Although his order book for the future is full, too many previous customers haven’t paid their bills – presumably because of the recession – and he’s had to sell his company to a larger competitor rather than go bust.   The other five companies still haven’t responded to our query.  So if you can fit an air or ground source heat pump in Moray for a reasonable price, please get in touch!

Meanwhile the exciting news is that BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden programme is interested in featuring us in ‘problem corner’.  The idea is that their experts will help us establish an orchard, but we’re only on the shortlist and there’s no guarantee we’ll be featured.  Our terraces (above) have now been constructed, but they need some nice green grass and stone retaining walls to look nice.  Hopefully the mud won’t deter the researcher and presenter, Jim, who came to see it last week.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Eleanor Bradford entirely.
    We started our project for re roof and extension in 2003, had to stop because of medical negligence and have just restarted. Have spent last 3 months trying to get estimates for UFH and heat pump among other things. 70% never reply, or promise to get in touch but don’t, of those that do send an estimate most are nothing like the system you asked for and leave out essential items. One gave an estimate which specifies parts you can get for half the price from BES and leaves you to work out what the total cost is and how much you need to cover the items they have missed out. That and exclusions and clauses that only a company the size of Wimpy or Balfor Beaty could match.
    WE have got so sick of trying to get something done and get somewhere this week we have given up and are buying a house near us.
    Looking at the magazine you get a false impression of how good the self build industry is, really, it is in a very bad state. Customer service, fair prices, sensible terms ? You must be joking! Buy German.

  • Jason Orme

    I’m surprised and saddened to hear of these tales and I would suggest that the 15-20,000 people who successfully self-build each year would have trouble reconciling your experience with their own. However, it would be good to find out more. It sounds like you’ve been trying to carry out an extension project for a few years now. Or is it a new build home?

    Eleanor – I enjoy seeing your progress even if ‘progress’ might be a term you scoff at! Keep going – it does get easier.

  • RubyNewbuild

    We are just digging the first trenches for our ground source heat system. Did some homework re various advantages/ pitfalls & rough costings then went to the Homebuilding show to find a suitable company. IceEnergy came up tops, realistic, enthusiastic & efficient. Ross Loverage was the man we spoke to at the show and he has kept us informed throughout. The pipes arrived this morning, bang on schedule. Half the trenches are already dug & will be finished tomorrow, then the pipes go in….let’s hope for a real warm day so they become flexible otherwise they’ll probably be sods to lay flat! Much cursing no doubt!
    Check out this company…so far they have been excellent.

  • Tom Bruce

    Hello there,

    My name is Tom Bruce, I work for Energy Jump Ltd., a Sheffield based Heat pump and solar panel installer. We can provide a free, no-obligation quotation for both a ground source or a air source heat pump within a few days.

    Feel free to give me a call on 0114 2541288 for any information you might need.


  • pethhead-AT-btopenworld.com

    Jason – you didn’t give any advice about how to get a quote about ground source heat pumps – Worcester-Bosch have an excellent website but try finding an installer – we live Northumberland and nothing comes up with anyone who has actually fitted one.

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