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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > October 2019 > Wall Finishes & Starting on Second Fix

Wall Finishes & Starting on Second Fix

As first fix draws to an end and the walls get closed in, Chris Bates finds some works sail ahead, while others need a little more attention


In this article…

Page 60 External render & internal plaster

Page 63 Smart AV & invisible speakers

Page 66 Kitchen, plant room & floor tiles

Page 69 Roofline & rainwater goods

Until the internal fit-out begins, rooms can feel cold and even a little too large. Getting the kitchen cabinets in has helped the house to feel much more like a home

At this stage of the build, most days your site will feel like a hive of activity, with the wind in everyone’s sails, the whole team in good spirits and progress visible everywhere. You can literally see the dirt and detritus of the main construction stages fade away, and the shell of your building gradually transforming into a bona fide dream home. Other days, you’re inundated with fiddly jobs that don’t give the effortreward ratio of, say, plasterboarding an entire room. And, just occasionally, nothing much can happen at all because you’re busy waiting for plaster or tile adhesive to set. In many ways, running a building project is a moveable feast: you’ll never hit every deadline you set, and accepting this (without letting on too much to your trades!) can take a lot of the stress off your shoulders. Not everything will quite be done in the ideal order you read about in the self build manuals, and some little things will inevitably go awry. Perhaps you’ve changed your mind about a detail and the work needs redoing; a trade or supplier hasn’t delivered on time; or your team’s encountered an unexpected problem that can only be solved over a cup of tea and a head scratch. The golden rule is to try to keep communication lines open, ensure everyone’s got the same goal in mind and to not let issues in one area hold up momentum elsewhere (unless it really can’t be avoided).

Over the 11 pages of this month’s update from the Education House site, I’m looking in depth at some of the major works we’ve undertaken as first fix comes to an end, the walls are tacked and plastered, and second fix begins. This period brings blurred boundaries, with jobs like the kitchen fit-out progressing whilst some elements you thought would be finished weeks ago are still being wrapped up. Through it all, your job (whether as client or project manager) is to do what you can to help keep things ticking over. With that in mind, here’s a taster of just a few of the other tasks we’ve been pressing ahead with over the past few weeks on the Build It House:

QUICK GUIDE What is Build It’s Self Build Education House?

The Build It House is a pioneering real-life project designed to give you a unique insight into the process of self building your own bespoke home. We’re following the design and build journey both in the magazine and online – sharing the highs and lows of how a project comes together. And we’re delighted to be working in partnership with Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self build development, as the home of the Build It House.

Once it’s completed, Build It’s Self Build Education House will showcase the design possibilities and practical choices you’ll need to make over the course of your own scheme. You’ll get to see a wide range of innovative products in situ, from heat pump ventilation through to acoustic screeds, with cutaway panels demonstrating how they’re installed. The finished house will also feature detailed informational graphics explaining the decisions Build It made on this project and how different choices would have affected our construction schedule and costs.

Follow our journey at

WE HAVE A WINNER… announcing the front door colour you chose for the Build It House

Last month, we invited our readers, website users and social media followers to help us select the best colour for the Build It Education House’s FunkyFront Door, which will be manufactured and supplied by Kloeber.

We want to make a real statement here, and the FunkyFront range is the perfect fit. It gives us plenty of design options, from the panel and frame style through to the ironmongery – plus our choice of the 213 colours in the RAL Classic collection. Our shortlist included a bright orange (RAL 2009), a classy dark blue (RAL 5011), grey-yellow to match the window frames (RAL 7034) and a zingy yellow (RAL 1023). We can have a dual-colour finish, so we’re going with white on the inside face to match the decor internally.

Hundreds of you cast your votes for our front door colour, and it was a closerun thing for a while, with blue, yellow and orange neck-and-neck in the initial stages. But by the end, a clear winner emerged – and I’m pleased to announce the winner is RAL 2009 Traffic Orange. We can’t wait to see it in the flesh!

Feature staircase prep Last month, Meinholf from Kloepping TSS installed the aluminium profiles that will support the glass balustrade for our wow-factor flights in the hallway. We needed these in place so the tilers would know where the flooring needs to stop. Meinholf has now also fitted the steel blades and ply supports for the ground floor staircase – which means our plasterers can crack on with tacking and skimming the whole of this area.

Automated blinds Earlier this year, Andy from Moss Technical introduced us to Blindspace, who have a nifty electric blind solution that disappears into walls. We’ve bought into the idea, and are in the process of installing this in the master bedroom (which required trimming back a bit of polystyrene on the ICF walls). It will be a little luxury for us, and can be tied into our Niko smart home setup. I can see that it could really come into its own for bedrooms with apex glazing, where you want to be able to block out daylight, but conventional blinds don’t work very well.

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About Build It

Make a success of your self build home project with inspiring design ideas and practical advice from Build It magazine. Our October 2019 issue includes: - Smart Home Technology Special Guide - 10 Projects to Add Value to Your Build - Planning your Renovation Project - Learn from the Most Common Self Build Mistakes - Inspiring Reader Homes ... and more!