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What happens at ‘First Fix’ and ‘Second Fix’ when building a home?

Building your new house can be a daunting project, with various stages involved, some of which can’t take place until certain other work has been completed.


Our blog post ‘The Selfbuild Timeline’ outlines some of the main steps in building your own home, but in this article, we look at what tasks you may need to organise during the First and Second Fix stages of your build project.

First fix during your house build refers to the work carried out after the building has been made watertight, and before plastering internally.

What happens during the First Fix when building your home?

  • Your electrician will install the bare-bones of the electrical system, including the installation of sockets, switches and light fittings – much of this work will not be visible once your house is complete.
  • Ventilation ducting is installed. This should be completed before any other services are positioned below the concrete slab (if the house is a timber frame construction, ventilation pipework will need to be in place before partition walls and floors).
  • A plumber will install your pipework for the water supply, wastewater drainage and your heating system.
  • Ducting for your Central Vacuum System within the internal walls will need to be installed when stud walls are in place but before any plasterboard goes on.
  • Joinery work - this will include building stud walls, roof struts, door frames and floor joists.

What happens during the Second Fix when building your home?

During the second fix of your selfbuild, much of the finishing work is completed, taking place after the house is plastered internally. See our recent blog ‘The Selfbuild Timeline’ for more details on the stages of building your own home. The Second Fix may include the following:

  • Your electrician will install face plates on light switches and plug sockets, along with your light fittings. The main fuse board will be connected up allowing all wiring to be tested - all light switches and plug sockets should work and be safe at this stage.
  • All plumbing appliances will be connected, tested and commissioned. This includes bathroom sanitaryware, radiators and boilers - the aim being when you turn the water on, it doesn't all end up on the floor!
  • Central Vacuum System ducting will be laid in floors when plastering is almost complete and before the floor screed has been poured. If installing underfloor heating, the vacuum ducting needs laid before this is put down. For central vacuum units being installed in a detached garage, a 4” trench duct to carry the vacuum pipe must also be installed at this stage.
  • Your joiners will do all their finishing touches after the plastering to get the house finished. This will include fitting your internal doors, skirting boards, architraves and kitchens.
  • The remainder of your fixtures and fittings will be put in place, including kitchen and bathroom appliances etc.

Once the Second Fix is complete, your Central Vacuum unit can be hung and connected, and it is important to be doing this before any floor tiles are put down. The Mechanical Ventilation system can now be installed and tested for airflow rates and system balancing by a fully qualified BEAM engineer.

Building your own home is a huge undertaking but very rewarding and being aware of the stages of the project and what happens at each is critical. Learn more in our blog post ‘The Selfbuild Timeline’ and contact an expert at BEAM for advice on all your central vacuum and mechanical ventilation requirements.

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