Wednesday 16 April 2014

Retrofitted Swift boxes in a gable end

These are the neatest and most professional retrofitted internal Swift boxes we have seen.
The pictures below tell their own story, but first, in his own words:

Update 2016: Following one pair occupying a box in 2015, 2 pairs bred in 2016 as well as 2 more occupied boxes!

Update 2017:  6 of the internal loft boxes were occupied, with one pair of first time breeders staying until mid September. In addition to this, there are 2 pairs in the Zeist boxes on the other side of the house and a pair moved in under the tiles above where the internal loft boxes are, so up to 9 pairs!

Michael Osborne

9 neat entrances in a gable end
There are more pictures on the Read more button below
We hired the equipment - a diamond drill and 117mm dry core. All the holes were drilled from inside to out. The breakout on the outer brick face is minimal if you back the drill pressure off when nearly through. Main thing to make sure is that the drill being used has a clutch and not to use the hammer action as it damages the diamond tips of the core.

The core has a pilot bit in the centre. It's best to start the drilling off with the pilot in place then remove it once the core is started, otherwise it slows drilling down.

The entrance plates are made from 12mm exterior cement board and cut using a tile cutter blade in a standard Jigsaw. The entrance holes were cut out by drilling through with a masonry bit big enough to get the Jigsaw in to then cut out the shape. To try and avoid the birds confusing entrances, I made some of the holes semi-circle shapes. They're all 29mm by 75mm. The runways inside the tubes are made from the same material as the entrances, glued into place using Sticks Like All Weather Adhesive. 

All of the entrances and runways were sealed with a brick sealant called Stormdry prior to painting. The tubes and entrance plate assemblies were then sealed into the wall using an exterior sealant.

The pipe used is a standard 110mm (external diameter) soil pipe, available at most DIY stores.

To match the brickwork I bought a number of Sandtex tester pots and mixed them in situ on the ladder to match the surrounding bricks - adding sand to get the correct texture.
The boxes are made from 12mm marine ply and are all 450mm x 310mm internally. The internal height is 200mm apart from a few boxes which needed to be reduced in order to fit them into the space. 

All of the boxes are wrapped in insulation to try and reduce heat transfer from the loft which gets hot during the summer. The angled brackets which the boxes are screwed to the wall with are available from B&Q. I've then sealed around any gaps between the box and the wall with a gap filler. The hinged backs have an acrylic viewing panel in them which have slideable covers on the outside - just in case the loft light is turned on accidentally!

Tuesday 8 April 2014