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About this blog

Vivienz's blog on a contemporary new build in north Dorset.  Hopefully.

Entries in this blog

 

Getting stoned

After the rock 'n' roll plastering at the start of the month, the last 2 weeks have been all about getting stoned outside.  The only drugs involved were caffeine and sugar, however, and the stone was for the perimeter drains around the house along with a few other bits.  Inside, I've been busy decorating, of course, but photos of white rooms are getting a bit samey now, so they will be limited for the moment.   I've been using Richard Moore Contractors for this phase of the groundworks

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Elvis has left the building

If plasterers were musicians, mine would be Elvis (except my plasterer is still alive, obvs!) or some arena-filling brain-melting rock god, because that's how good his plastering is.  Others have been trying to coax Ian to work away for the last 3 weeks and they've had to accept failure as he doesn't travel (far).  Anyhow, Ian the Plasterer has now left the building apart from a teensy last bit in the hallway that can't be done until the new stairs arrive, so 99% there.    The week jus

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Interlude and internals

And so almost another month has gone by but progress is still being made on the build and, just as importantly, hubby and I got away for a week's holiday in northern France just as the warm weather hit.  After our abject failure at R&R over Christmas, it was wonderful to have a really relaxing break without illness or stress and come back refreshed for the final push on the build, which is just as well as there's a busy time to be had over the coming weeks.   In the last blog entry

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Plastering and the white room of paint

It's 3 weeks since my last blog entry and, as usual, things have been moving at a pace.  The difference with the most recent round of work, though, it that the building is starting to look like a liveable house rather than a construction site.  This is largely due to the glory coats of plaster and paint, but far more than that has been keeping everyone busy.   The boarding started in earnest before Christmas and so the plasterers were in bright and early in the new year.  We've got thr

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Vertical slate cladding & the pond

At the same time that all the indoors first fix was going on during December, there was plenty going on outside, too.  From the perspective of the build, the main event was the slate cladding but the thing that drew by far the most attention was the digging of the pond.  I use the term 'pond' loosely, and it has been the subject of great debate, but it is a wildlife pond.  Not a swimming pond, not a boating lake, nor a flight pond, which are all alternative suggestions that have been made.  It w

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Plague, pestilence and plastering

Okay, so I know that I promised another blog post soon way back at the beginning of December but it was busy on the build.  Crazy busy, details to follow.  As for Christmas, well, that didn't turn out as planned, and I had planned it so well.   Both OH and I were proper knackered by the time we got into December - me with the build, OH running our business by himself, so we planned some quality R&R by running away to Gran Canaria on Christmas eve for a week.  A fly and flop, turn o

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Cellulose

Winter is coming, the White Walkers are on the way and, in the meantime, grey snow arrived in my house on Friday.    Allow me to explain.  It seems that much of the artificial snow that you see on film sets is, in fact, made from blown cellulose, particularly to cover outdoor areas without damaging flora and fauna.  I now know this after having some cellulose insulation inadvertently blown into the garage on Friday when the insulation found a gap in a board and made its way through.  N

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Testing, testing

Yesterday was air tightness test day and MBC's final day on site getting everything prepped for the final test and then finishing off a few details.  For those not so familiar with this kind of thing, a few details of the process follow.   Our house isn't a passive house as it hasn't been designed with that in mind - it was the design first and then build to passive standards, so no accreditation or anything like that.  That said, I wanted a low energy house and hence the choice of the

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And the build goes on.

Having got all my water issues out into the last post, it's time to move on to happier things and talk about other progress.  Actually, that's a little unfair because there is a lot of work in all the flat roof stuff, far more than the pitched roof, and aside from the wet stuff it's going well.   At the end of the penultimate post, the solar PV panels were just going on and the pitched roof was also still a work in progress.  The building was still a shell with no power and plenty of w

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Actually, I do care...

....what the weatherman says as things didn't go quite to plan.   It's been a hellishly busy couple of weeks since I last posted and it feels like far longer than 2 weeks, as I'm sure anyone who has had a leaky building will sympathise with.  I was feeling very pleased and relieved 2 weeks ago as everyone was on site and working away and it really did look like I would just sneak in before the weather broke.  Had everyone been where they should have, I would have just made it but the f

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I don't care what the weather man says.....

....if the weather man says it's raining!  So goes the old song and me, too, by the end of this week.  The roof itself has been watertight for a couple of weeks now, but there was still significant water ingress from the gulleys hidden behind the parapets formed at the top of the ground floor.  However, my flat roof guys have been back on site this week and are working hard.  Today they were finishing off the long, east facing balcony and also moving onto the south facing parapet; they will cont

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Electricity burial

No, I haven't managed to sneakily bury the wayleave officer somewhere on site!  This post is for the other electricity cable on my site, namely the one that directly supplied the previous building and will supply the new one.  This comes onto the site via an overhead cable and a post and stay that are very close to the new building.  Entirely safe but very ugly and certainly won't fit in with the lovely garden that we're planning. So, from the outset, we've planned to bury this supply as much as

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Wonky wall update

A brief update on my inward leaning gable that I posted about recently.  Just to recap, I spotted that the gable section of my west facing bedroom wall was leaning inward at an angle and made it look as though there was a problem with the window, which turned out not to be the case.   Over the last couple of days I've been liaising with my timber frame company, MBC, and my window company, Norrsken, to see what needs to be done.  I've taken plenty of photos to illustrate the problem and

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Not so square after all

It's been a little quiet on site over the last 10 days or so which hasn't been a bad thing as I had a nasty cold last week so it gave me an added incentive to stay at home and get some more forward planning done.  One of the downsides, though, is that I only today spotted an issue with the west facing upstairs gable that's only really visible from the top scaffolding lift.   When I first saw it, I thought 'oh bugger, another window problem' and promptly got on the phone to the guys at

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Wayleaves - a resolution

Today, I had my site meeting with the line manager of the local wayleave officer for SSE, to further discuss the situation regarding high voltage wires oversailing my property, all of which I mentioned in a previous post.    The meeting went well and AJ's line manager was as different as she could be from AJ and the whole thing was conducted in a civilised manner.  The resolution is that OH and I will grant an easement to SSE for the wires to be allowed to pass over our property in per

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Smashing!

Before we get into the events of the day, I have a little quiz question for readers of the blog.   - What is the connection between my build in rural north Dorset and a mystical character from the legend of King Arthur?   Answer at the end of today's entry.  All will become clear.   Today was another busy day on site, with 3 main areas of activity - flat roof, pitched roof and windows.   Let's start with the windows, as they are (mostly) looking great.  Bo

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Delayed gratification

So far this week, things are going okay, but in their usual messy sort of way, and with a few time slippages thrown in that are keeping me on my toes.   Let's start with the main show of this week which is the arrival and installation of all my glazing.  Woohoo!  All arrived intact and, as far as I can see for the moment, undamaged.  Everything turned up on a lorry from Poole yesterday morning, so a relatively local delivery as I'm only at the other end of the county rather than the co

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Roofing by iteration

Having vented my spleen about the DNO and AJ, its wayleave officer, it's time to move on to more interesting things, like the puzzle of getting my roofing done, amongst other things.   For my sins, whilst our house is an interesting design and has quite a few twiddly bits, they have proved to be less than straightforward to actually get built.  For a start, the house has a combination of pitched and flat roof sections, there will be an in-roof solar PV system up there and the parapet t

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Wayleaves etc., Part 2

If there's one thing that really gets my back up, it's someone trying to bully or intimidate me.  It rarely works, it just makes me angry.   If you've been following this blog, you may recall a post some time back in August concerning the high voltage power lines that oversail my plot, sadly very close to our new house.  They do, in fact, just about cross directly over the very furthest corner of the garage.  Now whilst these lines do not supply my new house and there is no equipment a

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House shaped object in a field

....is how my brother in law accurately described the state of the build now when I Whatsapped him the picture below, taken yesterday afternoon.   As you can see, MBC have been at their blitzkrieg style building speed again and this morning I arrived to find my roof all covered in membrane and battens, too, and MBC noticeable by their absence.  Actually, it's the silence that you notice as much as anything.  There were about 7 in the team over the weekend and when all the nailgun

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Lighting

Another thinking ahead type post, this time on lighting.   As I previously mentioned, I've been trying to firm up on the switches, sockets and all of that kind of thing that I will need to put in but wasn't making much progress.  Thinking on it further, though, I believe that my slowness was coming from the fact that I haven't decided on my lighting scheme and other electrickery, so I wouldn't be able to define exactly what I want to switch on and off.  As a result, I'm now putting som

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After the timber frame

The timber frame will be substantially built by the middle of next week and I'm thinking through and organising the next stages, so this post is to help crystallise my thoughts and offer them out for anything I have missed that is time-critical.   MBC will be working over the weekend and the build will be substantially finished around Tuesday or Wednesday.  They are going to leave out a few of the stud walls, the ones that form the walls of the landing, until they return to do the air

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Whoosh!

So not much happened on site today.   Hahahahhahaha!   Just kidding - the 'whoosh' of the entry title refers to the speed of the upper floor going up.  Just amazing.  Equally, though, it could refer to the rotor blades of a Royal Navy lynx helicopter.  Huh? Let me explain.  For some time now, ever since the slab started going down, in fact, there have been a couple of navy lynx helicopters that seem to have a regular route (I assume from RNAS Yeovilton as it's not that far aw

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Glued, screwed and getting all heated up

My upper floor, that is.   Due to the vast number of MBC guys on site early last week, my upstairs was ready for the underfloor heating pipes and spreader plates to go in much earlier than my plumber had anticipated so the plates were duly put in.  MBC were due back on site this morning to get the egger boards down on the first floor, so it was a case of then or never.   The downstairs UFH pipes are embedded into the concrete slab and so a different method is needed for the u

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Timber frame, day 2

Moving on to day 2 of the timber frame erection, I make no apologies for this photo-heavy post as the pictures speak far more eloquently than I can on the subject matter.  Especially as I don't know the right words for much of it.   It rained overnight here in Dorset, but nothing disastrous and it was all gone by a couple of hours into the morning.  Here's how I left the team yesterday evening:     This morning, another day, another crane.  This one, I think, was e

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