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About this blog

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

Entries in this blog

Are you ready for this?

You had better be, because once MBC turn up on site, it's fast and furious and everything has to fit around them.  Things happen at an incredible pace and no matter how much you read about it, how many videos you look at, it doesn't quite prepare you for the reality of that speed, or not in my case.  Some surprises are good, and this was one of them.   I'll get to the photos shortly, but first a few comments on what else has been happening since the slab was finished on the 9th August,

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After the rain

I wasn't going to visit the site today, but we've had heavy rain showers today in Dorset and I thought that would be an ideal opportunity to see how level the slab looks after its late night power floating.  My reasoning was that whilst I can't identify any high spots by eye, it would be easy to look for the low ones by where the puddles were lying.   Here's a photo taken from a slightly elevated viewpoint (the top of a pile of wood chippings!), looking from the south east corner where

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A difficult day...

...for the MBC team, and not their fault, but I have a slab. This is only down to the tenacity and incredible hard work from the MBC team who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat today following horrible equipment failure on the part of the concrete company.   So, let's start at the beginning.  The slab team worked like frenzy yesterday morning to get all of the EPS down, followed by the mesh which then got tied into the ring beams.  After that, they put all the underfloor heating

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Wayleaves and electricity lines

Not surprisingly, I've been pondering the dilemma of the overhead electricity lines near/over my proposed garage.  I'm still waiting to hear back from MBC and I suspect my request for a call has got lost in the works somewhere, so I will chase it up.    In the meantime, I've decided to take another course of action in parallel as, given the choice, I would very much prefer the overhead lines not to be there, or at least not so close.  The immediate thought that comes to mind is £££££. 

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Steel, beams and a problem

Let's start with the problem.  I can't solve it today as today is a public holiday in RoI and the MBC guy I need to speak to isn't available, so there's nothing doing until tomorrow.   I need to get the scaffolding sorted for when the timber frame team arrive on 27th August and thought I had this well in hand.  I sort of still do, but there's a H&S problem with the scaffold erection and I've spent a little time this morning tracing back to the source of the error.  I need a single

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Update on slab pour

I briefly popped out to the site this afternoon, dragging hubby with me so that I could show him that I really am spending all that money getting a house built and not squirreling it away into a running away fund.   The MBC team were busy constructing the ring beams that then get tied into the piles.  Lots and lots of work in this and so they reckon that THE SLAB POUR WILL BE EITHER WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY now.    No photos today, but I'll take plenty tomorrow for another blow

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Busy day

It's been a busy old day on site today, and the main MBC associated action was deliveries of EPS and steel and sand, and the team getting on with putting the blinding sand down onto the hardcore, that they finished yesterday evening.   The EPS supplier is based in Essex - the driver left at about 4.30 this morning to make an early delivery but even at that time of day, he didn't make it to the site until just after 8.30 as the roads were so busy.  The amount of polystyrene sitting on t

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Foundation course

The slab team from MBC arrived on site this morning.  It's like having the building version of whirling dervishes who've just dropped a few speedballs.  My word, they make progress!   The team is headed up by Harry and he has 3 others in his team, but this will fluctuate a little over the course of the job with Harry needing to have a look at another job for most of tomorrow then the younger lad taking some leave to go to a music festival.  Tsk, the youth of today!  He worked like a ma

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Hold onto your hats!

After such a very long time of planning, waiting, more planning, plotting and scheming, the real and tangible world is now hurtling towards me at a pace.  MBC got in touch this morning to advise that the slab insulation and the MBC team will be on site on 31st July.  That's next week.  Eek!   Now, I don't know exactly what else is going to happen and whether that's the start proper of the slab going down, but I'd say it's a pretty positive sign of it.  Once I have more detail on the sc

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A little less conversation...

...a little more action.   The piles started going in today and it was a glorious sight to behold after so much waiting and anticipation.  It was, in fact, very understated for piles; these are, after all, mini piles, but there was so little fuss and hassle that it was almost underwhelming.  Not quite, though.   I may just happened to have mentioned before that I'm on clay.  Well, I'm on even more clay than I thought.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anything other

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Piles are go!

Game on.   The setting out for the piles is happening on Friday afternoon, 20th July.  The piling contractor will also be getting everything to the site that day so that they can start bright and early on Monday morning.  The piling is likely to take most of that week; I will be around at various times, but certainly Monday and Thursday, with a couple of hours here and there.  If anyone would like to come along, PM me and we can arrange suitable times.

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No piling on 17th July

A quick note for anyone planning on coming to see the piles going in on 17th July.  My contractor has been in touch to say that he is over running on his current job and will be starting late on mine.  I have a site meeting with him on Tuesday so will update then.  

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Move along, there's nothing to see.

No, really, there's nothing to see, it's all gone!   A great deal has happened in the 2 weeks since the last blog entry meaning that the planned update and photos never happened.  First off, very sadly, my father in law died 2 days after that entry which although not entirely unexpected, still comes as a painful shock and means that there's a lot to do at a time that isn't the best.  I was very fortunate with my in laws and my father in law was a lovely man and will be greatly missed.

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It's been a while....

I didn't realise quite how long a while since the last blog entry so time for an update as I'm on an admin day today, not least for the electricity supply which I'll come onto later.   So, what's occurring?  I'll start at the bottom and work my way up:   Groundworks - the groundworkers arrived on site the day after the last May bank holiday, 29th May.  They took the roof off back in April to sort out any potential bat issues and now they're back doing the main job.  The old c

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......or not.

Chance meetings, research and no fear of being nosy have stood me in good stead for many years and it's proving no different with getting a house built.  The 'dig deep' thing was bothering me, mainly the thought of having to go down 2m over the entire footprint of the build and the cost of all that muckaway, as well as the risk of it all turning into a giant, muddy swimming pool during the process.  I will freely admit that up until about 10 days ago, the thought of having to get piling included

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Time to dig deep

As I'm getting the roof taken off the bungalow next week, I thought that I had best get my site insurance sorted out.  When I was ringing around for quotes, every organisation asked whether the build would need piles in the foundations to which I answered in the negative as I had not heard anything to the contrary.  HOWEVER, the lack of information in one area doesn't equate to certainty in another so I contacted MBC for some information from their SE as to whether he felt, at this stage, I woul

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Bat update

Another day, yet another little gem of learning.  I've been getting a bit worried because although I got the bat licence last week, my glacial paced architect had done nothing about getting the pre-commencement planning conditions discharged for several weeks, even though everything was in place for some time.  But that's another grumble for another day.  Anyhow, I've got to get the roof off by the end of April, which is why I was getting my proverbial knickers in a twist over the pre-commenceme

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To the batmobile, Robin!

I have my bat licence!  Woohoo!   Albeit that ours was a pretty simple case (summer roost only, no breeding evidence, unoccupied building and no big trees in close proximity), I'm chuffed that we got our licence through quite speedily.  I nagged our architect yesterday about the lack of progress with discharging the planning conditions and this has rather caught him out now, as that's the only thing standing between me and having the property demolished, so time to get on with things. 

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Tap, tap, tap, tap......

Can you hear that?  It's the sound of my fingers tapping as I find myself waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn.  This time, it's the turn of Natural England and their (hopeful) approval of our bat mitigation strategy and licence to remove the roof from the old bungalow.  It takes around 6 weeks for them to decide on a licence application but they are behind by a week or two right now, so that means it could be anything up to 2 months.  2 months! Unbelievable!  I've come to the conclusio

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Windows

A boring title, I know, but it's succinct and to the point.   I find it hard to get excited about windows, to be honest, which has surprised me given how much they cost but slogging through different window systems and deciding what's best hasn't been the most fun thing to do.  I guess one aspect that takes any joy out of the process is the lack of uniformity in windows where each company does their own thing and has their own systems which, I'm sure, are terribly important to them and

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Does anyone have a potter's wheel?

....because we have clay, and lots of it.   A soil test was carried out on the site today as MBC need to know what they're building on to do their sums for the foundation.  I used a firm called Mini Soil Surveys (South West), run by a chap called Martin Shirley.  My selection of which firm to use was detailed and exacting - they were the cheapest.  Or should I say, least expensive.  Actually, I had no idea what was involved in this other than punching a few holes in the ground and look

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Reality dawns

After feeling like I've had dozens of different plates spinning in the air at the same time, they are gradually starting to come down to earth and some more gently than others.  This relates to how much it's all going to cost or at least getting an idea of it.   We started out with our budget and a target price per m2 but there's been a lot of theory around that.  In fairness, I had my quote from MBC but that was about it.  More costs are becoming clear now and it's a little intimidati

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South coast inflation

The background plotting and scheming continues as I tick items off a never-ending list of stuff whilst I wait for the bat licence to be granted and start demolition of the bungalow.  Much of this has involved shopping around for various services that we have to have, such as a soil survey (MBC requirement) and SAP calculations.  Other items are for big ticket expenditure such as glazing and cladding.    I live in Bournemouth but the new build is at the other end of the county, in north

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Getting the ball rolling

The first big money was spent today - I signed my contract with MBC and paid the deposit.  I think I could use a menopausal hot flush about now, to counteract the cold sweat that comes over me at the thought of spending all that money.    I haven't been idle since getting our planning permission through, either, as I know that the clock is ticking on loads of things that would be done later due to the type of build.  Stuff like how the cabling from the internet satellite dish will run

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