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A blog by Red Kite

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Lots of STUFF - Good, Bad & Ugly

Lots of STUFF - Good, Bad & Ugly

It has been 3 weeks since the last Blog post and in some ways it feel an eternity and in others it seems only yesterday since Plot 1 TF was done - which is where we left the story. So lots and lots has happened since then so this entry will cover 'lots of stuff' in one go. Our main aim is to get both shell buildings up and then get them wind and watertight as soon as possible. The heavy rain we had just after Plot 1 was finished showed that the MBC OSB roof is not in any way watertight as

Red Kite

Red Kite

Timber Frame PLOT 1

Timber Frame PLOT 1

An auspicious crane day as a Red Kite flies in front of our crane as it is installing the Timber Frame for Plot 1 🙂   Its been a while as life has been really hectic and keeping up with things on site have meant little time for the blog. This one is exciting and the video shows the MBC Timber Frame for Plot 1 (our son Joe's house) from start to finish. We have cut this to be chronological and cut out the days MBC were not on site so the build looks continuous.   The build seq
Beam and Block

Beam and Block

Its been a few weeks since the last post but for us its not been a quiet time - we hear from friends who now watch daytime TV at a very leisurely pace - if only!!!! As we are at a point where we have a few days breathing space this is the first of several posts to catch up with ourselves.   After the scaffold went up round the outside of the build in preparation for the timber frame the next step was to lay the concrete floors as a 'lid' to the basement and sub floor and a ceiling to t

Red Kite

Red Kite

Scaffold & Frogs

Scaffold & Frogs

As per the last post - we live in interesting times and its not getting any easier! The only real upside is that the weather has improved finally. We had the scaffolders in last week and they have built round three sides to roof level and it looks HUGE as it surrounds both houses in one continuous run. It doesn't look it but it is in fact the houses will have the same  roof height as the old bungalow (fractionally lower in fact)  - we did suggest to the planners that since we have 2 and 3 story

Red Kite

Red Kite

Interesting Times

Interesting Times

We had always heard that self build was not only exciting but difficult and stressful, and it was living up to its reputation as we worked through all the issues of foundations and sub structure to get ready for the Timber Frame. There was a hiccup in the Beam and Block floor supply that pushed the schedule out a week but it was all looking good for B&B on the 27th March and MBC Timber Frame on the 6th April. This was a really tight  but achievable schedule, and the Internorm with windows on

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 16 & 17 - Blockwork making progress

As you can see there has been some progress on site and things are looking good - not all plain sailing but as we keep telling ourselves - we are getting there. Blockwork walls are going in and we can finally get a real feel for the basement rooms and the layout. Lots of back and forth on waterproofing and insulation/ thermal break under the walls and real problems locating 100mm high Marmox blocks - these are specialist lightweight composite insulating blocks that help prevent thermal bridges a

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 14 & 15

Over the long Xmas (much needed) break we turned the e pump off for a few days and even though it was not raining the level went up about a foot - so back to pumping to keep the water at bay. When the guys came back it was dry so they cracked on with more black tanking, external sheathing  and backfill - which is what the video shows. They built a French drain around the outside which is a big black perforated pipe laid in gravel, covered with geotextile membrane which allow water through,

Red Kite

Red Kite

Week 12 & 13 - External Tanking

Week 12 & 13 - External Tanking

Progress on site has been a bit slow so we have combined the last two weeks together, and also the guys packed up early on Friday for their long and well earned  Christmas break. Over the last two weeks you can see them taking down the last of the shuttering and getting it off site. So that is the end of the poured concrete for us which is a big milestone and you can now see the full extent of the basement / foundations. The next step was to put a fillet of mortar all around the outside of the k

Red Kite

Red Kite

Week 11 - The last pour for the walls

Week 11 - The last pour for the walls

The weather was really cold this week but the guys cracked on and removed the shuttering from the first pour of the walls and moved it ready for the second pour. Luckily the weather warmed up and they were able to pour the final structural walls on Friday so this should be the last of the  waterproof concrete. As you can see where the shuttering has come off we are left with really neat concrete with just the shutter panel marks. The waterproofing guy inspected these and was really happy: in his

Red Kite

Red Kite

Week 10 - Shuttered Walls

Week 10 - Shuttered Walls

As you can see in the video this week they built up the shuttering in layers; first the outside, then the steel in the middle of the sandwich and finally the internal shutter.       Also along the bottom they cleaned out the kicker and laid in a waterbar / waterstop (that brown bar in one of the photos) in a pre-formed channel, this forms a seal and prevents any water coming through the joint between the walls and the floor.     They bolt the two ha

Red Kite

Red Kite

Week 9 - The Big Pour

Week 9 - The Big Pour

Actually it didn't pour and it was really great weather on Monday for the main slab pour which was a real help for the guys. They poured the 300mm thick slab - all 79m3 of it - all in one go, so it was a long day and the kicker took a lot of time as it was levelled with a trowel. It caused a few traffic problems when the first lorry was a long 8 wheeler and blocked the road, but after that 6 wheelers meant that cars could get past. As it is waterproof concrete and is covered by a 20 year warrant

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 8

Week 8 was a short week on site as they finished all the prep for the slab pour on Thursday and went off to another job - or to hide from the weather. The big pour for the main slab is all set for Monday and because of the quantity of concrete and the waterproofing they booked it a week in advance. The slab gets poured in one go so its going to be a busy and exciting day!   If you look (sorry the video is not very exciting this week) you can see them tying in the last of the L-bar / st

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 7 - It's a steel!

The video shows the black plastic membrane going down this week, followed by an enormous quantity of steel. What you dont see is that with all the rain the pump has been running continuously to try and keep the rainwater at bay - getting lots of water on the slab at this point is a bad thing as the membrane floats up which is a 'bad thing', its a bit better now because of the tons of steel on it!   The black membrane goes down in three layer - first the sealed flexible which is heat se

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 6 - Services, blinding concrete, shuttering and a Halloween Nightmare!

The video for Week 6 doesn't have Thursday and Friday as the camera played up (I blame Halloween) but good progress. this week.  You can see them laying in the service ducts and drainage pipes and then laying a thin 'blinding layer' of concrete = our first pour. They then went on to put shuttering up around the edge ready to fit the waterproof membrane and then the steel on top. By Saturday (see photo) the rain had filled it up quite a bit and the black shuttering you can see round the edge keep

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 5 - laying the stone base layer and services

The last of the big muck away at the start of the week and then laying the base stone layer means that we are pretty clean on site and the mud is hardly an issue. The surveyor came and marked out accurately and the Architect produced the detailed layout for the services - electric, telecom, water and soil stacks and you can see these being laid in towards the end of the week. They will come up through the slab and so need to be pretty accurate. Pretty soon we will be ready for the steel and shut

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Week 4 - out of the ground, or is that in?

Digging is progressing well despite the rain - they had to pump out a bit as we had that swimming pool we wanted! They had no muck away on Monday so only 4 days and the bulk of the big dig is complete and you can start to see the scale of the project. They have done the rough dig and are now levelling out the bottom and starting to place a layer of stone that will then be concreted over to form the slab. The hole is actually bigger than the basement by about 1m all round so they have room to wor

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Groundworks Weeks 1-3 and Time Lapse Video

Well lots is happening on site:- we started with demolition and asbestos removal which was a super easy and quick, services were a nightmare (especially the electricity supply), and finally we have drainage signed off and planning conditions and building regs submitted etc. Finally ready to go!!!!!   So three weeks ago our groundworkers started on site, and  It is an ongoing epic against a backdrop of rain and a sea of wet clay and the proportions are epic! The foundations for the two

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Demolition

Demolition and Asbestos   Very early on we had an asbestos survey done (which makes a real mess if you live in the house) and there were some nasties in the garage ceiling that were H&SE notifiable (i.e. not DIY!!!) and some rain goods that were pretty benign. So we decided to get one contractor to do both asbestos removal and demolition.   Having the services disconnected first we then started and luckily we had a fantastic contractor: recycled 90% of the buildi

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Gremlins

Trying to be good and catch up on long overdue Blog update and the gremlins hit. A small problem with my latest Blog Post: Services - seems like it posted the same content 5 times! No idea why, or how to remove the duplicate posts. Any help here welcomed! No need to read it 5 time!

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

Services

Services   As the existing bungalow already had services (phone, electricity, gas, water, main drainage) we expected that it should be easy to sort out the services for the new build. Well some were harder than others!   Gas – to demolish we needed to first have the gas meter removed which was really easy. Then we needed the gas disconnected – it wasn’t too tricky but they were not too sure where it was on the verge. They looked carefully at the tarmac patches in th

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

The Design

Well lets say it has evolved and been shaped by the titanic forces of nature and the planning process. Its not quite what we initially wanted and has been compromised and compromised over its various iterations and has sadly lost some of our ‘must have’ features. But it is kinda cute, and we do really like it!   The site is about 1/3rd of an acre slopping up from the road and has a shared driveway to our neighbours at the rear. In the middle of the plot is a 3 bed 1960’s bungalow which

Red Kite

Red Kite

 

The Back Story

A very very long and difficult history to our self-build that we will compact into as short a space as possible to save readers much of the grief we have been through.   We have always lived in (and renovated) old, cold, draughty and character-full houses, and our last house (a Victorian vicarage) had lots of glass and double aspect rooms and was full of light. We wanted to downsize but couldn’t find anything with similar light and space, and some of the new build ones we looked at

Red Kite

Red Kite