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About this blog

We have planning permission for a  four bedroom house and detached garage on a 1.7 acre wooded site on the Isle of Wight to replace a rather delapidated wooden bungalow. We are about a year behind the original plan due to family circumstances and it took a fair while to get the paperwork in order to allow us to begin on site - only 11 planning conditions to satisfy. Our move-in date is July 2020 although I doubt the house will be fully finished!

Who would try building in 2020? Due to various virus related delays we're a bit behind plan, so a July move-in date isn't happening. New plan is to be water tight by the end of the summer holidays and then to slowly fit out the interior over the winter.

 

The house is built on piles and ringbeam due to soil type and tree proximity. The superstructure, including the roof, is SIPS and will be clad with real wood, (a planning condition) probably Siberian Larch with a natural slate roof (yet another planning condition). We are using Passivehaus ideas as guidelines but are not attempting certification. The design SAP rating was a good 'A' without specifying a lot of solar panels.

Entries in this blog

 

Dodging the rain while wielding a slating hammer

Progress has been made intemittently between the various storms. The guttering is getting a thorough testing some days. My friend Jeff has returned to site for a week so we have a chance of getting ahead in the inevitable race against the bad winter weather. Some jobs just go better with more people on site...   Like moving hundreds of slates around!   The 15 metre long north roof very close to completion. Just the top row left to go, and we'll do this from t

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Have Slates. Prefer not to travel.

A lot has happened on site in the last month. But nothing really seems to look different yet.   We start with the soffit and fascia. A 15.1 metre run, in 4 pieces. Why the house grew that extra 100mm I don't know. I blame the boss and the architect! It can't possibly be anything to do with me! What a pain this was to get straight - the process was to cut the splines down to the right size, both at the edge and bottom (the 'alien' was good for this) and then insert some reinforceme

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Working on the roof and waiting for the slate delivery

This covers the past few weekends of family effort. My friendly builder Jeff is finishing off another job for my electrician (the Island is a small place) so we're been plodding along on our own.   First, we needed to screw down the 50x38 counter battens at 300mm centres. The first pair in place with me balancing on the north side with my new roof ladder.   The battens themselves are to be spaced at 600mm centres, but because we were worried about high winds that weeken

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This isn't quite the help I had in mind, but it might work out..

My daughter thought I needed a bit more help with the roof, so came up with this pair of critters. The double act that is Griff and Raffe. What could possibly go wrong?   They can saw the counterbattens...   They can saw the battens...   They can load the nail gun - when they aren't sleeping in the hammock   And they even tried nailing the battening - but to the scaffolding.  

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Getting started on the roof

This is only a short update because we've been taking it easy on the house so the boss and I can get some (paid) work done. Will be the school holidays soon - so slave labour will be available!   I have ordered some plain and simple white UPVC soffits and facia from a local company so time to start measuring up and cutting the splines level. More work for the Alien and some string. The plumb line is made from a Lotus Elise crank pulley bolt! Hopefully the soffits and facia will be inst

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Putting the lid on the box

I think we are done with going up, so it's time to put a roof on the house. It's fully made from SIPS panels, approximately a foot thick so very little internal structure is needed. We had a little bit of argument on site today unfortunately between the SIPS people and scaffolders, but it was resolved and progress was made. It comes down to differing cultures and a lack of experience of the speed of this sort of build locally.   The front as seen from the driveway approach. It has beco

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6 days in. So far, so good.

We have seen huge changes on site in the last couple of days. The SIPS team have worked very hard to keep things on track. I can't fault anything they have done. All the walls are in place now and we're waiting for the scaffolding to have the last lift built so the roof lift can happen, planned for early afternoon on Monday.   Craning the roof panels into the assembly area.   The small part of the L shape roof that goes over the master bedroom sitting waiting to be lift

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What a difference a day makes...

There have been a few delays along the way, but now the largest work package is well and truly under way. The last 24 hours has seen the house go from 300mm out of the ground to 2.7 metres.   The front door and stairwell on the left and family room doors on the right.     Unloading the second trailer load of parts. Running out of space on site now!   First floor joists going in. With another view of the stairwell window   Inside the loung

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The end of the beginning

We're back at work. The SIPS team are on the Island and have satisfactory accomodation, and the first load of house is unloaded on site. But before the photos of this, there are the last stages of getting out of the ground and interfacing with the SIPS superstructure.   The site foreman early last week doing the final checks of plinth flatness. To the best of our measurement ability all is good - within 3mm in height and 5mm laterally.   First to arrive: A new toy! I us

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Small steps and changes of scale

I've not been on site for much of the week because I had plenty of paid work to do, so I left my scaffolders alone. They're getting there. One more morning and we should be good for the first stages of the SIPS installation. Finally the boss has acknowledged the house might not be tiny.   This side stays open for the first few days of SIPS installation to allow acccess for the panels.   Hoping for some reasonable weather for the weekend to get the last few bi

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Getting back to work (maybe)

It's been a while since anyone was on site but family. We've done a few jobs in the last couple of months but obviously made nothing like the progress we originally planned. (Management speak would be "rebaselining the programme"!)   All the beam and block is installed and grouted. All the plinth blocks are installed and pointed, placed to an accuracy of 3mm in height and 5mm in the other directions. Hopefully... Waiting now for the SIPS people to mark my homework! All the bu

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Musical interlude while C19 settles down

I was due to be writing about the happy day when my SIPS kit arrived on the Island, but instead I find that I have closed up the site and reduced outgoings as much as possible because the SIPS team can't be accomodated and fed on the Island given current restrictions, and travelling the length of the country is hardly sensible conduct at this stage.   Just so there is something to see from the site, here is the beam and block floor going in. Close to 1000 blocks and 68 beams plac

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Pouring Concrete and Drinking Cava

Friday was a near perfect day for concrete pouring. A little cold at first, but by the time the concrete lorries arrived it was warming up nicely. The pile caps are all tied together nicely.   The first lorry arrives. Disapointingly they didn't pump the concrete because of equipment availability. One of the snags of living on an island! The concrete was poured into the dumper, then the digger used to bucket it in to the beam. Half the long run done. Plenty of "wat

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A creditable attempt to pour all my money into a hole in the ground...

Here goes the next stage. Building the reinforced concrete ring beam. The plan is to build the steel cages off site in a shed due to awful weather, then deliver to the site. Lots of things arriving on site! The yellow plastic takes the place of traditional shuttering. Apparently this is faster and therefore cheaper. This will help pay for the huge amount of claymaster I need. It's still a little wet out here so digging might get interesting. We're armed with pumps and a couple of diggers so

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Let the piling begin

The piling crew phoned me early on Monday morning. Can we come to site on Thursday? We're going to be done earlier than planned and we don't want to waste money on the ferry. Fair enough I think - the ferries are silly money if you're moving equipment. It left me a little problem though - the site wasn't graded to the right level and I had no piling mats. They were on my weekend list so they would be ready for Monday when I was originally expecting the piling team.   So a few phone cal

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Demolition Day

Day1: The diggers gather like vultures. The old bungalow is doomed now with only one more day of asbestos removal on the inside. The driveway can't be finished until the rain stops.   Day 2: Half the house appears to have gone! It seems there isn't much to it that isn't rotten.   Another view of of the half-a-bungalow.   Skipping a day to day 4: All the house down with the wood awaiting collection. All the asbestos roofing felt has been stripped and remo

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Site Clearance and Planning Conditions

One of the more onerous (read expensive) planning conditions related to the driveway design and protection of tree roots. We were required to install a "no dig" foundation layer using Core geocells (or similar) after the planners were happy with the site fencing, but before the old bungalow was demolished. Typically the planners said "no" the first time we applied for discharge for no readily apparent reason. I re-applied having done more work for an unrelated condition and they said "yes".

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The site as purchased

Here are a few pictures of the site from the time we took posession and started to clear the undergrowth and satisfy the planning conditions.   The driveway to be. It makes Range Rovers look small. Only a few bits of tree and detritus to remove!   The boss hard at work during some tree removal work.   The back garden being fenced off after felling a very large diseased eucalyptus.   Another planning condition: Social housing for bats!

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