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About this blog

Our family of (currently) 4 humans, 2 cats and 1 dog and our journey to getting our forever home in West Sussex

Entries in this blog

Basement UFH and Screed

I had a few spare minutes on this lovely sunny Sunday evening and decided to spend it writing up a blog post for our basement UFH install and screed.   We have a 250mm reinforced concrete slab sitting on top of 200mm EPS300 in the basement. The slab wasn’t very flat and so we decided to use a cement based liquid screed to give us a nice level base for our finished flooring. So we put down 25mm of PIR to level things out and also to allow the UFH pipes to be stapled to. I did some quick

The roofs, the windows and the solar PV array

Well, it’s been quite a while since my last blog post but we’ve not been idle but I do admit to having been slack in updating the blog.   At the end of the last blog we had a superstructure and the roofer was about to begin his journey up the scaffolding. This is where that tale begins…..   ’Twas a sunny November morning when all was quiet that a white van man arrived at our site to felt, batten and slate our sloping roofs. And he wasted no time at all in cracking on with it

A rather rapid (timber frame) erection

Greetings! Apologies for the crass title but I am still a kid at heart. ?   After a brief delay due to Covid-19 the carpenters were able to attend site and erect our timber frame. Thanks to the accuracy I insisted on and ensured for the coursing blocks the sole plates were a doddle and were done in no time at all although we did have a bit of rain and I had to get the puddle pump out!       We used Flight Timber for our timber frame and they have their o

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Out of the ground at last

Since the basement was finished at the end of June things seem to have been dragging on for ages but we are finally out of the ground and ready for the timber frame. It has taken 13 weeks and we had delays with materials that held things up but when I look back at the photos from the basement being finished to where we are now it is amazing how much has been done and we’re very excited about the timber frame going up next week.   When the groundworkers came back post-basement they star

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We have a basement….and some utilities

It’s been a while since my last blog post and over the last 5 weeks the basement contractors have been busy and have finished the basement. Well, the external walls at least as we still need to build the internal walls and put the block and beam on top.   It’s looking really good although it is a bit reminiscent of a prison with all the concrete and 3m high walls (not that I’ve been in many/any prisons that is, it’s just from watching movies).   The groundworkers are back on-

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We have a slab!

Weeks 4 and 5 of the build saw our basement slab being poured. it was a major milestone for us and we're really happy....well, apart from the section that was too high and they needed to grind it down of course, but apart from that we're really happy. ?   We have 200mm EPS300 specified for under the slab and this was laid by using a long telescopic rule from the profile board strings 4m above at ground level. We are supposed to have a 200mm toe outside the slab and luckily I was outsid

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Week 3 - a big hole almost finished

so, here we are at the end of the 3rd week of our build with the groundworkers having dug the basement to depth and put the sub-base down ready for levelling and compacting on Monday with the blinding and insulation to also be completed on the same day.   We got a second digger driver on site this week and things have really got going and on Friday we even had a 3rd person to stand around with the laser level to assist. Here's the time-lapse video of the week.    

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Week 2 done and dusted

week 2 has finished and the perimeter of our basement has been dug down to the sandstone and it is now obvious how bloody massive this thing is going to be! it really didn't look that big on the plans.....honest! ?   we were hoping for more hands and heavy plant on site this week to speed things up but Monday and Tuesday came and went and still the one man and a digger. on Wednesday a second digger came! woo-hoo! but no extra help so we now have one man and two diggers. It seems to hav

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The End of Week 1

The first week of the build is over and I've collated our time-lapse footage for the week and made a 2 minute video, hosted on Vimeo     we're a little disappointed at the speed of the dig but the boss has only given us one driver to do the digging/dumping/lorry loading so a lot of his time is spent moving the spoil around. but I've been told that more hands might be on-site next week and a bigger excavator so fingers crossed that happens and we see more progress next we

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Getting ready for the big start!

it's been a bit quiet on our blog so I thought I should update it. While we've been waiting for the groundworks to start we've been busy getting the site ready. This has included getting the new entrance to the plot created, getting the sub-base for the driveway in place and then topping it off with a layer of 6F5 as a hardstanding for the construction vehicles (after the build I can then remove the top layer to reveal the, hopefully, still in good condition sub-base to put the final layer on to

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Decisions, decisions, decisions

It's been a while since we obtained planning permission and my last blog entry but we've not been idle. it seems that the last 3 months or so have been a constant stream of decisions that need to be made to get this project started. It's also been a period where money seems to be going out but we don't have much to show for it!   The majority of the decisions have stemmed from the architects needing to get the detailed BC drawings finished. here's a nice summary of our decisions so far

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Now the fun/hard work begins

<drum roll>.....we have our planning application approval! yay!!   I was really expecting a long drawn out process but pretty much a month after we hired our planning consultant we got our approval.    I'm pretty gobsmacked to be honest but we're over the moon. can't believe it all happened so quickly.   I had discussions with the planning consultant about what we were willing to compromise on and what we weren't. we also determined what we could potentially b

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Planning woes

Why is it so hard to get planning approval? Such a simple thing is mired in bureaucracy, pettiness (at least perceived), personal interpretations of the planning policy (e.g. the definition of disproportionate to the existing building) and, in some cases, pure incompetence!   One such example was from Southern Water who said they couldn't approve the proposal with a sewage treatment plant and we had to apply for connection to an existing sewage system. err....the nearest sewer is about

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We hired an architect and he drew plans

Once we'd exchanged on the bungalow we knew that completion would happen and so we didn't waste any time in interviewing and hiring an architect. We got 3 different architects to come round to see us (it was supposed to be 4 but the 4th didn't seem to be interested as after I phoned and left a message with details as to what we wanted I got a voicemail back saying he'd received a message about an extension or something rather than the complete demolition and self-build we're doing! it goes witho

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The journey so far...

A long time ago (about 15 years) in a county not so far away I met and married my wife. Soon after we had a couple of kids and started thinking about our future.    When I was a teenager my parents moved us abroad and built their own house and I think that sowed the seed for me as it seems that I've always wanted to build my own house and would sit down and watch Grand Designs back in the day and be drawn to the idea of it all.   So about 10 years ago we decided that we wante

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