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About this blog

A mostly DIY build project using ICF to create a 2.5 story near passive (A95) house in Holywood, Co. Down aiming for finished build around £750/m2....

Entries in this blog

A well, a stink, a big hole and a BBQ.

A well, a stink, a big hole and a BBQ.

After demolition was completed in March, nothing happened again until late June. If you want a good worker, you have to wait. And that's my friend of 10 year plus, Noel. So I was happy to wait a few months to get him to do the extensive ground works, an experienced plant operator with a team of solid workers at his disposal.   As we're building a basement, we knew excavation would be extensive. Once we'd leveled the site, dug out the founds, the drainage and main basement excavation wo

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Down She Comes!

Now we have planning in place, and a design we are happy with, time to get started. We are certain we cannot employ a main contractor to do the build - at 280m2, the MC estimates are in the £400k range. We need to keep it closer to £250k.    Demolishing the existing was the first challenge. After a few calls, it soon became apparent that this would not be cheap. £10-£20k from the main demo companies. Lowest offer was £4 for a reclamation company to come in, demolish by hand and take al

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Planning and Design Process - take your time!

Having never thought we'd be in the position of designing a house from scratch, we were overwhelmed by the prospect. Through a work colleague of my partner, we got in touch with an architectural technologist that specialises in passive houses and low energy homes. His style is quite simple and very much what we were after.   We met up, got on very well, and spent the next 9 months designing our future home.   We went through 12 drafts before we were happy. To say we're indeci

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Renovation to New Build - oops!

Back in June 2017 we found a house for sale close to us in Holywood, Co. Down - 4 bed bungalow, 115m2 on a large plot on one of the best streets in the town. Within our budget. Couldn't believe it! So we put in a offer at the asking price. Didn't hear anything back. Phoned the agent a few days later and bidding was going on way above our offer... developers with cash. Obviously they saw it a potential site. So, we accepted our loss and moved on. Then, two months later, it appeared back on the ma

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