There really is a sense that we are approaching the business end of our self build project – the thinking, reading and talking has now evolved into making firm commitments and paying deposits to secure various orders.
Ahead of our permanent move to the Borders in February 2018, [Rented accommodation] we travelled to the area in late October with the express determination to finalise matters with a local builder and to confirm the stone we are going to use, the specification for the oak car port and oak front porch, [ see attached images] together with the kitchen cabinet requirements. The windows and external doors will be confirmed in February when we will have more time.
We also met with the Landscaper / gardener who has been maintaining the plot for us and whilst there, we took the opportunity to measure out the footprint of the house and car port. A neighbour asked – is it a big house on a small plot or a small house on a big plot?
To us, it seems a perfect fit but even so, it is still very hard to visualise both structures sitting on the empty plot. I’m sure once March comes round and the ground is broken so to speak, there will be days when we think it is both!
We also met with Field Operatives from the Electricity provider and Water Company to discuss connections. Both were set up via their respective online websites and to date, the process has been a pleasant one. Neither foresee any difficulties so that is one thing less to worry about.
However, I do find it strange that Scottish Water will not do any “road crossing” connections. I have to source this through the builder / independent contractor. They will only connect their work once it reaches the plot.
So without this additional cost, which is yet to be confirmed, the utility connections have cost me £740 for the electricity and £957 for the water.
A builder is on board. No written contract as such has been prepared and signed. He was sent a very comprehensive schedule of works to price up, we have since discussed a few minor matters and he has agreed to undertake the work. I know this perhaps goes against perceived wisdom but he is a well established local builder, with a family reputation to maintain. I will be supplying the bulk of the materials for him and his team to install etc. When we first met, he mentioned the word “trust” and that has to work both ways. Each case has to be considered individually and against its own circumstances. For us, we are happy to move forward. Deep down, I would have liked to have entered into a formal written contract but it just didn’t feel right to impose such a process. Fingers crossed!
We have chosen the stone to be used and that in itself was a surreal moment. We travelled to the back of beyond to a stone merchants and found ourselves in a small hut called the office. For all its basic elements and piled up paperwork, their internet connection was probably faster than we have at home!! When the stone is up, it’s not like wallpaper. You just cant go and buy an alternative pattern! So after much thought and deliberation we have gone for a “local blend” made up of stone from Cumbria, Perthshire and Borders Buff. I just hope it looks OK !
The next update will be in March 2018, when we hopefully break ground and set about with building our dream home with earnest. [No, that’s not the builders name!]
Thanks for reading. PW.