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Part 3 - A little less conversation, a bit more action!

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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.

5a11916351c91_GarageMainFrameRafters.thumb.jpg.446a437a61ab7900dde8cb23d884200e.jpg        Porch.thumb.jpg.fc2c493e046a75bab4d063ca71bd786d.jpg

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.

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That is strange re Scottish Water and Road crossings.


All our services had to cross a single track road.  I got a price for a road crossing from an independant contractor, most expensive. Then I got a price from SSE for the road crossing, a little cheaper. Then I got Scottish Water to quote and they were by far the cheapest for the road crossing. So we got the water connected first with SW (or rather their appointed sub contractor) making the road crossing. Before, or rather as it was being filled we laid in ducts for electricity and telecoms then they closed up the road and resurfaced the road.


So definitely go back to SW and ask for an "all works" quote.


The road crossing added £1000 to the water connection bill (which was similar to yours) but everyone else wanted nearly twice that for the road crossing.


It took 2 guys with a mini digger and a concrete breaker half a day for the road crossing so £1000 is still plenty for that. No road closure order or traffic lights needed, just a steel plate they could slide over the trench when someone wanted to pass.

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Yes @ProDave I have to admit I found it strange - I will certainly mention it again to them. It will also be interesting to see what price the Builder comes in with. Watch this space as they say.

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Please just get a schedule of works in duplicate and each of you sign them with the agreed amount. 

It protects both you and the builder and is so simple to refer back to if confusion or disagreement should ever occur. The document simply states for £X your getting XYZ, no more no less. 

Trust is a beautiful thing, but confusion at the details stage can add a big chunk of time ( £ labour ) so be very aware. 

As a contractor this method has saved me countless times where Mr Blogs thought he was getting 20 spotlights in the kitchen diner but had only paid for 8 etc. I'd never do it differently. 


Edit to add : 

Oh, and of course the very best luck moving forward :) 

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P.S - we live very near your plot and would love to come and see how you're getting on once you've started to build.

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