The first chapter...

Omnibuswoman

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We only agreed that we would explore the possibility of building our own home in January, and now somehow seem to be well and truly on our way to seeing that happen in the coming year. Very exciting, but also quite daunting. Like most self-builders, I watch episode after episode of Grand Designs, Build the Dream etc, wondering why people fall into the same financial pitfalls almost every time, and more importantly, how we might avoid doing the same.

 

Having found a plot with planning consent pretty much straightaway, we are now making great strides with our potential builder, Dan, who is a passivhaus enthusiast and all round eco-builder. We think we have arrived at the actual design, and will be in touch with the planning department shortly to see if we can have the changes to the original planning consent considered as material minor amendments rather than making a fresh full planning application. We have copied the scale and footprint of the design that won the original planning consent - a rectangular box that is both generously proportioned and an efficient use of space - and are designing in efficiencies where possible to make the best use of our budget. 

 

Three weeks ago we went down to the plot for the first time since having completed the purchase to began clearing debris and strimming the long grass. My parents, who live 10 minutes away, just over the border in Devon, gave us a hand. After four days of physical labour we were all absolutely exhausted, but very satisfied with our handiwork (see photos).

 

We also met several of our future neighbours who almost all were absolutely lovely.  

 

We had a remote meeting with eco-builder Dan yesterday to discuss timescales and the build method. He proposed that we consider a stick build due to our very tight access (a 50m long driveway to the plot with only 2.2m width and restricted height in places), and to begin next Spring. With the likelihood of a second wave of Covid striking in the winter, and with me working for the NHS, we think that planning the build for the spring is probably sensible. It gives us plenty of time to deal with planning and do some thorough research on the various options for AHSPs, MVHRs, windows, external finishes etc. 

 

Below are photos of me, my parents, and my husband Darren, all hard at work.

 

 

 

 

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I forgot to add that the balloons on the gate were put there by Isobel, our nearest neighbour and the vendor of the plot, to welcome us to our new home! 

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Can you improve the access road, if it’s a pain for one bit of the build it will be a pain all the way through and for future living. 

How close can you get a concrete truck ?

what about getting all the soil off site. 

A few quid spent now will save you thousands of hours of agro if you can drive right up to the plot. 

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12 minutes ago, Russell griffiths said:

Can you improve the access road, if it’s a pain for one bit of the build it will be a pain all the way through and for future living. 

How close can you get a concrete truck ?

what about getting all the soil off site. 

A few quid spent now will save you thousands of hours of agro if you can drive right up to the plot. 

 

Unfortunately not at the moment - the driveway comes up between two properties and is fenced on one side, and bound by the wall of our neighbour's house on the other. Her guttering restricts width at about 7-8ft off the ground.

 

However, the neighbour to the north has applied to build on his plot, and if he wins consent that will open up significant access that we may well be able to make use of. He will demolish half of his house to create a new roadway from the road to the back of his plot. If he gets consent, then we could have a concrete truck come up on his side of the boundary, and would be within a few metres of the build. Otherwise, it is going to be the length of the driveway as there's no way a concrete lorry would come up.

 

The soil removal is also going to be tricky unless we can access via the neighbour's plot (provided he gets planning consent). It involves dumping the contaminated topsoil on the driveway near our neighbour's house and from there scooping it into a lorry, x15. A massive pain in the butt. We asked the owner of the field to the west of us if we could access that way, but she declined. Massive disappointment.

 

We plan to move the entrance gate to a slightly wider part of the driveway as the gatepost currently narrows one of the narrowest parts of the driveway. The attached plan shows the pinch points, and the neighbours plot to the north.

 

Drawing 02 PROPOSED SITE PLAN copy.pdf

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Ferdinand

Posted (edited)

My first question was going to be why every self builder suddenly looks decades older in the 6 months later piccie compared to the avatar, but then you said it was your mum 🙂 .

 

Looks good.

 

Gentle warning - now until next spring is not necessarily ample time to deal with planning. You will have to get your queries right with only time for one or two cycles, depending how quickly it gets processed, Corona backlog etc.

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Presumably with that driveway you have an innovative solution to fire protection / suppression ie sprinklers, which will be a few k extra.

 

I don't think that meets the conditions wrt distance from road and fire engine access (iirc 2.75m absolute min width or all the building within 45m of the roadway where the engine can go).

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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

 

My first question was going to be why every self builder suddenly looks decades older in the 6 months later piccie compared to the avatar, but then you said it was your mum 🙂 .

 

😂😂😂

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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

Gentle warning - now until next spring is not necessarily ample time to deal with planning. You will have to get your queries right with only time for one or two cycles, depending how quickly it gets processed, Corona backlog etc.

 

Thanks, that’s helpful advice Ferdinand.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand said:

Presumably with that driveway you have an innovative solution to fire protection / suppression ie sprinklers, which will be a few k extra.

 

I don't think that meets the conditions wrt distance from road and fire engine access (iirc 2.75m absolute min width or all the building within 45m of the roadway where the engine can go).

 

Spot on! Yes, we will have to have a sprinkler system installed which will be a few K. We are engaging a freelance building control person to advise us on meeting fire regs as part of our design process, but we already know that sprinkler will be mandated.

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Bin lorries and deliveries may also be an issue.  They will need a proper unobstructed turning head at the top as well.

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On 26/07/2020 at 18:08, Mr Punter said:

Bin lorries and deliveries may also be an issue.  They will need a proper unobstructed turning head at the top as well.

 

Yes, we will need to take the rubbish bins down to the end of the driveway for collection, and we will put a post box of some kind down near the end of the driveway so that the postman doesn't need to walk all the way up the drive. I can foresee my steps count increasing massively with all of those trips up and down the driveway!

 

Deliveries are going to have to be trollied up the driveway. I actually bought a trolley for that very purpose which you can see Darren pulling in one of the photos. 

 

The plot allows for cars to turn around (3 point turn) but nothing larger than that. We didn't even once think about the accessibility of the plot to anything larger than a car when we put the offer in. It's only been since researching the land clearance that the restrictions have really dawned on us (novice error). 

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Thinking about your step counter, perhaps you could design in a pulley system for your trolley whereby you attach a post box or a bin to it and haul it in ?  Heavy bins are no fun. We are, probably, about 15 metres from roadside where our postbox is and that is annoying enough. There is also a security risk. We have had parcels stolen.

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My present car (bought second hand) came with a towbar that looked unused, but no towing electrics.  Apparently it was fitted just to tow the wheelie bin to the end of the drive once a week.

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I have to take 3 bins 300m down our drive, I intend making a small trailer that the bins will live on that can be towed by the ride on mower. 

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