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From the start of planning to site electric




We moved from Manchester to Cornwall 6 years ago and we are very happy with the overall location.  Our existing converted barn, was converted by the previous owner and is very nice but is built on three levels and has 4 double beds, kitchen, dinner, lounge and snug and 3 baths so it is far too big for us when we retire.  When we bought the house I always say we chose it for the working barn apx 300m2, not the barn we live in.  We are building for our future in the hope that we can continue to live her a long time, if it takes us 10 years to build we will be 65 when we move in.  My husband has a history of bad backs a bungalow with no steps and easy access is high up on our want list.  More recently our Greyhound is refusing to go down to the snug in the lower ground floor at night preferring to stay upstairs in the kitchen. He is incidentally another reason we bought the property, two fields he can run off lead.  We don’t want anything too large, a well insulated bungalow that will be cheap to run and maintain.  We have a small cow shed on our land and although our property is listed the cow shed is outside the curtilage of the property and built in the 70’s so does not require any listed building planning consultations.  When we purchased the property a new build was never on the agenda, but it is now.


In September 2021 we engaged the services of a planning consultant with a view to demolish the small barn and replace it with a new build, his view was favourable.

In January we then approached an architect who suggested full plans would be best since what we were asking for was in keeping with the surroundings, not that much larger than the existing barn and since it was visible from the listed property more detail such as windows and cladding would be required.  Two months of absolutely nothing happened then in March we met up to discuss our requirements and finally in May we submitted our plans.


In June we had our necessary bat and bird nesting survey, the gentleman who conducted the survey nearly started looking at another old stone barn until we corrected him and he then told us that bats wouldn’t like the old cow shed as it would be too hot in summer (tin roof) and too cold in winter due to the holes, drafts, and thin wood walls.  Then in August we had the Phase 1 preliminary risk assessment, required because we were previously farm land.  From the survey I learned that in 1884 there were two wells 165m W of the site another 580m SW of the site and two quarries quite a distance away and in 1906 a smithy in the village, no surprise there as there is a house called ‘The Old Smithy” .  The geological map indicates that the site is underlain by the Bude Formation - Sandstone. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 310 to 319 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period.  The report was very detailed but returned very little about the land the barn is occupying, that a visit to site wouldn’t tell you. Nothing bad was reported so we were happy and we continued pushing more paper around.  Eventually its our turn for the case officer to look at us in detail and we get conditional approval in mid October 2022.


Mid March 2023 and we have submitted our building regs drawings and my Part O Spreadsheet, window amendments to the planning department and the SE has quoted and is starting on his work.


We are over 150m from the fresh water main so will need chlorinating.  I found a great guy who has dug the first trench for the Water, Electric and Openreach, he will return when the new build is ready for the second trench to install the services into the house and will then chlorinate the pipework.   Site electric is in from the pole in our neighbours yard towards the Old Cow Shed.  We were offered a good price by National Grid for 3 phase, they would have struggled giving us single phase due to lack of supply network and another new build close to us in the village has gone off grid because there connection fee was too expensive.  We wanted 3 phase any way as we hope to fill the roof with 30 solar panels facing SSW with no shading.


As soon as it warms up and the field is firmer we plan to start clearing the site and moving the spoil down the field into our larger field.  Doing it now would be like making a mud bath.   Sometime between October and February we will demolish the barn and this time next year the new ICF build will go up.


In the meantime lots of planning continues and I’m going on a short plumbing course.  The husband is an Electrician by trade and can do some plumbing but hates getting down on his hands and knees now.  Last year I tanked and tiled our existing en-suite and have learned all about wet wipes and silicone so another job moved from the husband to me. 😀


The main photo shows the site electric and the drive leading up to the cowshed to the left at the end and just on the edge of the photo are the old stables used as workshop storage each stable bay has a different items stored.  A new entrance to our field will be made diagonally from the site electric to the left of the old cow shed which will make our farmer happy as he currently has a very tight turn left just in front of the cowshed.  He comes twice a year to cut the grass and in return he usually takes at least 15 round bales away.


The other images are from the architect but are already out of date.   To pass Part O we are submitting an amendment for the removal of 4 windows on the North elevation and replacement with 6 roof windows that offer more ventilation.





Costs to date

Planning Consultant £600

Council planning application fee £500

Bat and Bird nesting survey £370

Phase 1 preliminary risk assessment £740

Architectural Design and planning £3000

Building regs Drawings £1250

SE £900

Trench and ducting etc for Water, Electric and Openreach £2830

Site Electric £2470

Openreach cable and ducting £0

Total £12660



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I think you've made a huge amount of progress for the amount of money spent on professional fees. Fingers crossed for that Part O spreadsheet!! Well done. Do your building regs drawings include plumbing/elec/mvhr etc, or just structural?

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You are doing well so far. Far better than me. I look forward to watching your progress.



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2 hours ago, Furnace said:

I think you've made a huge amount of progress for the amount of money spent on professional fees. Fingers crossed for that Part O spreadsheet!! Well done. Do your building regs drawings include plumbing/elec/mvhr etc, or just structural?

Drawings are just structural but I have had free drawings completed for the UFH and the MVHR and shall be looking at those again in the next few weeks. David will do the Electrical drawings and I will do the plumbing. I need to look up loop cad I think it’s called and get a free trial. I think the rectangular shape will make it easy and the plant room is a decent size.  The hall goes straight down the centre of the building with the plant room at one end and the utility just after half way.  I was always thinking how pipe runs would work just not got it out of my head yet and onto paper. I know where the Christmas tree will go and it will have a power socket near by. 🌲 I’m never going to say which Christmas we will move in by although most likely 2030 something. 

The architect was definitely not the most expensive quote we received but he has been very very slow, it’s a good job I’m not living in a caravan or paying rent whilst waiting to start the build.  Just getting an email reply takes a week.  I’m not sure if it’s the Cornish ‘dreckly’ way or because I’m so organised that it seems so slow, it does take a bit of getting use to down here.  

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