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  1. 12 points
    When the sun is below the horizon and 450 divided by 2 = 250 it is time to quit for the day. My assistant setting-out surveyor and I had a minor domestic incident in the gathering gloom at a foundation profile where our joint mathematical error became apparent. The gloom was both visible and mental. We had no choice but to soldier on marking out the foundations because although it was 9:30pm, tomorrow was dig-day and the JCB would be onsite at 7:30am. I had seriously underestimated the time needed to set out the foundation plan for a main house and garage comprised of 5 interlocking rectangles and 4 internal supporting walls. As the clock counted down to dig-day some fag packet maths revealed I needed 35 profiles, 70 stakes for the profiles, the rock hard ground required that all profile stakes needed a pointed entry = 140 cuts with a saw and oh don’t forget the 140 screws. The elastic sail measuring tape in my toolbox had thrown out my initial schedule and meant the first setting out attempt was scrubbed because I could not get stable diagonals. A new 30 meter long £35 steel tape from Screwfix was the answer when paired with my proper surveyors grp tape. Three days after that trip to screwfix and after 3 days of punishing heat, we drove home defeated with an incomplete set of walls marked out. At 1am my mind was churning, should I cancel the dig and be branded in the locality as the hapless self builder who messed around the pro’s. Could we live with a trapezoid kitchen 25mm out of true, yes, but what about the stairs condemned by my arithmetic error to run up the supporting wall 25mm out. The alarm woke me at 3:15am, I was back onsite for sun rise and even the vocal sheep in the adjoining field seemed to be mocking me. Before Swmbo turned up at 5:30am dressed for the office I banged in the remaining profiles and we then marked out the missing walls in a new colour (those line marking paint cans gunge up quickly). The JCB arrived 40 minutes late which allowed me to walk the foundation plan with a superficial air of confidence that masked my inner fatigue. Mr Digger was not phased by the erroneous foundation line, he just rubbed out the bad line with his foot and said he would align the bucket edge to the good one. The sun was up, the sheep had shut up and it was a relief to hand over to the pro’s. The day just go better. Building Control arrived at 11am and decreed 1m trenches would suffice because ground conditions we so good, the clay looking stuff was actually silt. We could have got away with 225mm of concrete but I had ordered enough for 600mm foundations. Mr BC was in such a good mood he gave the assembled crew a quick lesson on how to distinguish nice silt from evil clay. Many visitors passed by and declared I had the best looking trenches seen in Lincolnshire for years.
  2. 12 points
    8pm, sitting on the patio in amazing weather, drink in hand. Looking around to see walls that I painted, fencing that I stained, plants that I chose and planted, and the house behind me that blood, sweat and tears created. This is the end state. The enjoyment of what you have achieved, and the satisfaction of having overcome all challenges to do so. So whether, like me, you are at the end of your self-build journey, or sitting on a building site beer in hand dreaming of what’s to come, or even still sitting in your existing house looking for the perfect plot, enjoy the sunshine and the vision, because I can say that despite all the challenges and the sleepless nights, the end point is so worth the journey. So enjoy the good weather, the progress you can make whilst the weather is great, and keep hold of the dream because it’s so worth the ride.
  3. 8 points
    #progress. I hope they all turn out like that
  4. 7 points
    as the description says this is by no means the official video but I couldn't help myself. I didn't realise we didn't come in on time in the church but it was a hell of a performance
  5. 7 points
    1st coat and I don't care what you lot think! That cream of tartar is a Godsend to a newbie. Warm in here, like the volleyball scene from Top Gun!
  6. 6 points
    A few photos of the stone work that has now started on site, whilst others continue to prepare the upstairs for the first fix. I have also included an image of the "biscuit screed" laid upstairs over the UFH pipes. Close observers and those who have read previous entries, will notice that the windows have been corrected with fire battens fixed. Anyway, the stone is called a local blend and is made up of Perthshire stone, Cumbria stone and Borders Buff. The Quoins have a hint of lilac to them, to have blend in with the colour palette of the stones. The Red things seen in the photos are glass fibre Fire Socks - They fill the cavity at the corners and other strategic locations. Either these can be used or indeed 45mm x 45mm battens.
  7. 6 points
    The attic trusses arrived today after making a three hour journey from Inverness to Skye. Offloading took place at our site entrance. Our joiner did a great job weaving between odd trees on our access. Trusses unloaded and ready to start being fitted over the next few days. Had a sneak peak on the top of the scaffolding to get a view from where the treble velux windows will be fitted.
  8. 5 points
    What a difference a week makes in the world of self build – Half the roof has been slated, the additional insulation has arrived on site and the liquid screed has been poured. The guys who did the pour travelled from Perth, some 95 miles away – very few firms seem to do this work north of the Border it seems. The ground floor was prepared by the guy doing the UFH and our builder. The company doing the screed dispatched a surveyor the day before in order to measure the various heights and lay out what they called “spiders” but are in fact tripods. Each tripod was marked with a height and a spot so that if they were knocked over they could be re-positioned correctly. The pour was completed within an hour and should be ready for “light” traffic on Monday. Talking of which, we should see the Joiner, roofer and builder on site to start the internals, finish the back section of the roof and start building the external chimney respectively. Enjoy the weekend.
  9. 5 points
    Planning Permission Granted! After trying to ring the planning department on the day of decision at around 4pm and not getting through I resolved to wait until the next morning. At 5:03pm I get an email indicating that planning had been granted. I'd forgotten I'd subscribed to any activity on my planning application! Now, I've still to see the official notification letter with conditions etc but thankfully it was plain sailing. No objections, no requests for information. I took the planning site notice sign down yesterday (could've taken it down 3 weeks ago if I'd realized) just as a nice woman and her two young children was checking out what it said! Anyway, that task is now done, stage 2 finally over! I've an appointment to meet with the Architect again in August as that's the earliest due to holidays etc. I used https://www.estimators-online.com to get a quote just to see what costs I'll be looking at. I know there will be some differences, not least exchange rates but my last Quantity Surveyor estimate is over two years old at this stage. Plus estimators give a much more detailed breakdown which allows me to see quantities so I can replace standard plasterboard with Fermacell for instance and work out the difference. They email you the report as a PDF but you can grab the Excel from their website afterwards and make adjustments if required. Cheap enough and gives me something to prepare against before August. My main worry in building next year is the increased costs - materials and labour keep going up. Will I be able to build the house I want or just enough of a shell to convince the bank its habitable so I can move in and upgrade as I go? I can get a revised window quote as I've opening sizes from the PHPP. There's a few timber frame companies, some just do the frame, some can do everything. Brexit may play a part though with the timing of the build commencing after March next year most likely. So if I have a NI or UK based supplier, SunAmp, MBC, Kibroney etc lined up I'll have to have a plan B just in case, like most businesses! MBC pulled out of the Irish market but I spoke with someone there on Friday and he said they have started requoting again. There's a small irish timber frame company called Shoal timberframe that the Architect recommended. Not seen their stuff and it's a small outfit. Not sure they do foundations though. Anyway, this is where it gets detailed and interesting! I've a lot to think about as I need to decide what elements I'm happy to do and what I'll leave to the builder. Part F of the regulations in Ireland are under review and ventilation may have to be installed by a "competent person" so can I do the MVHR and ducting or will I have to pay someone else? As time slips you bump into these changes and have to adapt your approach. So my site is shown to the right of the red border above. I'll have to shunt the metal shed out the back (painful) about 3 feet to the left. The other two sheds are being demolished. I'll be bringing some of the services onto the site before I sell the house in advance of the build. Electricity should run all the way past the front of the site but I'll want to confirm this. ESB here don't do temporary supplies in Ireland unfortunately. Water is the one I may have to get done as there's a hydrant to the right of the tree in the bottom left corner but after I sell the house I want to be sure I can access it. The pipework may not go much farther. Broadband sweeps though the garden of the house in the bottom left of the photo. I'll bring that onsite and see if I can get it tested so there's no need to dig things up again after I sell the house. The driveway will be split and a new double one created on the front garden of the existing house to maximize the site space I'll be keeping. It all adds to cost unfortunately. I'm not sure if I'll get insurance for those groundworks as getting public liability on the site itself (after I sell the house) to cover me until the build starts will likely be expensive so having a full self build policy for a 12 or 18 month term would make more sense. So, the next few months are about the figures and seeing if I can afford to build with the funds available. Added to that are: Further Architect fees (2 stages plus Assigned Designer, Assigned Certifier regulatory stuff) Development contributions (@ €10K) Legal Costs associated with selling house, discharging old mortgage, taking out new one etc Service Charges (Electricity €2K, Water €2K, Sewage €3.7K, Broadband €120) Initial Groundworks in advance of self build mortgage (credit union loan) Self Build Insurance & Structural Warranty (€1-2K/€3K) There's a good self build exhibition in September in Dublin so it will be interesting to have more serious discussions with some of the exhibitors there this time. One of the factors I'll have to watch out for is the maximum self build mortgage I can access. Most banks will only lend you 80% of the build costs. Now I'll own the site so I hope this will cover that 20%. Some banks also want to see a 15% contingency fund in place. The bank will determine how much a 3 bed detached house is worth in my area and after taking my salary x 3.5 I'll either be able to afford the build or be way off it! Also I've to get permission from my current mortgage bank to sell the house minus the side garden..... I'll be holding off any groundworks until this is all clear to me and how much maneuver room I have. There's no point doing the new driveway etc if next year I'm told our costs have gone up another 5% by the builder and I'm left swinging! Anyway, I'll have to sit on my hands a bit longer and do as much due diligence as possible and see if any builders come back interested from the tender process before making up my mind. I've always thought that until the first wall panel goes up I won't actually believe this is real. It's all paper and numbers and has been for so long. Here's hoping if it's to be it's to be and thanks to everyone on this site for their advice and support!
  10. 5 points
    Some day for it. Today was one of those special days where suddenly years of work starts to come together in front of your eyes. No machinery here just elbow grease. It was all going so well until the building inspector turned up. A few internal load bearing walls to be finished and then on Monday we have the telehander coming to stay for a couple of weeks, followed by the delivery of the attic trusses on Tuesday.
  11. 5 points
    Whilst I am still researching all the various options of blinds and films et al I have found a temporary solution to my main problem window......3mx 2m £150 job done it works a treat and will not to to waste whatever longer term solution.😬
  12. 4 points
    Game on. The setting out for the piles is happening on Friday afternoon, 20th July. The piling contractor will also be getting everything to the site that day so that they can start bright and early on Monday morning. The piling is likely to take most of that week; I will be around at various times, but certainly Monday and Thursday, with a couple of hours here and there. If anyone would like to come along, PM me and we can arrange suitable times.
  13. 4 points
    This was one of the days that I was most excited about, the raising of the roof trusses. Our joiners used our trusses as a template for constructing the gable end panels. The trusses then just went in one by one. 3 lengths of Kerto were spiked together to form our central ridge beam. The middle section of the 1st floor is being hand cut on site by our joiners. Our children will have a room on each gable. The middle section on one side will consist of a cupboard and WC. The other side will be partly vaulted above the living room and this required a steel beam which was fitted by our joiners.
  14. 4 points
    If you hire one for the time it will take it will be about £4k..... 😁
  15. 4 points
    No, I'm not, and as a scientist with over 40 years experience I'm ducking out - sometimes there is little merit in continuing a debate that is going around in circles and will never reach a meaningful conclusion.
  16. 4 points
    For anyone on the verge of committing to purchase a Sunamp unit, you may want to bite the bullet sooner than later: current 10% discount - or 20% for a fully-paid purchase by 29th June!
  17. 4 points
    I find it best to wait until someone else has worked with a lighting designer...then COPY them!
  18. 4 points
    No, really, there's nothing to see, it's all gone! A great deal has happened in the 2 weeks since the last blog entry meaning that the planned update and photos never happened. First off, very sadly, my father in law died 2 days after that entry which although not entirely unexpected, still comes as a painful shock and means that there's a lot to do at a time that isn't the best. I was very fortunate with my in laws and my father in law was a lovely man and will be greatly missed. On with house matters. Over the last 2 weeks, all the demolition has been completed and debris removed. We kept plenty of the timber from the roof, which we will use to make raised beds for the kitchen garden - there's no way I'm going to dig that clay over, no-dig all the way for me! We also salvaged some bricks that formed an outbuilding, but the rest is gone. The concrete floor of the garage block formed a really useful hard standing area and that will stay pretty much until everything is done, including a lot of the landscaping. Shortly after this, the portaloo and site cabin arrived, along with the security fencing. After the demolition, work started on reducing down. We've gone down 800mm from a point set by the surveyor but this may need to change slightly as there is still some debate over what the finished floor level will actually be. There are 3 different levels floating around at the moment, but this will be finalised once MBC have come back with the designed foundation. In the end, I used a surveyor for setting out the levels then had a play around afterwards to see how everything works. I'm glad that I used the surveyor as time was limited in getting the setting out done and it only took him a couple of hours once he had found the previous survey points; I'm pretty sure it would have taken me days and I would have lacked confidence in the final result, so it was money well spent, if only for the peace of mind. One by-product of reducing down was that we found out where the water main was running, which was nowhere near where we expected it to be. Of course it wasn't. How naive to expect it to be in a sensible place rather than running through a neighbour's garden then through a field. I've got some people coming out tomorrow to do a survey and give me a quote on running the main under the verge parallel with the road, but in truth, I'm bracing myself for a very expensive quote that I'm not likely to take up. On the face of it, the current water main route does seem stupid, or at least inefficient, but in terms of what will go where with the finished build, it's not that bad and I could easily live with it. It will run close to where I'm having the kitchen garden en route to the house, and I want a tap there anyway, so it doesn't seem such a bad route now. I also plan to get the electricity cable buried and that will run a similar route, so I could have both in 1 trench and save digging up more than I have to. The weekend after my father in law's passing, I had a bit of a hissy fit with the architect, but one that I think was thoroughly justified. I wasn't in the best of humours anyway, but it happens that the 11th June marked exactly 6 months from getting planning permission and instructing the architect to do the building regs plans and details and I felt overwhelmingly frustrated that no matter how close we seemed to be, we were never quite there. I was highly conscious of the timescales for MBC to swing into production and for my glazing delivery, and greatly concerned that I wanted the building to be watertight before the onset of autumn. I shan't go into details, but I left the architect with no uncertainty about how pissed off I was and that there would be financial ramifications if I wasn't in a position to sign off on drawings with MBC very soon. The upshot is that I did, indeed, get my final drawings and these were signed off with MBC last Thursday; I also made the next stage payment to MBC and everything is rolling there, with confirmed dates. So, my schedule is as follows: 17th July, piles go in 30th July, MBC are in for the foundation 14th August, MBC return to erect the timber frame If any BH members want to visit and see things in action, let me know and you're more than welcome to come along. Bring your own hard hat because I have none to spare. A word here on piling, as I've had my final quote in for the mini piles, which stands at £14,870, all in. Having done muckaway on a reduced dig of 800mm, I now have full knowledge of the cost of that, and were I to have gone down the route of a reduced dig to 2m (this was the depth MBC reckoned it would need to be to overcome my clay), I can confidently say that the option of piles is cheaper by a good few thousand for me. Nobody wants my clay soil so the whole lot has to go to landfill and it ain't cheap! There will be more spoil once we've dug the pond in the field, but I reckon I can lose most of that on the site. The site is now 'energized', as the electricity suppliers say. Basically, this was just a case of getting a meter put onto the fuse in the box that runs down from the overhead supply on a pole, but it took a ridiculous amount of time to get through to any supplier that I had a MPAN number and just needed to get a meter installed and sign up for supply. I truly hate bureaucracy, it's the work of the devil, I'm sure. So here are a few tedious photos - like I said, there's really nothing to see now! Photo 1 - if you needed any visual proof that we have clay. Photo 2 - demolition done, getting ready to reduce. Photo 3 - reduced dig to 800mm from finished floor level. Plus a view of the neighbours' cottages.
  19. 4 points
    Just to conclude this, the new replacement unit arrived today. I will start a new thread about comissioning and putting that into use. I was pleased to see it came with the "sanitarty water kit" (hot water tank kit) I had noted in the manual that was an optional extra. And I put the old faulty one on Gumtree and that sold and was collected yesterday.
  20. 4 points
    The octogenarian Elsie McBane had a visit from her Presbyterian minister. As she was making some tea, he commented on her two Dachshunds , Molly and Mark. "They are very playful" he said, "but what do you do when Molly is in season?" "Och, that is simple", replied Elsie, "I just pop Molly up the stairs". "How does that solve the problem" asked the minister. To which Molly replied. "Have you ever seen a Dachshund try and walk upstairs with a hardon".
  21. 4 points
    Blue peter style one I made earlier
  22. 4 points
    It is......The cost of having to do the remaining properties to a reasonable / acceptable standard so they pass
  23. 4 points
    Base drawings are in (finally!) so marking out and digging begins on Monday. In the meantime, here's the view from the top of the world (ok, topsoil bing...).
  24. 4 points
    I'm in Kent, if you can plaster, tile, don't mind crap cooking and fat birds then you can move in!
  25. 4 points
    Pictures, please..... 😀
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