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  1. Here's the after photo. I've spent most of the day pumping water out. I feel like King Canute but I keep telling myself it all helps. Just need to make sure the piling contractors are happy to keep going next week so we can get the remaining 30 piles done before Christmas.
  2. The joys of doing foundations in December, I have an unwanted swimming pool.
  3. Andrew

    First Blog Post

    Piling contractor arrived first thing and spent all morning waiting for Travis Perkins to deliver the stone required for the bottom of the piles (they forgot to order it yesterday). It finally turned up about midday. After an agonising wait the first pile was driven and reached set at 5m. The next 4 went in pretty easily and all set at about the same level. Pretty happy so far, especially when the guy piling told me they had to go to 32m on their last job 😮
  4. Has anyone ever had a low voltage electricity pole removed and if so can you recall what plant was used to remove it? The pole itself is very similar to a BT pole in size and height. The DNO are going to be routing a low voltage cable underground on our plot and removing a pole. I want to make sure there is still sufficient access for whatever they may use as the foundations / piling is cracking along. Thanks.
  5. Andrew

    First Blog Post

    Not exactly sure but at least a couple of years. Didn’t price a raft as our structural engineer was really against it. Spoke to another couple of engineers recommended by the timber frame company about a raft and they both also were very negative. I can’t remember the exact details but differential movement came up a lot. I’m sure these opinions were purely based on their lack of experience but by then I’d been scared off. Too late now anyway the first pile goes in shortly.
  6. Andrew

    First Blog Post

    It's a bit overdue but this is the first post of our build. The start was a long time coming, the idea to do a self-build struck in May 2017 when I spotted a plot on Rightmove which happened to be exactly equidistant between my family and my wife's family. With a young child and ageing grandparents the idea of relocating to be nearer to family appealed, as did the idea of building a house. Purchasing the plot was not without challenges and the legal side took about 9 months. Most of this was down to the useless solicitor we had instructed but we got there in the end. That took us to early 2018. The plot had detailed planning permission (won on appeal) for a 5 bed very traditional looking house. We knew it wasn't what we wanted but thought we could get by with a few amendments to the planning permission. We spoke the architect the vendor of the plot had used for the original planning application but he was very old school and liked to do a lot more talking than listening. Instinctively we knew he wasn't for us. After a search on the internet and telephone calls with a few other architects and architectural technicians found the practice that seemed right for us. They listened to our ideas and seemed on our wavelength. They convinced us that a new scheme, taking into account our needs and wants was the way forward so we worked with them through early 2018 to put a design together. This was submitted to planning in June 2018 and took until December 2018 to get approval. The council did ask for a couple of amendments to the design which we largely complied with and extra ecological reports which were supplied. There were a number of pre-commencement conditions attached to the approval. So in January 2019 we engaged a structural engineer, energy assessors and noise surveyors to do the work required to discharge the conditions and get in position to start on site. We also started the work of selecting a timber frame supplier. After speaking to half a dozen and getting quotes, a localish timber frame company came out on top. Their quote was competitive but more than anything they were on the right wavelength and seemed very open to listening to our concerns and questions. We hoped to get started on site in the spring / summer but unfortunately our planning condition for surface water drainage (SUDS) resulted in the council asking for a land drainage consent. This particular piece of bureaucracy was relevant as we want to discharge surface water and treated foul water into a brook adjacent to the plot. In addition to a further ecological report regarding voles and otters which I commissioned, they also needed design details of the headwalls we were using and discharge calcs for the roof run off. Reluctant to spend any more money on consultants I used the building regs info to do the calcs myself and submitted. Deafening silence followed for 8 weeks until I reminded them of their statutory obligation to respond within 8 weeks. Soon after this reminder the approved consents arrived. Discharge of the planning conditions followed shortly and we were free to get started. Unfortunately by the time this happened in early September our groundworkers were on another job and didn't become free again until early November. We did look around but couldn't find anyone who could start sooner that didn't want significantly more money for the job. So they started on site on 20th November 2019, two and half years after I spotted the plot on Rightmove. Since starting they've cleared and levelled the site, although there's still some spoil to be taken away. We have difficult ground conditions with clay / sand soil and a low bearing capacity. Due to this the SE has specified piled foundations, a ground beam to link them all together and suspended block and beam floor. I've had a piling contractor lined up since the spring and they visited site for the first time after it had been cleared and levelled and proclaimed there's no way that dug trenches would suffice and that the ground beam would need to be shuttered (another £4k). That means the ground workers needed to excavate to underneath ground beam level which they've done and also have provided the piling contractor with a bed of stone as a rudimentary piling mat. This was completed last week and the nice man with the total station has been out and precisely marked the position of each of the 50 piles. The piling contractor was due on site yesterday. However they have been delayed by a couple of days and are meant to be starting tomorrow. It'll be a big day as they have quoted to pile down to 4m, after which it's £30 / pile / metre - fingers crossed we don't have to go down too deep.
  7. Totally depends on the state of the title. If the land is already registered with its own title, £500 - £1000 should do it. Ours was a purchase of a part of a larger piece of land with a complex title (title needed to be traced back to early 1800s), and the conveyancing cost us £2k. Solicitor said it was actually £4k of work on her part but as she had quoted us £1k, capped her fees at £2k. Not too sure I believed that line.
  8. The piling contractor has spoken to their engineer who will do it for £250 inc VAT. It's a third of the cost of our structural engineer's subcontractor, so we've asked the piling contractor's engineer to go-ahead. Thanks for the replies.
  9. Our piling contractor has asked for a bar bending schedule for the reinforcement in our ground beam. The structural engineer, we engaged directly, is saying this isn't in the scope of his works and it's additional cost. Okay, fine, however he says he doesn't have capacity to do it and wants to sub it out. Seeing as it would be subbed out, has anyone had a BBS produced and is there anyone they could recommend for it. The quote I've had via the SE is a fairly substantial unexpected cost and I'm looking to at least benchmark this. Thanks.
  10. I managed to download it for 99p and have skim read it. Brief review is that I didn't find much in there that was of use / help to me. Very high level, wishy washy concepts (you need a 'superstar project manager') but not that much around practical techniques, detailing etc. It does read a bit like an advert for why you should have an 'independent energy assessor' involved in every single aspect of the project. The mesh energy hierarch is an inverted pyramid of where you should focus attention / budget. Location (orientation), fabric, airtightness, renewables, appliances, usage in a nutshell (the first being the greatest). I couldn't fathom how this was a mesh, but knowing it's the name of the author's company, it now makes sense.
  11. The Sonos IKEA stuff is good value and (imho) looks pretty smart -
  12. We received the attached from United Utilities. Might be worth asking SW Water if they have a similar document. A2 Temp to perm Wall Mounted (Normal).pdf
  13. That looks like an old photo of Hopwood Park before it was upgraded to 16 bays?
  14. Yeah, good point, thanks. I've double checked the technical info and they are pretty much identically. Suitable for 35 degrees to 90 degrees pitches, so fine for our roof. Looks like we'll go for the Marley and save some money.
  15. Our planning application specifies a particular Redland plain concrete tile. We're soliciting roofing quotes at the moment and one of the roofers has suggested using a Marley tile instead as it saves about £1500 on the quote. We've got samples of both tiles and aesthetically they are very similar - they are exactly the same size and really close on colour and texture. So much so, I'm willing to take a punt on the planning side as I don't think anyone would ever notice the difference. However it has left me wondering why the Marley tile is so much cheaper. To my untrained eye both samples just look like plain concrete tiles, but are there any other less obvious differences to be aware of that could cause issues later? Is the Redland tile much more durable for example? Would be very interested to hear any insight into the difference. Thanks.