Thursday, 30 April 2009


We met with our project manager and architect yesterday and have pressed the 'Go' button!

We have signed a contract and appointed a contractor to carry out the foundation and groundworks. They start on the 11th May and will complete on or before 19th June.

We are so pleased to have a start date, both for starting on site, but also to have a date that we can work to. We will now be able to plan our time so much better and work out delivery schedules and lead times.

Our project manager was far more positive and we have definitely found a level. He seems genuinely enthusiastic and interested in our build and what we will be doing when his role has finished.

For now though, it's a huge sigh of relief. This may only be short lived but we're enjoying it at the moment!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Perspiration And Percolation

We went up to the plot again today to install a builders standpipe and tap fitment on the end of our water pipe. Darran did this with apparent ease, although we did have water on site today in the form of perspiration (and rain at times)! The trench for the water pipe had to be 750mm deep which once you got through the top 4 inches or so was easy (or looked easy, I was only the one holding the tape at the required length to measure the depth of the trench and giving encouragement!).

And then it rained.

We (Darran!) then had to dig two holes to carry out percolation testing. The results will tell us how good the drainage capability is of the ground and will determine whether we can just have a soak away or will have to discharge rain water etc. in to the mains drainage system. Mum and Dad have kindly agreed to fill our holes with water and stand and watch how may seconds it takes the water to drain away!

Our tenders are due back on Monday for the foundations and ground works. We will hopefully be able to meet with the architect and project manager next week to decide on the preferred contractor and make the instruction for work to commence.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

More Fun With Water

Darran had a telephone call from the water board yesterday advising they were going out to inspect the pipe ready for the connection. He then had a call back about an hour later saying that we needed to install a standpipe on the end of it and they couldn't make a connection until one was in place.

We could just have been particularly thick, but we didn't realise this! No where on any of the literature we had received from the water board did it state we needed a standpipe, only that a pipe needed to be there, which it is!

So, back up on Saturday to install a standpipe, complete with tap.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Keep Out!

On Saturday we collected some site security fencing and put it up along the open boundary to the plot, after asking the people we bought the plot from to clear their rubbish, cement mixer, sand and some polystyrene off. Cheeky! They were all ready to have another bonfire as well so were a bit miffed I think!

Collecting the fence put the pick-up to work for the first time and it was perfect. It fitted up the access way without any problems. Getting out was a little more tricky, but I'm sure when Darran's had a bit more practice it will be a piece of cake!

In other news, it would appear that the project manager hasn't sent the foundation tender documents to the two people we requested so Darran needs to ring again tomorrow. The water board will also be getting a call as we think they have quoted a connection to the wrong property, and also asked us to install a connection pipe when there is one already in the ground.

It was nice to be actually doing something on our plot, even if it was only putting up fence panels!


Two red tulips picked from under one of the trees on the plot.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Why It's Worth Having A Project Manager: Point 1

We don't need to worry about how we're going to get 1.8m concrete columns on to the site and into the ground.

They do!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Drawings Have Arrived

Now, I don't want to get too carried away, but....yesterday a big package arrived from the architect with all our foundation and ground works drawings enclosed, and they have gone out to tender for the work too. Wait, there's more, I also had an email back with the information we asked for last week. Things are looking up!

I think it could be time for another celebration!

Darran was just about to call them again and then the postman arrived. Saved by the bell! Darran was off yesterday too so had the day to really look over the drawings. He is happy with them and just has a few things to clarify today with the project manager.

He also phoned the water board and our water connection is now being 'fast tracked' so we should have that sorted fairly soon.

It is nice to know we have a bit of persuasive influence (or clout!) between us when necessary, just a shame we have had to use it so early into the project!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Here We Go Again

Here I am, writing another post about our project manager, or the lack of him. Am I boring anyone yet?

Still no improvement, or so it would appear, with communication or response times to letters and emails.

Here is a brief overview of our current frustration. Emailed last Monday night requesting information needed to complete a form, only basic stuff. Nothing. Telephoned on Thursday, yes, they had my email and I was assured a response that day. Phone call back shortly after initial phone call asking me to resend original email. Again, reiterated that I would like a response that day. Yes, was going to be done right away.

Nothing. Not even any post today and Darran was hopeful for some drawings as we are meeting a representative from BuildCentre on site next week and he wanted to get a cutting list ready to discuss.

I have sent another email which is a forward on from the previous two so the email trail is clearly visible. Darran is phoning on Tuesday as going on the assurances given in the last phone call he had, we should have received something by now.

The saga continues.....

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Forms and Phone Calls

All we seem to be doing at the moment is filling in forms and making phone calls.

When will the fun stuff start? The stuff that you can actually touch and say "this is our house" even if it is only a length of 4in x 2in!!

We still have excitement bubbling away in the background, and as much as we keep telling ourselves that all this form-filling is all part of it, it doesn't really 'do it' for either of us!

Monday, 6 April 2009

And Action

Darran made the call we hoped he wouldn't have to make to the Project Manager this morning, following no response at all to the letter we delivered in Stand Well Back. Even the Receptionist gulped when she asked who it was so our letter obviously had an impact, even if we didn't know about it!

Things are moving forward again (for now), and more importantly our instructions are being followed.

We're probably not 'friends', but a professional understanding has been reached.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Birthday Present #2

Here is a picture of the actual drill set I got for my birthday.

Darran didn't think the picture on the post below was a good enough resemblance!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Birthday Present

It was my birthday yesterday and my lovely husband gave me my very own battery drill and screwdriver (they look like the picture, but mine are white) in their own shiny case!

I will now be able to feel a bit more useful as I can drill holes and screw in screws (and unscrew them again when I've put them in the wrong place!), so I think I am now down to put up the plaster boarding.

I am being trained on a scrap piece of wood on Saturday.

Apparently I am also allowed to use them unsupervised. Woo Hoo! The house is my oyster!

Still Waiting....

We're still waiting for a response to the letter we hand delivered on Sunday (as noted in Stand Well Back).

We both hoped that we would have had an acknowledgement by now, if not a full response, given the nature of the letter and its contents.

Another week slips by; not got a good feeling about this.....

On a more positive note, all application forms have been filled in and sent back for water, electricity and gas connections. Only BT to go, although that isn't quite so urgent.

We have also made enquiries into schemes for structural warranties, and are about to register the plot with Zurich 10 Self Build Warranty. This needs to be done prior to work starting on site (which shouldn't cause a problem at the moment!). Thinking about work starting on site, that reminds me, we haven't received confirmation of Land Registry yet so I ought to phone the solicitor to find out how long that should take.

Seems like we're just waiting at the moment, then.