Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
The garage slab also had a good sized puddle which needed clearing before we could stand the garage frame. Darran made a good sweep and you'll see I managed to get a bow wave at one point!
We stood the garage frame and the beams across the tops of the doors in our noisy time yesterday, the council has restricted construction time on site to between 8am and 1pm on a Saturday.
We then measured the outside of the house for the plywood which we're cutting today and will fit tomorrow.
Friday, 26 June 2009
- Our block work around the garage was wrong.
- Katie can't read a tape measure (well, not consistently anyway).
- When it rains hard, the slab fills up with water to create our own indoor swimming pool in the sitting room (this is normal though, there is nothing wrong with the slab).
- Hardcore is really really really hard to dig a hole in.
- The cat over the wall is attracted to the sound of Darran's nail gun firing.
So not such a productive day really.
It didn't start that well as by 8am we found that the block work around the garage that the frame sits on ranged between 30mm and 50mm too narrow. We called the architect who came down and agreed and then we had to wait all day for a solution. We managed to build the frame but just not stand it so the time wasn't wasted but it was so frustrating. The architect called back late this afternoon and said that our Contractors had only been sent a part sectional drawing of the garage showing the block in front of the metal post, and had assumed that the 125mm blocks went all around the garage and not just in front of this post. Anyway, not wishing to get into who said what to who about the blocks, our architect came up with a solution to pack out the bit of block missing under each stud with a packer. This will work and we will be compensated by the architect for his lack of scrutiny when signing off the groundworks. All the frame is now cut and ready to stand tomorrow.
So, when Darran eventually found his carpenter's mojo again after the morning frustrations, I was set the task of measuring for the noggins (the horizontal bits between each stud that keeps them straight). I had the worst tape measure in the world that was rusty and a lot of the millimeter lines weren't there, but I persevered and diligently wrote everything down, only to find when Darran cut them that some were way out. I kept taking them back having to own up to the fact they didn't fit, and it was raining and about 5 o'clock so not helped by being at the end of a long day!
The more it rained the more the slab filled up and up so we were splashing about it in by the end of the afternoon, adding to the enjoyment of cutting bits of wood in the rain!
I was also given the job of digging two holes outside the dining room patio doors down through the hardcore to find the concrete pad to set the supporting beams on. I found it, but the hole is more conical than square, but it's a good start!
On brighter notes, we have a little black and white cat who lives over the wall and seems to be attracted to us by the sound of Darran firing his nail gun. This seems really odd as you would think that sound would be quite scary for a cat. It hasn't actually come to say hello properly yet, but it won't be long. We also have a site office, already moved a few things in, fire extinguisher, site manual, safety equipment, picnic chairs, it's also really good when it rains!
Tomorrow we're back on site and can make a noise until 1pm so will stand the garage and finish the noggins and studs in the house. We will then do some measuring on the external frames to fit ply board to. We had 75 sheets delivered today, and all need to be cut to size for Monday.
No rest for the self-builder!
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
The plywood for the external bracing and backing is being delivered on Friday so we should hopefully get it all cut over the weekend ready to fit on Monday, then we'll start on the internal walls next week.
Monday, 22 June 2009
Sunday, 14 June 2009
We also had the first injury of the timber frame stage; Dad dropped a lintel on his ankle.
We managed to get all but a few lintels chopped to size and planed to the correct thickness. We will start on cutting the studs and noggins for the walls next weekend as we need to take a measurement from the base of the brickwork that the groundworkers have yet to do.
We visited site on our way home and took some photos, including one of our new BT pole. The slab is now down and the footprint of the house looks really small, and the garage looks huge in comparison. I'm told it is because it is currently in the middle of a huge plot (but won't it always be?!) and when the frame is up it will look bigger and when the garden is sorted and there aren't piles of soil everywhere it will look better. I'm not very good at imagining things where Darran finds that easy so I'm sure he's right.
A week tomorrow we will be on our own plot, building our own house!
Thursday, 11 June 2009
They were really tricky to fit as the drill bits had trouble getting through the steel. To quote Head of Construction himself "they were a pain in the a*rse".
Monday, 8 June 2009
As we mentioned here this officer had refused the use of man made slates and aluminium guttering. We were frustrated at this decision, not only because of the cost issue, but that there didn't seem any rationale for it as aesthetically it matches the surrounding properties and the dratted house at the front which, it seems, the world revolves around. Our architects were equally frustrated. When they discussed this with the Head of Planning, he agreed that there was no reason at all why man made slates and aluminium guttering weren't appropriate materials to use.
We now wait and see what happens next as this particular officer won't want to lose face in the planning department.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
Anyway, Darran persuaded me that I might like one when I came to upgrade my phone last year, and after checking out the buttons (they have to be right) and how big they were, I thought I’d give it a go.
Before I go on I would like to point out I am not one of the 90% mentioned above. But…..
My Berry has been worth double its weight in gold. The facility to receive and send emails on it has been so helpful with the project so far. The architect and I exchange emails daily, we can respond to quotes from suppliers as they come in, and Buildstore can say ‘yes’ on the emails too! We are sure that things have happened a lot more quickly and smoothly as we are able to respond quickly, otherwise we would have to wait until we got home in the evenings, and then we’ve lost a working day. In some cases this doesn’t matter, but at other times it’s helpful to respond to keep the momentum going if certain professional friends seem to be on a roll!
Friday, 5 June 2009
The Building Control Officer at the Council mentioned to our architect that all residential properties should really be within 45m from a fire service hydrant at any one point within the boundary of the plot. We were nearer the 52m mark. Building Control suggested that we put a piece of hose in the ground at the boundary that the fire service could use to connect to the hydrant or as an extension to their hose, and that would then be long enough to reach any point on the plot should they need it.
I know I’m always worrying if I’ve left the gas on, but this seemed a bit extreme!
The good news is the Fire Service has now been consulted and the Chief Fire Officer has confirmed there isn’t a problem and they can access the property without the need for additional hose or hydrant.
The funniest part of all this is we are probably only about 60m from the actual fire station itself!
We’re in the money! Well, strictly speaking, we’re in the money for about two weeks!
We have had such a battle trying to get the right documentation together. Buildstore will only accept either full Building Regulations approval, a Building Warrant or a Notice to Commence Works. We’re currently going through building regs and a Building Warrant is something that you only get in Scotland, so this left us the Notice to Commence Works option.
So our architect wrote to the Council notifying them that work will start in 48 hours. We sent this off to Buildstore together with documentation on other matters so they could see the Council were aware of our build and what was happening.
Buildstore came back to say this wasn’t acceptable as they needed something from the Council stating the work could commence on site, understandable when you think about it. Then the fun started! Our Council don’t just write letters like that, they only write if they’re not happy about something, if everything is going as it should they’re happy just to let it carry on. We tried several other ways but Buildstore were still wanting this particular wording, it could appear in any letter, but had to state that work could commence on site.
Almost at our wits end, our architect contacted the Environmental Officer at the Council who had been out to inspect trial holes and had verbally stated that work could proceed and the foundations could continue, hence effectively signing off the pre-commencement condition (why our architect didn’t do this anyway still remains a mystery). We were confident (well, one of us was!) this would fulfil what Buildstore needed. And we were right.
Two weeks later, a few sleepless nights and a few big important count-ups of our loose change just in case, we got it and Buildstore said yes!
During a conversation with Buildstore today they explained that the lender will now instruct an inspection of all stages prior to the next stage release being draw down. This inspection literally means someone just turning up and checking the foundations are actually there, and then the frame is up etc. They don’t interfere with anything further and will not stop a release unless you’ve been naughty and there is no evidence on site that you have built what you’ve said you’ve built. This is because some self-builders were asking a dodgy architect to sign their Certification of Work forms to say stages had been completed when they hadn’t, and then running off with the money.
I’m telling you this because I think it is very sad, and something else hard working legitimate people have to endure for the sake of the plebs of this world.
We’re looking forward to shedding blood, sweat and tears for our house (only blood to go already by the way!) and having the satisfaction and the scabs to look back on.