While the cats away…

An early update this week as I have some time on my hands whilst in Saudi, oh and progress has been made.

The build is still not without its challenges now we finally have the bat license it seems that the ecologists availability has become a nightmare, and until he has briefed the demolition contractors they are unable to start soft stripping the roof! However, they have started to do other things and stripping out seems to have made solid progress.

We have a rough plan of action which sees the all go after demolition but we need to fit in some landscaping, hoping that’s something the demolition contractors can do, however we are still waiting on the structural engineers calculations for a retaining wall!

There are some photos of the strip out added as well. Hopefully by the time I get back the building will have gone.

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Building a house, from Saudi!

Why is it that everything comes along at once. I haven’t had much work travel for 18 months, and the minute we start to think about starting this build then work decide there is a project for me in Saudi Arabia. Perfect! So that’s on of the reasons it’s been a while since an update, the other reason is that there just hasn’t been anything to update you on. Partly because Natural England are still messing with our lives and have delayed issuing the bat license again. This is one government department that is seriously messed up and needs a rocket up its backside.

We managed to have the Notifiable asbestos removed, but that wasn’t without its challenged. The day before SSE Networks were booked in to move the electricity supply and then following that our electricity supplier was booked in to move the meter to the temporary location. Except they didn’t turn up. When the asbestos contractors turned up there was no electricity on site. Eventually he arrived at 10.30 and moved the meter.

The challenge with the asbestos is that as you have to notify HSE how long it will take and how long you are on the job for you can’t delay or run over. Thankfully the team worked hard and everything was done in time with a slight delay to the final day. It doesn’t help the stress levels though.

The demolition company will start the soft strip on Monday but that’s all they can do until the license arrives and who knows when that will be.

The gas has been disconnected, that’s been the most successful thing so far and went without a hitch. Thames Water who were meant to disconnect the supply and connect the new one arrived 3 days late and for some reason only did the connection. They forgot the disconnection and now have to come back to do that later.

Otherwise everything is ready to go, we just have to wait for this license!

I have added some photos…not very exciting but shows some work has been done. In order…soffits removed, causing chaos for the water connection,and more removed soffits!!

Another update only a day later

OK OK, I got a bit excited today that our house build is causing an impact. Looks like we will cause one part road closure and one set of traffic lights over the next two weeks.

The interesting aspect of all of this is that the flow restriction to one way caused by the gas disconnection is actually in the road. The water changes are in the verge. Goes to show how different organisations treat Health and Safety.

Christmas break and Happy New Year

Well here I am back after the Christmas break. Things had gone completely mad, so we downed tools and did nothing for a week. In some ways it was great, in other ways there was a lot to catch up on when we got back. That and Georgina being very ill meant it has been a bit manic since Christmas and hence no updates.

Well we are ready to go, when I say we are ready that’s everyone except the bats. Natural England are still processing our application which means we can do nothing. However we have signed on the dotted line for our rental house and we have started moving out. The bats are even stopping the mortgage funds being released!

Preliminary works have started. We have a temporary electricity installation which just requires SSE Networks to come and joint the cable and move the meter, which is also booked. The gas disconnection is booked for the same day and Thames Water will disconnect the old supply and connect the new one the following week. All looking good on that aspect.

I was grateful last weekend for the help of my father who spent a day and a half with me in the garden finishing a list of jobs that seemed endless including marking the boundary between us and the neighbours so the builders don’t ruin anything, fixing a temporary post box, clearing a pile of garden rubbish, putting the meter box up, filling in trenches and

Now they are mostly done we can concentrate on the move and settling in. It feels strange moving, knowing we will do it all again in a years time.

Quotes are starting to come in for some of the other works as well and I have spent a bit of time investigating MHVR systems. Initially we had ruled them out but I think it will be worth having it. Interestingly whilst the costs were high so were the costs of the extraction as part of the electrical installation.

Our other nod to the environment is Rain Harvesting. The water can be used to flush toilets, water the garden and in the washing machine. I have identified the system we are looking to use and researched to ensure we get the best deal. Obviously such a system saves on the clean water usage.

We now have everything in place to get us watertight. There are some final checks on the windows but otherwise all going to a slightly delayed plan (yes those bats again) we should be watertight by the beginning of May.

The next stage is trying to sort out some of the things we haven’t even touched on yet, which include rendering, gutters, soffits and facias, staircases etc.

I’ll take some photos of the empty house at the weekend and the garden before it becomes a building site to give something a bit more exciting to look at!

Not much to report this week

It’s been a relatively quiet week this week.

The biggest news being that we have a mortgage offer. If it’s enough we will know tomorrow when the paperwork arrives.

Otherwise it’s been lining up contractors and utilities companies to start work. We have also secured our rental house.

We did have some news from the ecologist yesterday. It seems Natural England are looking favourably at our Bat licence and may even want less mitigation than we have proposed. The good news here is that we may get our loft back to ourselves. The bad news is trying to achieve this without bat boxes in the walls.

This weekend will be spent fencing and building a builders standpipe in the front garden that complies to WRAS regulations and can be inspected on Tuesday so the new water main can be connected. Just what George and the children want me doing in the run up to Christmas. But if It isn’t done then we can’t knock down etc.

We will have some items for sale soon, so if you know anyone who wants.

A Hotpoint Gas Cooker

A glowworm combi boiler

A cast iron bath

Let me know.

Oh that reminds me, I must contact the SSE networks as they haven’t called to book our electrical changes!

Thanks for reading.

It’s now getting very real

Reality has struck this week with the project and it’s all got very real. I think it hit me when I booked Southern Gas Networks to disconnect the Gas Pipe on the 15th of January. Thankfully we have just also put a deposit down on a rental house. Be warned someone who reads this as you are going to get some new neighbours!

What’s has been done this week…

  • Asbestos removal company booked
  • Demolition contractors booked and notice served to the council
  • Confirmed the builder is ready to start foundations
  • Met with scaffolding companies for quote
  • Cut down front hedge
  • Building regs complete and submitted for approval
  • Community Infrastructure Levy commencement notice served to council
  • Crane company have done a site visit

The last one of these provided us with the good news that we don’t need to move the BT cables that cross our land which is a huge relief and cost saving. We also found out that the surveyor for the mortgage wanted more detailed pricing so we have had to pay someone for that. Hopefully we should get that back today and then the mortgage application will be complete.

Building regs drawings are also finished and submitted to the inspector for approval, along with the purchase of the structural warranty insurance – needed so you can get a mortgage on the property when complete.

The first stage payment on the timber frame has been paid as well. The second one is due before Christmas so we really need that mortgage now!

There has been a lot of spending this week, and still not a brick laid!

I’ll sign off there for this week as I think that’s everything.

Progress, well some anyway

I am taking the opportunity this week of updating the blog from the 24 bus on the way home. A bus that once the house is built I may no longer be able to catch, as it either won’t exist or will be such a diminished service that I’ll decide walking or cycling is better. Anyway that’s another story.

There has been some progress this week, we found a company that didn’t want to take all of our build budget to remove the asbestos in the soffits. They were appointed before they could change their mind. We have also had some joy with Thames Water and finally I spoke to someone who new what they were doing. The timber frame company also visited and said they should be able to work around the phone lines that cross our front garden. The council (well actually the Valuations Office Agency, the council said I would, the valuations office said I don’t as the house won’t exist or have a valuation they can charge against) have told us that we don’t need to pay council tax once the house has been demolished and we have nearly finalised the building regs drawings. So all in all it’s gone well. Oh and fingers crossed there is a very promising rental property.

Oh, and the big news, subject to valuation the Building Society have agreed the mortgage, it’s been a joy moving away from mainstream banking, yes the rates are high but the efficiency and customer service are nearly worth it. That’s a huge weight off our minds. Valuation is on Tuesday, think of us. The solicitors however tried to rip us off, guess how much for, yes that’s right £1000. Thankfully I caught them at their own game. Once they have finished the conveyance for the mortgage company I shall make a complaint against them. They suggested we needed to buy an indemnity policy to cover a covenant on the deeds. I, a layman who has little understanding of law, read the deeds and pointed out to them that the covenant had been released, they then agreed, with no apology whatsoever. Thankfully I did, so be careful.

i think that’s about it. Overall a good news week and it’s only a month until Christmas Eve.

o