Finally some visible progress over the last couple of weeks – something we can see internally and something that can be seen from the outside – in answer to all those questions – yes we are still proceeding – no we haven’t run out of money – well not entirely (see later in the blog)!
Yes the windows are in – well most of them are. Amar and the team at Pure Glazing Solutions (http://www.pureglazingsolutions.com) have done a sterling job fitting the windows into the timber frame. We haven’t made their life easy, selecting a colour which wasn’t part of the standard pallet – Slate Grey – RAL7015 – or one number out as it has become to be know by us and the window team. (Anthracite grey is an off the shelf colour and has a RAL number of 7016). We decided this was too dark and much prefer the slate grey. Their attention to detail as a company has been great – even to the extent that the end caps for the external cills (which only come in stock colours) have been sent to the local paint shop to be silicon sprayed the same colour as the windows!
I also spent 2 days externally insulating the single storey roof section of the house. This has now been counter battened and the fixings will be finished this weekend ready for the roofers to return next week. Finally the builder is back to build the next section of the external walls in 2 weeks time. This will allow us to have the glass roof and rear window measured and fitted. Meaning we will finally be watertight. (except for the front door but that is a different matter.
Meanwhile things have been moving on inside the build. First fix plumbing and heating is well underway – there have been far more questions than I would care to answer for what you would think would be relatively standard items – what height do you want shower valves, what height do you want the basins…ongoing all of the time. Who knew how many decisions would need to be made. I don’t mind making design decisions but surely there is a standard basin height in this country – otherwise how do pedestals fit!
The kitchen design is pretty much finalised, we are just waiting for the final renders from Pat at Tara Neil (www.taraneil.com) which should allow us to sign off and move forwards with the process.
As a self builder one of the things we have found is how difficult it is to find people to pick up certain trades – insulating being one of the main ones it isn’t particularly clear who does this as a trade so a lot of it has been done by me which is fine but time is limited and I don’t want to hold things up. I think it will get to the point at which the builder needs to pick some of these items up but he has walls to build first.
We have managed to overcome some issues – we have finally managed to have a steel designed which will allow us to remove a wall on the inside of the building and give us a small alcove in the kitchen.
The external wall vapour control layer has been pretty much completed. Still the ceilings to do. George and I spent an hour or 2 last week finishing some of it off whilst the kids sat having a picnic in the lounge and then playing card games it has to be said they have generally been great and are excited but I think there are times they wish it was finished and they had their bedrooms in place. There is some battening which still needs to take place – another job for this week once the roof is finished.
Next week sees multiple trades back on site which is great as that is when things start to happen. The plumbers are onsite finishing the first fix, the electricians back to finish first fix and the roofers are in to complete the single storey roofs.
I am actually hoping that come the end of August we will be able to start boarding the upstairs space and creating rooms rather than being able to walk through walls. However there are still a few things that need to be done, including that insulating and vapour control layer. Downstairs will need to wait a little while until the glass roof is in place. We have also decided to go back to a ground works contractor to for the drainage and a few other things – hoping that they will be able to crack on with that whilst the builder builds walls!
The week hasn’t been without its issues however 3 onsite and 1 financial.
Skips – the skip company can’t pick up the skip as the timber frame company moved it so we now have 2 skips, we don’t even have room for one! Apparently we need to move some blocks so they can turn the skip lorry onsite. Another job for the weekend.
Toilets – the heights have been measured from the existing floor level not a finished floor level – they all need to be changed, and we are a bit concerned about the height of the flush plates – they seem very low but this means new frames! Something else to sort out.
Windows – the back door and window which is our only access to the rear garden at the moment has been fitted when it was agreed it shouldn’t be. It now needs to be removed!
Financial – we have hit the limit of our lending based on the value of the land. Our mortgage product is a self build mortgage, Ecology Building Society have an innovative product that should you own the land outright (which we did) they will loan you 80% of the value of the land. In theory they agreed to our whole mortgage then valued the land then said we could have 80% of that. We have used up that 80% and therefore we need another valuation to show the increased value of the property. However the surveyor is on holiday and it cannot be done until the 15th August. In the mean time there are bills to pay (and some big ones). Thankfully Ecology have been great and with no fuss, no forms and no fees they have increased our LTV to 90% temporarily just in case we need it before the valuation is done, hopefully we wont but its good to know its their if we do.
If you got this far we’ll done more soon!