Will was talking to a friend (a retired architect) recently. He asked, “Have you started digging the footings yet?” When Will said we were just starting, his reaction – “Good luck!” didn’t fill us with confidence. Sure enough….within 10 minutes of starting work, Don (in charge of the Groundwork team) called Will over to tell him that he thought we had a bit of a problem. They had unearthed the top of an old water tank right on the corner of the footings. Then the Building Control Officer arrived for his first visit…..

Several hours later we had a 10 foot wide and 12 feet deep hole. Although the tank had been filled with hard core the Building Control Officer was adamant that it needed digging out and filling with concrete. Not what we had wanted to hear.

Whilst the tank was being excavated the Building Control Officer turned his attention to the large beech tree in the lane outside our garden. Having measured the distance to the proposed footings he ran some calculations and decreed that the footings would have to be 2.2 metres deep not the 1.2 metres that we had planned. It’s been an expensive day and all we’ve got to show for it are some very big holes and some big piles of earth.

To make matters worse we discovered that the water main to our property and the next door bungalow run right across the middle of the proposed extension. We discovered this when the digger burst both pipes! Will popped next door to let our neighbour know what was happening – luckily he’s an easy going guy. Before long Will and the team had rigged up a temporary solution and we all have running water again.

As we breathed a sigh of relief Don casually mentioned – “These old properties always have septic tanks you know. I hope we don’t hit that tomorrow!”

Over a glass of wine in the garden this evening, Will is still looking for positives – “Despite everything, we’ve achieved quite a lot in the past week. After all the delays in getting started – at least we’re now well and truly on our way.” Let’s just hope we don’t find that septic tank!!

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