We’re quite astounded at the progress that’s been made over the last few weeks. Our builders have really impressed us with their perseverance through the bad weather and although we had to spend an afternoon digging a ditch to drain away a huge amount of rainwater, the footings are now settled and walls are starting to be built in preparation for the timber frame; due on site in 4 weeks – eek!

There do seem to be some issues at the moment over the steel framework at the back of the house and engineering drawings are flying back and forth. The rear of the house is going to be mainly glass downstairs and, with a balcony off the main bedroom, steel frames are required. Inevitably costs are increasing and slightly deeper footings, revised engineering drawings and extra concrete pads are adding to the expenditure. The endgame is what we need to keep in sight though and, as long as I keep a very tight rein on the finances, we should be ok.

Talking of finances, the kitchen has now been ordered and we have only had to pay 25% deposit, with the rest on 12 months interest-free credit. This should fit in well with when we re-mortgage to a conventional loan and can calculate what funds are needed to pay this off as well. We intend to do the same with the bathroom suites. I have also just taken out a new credit card with 0% on purchases for 20 months so, again, can take certain things “out” of the build budget and higher interest rate self-build mortgage. The aim is to pay zero interest but we are only able to do this because of the speed of our build – if it was a more “conventional” method taking 18 months or so, these options wouldn’t really work.

My final thoughts for this blog relate to the just announced abolishment of the S.106 affordable housing contribution for self-builders. You will know from my first blog that I mentioned the fact that we had decided to press ahead; despite not knowing what was happening with this. We have signed a Unilateral Undertaking to pay the S.106 liability (£13k) either 2 years from commencement or 9 months from completion – whichever is the sooner. We are now working with our planning consultant to work out a way of getting out of this, given Mr Pickles’ announcement last Friday. Initial thoughts are to apply for an amendment to the planning conditions but we’re just not sure yet. I know we’re not the only ones in this position and I would love to hear from others; just in case we need to form an alliance!

So, watch this space…..

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