First things first, a clean site. In order to achieve this the existing industrial building needed to be removed and the site stripped to the correct levels. As you can expect being in a conservation area this was never going to be as easy as you might think. Before I could begin I had to submit and get approved by the council a method statement for how I was going to remove the existing workshop and preserve the grade 2 listed boundary walls. Submitted and approved I could proceed.

Removing a steel framed building is certainly not an easy task. Who am I going to get to do it? How are they going to take it down? What do you do with it once you’ve taken it down? All questions I needed to find the answers to, and of course, like anybody these days I turned to the internet to find the answers.

After some extensive “googling” I managed to find most of the answers I needed including a template for a method statement that I could use to submit to the council. Turns out, with the rising value of steel, that a steel framed building has a substantial pound value as scrap, but it seemed a bit of a waste to me to just rip a perfectly good building down and scrap it, plus there was the cost of getting it taken down in the first place. It’s not just a job that you can do as your average DIYer, there’s a lot of equipment, machinery and safety kit required. After much asking around and a few phone calls I managed to find a local farmer who had already put up a few steel framed buildings and wanted another one to add to the farm. A couple of pints later and a deal was done to the effect that my steel frame building would be removed free of charge in exchange for said steel framed building to be re-erected on the farm. Everybody’s happy, a significant cost saving for both of us. With the money saved I bought a time-lapse camera to rig up opposite the site and film the whole process – fascinating.

Site cleared and I could proceed with the groundworks. For this I hired local expert groundworks company Coles Groundworks, the owner of which happens to be a friend of mine, Paul Coles, see the chap in the digger!

One month later and the groundworks were complete without hitch ready for construction to begin. In the meantime I’ve been researching all the other aspects of the building including some oak trusses from www.carpenteroak.com and a wood pellet boiler. See my subsequent blogs for updates on the processes I went through!

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