So, another big decision was made last week. We had originally aimed to have the frame up by Christmas but, having considered how things are going, have re-jigged our ideas to push it to the first week of the New Year.
A few things have influenced this change of plan — I touched last time on our slightly “unconventional” method of building and now is probably the time to go into this a bit more. We knew from the offset that we wanted to be very involved in the build and I rather stupidly thought that I could hold down school runs and a virtually full time job alongside project managing. It became apparent earlier this year that there was no way I would be able to do it and as Nigel and I both work full time, we just can’t put the commitment into spending a huge amount of time on site.
We also knew that we wanted to employ our own electrician, joiner, plumber, plasterer and scaffolding company. Finding a builder to take on the slab work, drains, roofing and general overseeing of the project was surprisingly easy. The first company we went to were a local firm who had been recommended by numerous people. They confirmed they would be happy to work in this way and although we did speak to another few companies, they just weren’t interested in working for us when we wanted to use most of our own subbies — you could pretty much see them watching the pound signs dropping away before their eyes the more we went into it!
We had also decided very early on that we wanted to source most of the materials ourselves and, again, some builders are reluctant to let their customer do this. Anyway, we were extremely fortunate to find a brilliant partner and we are looking forward to working with them.
We placed the order for our Framewise Twin Wall system on Monday and, if all were to go to plan, their lead time would mean arriving on site in early December — three weeks to erect and that takes us to a few days before Christmas to try and get the slates on the roof. Pressure we have decided we don’t need. So, we have pushed back the delivery date to 6th January and at least then we know we can get everybody on site without a 2-3 week break over the festivities.
We are keeping all fingers and toes crossed that the weather is kind to us but, as we all know, who knows when or if we’re going to get bad weather. The alternative is to put the build off until April/May and that’s a prospect I’m really not keen on. I also suspect the mortgage company (Halifax — that’s another blog in itself!) might have something to say if they can’t see any progress within the first few months of releasing funds to us.
We know that as soon as the frame’s up, we can get it watertight pretty quickly thereafter as we’re going for a renderboard/render finish rather than block and/or brick and the roof slates will go on as soon as the roof structure is in place. Again, pre-manufactured so reasonably quick to assemble.
Back to actual work on the site this week. We (that’s the royal “we” of course) have been very busy laying land drainage and generally evening out the plot. Hedges and trees are being trimmed and it’s really starting to look a lot tidier — for the time being anyway! We can get an idea now of the size of the land around the house and the fact that our new back garden is going to be about 20 times the size of the one we have now!