It was becoming increasingly more difficult to get materials to the site on time. There was a real danger my build team would run out of work to do unless things improved. The pressure was building.

The delays were due to a variety of reasons the culmination of which was leading to the risk of the build grinding to a halt. As I have mentioned before sourcing the materials is a time consuming job. A lot of suppliers are closed at weekends. My experience has been that basic standard building materials are available locally but prices can be significantly higher than if sourced online. For example the local rate for 1kg of copper nails is £12 + VAT but online £6.45 + VAT.

The north elevation ready for slates

I have also found that the choice of materials locally is very limited. Higher specification materials that perform better are typically difficult to source. It’s a shame because I wanted to use local companies wherever possible. I suspect though until the housing market starts to recognize the importance and value in the materials of house construction, we are unlikely to see any shifts in material availabilities locally.

I am a great user and believer in the wonderful power and knowledge base available on the Internet. Several companies use email alone for enquiries. Operators with little or no technical product knowledge recommend emailing in the details. The trouble with emails is they are somewhat detached so responses can be slow, incomplete or non-existent.

Once you have managed to source a product and a supplier the final hurdle is the delivery. This has been the biggest headache of all. I have lost count of the materials that have not arrived on time and required multiple calls and emails to chase. As far as I can tell there is little motivation for company’s to deliver on time as there is no financial loss to them if they do not.

I have though become good at managing this uncertainty as far as possible as the build has gone on. It is not as easy as ordering it all well in advance, because secure storage space and room on site is finite and finances can be limiting also.

The above though is a temporary headache and the build is progressing very well indeed.  Jack and his building team have been pushing the building forward and their care and attention to detail is starting to pay off. The house is looking fantastic. The space created above the garage is a surprisingly inspiring space that has a quality I did not expect. The Fakro roof windows have all been fitted and look fantastic I am very happy with them indeed. They flood extra light into the house and the white frames make the sky the focus rather than the window.

Three Fakro rooflights
The south facing elevation ready for slates

We needed some extra oak beams for the garage and adjoining room. I was delighted to be able to source these from a local country estate less than 10 miles from the build. The English oak looks to have a wonderful grain pattern and I am looking forward to revealing it when the frame is sandblasted in the coming months.

The western red cedar fascia boards have started to be fitted and this has allowed the gargantuan task of slating the roof to begin. Excitingly we will be weather-tight fairly soon. The casement windows, doors and applied oak glazing will seal the building from the elements.

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