After almost three weeks of exceptionally good weather (unless you are a farmer or gardener) we have almost completed the footings. This has involved shifting tonnes more soil and excavating far deeper than envisage because of clay and the proximity of tree roots. A planned 700 X 600 strip footing has ended up 1.6m deep in places and swallowed 72 cubic metres of high strength concrete which took about ten hours to pour.

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Despite making every effort to source a more environmentally friendly alternative to concrete we failed as CEMEN was in the process of moving its factory in Bridgend. However there is a chance we can use it for the last pour in the passive slab. We did however manage get the concrete mixed on site by EasyLay who are based almost within sight so the quantity was exactly right and travel to the site minimal. If you need good quality concrete provided at a competitive price by competent and pleasant staff in this area look no further than www.easylayconcrete.co.uk.

Just to complicate things further we had to content with a deep well situated right under the corner of the conservatory. Dealing with this required detailed engineers drawings, a fair amount of structural steel and a great amount of extra work. If only it had been a couple of meters further away, it would have made a lovely feature.

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We now have to wait until the site has dried out enough to remove the remaining clay and put in the hard core – a mixture of crushed bricks and blocks left over from demolition of the old buildings – covered with clean aggregate. The structural polystyrene (ESP) is due next week and we will have to work hard and long to get this down in time for the arrival of the timber frame towards the end of the month. We will be breaking new ground (unintended pun) with the construction of the passive slab so full coverage of the process with photos will be included in our next blog.

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