Old house gone, plot cleared. Now what?
Groundworks — a term that fills most people with a sense of dread and foreboding. The least glamorous part of any build, and the bit where you are literally burying a sizeable chunk of your budget. Critical to get them in the right place, it goes without saying, and on solid ground so your house doesn’t sink and the building inspector is happy.
Every site has it’s own set of issues to deal with — the last frame we put up in Kent was on clay and so the footings had to be 2.5m deep! This site in Powys is on the side of a hill with a pronounced slope so setting out the ‘profiles’ for the trenches involves some nifty carpentry by the groundworkers as you can see from the photos
A sloping site also requires “stepping” of the trenches so that flat terraces can be created to lay the blockwork. The geography of this particular site makes it impossible for the concrete lorries to pour directly into the trenches so a concrete pump with a long reach is commissioned — six loads of ready-mixed concrete, pouring all day.
Finding the right team is fundamental to get you out of the ground with your budget intact. These footings are in safe hands and Les, Adrian and Barnie are able to set out, excavate and pour the concrete within a week aided by some clement British weather.
Next week: take a look at the oak frame drawings
About the author:
Rob Dawson built a stunning oak frame home in 2009 for less than £100,000. He is now the owner and founder of Castle Ring Oak Frame.