Posts Tagged ‘selfbuild’

September 2013
The garage brickwork is now finished. The chippies got in straight after to fit the roof trusses, all in the dry weather, so no delays here – splendid!


Is anybody in there?!


Second week of September, the trusses for the main house arrive. These were rather heavy! It took four of us to unload these and find somewhere to store them – awkward to carry, and a bit top heavy!



Off topic! I took a rare few days off to go angling with a good mate of mine. Was nice to get away from ‘the all consuming house build’ for a bit, kickback and relax – until my umbrella decided to leak!


Back to the build. The scaffold was erected inside the house, ready for the chippies to start fitting the trusses.


We had an issue with the first attempted lift of the trusses. The crane operator refused to lift the trusses, even after we’d had a site survey by the crane company, claiming that he wasn’t happy with the proximity of the overhead power cables. This wasted a day on site, not only for the 3 chippies, but we also had to rebook the crane. Before rebooking the crane, we arranged for Southern Electric to meet with the crane company on site. The Southern Electric guy informed us that the cables are all sufficiently insulated anyway, so there was no issue with the proximity of them. We rebooked the crane in, the fight for some form of compensation is still ongoing – watch this space!

My wife and I stained all the ends of the trusses on the garage as these will be part of the open eaves, so they’ll be seen from below.


Total Overspend £300.00 Labour costs + (awaiting compensation)

Next month, attempt 2 at lifting the trusses on to the house………


August 2013

Finally time for the building work on the house to start! While waiting for the block and beam materials to arrive, it gave me chance to run the mains water pipe in to position. We’d already decided the kitchen layout, so I made sure the incoming mains came up directly below the kitchen sink.

We were really lucky with the weather, this enabled the brickies to crack on with the build, before we knew it, the scaffolding was going up as well!



The RSJ’s arrived along with quite a few other materials, so these were secured in the lockup, ready to be fitted at a later date.


Over the course of the next week, (bearing in mind the guys were only doing weekends), they got a lot done. We could really start to see the sizes of the rooms, and it actually felt like we were making good progress, after all the previous delays we’d had.





After looking at the fireplace, we decided it was a bit on the large side, and overpowered the room somewhat. So we had a discussion with the builder, and agreed to make it a bit smaller, this was the only set back at this stage.

The following weekend, they were up to the next lift on the scaffolding, it was actually starting to look like a house now, and really started to sink in what we had taken on!



A few days later, the chippies were there to start fitting the first floor joists. I gave one of the guys a hand lifting them up in to place. One of the biggest joists took some lifting! All of these went in without any drama.



That’s it for the month of August.

Total Overspend £277

July 2013
After a 3 week delay on the materials for the block and beam floor, it meant the builders could only go so far with the house. To try and save a bit of time, they put as much of the garage up as possible.



We were really keen to go for a lighter mortar, to compliment the colour of the stone. Our builder knocked up a ‘test panel’ with the proposed mix. My wife and I loved the result, hopefully the pictures do it justice (it’s nice to look back at these pictures to remind us of the nice weather we had for a change!)



Next, the ground workers got to work on starting the drainage for the house, ready to connect to the main sewer. A reasonably straight forward run, but potential problems when it comes to connecting up – watch this space!!


Drum roll please…………the materials for the block and beam floor arrive! So happy to see these show up, and what a scorcher of a day too! Upon our arrival to site, the ground workers were looking nicely bronzed/pink!


With the block and beam floor complete – the site can now be handed over to the brickies for them to crack on. Smiley face!

June 20th 2013
The concrete for the footings has now been poured, the next stage is to get the block work in place and loaded out ready to lay. You’ll have to excuse the picture quality, they were taken mostly on my phone.


June 23rd 2013
Block work starting to go down, we can now start to see the shape of the house – exciting!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand – no mishaps yet at this stage!


July 1st 2013
More materials arrive, because of the shape of the site, and access only from the front, it means we have to keep the site clear at the front. This meant having to move several tons of blocks and stone to allow space for more deliveries – this was lots of fun, as it had to be done by hand! There might be a few pictures missing from this stage, as I was dying in a sweaty heap on the floor (insert violin here) – taking pictures was the last thing on my mind!



After the delivery of blocks, the stone arrived – more serious work shifting all of this around the site – again, to keep the area clear for the next batch of deliveries.



I managed to rope in a few helpers for some of the work, moving the stones (thanks to all of those that helped!). Apart from the massive amount of work moving the stones, everything to this stage went to plan.

Total Overspend for this stage = £0
The next hiccup led to a lengthy delay on the build, which would set us back a whole month.

Something a little different for my next few blog entries. I’ll be logging the progress of our current project – building our own home. For anybody building their own home, or looking to in the future, I’ll try and flag up where we went wrong, and what we’d have done differently in hindsight, to save time and money.

June 12th 2013
After much back and forth with the council, fighting a hefty Section 106 Agreement, we finally broke ground on our site.



Getting to this stage was a long time coming. So it was nice to finally get underway with the ground works. We’d dug a ‘trial hole’ for inspection to confirm standard metre deep foundations were sufficient. The local building inspector was happy with the ground, so the ground workers went about digging the footings.


After the footings were completed, our LABC warranty inspector came out to do his first inspection of them. Here comes the first problem!! He wasn’t happy with only a metre deep footings, due to old tree roots on the site, so we then had to dig down a further 600mm deep, and add ‘clay boards’ to the sides of the trenches. This was our first additional cost that wasn’t in the budget, a further £4500, to cover extra concrete, clay boards, labour and muck away.


What could we have done differently to have prevented this extra work?
Looking back, it would’ve made sense to dig several trial holes, across the site, and get the warranty inspector out to check them as well as the building regs chap, as the site had once been home to several older trees (originally the neighbours front garden). Although we’d have had to still pay for the extra concrete to fill the trenches, the labour figure would’ve been slightly lower as the trenches could’ve been dug in one go.


Total Overspend for first stage = £4500

So footings now completed, on to the next stage………. (more…)