Saturday, 25 February 2012

Headaches with Southern Water's Drain

When we bought the plot we knew that a public sewer ran down the East side of the plot near to the boundary and knew that this would affect the build, however, we didn't realise how difficult it would be to talk to someone at Southern Water about it.  Infact, it's not possible to talk to anybody at Southern Water!! They use a consultancy called Atkins to deal with these sorts of things who were very vague and non committal.

Before we could take the plans any further we needed to know for definite how close we could build to the drain.  Baring in mind that we were told that they need 24 hour access to the drain for checks, maintenance etc it was stunning to find out that they didn't know for sure the diameter of of said drain and without that they couldn't give us an answer. The biggest indignity was that we would have to fork out £850 for them to send a camera down it to find the answer! If the drain was of a larger diameter we would only be able to build 4 metres from it unless we paid for a "build over" whereby they may let us build closer but on the condition we pay a further £850 at the end of the build to make sure that we hadn't damaged the drain & sign something to say we would be responsible for any damage to the drain at a later date.

Survey Drawing
You can see the line of the drain on the right of the plot with the man hole covers shown with circles.  Actually on the ground only 1 man hole cover was exposed.

We had no choice but to pay the fee for them to check the drain which probably took one man half an hour.  We were lucky though, the drain was found to not be such a major one and we were granted permission to build 3 metres from the drain. A result but a very expensive one!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Catching up....Preliminary Sketches

Am realising it's a very long time since my last post so a little catching up is needed!
A lot has happened but very very slowly....frustrating as we just want to get started. The best day was going back to the architect after leaving him with our brief for some weeks. He produced a very simply drawn plan of his idea but, although simple, he had to talk us through it as it had curved walls, split levels etc so not easy to interpret to the untrained eye!
These are the sketches he showed us;

Front & East ElevationsCross Sections
Plan of ground Floor

Basically he's gone for a boat shape (due to Will having spent his whole working life with boats of  all different shapes and sizes).  When you look down on the plan you can see the curved walls like a hull.

There is a double height hall open to the roof with a glazed metre wide strip that runs over the whole of the house from North to South which should bring in lots of light and warmth from the sun, or "solar gain" as they say in the trade! There is a cloakroom and Utility Room on the same level and a short flight of steps down to living areas and another up to the mezzanine landing.

The living room is off to the left with 2 floor to ceiling windows looking towards the sea and the kitchen to the right. We had made a big thing about the importance of a good sized kitchen & dining area to us and this space should be wonderful. There are 2 steps down to the dining area with a waist height wall dividing the 2 spaces and nearly all the end wall is glass out to the garden and view.

The first floor has a mezzanine landing and a floating bridge across the void to Ruby's room. There are 3 bedrooms each with an ensuite and all interesting in their shape & glazing.

Finally there's a single garage the roof of which extends to the spare bedroom creating a covered outside area.