Thursday, 25 July 2013

But, hey I love this photo :)

Our house is so curvy!

More frustration - can our nerves stand it?

Well, three weeks ago today a crane was booked in to lift the first steels on to the roof and if that had happened we would now be well on the way to having a completed roof...... but No!!! - on this build things couldn't possibly be that simple!

Two days before the crane was due we took a call from our case officer at Canterbury City Council who told us that they'd been contacted by someone in the road who said that the house was too high - everything went on stop. We had to wait a nail biting week for a meeting on site with the case officer and our builders. Indeed, the tops of our walls on the gables had reached as high as the next door house which, on our plans, should have been 400mm lower. The builders have constructed as per the drawings and set the house as deep in the ground as it should be but the council insisted that we would have to put in a new planning application showing the house at the height it will be in relation to next door if we carry on building. With this option, we run the gauntlet of objections from locals (although we didn't receive a single objection to our original application) with a small risk of the application being refused and the expensive roof that we would've put up having to be taken down again. This just seemed too scary.

We contacted our architect who said he could revise the pitch of the roof from 45° to 31° which would bring us down sufficient to be the same height as next door. Will called the council to discuss this option and the case officer said she would be happy with this and we would only need to put in an application for a 'non material ammendment' which would be dealt with in the office (not out to the public) and that she would recommend passing it. So this is what we've done now.

The change of pitch won't make a vast amount of difference to the house as the roof was very high and I think that some of the vaulted ceilings would've felt vast. The bad side of all this is that it's taking a long time to make the amendments - the builder is finding the drawings from the architect to be missing important details, they also have to bring back the brickies to remove and cut some of the blocks and get the steel guys to change some of the details so all in all yet another very frustrating delay in what was meant to be a 40 week build ...... never again!!!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

First floor coming up

It's getting exciting now. We're starting to see the bedrooms landing etc take shape.  Not a straight line or 45º angle in sight!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Our View

Today is so grim here in east kent, yup it's end of May and it's 12 degrees, grey and raining - absolutely miserable.

But.... 2 days ago on bank holiday Monday the sun shone over Whitstable and here's a photo taken by my good friend Emma of the view looking out from what will be our bedroom to cheer us all up...... some day soon the sun will shine again :)))))

Look at the colour of that beautiful sky!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

First Floor Joists being Installed

Came back from brief trip away to find that not only had the steels gone in but we're starting to get a ceiling to the ground floor. Interesting as some parts are open from the ground right up to the roof so we're starting to get the feel of what is going to be like with a partially ceilinged living room! 

What looks like a ladder forms the base of the bridge to Ruby's room 

View through loving room ceiling to blue skies :)

Friday, 17 May 2013

Steels Go In

Here comes the start of the heavy engineering bit of the structure, all this extremely expensive steel work is to stop our house from ever being blown away in the event of a hurricane or even a tsunami. Of course all the other houses around that have stood for many many years without steel reinforcements will be blown/washed away and we'll be laughing and going nowhere!

This steel cross is on a diagonal wall that faces North East running up one corner of the dining area and master bedroom and is adjacent to the 3 meter wide windows. We would have liked a long slim window in here to mirror the one in the kitchen and to catch the morning rays but were told it wasn't possible by the architect because of the reinforcement - we're kicking ourselves now for not pushing this one as there definitely would've been a way around it and it would've been so nice - so instead we're just going to have to fill the space with some piece fabby piece of art...any offers?

In the foreground are the steels that will form the little bridge from the landing to Ruby's room

A detail for those interested. 

I love this picture below, these 2 birds were there the whole time I was visiting the site - it's like they thought we'd build the frame especially for them..."we love it up here, such great views... tweet tweet"

Save 50% on Build Costs - Uh Oh....

Just read this article on the Homebuilding & Renovating website and it looks like we've just done everything we can to build the most expensive house possible. According to the writer, to save costs we should have built a square house with as few corners as possible (and certainly no curves) with large concrete tiles on the roof and shoved some more rooms in the roof to get extra floor space for your buck rather than keeping it open and glazing some of it. Why on earth did we get carried away, us and our fancy ways eh?

Take a look;

Addendum - maybe we could've gone and bought a Barrett Home if that's what we were motivated by

Catch Up 5 - Few more pictures

You can see the former for our lovely one metre diameter West facing round window in the dining area- we will have another of these on the front face of the garage so Will can have lots of lovely light to do his 'man things'

Curved wall to living room

Again, oh so tiny living room :)

Looking from North into kitchen/dining area

Catch Up 4 - First Level of Scaffolding

Bt the beginning of May the first level of scaffolding went up allowing us to walk round the property almost at first floor level but, rather more importantly allowing the brick layers to build a little higher!

See what a lovely skyline this makes looking from the front of the house - rather majestic methinks.

Will with a critical eye!

and directing those builders from on high

Ah, Ruby and me enjoying our elevated evening view over Whitstable and out to sea ...

Catch Up 3 - Walls are Coming Up

Once the new brickies were on site they worked pretty fast bringing the walls up. These pictures show where we were by 24th April

Living Room - Willy's constantly telling me that it's going to be sooooooo small!

Concrete Jungle

Nice Curve :)

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Catch Up 2 - Beam & Block Floor

This was a nice stage to reach - good to be able to stand and see the levels and to our delight the floor will be higher that we had imagined meaning great views from pretty much everywhere :)

Beams Delivered

Flooring Installed

Catch Up 1 - Photos

Am obviously very bad at this blog lark! Trouble is we have had lulls in the build for several reasons - weather - problems with details from structural engineer etc - and then I get fed up and don't want to write about it and by the time we're back on building I've almost forgotten that I'd decided to do this blog.
Right now I've been encouraged on by a very kind lady, Nadia, who has featured this blog on her website in a list of 'Top 5 Inspirational Build Blogs' . She has accurately described my blog as 'sporadic' but that is no excuse not to continue!

So.... the last images in March were after the all the ground works were completed. Next the walls were built to damp proof course level and a membrane laid and covered with sand (next door's cat found this to be a fine place to dump over the next few days until the floor was laid - there'll probably be fossilised cat faeces under the house in years to come)

Me in the dining room dog in the garden

Monday, 25 March 2013

Attenuation Tank Tedium

This for me is very very dull but I feel obliged to write about it briefly as it's been quite a big annoying issue for us;
During the design stage, planning and working with our code assessor no mention was ever made to us that we would need an attenuation tank to reduce the flow of rain water into the public sewers. It was not included in the plans, costed or quoted for but when our builder met with our code assessor it was brought up as being a mandatory requirement! Why it was never mentioned by our architect I don't think we'll ever know - during the design stage we had paid for a report to be done to calculate the rain water run off and apparently this tank is necessary for the one in one hundred year storm so that our house doesn't cause excessive strain on the the sewers.
The short of it is we now have to set a tank in the garden approx 4 metres long by 1metre deep. sounds simple but in fact it necessitates extra drains and quite serious digging, layers of various materials etc etc- yes I feel like going to sleep talking about it too!!!
We've been quoted £11k for this very dull thing - money I would have much preferred to spend elsewhere on something I can actually see and enjoy - as if we haven't sunk enough money in the ground already.

Due to the mammoth cost our builders are now trying to get quotes from specialist drainage companies to see if they can do it any cheaper - watch this space!!!!!

Catch Up

Last time I posted I think that we were having problems with the ring beam due to the layer of cellcore being missed out and highlighted by the NHBC inspector. After a bit of argy bargy about who hadn't read the drawings correctly the ground works team were forced to re-do the beam which was completed just before the end of November. As you can see in the photo, the rest of the ground is just a mud bath - when we come off site we're a couple of inches taller with all the clay that clings to your wellies!

Ring Beam

So on to site with the brick layers.... The picture below shows the beginnings of the walls as it was left just before Christmas and before the snows and bad weather came.

Site Before Christmas

We did much mooching about on the site in that strange time between Christmas & New Year and came to the conclusion that the the work done by the brick layers was not of a very good standard - we're not builders but even a lay man can see when there's gaps and messy cement left all over the walls. We kept passing the site and nothing had moved on, We were patient as the weather was freezing but eventually called the builder to ask what's going on....... he'd sacked the brick layers as he wasn't happy with their work or attitude!!

We were okay with him getting rid of bad brickies but anxious to get things moving. By mid February a new lot were on site and woking well. The decision had been made to remove the original brick work and start anew and also to leave the garage to later as access will be tight to the back of the house once the garage is up.

Here are some photos of our lovely new walls going up to damp proof course level 

Looking up towards living room and next level up of hallway & utility

Retaining wall at back of the kitchen and under the utility room

looking down site towards the North

Section of curved wall