Sunday, 3 April 2011

Finally we get to live on site

We had completed much of the preparation for moving to site, installed the caravan, built a storage and site hut, connected temporary mains and had BT connect us to the telephone in the caravan but we still needed water and drainage. We had to construct the footings before we could lay the drainage so we could find the correct line and they were not in the way. But here's the rub, we had applied to the sewerage authority for permission to connect to the main sewerage and also a connection to the surface water main (unusually), but a shock came when they informed us that we must stop work immediately. Apparently because our building line was close to the carriageway and there was an old brick culvert for surface water in the verge, and they  did not know the line of, we would be required to have commissioned an optic fibre survey of the culvert in order to establish its position so that we did not compromise it with our building. We could not therefore carry on with the footings until the survey was complete.  aghh!! Foiled again!!!
So we reluctantly downed tools and abandoned the site to await a survey.

Meanwhile the electricity company had also noted from our plans that because we were building close to the road and as the building reached roof height it would be perilously close to the open wire mains supply to the village and preventative measures needed to be taken. Oh! OK what does that involve?we asked.

You can see the offending open wires in this picture
Well what it involves is 'Money'. We had to pay for the open wires to be replaced by what they call ABC cables, three cores twisted into one cable. Fortunately as the poles carrying the wires were old and needed upgrading we only had to pay towards the work but the bill was still over £1200.00. And to our embarrassment the village power supply had to be off for the best part of a day.

It was about a month after we had stopped work on the foundations  that the optic survey was scheduled to be undertaken and the survey team duly arrived on site on a cold, wet, snowy February day.

That's me waiting for the survey engineers to arrive.

It was a bit of a waste of time as in the event they tried to access the culvert from one end which  was completely silted up and from the other it was partially collapsed preventing  the 'optic mole' entering the culvert.  It would take months to repair the culvert and we could not wait. It was a bit of a stalemate. In the end after protracted discussion and because of the Water Authority  not  wanting not to spend the money that they relented and allowed us to carry on but with great care. It turned out in the end that when we finally connected to the surface water sewer we found it only a few inches under the kerb outside our property and our foundations would not affect it at all. Panic over!

Right we 're cooking with gas and our friendly JCB driver from Squires of Southwell arrives to excavate the footings. A couple of days and they are dug and ready for conc. Squires lorries take all the spoils away for us.

JCB at work
Just checking

Me and my trusty laser level. A very useful buy
What you doing down there
Ready for concrete

There are many suppliers of concrete in our neighbourhood as I am sure there are in yours but just down the road there is a quarry belonging to LaFarge and we therefore had cause to speak to their rep. We knew we would require special concrete for screeding the 'Jetfloor' block and beam which contains reinforcing fibres, but as there was limited access to the back of our site and we were short of labour to manhandle the conc, he suggested we use one of their products called 'Agilia Trenchflow' and boy am I glad he did. This stuff is like water and flows much the same, so much so it will find its own level even after flowing several metres. It only needs a little help around the bends occasionally. Great stuff!! Only drawback, yes you've guessed it,expensive.

Forty Cube to go
Flows like water
Checking again

Finished Product
The first of many blocks to be layed.
Contractors connect us to the mains

My wife had a go
Drains nearly there

We used standard dense concrete blocks to get us out of the ground with cavity construction. Weep holes were provided on the outside and concrete infill with 45' slope between the leaves. Once we had a line on the footings we could get the drains in and connect the caravan to the mains. Our mains contractor generously supplied us with Osma drainage products at trade prices but as these were prohibitively expensive at normal prices we reverted to Marley products from B&Q at much less cost for the last remaining sections.

 At last we were connected to the mains, we had water and we could go to the loo!! Now all we had to do was to move all our belongings out of store and move into the caravan which we duly did. It was a relief from the daily grind of travelling thirty miles to start work and returning in the evening seven days a week. We could now roll out of bed in the morning and get on with it.

My next post will deal with how we finished off the block work and installed the block and beam floor.

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