Thursday, 24 March 2011

Moving to Site

 Well we had planning permission, we had drawings, we had the cash in the bank all we needed to do now was to start building.

During the planning we had attempted to sort out a few contractors for the various stages, we found a contractor(who would be required to open up the highway) for connection of sewerage and surface water by speaking to the local water authority who keep a list of approved contractors. Likewise the electricity company provided their contractor to connect a temporary electric supply to the plot, all very straightforward, if long winded, but getting quotes and commitments to start from builders and ground workers when they are very busy is akin to blood and stone. However we needed to get on so we pressed ahead with the move to site.

We had sold our house to pay for the build and were living in a flat with many of our belongings in expensive storage, which in the long term was unsustainable, then one day whilst wandering around B&Q we came across a FinnForest flat pack log garage at a bargain price. A solution to our storage problem!

As in the best  tradition of self build we planned to live in a caravan on site whilst we built our new house, however if you are going to do this then its a good idea to invest in a residential rather than touring van as more than six months in a tourer will be hell(especially if you have any kids). Fortunately we found a superb 22 foot bargain  on the East Coast and the caravan site owner from whom we bought it arranged to transport it to our site for very little extra, little did we know that it was to be our home for a couple of years.

Right, we had a number of contractors arranged, a caravan to live in, and a storage facility for our worldly goods and having spent a couple of weeks chopping down trees, digging up shrubs and demolishing a small building we could set up our site for the work ahead.

My wife gets stuck in helping lay a temporary access, you can't get the labour these days

A small summer house had to be demolished.

Friends help with the last remnants of the building

We used contractors to remove the trees
Just inspecting

I planned to raise the FinnForest timber building off the ground and install a false floor so had to build footings under the walls. If we had not got a bargain on this product then a  conventional cabin would have been more suitable to store furniture etc.

Nice little toy
The caravan arrives on low loader

Caravan in place ready to start erecting the cabin
  Building the walls on which to stand the cabin, please note the plastic chairs, you have to have somewhere to sit and drink your tea.
The FinnForest flat pack cabin arrives, excellent quality stuff with 40mm beautiful quality soft wood timber walls, quality machining and ready cut felt shingles for the roof.

It takes a few days to erect the cabin because being as particular as we are we gave each piece a coat of Cuprinol preservative as we built it. However these buildings are a piece of cake and slot together like a jigsaw with a sturdy structure at the end, an ideal solution to the storage problem, they also make for a great additional feature in the garden afterwards.  
First stages
Up to the roof

On goes the roof
Nearly finished

It was looking good, the caravan was in place, the storage facility was erected, the site was cleared but we couldn't move into our accommodation yet, we had no services!! We had to get them laid on, it was essential for living on site that we could use a loo without worrying about waste disposal, water was a definite for a cup of tea(and cooking) and electric for lighting(to watch the telly at night,Grand Designs etc) Electricity (the easy bit)was provided to the caravan by a 6mm power cable clipped to the fence from a temporary consumer unit mounted in a wall box fixed to two posts in the corner of the site.  However the sewage, surface water and mains water was to be provided up the side of the site and round the back, with a spur off to the caravan and this was a very different question. It was evident that the whole site had been raised at some time in its history and was now some distance above the properties either side and well above road level. It was necessary to lower the site to keep the roof line level with surrounding buildings!!  Hence:-

 We had to move an estimated 150 cubic metres of good topsoil off site before we were down to the working level. I did not drive the JCB by the way.

Topsoil removal in progress
What a lot of soil

At last, down to working level and marking out for footings.

 You may be wondering by now why we were organising and doing this work as it was planned to do it with contractors? Well like much of this project we had been unable to find available contractors at reasonable cost so we decided to do it ourselves(as you do), and that included the next stage of marking out for the footings, getting them dug and filling them with concrete and then we might get the drainage in! However the first and fortunately last potentially major problem reared its ugly head, but more of that next time. 

See my next post to read the details of this problem and how we finally moved to site.   
If you have any questions about my blog or self build in general please email me. You can find my email address in my profile (top right of page). You can also become a follower of my blog by pressing the follower button or click on 'Comments' below to leave a message.  

Thanks for viewing.

No comments:

Post a Comment