Saturday, 22 February 2020

More aerial photos

Every month the Graven Hill company send a drone up to capture progress on the site. We always get excited waiting to see if our house is in any of the photos, and this time we have three great shots.
Our house is the one at the end of the arrow.

This is our little street and two more plots have their foundations in place, with only one gap left now.

In this photo it shows the large warehouses that still belong to the MOD. These are due to be knocked down in the next couple of months and houses built in their place.

View in the other direction showing more of the estate.

Friday, 21 February 2020

First guests on the terrace

Darren's family were our first visitors to the new terrace.
I would have liked it to be a nice experience and everyone did smile for the photos, but we only managed to stay up there for about five minutes.

We soon decamped to the fantastic local garden centre where it was warm, dry and they do excellent food.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Roofing project

It turns out that we have four rooves (is that the right word?) on our house.
The first is the terrace that the roofers started work on earlier this week.
The second one is the first floor balcony that seemed incredibly complicated on the architect's plans. However, Darren has today sorted it out and the roofers will cover it tomorrow.

The third is the area above the stairs and he has started to get this one ready.

The final one is the roof of the upstairs living room and it is fair to say that it still needs a bit of work.

At least its not raining at the moment.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Looking forward to relaxing on the terrace

It's day two of the terrace roof fit out. It has rained a couple of times today, but it is now heading for being watertight.

Here I am imagining what it will be like to enjoy a glass of wine on a hot summer evening.

Darren is working on the balcony as we can't work on the top roof because we will get in the the way of the workers.

Had a bit of disappointing news today when the double glazing guy called to say that even though we have signed all of the paperwork and spent hours checking all of the sizes, their computer has changed it's mind and they can't make our large kitchen window. 
As that was one of the main reasons that we went with them then we might have to cancel the whole order and start again with a different company. 

Monday, 17 February 2020

Up on the roof

We survived Storm Dennis over the weekend and after it had passed by we took all of the weather protection off the roof.
Disappointingly, a hailstorm appeared out of nowhere only two hours later and soaked the whole roof through.
Happily, the wind then blew strongly all night and it was almost dry when I arrived at the plot this morning.

Take a moment to study the above photo and you can see that the roof is sloping at complicated angles. This is so that the rain water goes directly to the downpipes and doesn't hang around on top.
The cheerful roofers started work just after 8am and they quickly drilled three holes through the brickwork for the downpipes.

They have also put down a load of insulation and built an upstand all around the edge.

They haven't had time to get the final waterproof layer on yet, so fingers crossed once again that it doesn't rain tonight and they should get in on tomorrow.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Two wooden walls

Although all of our brick walls were finished yesterday, we have two wooden stud walls on the top floor that Darren is building.
They are coming on well and growing quickly.

We finished work early today because it is Valentines day and we are going to London for a meal, a show, an overnight stay and then a parkrun tomorrow morning. Should be lovely.
Before we left we wrapped the new room up tightly yet another storm is heading our way. This time it's called Dennis and I hope that he is a bit kinder than Ciara was last weekend.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Trevor's final day

It all looks very different on site this afternoon, and that is because there is a huge Trevor shaped hole.
The ancient concrete mixer that had pride of place in the front garden has gone. Just before lunchtime Trevor loaded it up on to his van, along with his aged wheelbarrow and yellow buckets full of precious tools and then headed off into the sunset.

There was no radio two blaring out this afternoon, but what he left behind is a beautiful shell that we just need to turn in to a home.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

A day of finals

The build is taking on an end of term feel at the moment as we are really near to the end of the building phase.
This photo is a historic photo showing the last 18 bricks out of 13,000 being hoisted up in the Lidl bags.

Darren and I managed to lift the last of the dreaded extra thick and heavy plywood sheets on to the last roof. (He is standing on it.)

The last of the big coping stones was laid by Trevor.

Sorry but the picture doesn't quite match the caption,I was too keen and took the photo about two hours too early.
Also we have finished with the Young Men and it was quite a stress, but we managed to attach them to the hoist and drop them gently down to ground level.
It's just me and the two remaining maturish men now.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Coping stones

Very windy day today, and we spent most of it on the the terrace with Trevor putting on the coping stones.
Trevor did the most work, he mixed the mortar, laid it out, lifted the coping stones, made sure that they were level and straight, then pointed them up to finish.

Darren was next and he moved the coping stones over to Trevors workbench, helped Trevor lift them up and carefully placed each one in the right position.
I helped Darren move the stones and then put a little piece of insulation on the work bench to stop the stone getting damaged, and then moved it out of Trevor and Darren's way as they lifted the stone.
Not sure that I really earned my keep today, but somebody had to do it.

Ps, we are very pleased with them and they really finish off the edge.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Storm of the century

Apparently Storm Ciara is being called the storm of the century, and it certainly felt like it yesterday, and today now that I think about it.
We went to check on the house on Sunday morning and the wind was blowing like crazy. It had ripped off the waterproofing from the top floor and lifted a few of the scaffold boards. The plastic floor covering took a battering and a lot of water got into the house.
The wind had also tried its hardest to knock over the fencing, even though we had hammered metal bars into the base. I stood in the garden and pushed as hard as I could, while Darren was on the other side trying to get each panel upright before we braced them with bricks and more metal rebar.
Today was also extremely windy, but at the moment everything is still standing.
We did get quite a lot done today, and I used two brightly coloured Lidl 'bags for life' on the hoist to lift bricks up to the top floor.
Trevor was very amused by this, but I bet that he is taking notes and will be using this trick on his next build!
Sorry that the pictures are a bit boring, but it was not the day for photography.

Friday, 7 February 2020

The last few inches

Here are Darren and Trevor discussing how to build the last few inches of our house. The tape measure was out and the chat went on and on, but without a firm conclusion.

Hopefully it will all come together on Monday.
We also had a tour of our next door neighbours house, and it is absolutely stunning. It is completely different to ours and has a few huge rooms, rather than lots of smaller rooms like ours.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Top floor living room

Today we put the joists up on the top floor room. It looks really big and we have an idea to put a bar in the corner next to the future doors to the terrace.

Oops, must try not to get too far ahead of ourselves but we had some good news today.
As long as we are ready, the roofers can come next Wednesday to put in the terrace roof.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The last steels are up

This morning Darren and Trevor moved the Young Men underneath where the last steels needed to be lifted, and we all set about getting them into place.
Trevor hoisted his end up immediately, and then popped along to help me and Daz with ours.
If I am being very honest, I don't actually think that I helped in any way and that I just held on to the steel, but didn't really lift it.
After that I spent most of my time trying to get out of their way, but I have did hold the bolts and push them through the holes while Darren and Trevor held the steels up in the right place.

We also realised that we had miscalculated the finished height of the top floor, so unfortunately a couple of my recent blogs are now wrong.
They should have been 'Second to last scaffold lift' and 'Second to last pallet of bricks'.
Oh well, it's only about an extra six inches.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Last 1,000 bricks

Today I finished loading the last 1,000 bricks up on to the top floor. Unfortunately I put 150 of them on to what turned out to be a cantilevered bit of scaffolding. Trevor seemed very concerned and I moved them again pretty quickly, but he told me not to stand on the same boards as the bricks in case it gave way.
Quite worrying I think, but anyway it's sorted now.
Darren has been busy and had built a sticking out bit at the front of the house across the middle of this picture.

Trevor is working on the top corner of the house...

... and a load of insulation for the roof has arrived and completely filled our future utility room.

Monday, 3 February 2020

The young mans have arrived

I didn't know what a young man was in relation to the building trade, but two arrived today.
Trevor asked for them, and we managed hoist them up to the top floor, even though they were nearly seven metres long.

They are actually extra long and strong scaffold boards and Trevor wanted them so that he could build above the staircase.
This afternoon I asked him if two of them are called young mans or young men.
He thought it was a very funny question and said that you say 'youngmun' so the plural is youngmuns.
Well, at least we know now, and I won't embarrass myself again at the builders merchants.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Coping stones lift

We have spent a lot of time this weekend moving very heavy coping stones. Each one measures 600 mm by 500mm and are 80 mm thick at the widest part.
I don't know how heavy each one is, but Daz reckons that we moved around three tonnes worth in total.
They had to be lifted individually underneath the hoist, then loaded on at ground level. One of us then had to climb up to the top to operate the hoist, while the other steadied the load before also climbing up.
We then walked it to the top of the parapet and slid it down a little wooden ramp. We climbed over the parapet and then lifted it into a resting place until Monday.
I think that we did that 40 times, but we are all set up and waiting for Trevor to mortar them into place.

We also put a cavity closer into place to keep the cavity extra snug and warm.

Oh, I forgot to mention that it was blowing a gale all day Saturday so that added to the stress of the situation!

Friday, 31 January 2020

Measuring up for our triple glazing

We have been anticipating the visit of the glazing measurer for a very long time. We had lots of questions for him and once he saw our house he had lots of questions for us too!
He suggested that we start at the top of the house, which I thought was a bad idea, but at least we could get the worst problems out of the way.

We are missing a few walls, which made measuring up difficult, but what we decided upon is to agree a size and then we would make sure that we build to match it.
The staircase was also a problem, and we have lots to do before any window can go near it.

I am only showing the worst bits here, and lots of the windows are straightforward, but one last photo of the current state of the front bedroom window.

We have about ten weeks to get it all built and ready, and I am confident that we will hit the target.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Empty car parking space

Thinking back to the summer, we ordered 24 pallets of bricks, and only 10 of them fitted on our plot.
The remaining 14 were put on a nearby parking space, and there they sat for a very long time.
Gradually we started having them brought round on a fork lift, and at the start of this week there was only five pallets left in the parking space.
I arranged for two pallets to be put up on to our loading bay on Monday and Trevor has been working really hard and has used all 1,100 bricks.
This afternoon we put two more pallets up, and that just leaves one pallet that is now resting in the front garden.
So the fantastic news is that the parking space is now empty.

Okay, that's not the most exciting photo ever, but we are very pleased.
In total we ordered 13,200 bricks and I think that we will have about 700 left over once we have finished.
Well I hope so anyway.