Welcome to our blog.

This blog will follow the ultimate in home improvement: demolish and rebuild!

This is our starting point: a 1930s bungalow. While not a bad house; it is too small for us with three teenage children so what should we do? A full storey extension versus complete rebuild - ultimately the stronger eco-credentials and more certain finances of a new-build helped to guide our choice.

For a number of years we've been trying to find the right route for us to build an eco-friendly, low energy home. We tried various architects and building companies and have eventually settled with a German prefabricated build. The new house will be nearly to passivhaus standards (but not quite due to budget constraints). In any case, the house will be heavily insulated and airtight.

As a family, we have not built a house before so everything is new and exciting but the risk of making a mess of things is quite high!

This blog aims to outline the day to day steps involved in our build.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Drains and more drains.

Things are beginning to come together with the floorslab preparations as some interesting deliveries are made.

Andy works on some more of the drains, such as for the washing machine and the utility room sink.
The end of another day on site, edging closer to the big pour.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Earth Shuttering

James, Jerry and Doru working hard on site.

They are busy putting up shuttering around the foundations.

This will keep the outer edge of the floorslab smooth so that a layer of insulation can be attached to it later on.  The manhole and drains are 'half-crowned' and then back-filled. 
 These are the ducts for the air source heat pump and rainwater harvesting pipes. Is it me or is there something distinctly Teletubby-ish about them?

Meanwhile, Spring is still doing it's thing despite the imposition of the house.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Drains away

Another day on the build. Jerry and Andy are busy connecting the new drainage from the house to the existing foul drains. A dirty job but someone's got to do it. Meanwhile, the large pile of type 2 material (known as large gravel to you and me) sits, waiting to put into place between the footings.

Here is the drainage that will connect from the downstairs bathroom to the house. The foul drainage runs away on a gradient into the distance.

The type 2 material is spread between the footings by this hard working little machine.

Another good day's work is done.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Heaps of earth

This morning the digger seems to have shrunk and the portaloo is playing peek a boo behind the large pile of earth.
Andy takes control of the vehicle and digs the soakaway for the rainwater harvester.

At the end of the day the mucking out inside the footings is underway but now it's the digger's turn to hide.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Big hole!

A very large hole was seen on site as James supervised the rainwater harvesting tank burial.

The drainage that will collect the rainwater from the roof of the house to the tank was prepared here James is being helped by Doru.

Now you can only see the dome and cover.

The soakaway is left to do next time.

The ducts are in place too, waiting for the rainwater and the floorslab so that the tank can be connected to a control panel in the garage. For that we need the house!

Monday, 19 April 2010

First Footings

The morning started with a check on the levels of the trenches.

Then the small hill of earth from the front of the site was moved to make sure there was space for the mixer.
Fortunately, there was enough space so the first batch of concrete could be poured. It was exciting to see the first of the foundations being made. It was very mucky and reminded me of sandcastles at the beach with a tide of concrete coming in.

Jerry is busy spreading the concrete. Meanwhile the concrete mixer is cleaned ready for the next batch.

Finally the footings are in after nearly three loads of concrete. James and Jerry take a well-earned rest as they admire their handiwork at the end of another long day.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Digging the trenches

This is a day for action.

The rainwater tank is delivered. James and Andy remove it from the delivery truck with sophisticated lifting machinery - muscle power.

Next, the essential digger arrives. It is an orange mean machine that's ready for anything.

The last essential ingredient is to check the plans and then James and Andy are ready to translate the plans into something concrete.

Finally, we've turned the tide from destruction to construction as the first of the trenches is dug.

The work progresses, is it a battle of man versus machine? Is Andy trying to tame a large orange dinosaur? Or is Andy showing James that he trusts him not to remove his feet?

And so the first day of construction ends with trenches all over the ground looking like an archeological dig. A bit of old water mains pipe was found but unfortunately no buried treasure.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

It's theodolite time!

The tripods were placed over the nails that had been hammered into the tarmac when the topographical survey had been carried out. This alone was no mean feat since the survey was carried out two years ago and so lots of soil and grass had built up on the kerbs since then.
The tarmac was tenderly brushed and scraped (with car keys and a convenient bit of damaged guttering from the old site) and eventually the nails became visible, hooray! We would have had to redo the survey otherwise!
Based on the survey, lines have been drawn on the ground showing the positions for the footings.

Looking round the floorplan of the house it looks small but apparently this is quite normal for this stage.
I've heard that a digger may be returning soon....

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Spring into action...or not

Spring has definitely sprung on site. Unfortunately, there is no perceptible building action yet.
I was hoping to report on the start of groundworks but there has been a minor hiccup. I remain optimistic about next week.
Meanwhile, the housebuilding company are hoping to assemble the house at the beginning of June now (instead of April) so as
long as they have something suitable to put the house on by then, all will be fine!