3 Jan 2014

Week 4 - Propping the slip and best foot forward

So Monday afternoon saw Charles, our structural engineer, and I, join Andrew on site to have a look at the slip and discuss next steps.  Charles was happy that we could prop the area and that would allow work to continue safely.  Andrew was keen that our solution be in timber as that's what he knows best and it can also be reused later in the project - sustainability!

So by Tuesday afternoon we had the very lovely hand drawn drawings (it makes me want all my technical drawings done by hand now!) and the delay was over.

The team from WPD (Western Power Distribution) dug up the road to bring the electricity cable under the road and over to the plot. Then they laid the cable on site, all the way to the hub, through the previously laid ducting.  Now we are just waiting for Ecotricity to organise the meter installation and we're done!

The water inspector also arrived to check Andrew's standpipe arrangement.  This was passed, hooray, and we have been told that their connection to the boundary from the mains pipe will be within 21 days. That could be as early as next week or after Xmas!

After the propping work was completed Andrew and Paul set to all the steel mesh work - this lies within the concrete foundations as reinforcement. The general mutterings was that it was hard and laborious work, esp. the upright rods.

Offsite, there has been lots of activity trying to establish the extent of warranties from the two companies we have now shortlisted to potentially provide the waterproof layer. The back of the lower ground floor sits up against the cut which like a basement needs protection from potential water ingress. It seems the products they will use come with fairly good warranties but it is the installation we need to get protection from, as inevitably any failure at a future date will simply be blamed on the installation.  It is quite a challenging conversation to have with someone "Hi, we're interested in you doing this work, but if there is a problem what are you going to do about it?" - doesn't show much trust and if there is something builders don't like, it's a lack of trust.

I have also been trying to get quotes for a Structural Warranty. As we are drawing close to starting on the house itself it is important that we get this in place prior to commencing, as they will send out surveyors at various stages to inspect (more surveyors on site, the place will be riddled with them).  It is an insurance policy for 10yrs so that if there is any structural problem we can make a claim, rather than taking people to court and trying to prove negligence - which is extremely difficult! We apparently won't be able to sell the house or remortgage it without one of these policies in place, so it's essential.

There seem to be 5 companies who offer it, and the prices are wildly different.  Self Build Zone and Buildstore are selling the same product and we have a quote for approx £1,650. The quote from NHBC came back as nearly £4,000. Which I thought was eye watering until the quote from BLP came back at over £7,000! I think you can probably guess which way we are going to go here.

I didn't realise that as they are sending surveyors out anyway you can get an inclusive price for Building Control Inspections as well.  However that ship has already sailed, with work already started with STMC.

As we don't know when the water will be connected we have been talking about finishing for Christmas earlier than expected so as not to leave materials and half-finished work on site during the break.

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