13 Mar 2014

Up we go...

We are now officially out of the ground!!! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

The stepoc, special shuttering concrete blocks, was delivered to site for the back wall of the house which will sit into the cut. Andrew and Paul are now experts with the old Stepoc and it was faster to erect and I'm sure they won't mind me saying a lot more
evenly laid than the retaining walls. This stepoc is the smaller block size which means that the corners knit together and so we have less concern about blowouts when the concrete is poured.

After a lot of thinking, reading and looking at the concrete floor we've decided to just cover it with a layer of sand to protect it.  It takes a month to fully cure so if we cover it up with boarding we could get permanent markings from the uneven drying and the condensation build-up on the underside.  The floor may end up being even more Wabi-sabi than before.  Wabi-sabi is a japanese philosophy where you embrace imperfection - I'm totally up for that in all areas of my life.  I'm even going to say in a totally poncey way that maybe the floor will just be a physical manifestation of the story of it's creation and journey...yeah!

Once that rear retaining wall was built and the concrete poured, our bricklayers arrived to take over.  In just two days it looked like this...

We have walls and the beginnings of rooms.  Things have shrunk and I'm getting a little worried about how small some of the rooms are feeling, particularly the family bathroom.  But hey, I just have to have a good talk to myself.  We always knew that we weren't building on a palatial scale, this would be a decently sized but modest family home.  I'm forever reflecting on how my role as a mother seems to consist, in no small part, of cleaning, moving, tidying and knowing the exact location of everyone else's STUFF! Less stuff, better life!  Dimitri and I travelled the world with a backpack for two years and we promised when we returned that we would have less, but invest in things that were better.  The arrival of children has meant though that our possessions exponentially increase year by year.  Enough! Having smaller spaces will force us to keep on top of all the stuff and have less. I can sense my mother smirking in the background - 'We'll see dear'.

With the rear retaining wall completed, Liquatek returned to do the final part of their waterproofing.  Installing the John Newton Geodrain.  Basically it is moulded layer of plastic which has a textile layer bonded on top.  So when water comes along through the ground it passes into the cavity between the textile and the plastic and runs down into the land drain at the bottom. Simple, clever and costs over £5000 (that will have got my Dad going, he's a builder...).  It's a lot of money, but it has to be done and the warranty people, mortgage people and everyone else insist on it and it has be done by the people who can guarantee it.  Good business to get into i would say...

The mortgage company finally released some funds so we can proceed full speed ahead (until we rapidly use up those funds and have to go through this process all over again)!  It is a really opaque process.  The surveyors inspected and signed certificates to confirm the work that had been completed and we submitted copies of all the invoices we have paid to date to the mortgage company, in order for them to assess the current value.  They calculate the current value and then can authorise funds to a maximium of 75% to be made available.  The figure they have chosen as the current value seems quite arbitary to us.  It is not what we have spent, but a lower figure.  We asked for clarification of how they came to their valuation figure i.e. what adds value, but got no satisfactory response.  There is no transparency as they don't have to explain anything to us. But a better understanding of this process would help us to understand and manage the cashflow. This is very old school man! I think we are just supposed to be grateful that they have deigned to lend us any money.  But look, we're cracking along now and that's what matters!


  1. I think wabi-sabi is definitely the way forward. The floor is the physical manifestation of the experience... slightly bumpy?


My blog has moved

You will be automatically redirected to the new address.

If that does not occur, please visit https://www.futuresimple.design