Clearing the site

Gill Deeks’ self build home blog: The site is cleared, trench foundations laid and the beam and block ground floor fitted
by Gill Deeks
15th March 2010

With the project good to go we sold our old house to raise money, and have been renting a flat down the road. However, the lease runs out soon and it’ll be into the caravan – an Ebay bargain for £259.

The local authority gave us permission for it on condition that it only goes on site to co-ordinate with the start of the work, and that it be removed on completion.

At least the weather will be warmer while we’re roughing it, although the lack of a shower is a little daunting – thank goodness our daughter lives close by!

We had to put in the services to the site, and pay the hefty energy and water connection fee, although fortunately BT were excellent when it came to getting the phone lines in.

The first significant stage of the work – clearing the land and laying the foundations – started in March and is just finished as I write, and I have to say that building in a pub garden is full of surprises!

The contractors discovered an old air raid shelter and the remains of a stable while clearing the site and excavating for the foundations. It must have been a pretty big shelter, although all that’s left is a reinforced concrete wall.

We had to get the planning inspector in to give the go-ahead to demolish it, which delayed the schedule by a few days, as well as hire extra machinery.

We also ended up with a bigger hole than we originally intended, which meant we needed more concrete to fill it, but that’s self building for you – you have to make allowances for the unexpected.

In all, the site clearance, trench foundations and laying the block and beam floor took about four weeks.

Now the contractors have finished, the next stage is for the scaffolding to arrive, then the kit for the timber frame, which will take two or three weeks to put up.

The whole build is scheduled to take around 16 weeks – although I’ll be wanting to move in way before that. The way I see it, we’ll be in as soon as we can get a foam mat and sleeping bags in there!

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