Felting the roof and inserting rooflights was a big milestone
as it mean’t we were a step closer to being weather proof.
Next the chimney for our wood burning stove was built up
to ridgeheight, and a metal flue liner dropped down the
inside and the voids backfilled with vermiculite insulation.
Another exciting stage was fitting a reclaimed chimney pot ! Not only was this
physically the highest point of the building, but it also used to have
flowers in by our front door so it was nice to re-use something from
our old house.
Our black clay roof tiles are a similar colour to the slate on both
neighbouring houses, but cheaper to buy than real slate.
The interlocking design of the tiles also means that
they can be used at much lower pitches than slate, so we can
use the same tile on the roofs over our sunroom which is
only at 20 degrees.
As the tiling progressed outside, the roof was being insulated and
trusses boarded to create a rigid structure. We’ve crammed as much
insulation into the roof as possible to make the most of the heat
from our ground source heat pump.
On the lower roofs, the builder ran the felt across openings
which will have roof glazing fitted at a later date. This will
keep the worst of the weather out until the windows are
delivered, and allow work to continue internally.
With the blockwork up to wall plate height, the next big
delivery was our roof trusses. To maximise the use of space
within the roof space, we had specified attic trusses which
provide clear space in the attic for two extra rooms.
Arriving pre-fabricated from the manufacturersTruss-Tech on a large lorry, the
trusses were lifted straight onto the building by crane.
The first truss was the most difficult to stabilise, but as others
were added they were all fixed to each other and became more
secure. Once the main trusses were in position, we could really
see the overall design taking shape. The steep roof pitch of 52
degrees not only matches the neighbouring properties but also
provides lots of headroom inside.
With all the trusses in position the front
and rear blockwork gables were built up,
and areas of traditional rafters constructed
with openings for the rooflights.
After our super flat (apart from the fox paw prints) screed had set, the guys came back to site after the Christmas break and blockwork quickly began to fly up. It was great to see such rapid progress, but it also meant that the longer we took to find another drilling contractor the less room they would have to manoeuver on site.
We found a company that had a track mounted drilling rig that would fit between our new house and the neighbours, so drilling of the first borehole commenced.
2m lengths of drill rod are added until the desired depth is achieved, and water is used to continually flush out the debris.
The first hole took a week to drill, and the ground loop was then lowered in and the hole backfilled with thermally conducting grout to ensure the best possible heat transfer from the ground to the pipes.
Unfortunately the second hole was not so sucessful !
Rather than stay a little later on a Friday to get the ground loop installed and back filled, the drillers left site leaving the open borehole. They returned on Monday morning to find that the hole had started to collapse, and spent a further 2 weeks trying to clean out the borehole. Eventually the hole had to be abandoned, backfilled and a third borehole drilled in a different location. This took a further week, putting us way behind schedule on the reat of the build as blockwork had all but stoppped whilst the drillers were on site for over twice as long as planned. As space was so limited, we couldn’t get a digger on site, put up scaffolding or complete the drains whilst the drillers were in the way ! Apologies to all the neighbours who had to put up with the noise for much longer than expected.
Alan our builder was very patient, and did what he could to keep work progressing on site in the meantime. He buried the rainwater harvesting tank in the back garden, and started setting ou the first fllor joists. We’d decided to use engineered joists, which should give us a squeak free floor and also have an open metal web design to make runing services in the floor void easier. This will make installing our ventilation ducts much more straight forward.
After the drains had been laid under the floor, they were back filled and the ground levelled.
As the drains wouldn’t be accessible once the floor was finished, they had to tested and several rodding points incorporated. Due to the possibility of flooding we also had to fit non return valves, so that floodwater couldn’t enter the property through the drains.
All foul drains will be connected to the main sewer in the road, but all surface water is going to be retained on site and stored in our 6500l harvesting tank to be reused for flushing toilets, washing clothes and watering the garden.
Leaving a void above the backfilled soil, the concrete beams were laid out to create our ground floor structure. Between these beams concrete blocks are laid flat, over which our damp proof membrane and insulation was laid.
Our underfloor heating pipes were then stapled to the insulation, at regular centres. The house will be split into several zones per floor, all off which will be heated by the ground source heat pump. Once tested under pressure, the pipes were then covered by a liquid screed. This fibre reinforced screed was pumped from a ready mix lorry, and was self-levelling which made it very quick to lay.
We had programmed the drillers in just before Christmas to drill our 2no. 85m deep boreholes for our groundsource heat pump, but they let us down at the eleventh hour.
We left our screed to cure over Christmas, whilst looking for another drilling contractor !
We love our garden but it was alot of work keeping it tidy, and as soon as we gained planning permission it really became a building plot. The railings went to a neighbour and the potting shed was dismantled and moved across the road to a friends garden.
Having dug up and repotted all the plants we wanted to save for the new garden, we next cleared the area of shrubbery with a chainsaw ! We also lifted lots of slabs and brick paviers, that we intended to recycle. Like the planning officer, we were also very keen to keep the Acer tree at the front.
Three weeks before Christmas Alan and the guys set to work and stripped off all the topsoil we wanted to keep. Next the whole site was lowered in preparation for setting out and digging of the foundations.
With the footings dug to 1m depth and passed by Building Control, the ready mixed concrete arrived and was spread around the excavations. Trench fill blocks were also laid out ready for building the walls up to damp proof course (dpc) level.