Project 2012

NB: scroll down to see the beginning of the project, its a bit higgledy piggledy but I'm now trying to add each bit of progress as it happens!

Friday 20th April...

For the past two days the roofer has been working in the rain quite a trying time but the roof is slowly emerging by sunday we should be dry beneath...

The Velux windows went in yesterday and this is how it looks this morning. The tiles need a bit of jigging and are just placed not fixed as yet.

Wednesday 18th April Cont:

Roof membrane and batons going on...

Wednesday 18th April...
It feels like an eternity since I updated the progress, we've been rather busy and knackered at the end of each stage but here's a quick lowdown of whats been happening so far...

The Walls went up in 5 days as estimated which I thought was good going considering the change in the weather

Roof Timbers arrived

Joiners set to work

A lot of jiggery pokery to get the angle as near to the 15 degree pitch that we where after

Work progress after day one of the timbers going up. I never realised the working out that had to be done at this stage

The timbers all in place. Next phase order tiles for low pitch.  the front measures 14.2 degrees the sides are at 22 degrees luckily the tiles we where originally going for are good for pitches down to 12.5 degrees.

When we originally set to with this project we thought how hard can it be? build a few walls stick on a roof and there you go! Oh No... when you start to manage the project each area has its own expertize. My advise would be if your not sure on anything, do the research and find out, common sense really. But it will pay off if you know exactly what your suppose to be doing and how its suppose to be done and when in doubt get in the right tradesmen. If your armed with the knowledge you can at least stay on top of things by supervising.
If your getting in your own tradesmen they usually give a price for a daily rate along with how long they expect the job to take i.e. bricklayers where £80 each per day quoted 5 days work. all came in on time.

The joiners where the same price so this looks like a local rate among tradesmen in the building game. The joiners I recon could have completed well within the time they quoted but seemed to have all the time in the world! No rush to get home in the evening and it was Easter weekend! No disrespect, because they did make a fantastic job. Its a tricky one this, I would have liked to say to them, once we agreed they could have the job. That if they done it well within the time scale quoted, they would still be paid the amount they quoted for as many days work, as we felt it a fair price. But then are you torn between the devil and the deep blue sea? would they have rushed the job and made a rough job of it? where by stringing it out for the  full days quoted they did make a fantastic job! like I said this was a hard call to make.

Wednesday 4th April...
Well at least the sun did make an appearance today, after a dicey start with hail and sleet, the wind was biting straight off the North Sea but the guys turned up early and worked through it. Reward copious amounts of tea and hot mince pies.

Well the walls are growing. We're just hoping they can get it done for the joiners this weekend.

Tuesday 3rd April...

Weather stopped work today! I can't believe the contrast in the weather from the two weeks of a heat wave we've just had. Although we didn't have snow this bad! it was more rainy sleet and the wind was terrific. March wind and April showers rolled into one. The picture below was taken April 2008 so I think we got off fairly light.

Monday 2nd April...
Well true to their word the builders turned out and have made a great start. Fuelled by copious amounts of tea.

Saturday 31st March...

Finally the building has started. We are just so disappointed that this couldn't have begun two weeks ago when we had the start of the fantastic weather. But I guess that's what you can expect when building yourself, project managing and subcontracting certain areas of the job out. My advise would be always have a contingency in place for when someone lets you down or do better research and know your tradesmen.  After waiting a few hours this morning wondering if the rain would stop and hold off and seeing the temperature drop to about 8 /9C from the 20 it was yesterday. Derek has begun to put the foundation blocks down. Its so cold with the wind straight from the north but at least at the back of the house we are slightly sheltered.

First thing this morning Derek began laying the blocks

Mark came along to help out

On the final stretch

So proud of my men

I think they deserve some well earned beers.


Wednesday 28th March...
Well the guys came today with a fair price and seems to be a fair daily rate and its what the other bricklayer was going to charge, so they've got the job and Start on Monday. Derek is going to start putting in the foundation blocks tomorrow so the bricklayers will do all the good brick work next week. Walls should be up by next Friday all being well and the roof trusses on Easter weekend as long as the joiners don't decide to let us down or heaven forbid it snows. (I shouldn't even tempt fate by even thinking that!) I suppose we had to have a little stress somewhere along the line. In the meantime I shall continue to convalesce in this glorious sunshine.

Tuesday 27th March...

Monday 26th March...
Derek phoned the bricklayer on Saturday to say everything was in place ready for him to start, Unfortunately he was held back with the job he was working on the previous week and couldn't start until Tuesday. OK one day's delay not too bad............


Saturday 24th March First Delivery...
With all the bricks ordered and waiting delivery.... well they're here at 7.00am they arrived don't suppose the neighbours where that impressed! we expected a delivery around 9.00am and it was a mad rush out of bed to organise where it all should go. Unfortunately I couldn't help this time, I tried but felt something snap in my back when lifting a bag of cement. It can be so easily done and when it happens its so frustrating, so I urge anyone doing it for themselves to make sure you lift in the correct position. It may be a good idea to warm up first.
Time to get on the phone and draft in help, we did say to our sons we would text them when the lorry arrived!

Mark Arriving on this horrible damp foggy morning

There was quite a few blocks to move before the second delivery

The second delivery of bricks getting unpacked and moved.

I didn't think it looked enough but I am assured it is more than whats required.

Around the back of the house on site the bricks and blocks are positioned ready for the bricklayer to start Monday.


Project Update...
Suppose I'll have to stop posting as full days on the job as things are progressing at a much slower pace at the moment. Having said that and sounding like I'm contradicting my self,  Saturday 17th March 2012 saw the delivery of the concrete for the foundations and things sort of happened fast and furious.

The Concrete Mixer from Cemex Arrives

The barrow boys are armed with their chosen weapons,

and they're off!

One after another the concrete is barrowed in.

We where in full admiration of the cement driver from Cemex. He stayed  and controlled the drop off. pouring the concrete into each barrow which we really appreciated. 

We roped in a neighbour armed with wellies he volunteered to drag the mix around the trenches, again we really appreciated the help

Just over an hour later and it was in. I thought it would have taken much longer!
 Well Done Guys.

And time for a well earned cup of tea

We will have to wait now for the concrete to set and hope and pray it doesn't rain, hail or snow.


Not actually a day of Labour!

The Shopping List

Day 7....
As one skip leaves

Another arrives

We had such an amount of soil and gravel to remove it was unbelievable

We barrowed the soil into the skip, it was such hard work! but it wasn't long before skip number two was full. We didn't do all the digging out in one go as Derek has been on day shift this week, over consecutive nights using the hour and a half of daylight that was left each evening, we dug a little at a time shuttering the sides where needed. If we where ever faced with this challenge again I think we would get a workforce in. However, it's done now.

Ready for inspection Monday fingers crossed its OK and we don't have to dig deeper

Day 6.....
The Digger Arrives...

Now this was fun and quite frightening as Derek had to get to grips with the controls and not put it through next doors conservatory! 

After selecting the appropriate bucket and a little instruction Derek was in charge of this unpredictable machine

Although it wasn't long before he had the hang of it and off we went...

We decided after about three foot of digging over at the conservatory end, that it would be wise to dig this out by hand. We were warned that these machines could tip very easily and didn't want the added expense of a smashed conservatory, or heavens forbid fall out with the neighbours!

Mark and I set about digging the conservatory end. Hey! that's not such a flattering shot of moi! ooOOoo does my bum look big in this??? obviously this trench needs widening.....

It wasn't long before the skip was full, There is still quite a lot more soil to get rid of. We'll have to order another skip next week.

With not much more we could do today, we decided to clear up and go have a well earned pint at the local pub.

The next job is to shutter the sides, looks like the weather's turning back to what it should be for this time of year, there's not a lot more we can do in the rain and next week looks a little unsettled. Looks like the progress may come to a halt for time being........... we're not going to try and rush things, we are at the weathers mercy and this part of the project can't be rushed they don't call it 'The Foundations' for nothing and we need good foundations in most things in life. so until the next instalment...cheers!


Day 5...

OOOOooooOOOO feeling them aches and pains today! This is not easy work, although I do think we've done extremely well to clear as much as we have. Today's tasks are to remove the dividing fence with neighbours permission. There's still a fair bit of builders rubble to remove from where they laid the paths in 1948, and empty the well of the rubble, reinforce and fill with concrete.

All the hidden builders bricks that lay under the concrete path

The well finally gets capped off

Day 4 at the Big Thompson House....

The skip arrived  at around 8.30am. There was more digging out to do, we had lots of hard core and sand to remove as well as move a drain. While Derek got on with moving the drain I started removing the sand. Crikey it was like removing another patio area once I started getting through the sand. We must have laid the last patio over the 1970's crazy paving that was there when we moved in the house over 20years ago. We lifted great chunks of broken slabs, along with bricks and rubble.

Lunch time half way there!

2pm all the sand and crazy paving is up, the ground is looking quite good but we discovered this little baby once the crazy paving was removed.

Its the old well! its been filled with lots of rubble, old tiles and bricks looks like we may have a bit of excavating to do before we can cap it off properly, luckily it isn't in the way of where the foundations are to be dug! that would have been a worry as its made of bricks. I wonder how it was originally built?  Did a little man start in a hole in the ground building it up as he went or would it have been built then lowered into a hole?  mmmm.  Well; I'm feeling quite tired after all the graft today, few more aches and pains, but nothing a lovely hot bath won't ease. Only the rubble of the path to clear tomorrow ready for the mini digger coming in on Saturday. stay tuned for day 5 at the Big Thompson House...............


In The Beginning

After receiving the final go ahead for the proposed extension to the kitchen, with all plans passed and building regs passed, we finally made a start on the preparation this week. Well I should say, I did while Hubby was away with work.
So Day 1...

After I sent him a message saying I'd done it, he replied with, "well there's a sledge hammer in the garage"!
So I did....

The removal of small patio wall


Day 2...
Derek was home from a week in Birmingham with work. We both set about tackling the foundations and a small fence that closed off the patio to the garage



We're planning to do as much of the work we can ourselves as we don't want to rely on unreliable builders. We also want the satisfaction that we have built it all ourselves too. We do have three years to complete it, so not in any hurry to rush the job although I would like it all completed by the latest August. We realise how much work there is to do and are feeling the aches this morning. However, its all good and exciting and we're feeling quite confident that we can do it. The heavy and painful work comes next, Paying the next instalment of the building regs inspection fee (the painful bit) and digging out the foundations.


Day 3...
At the crack of dawn Saturday we set about with our tasks for the day clearing the block patio area and breaking up the concrete path at the back of the house.
While Derek (my husband) went to collect the concrete breaker, I set about lifting the patio blocks.

12 blocks at a time ( that was all I could manage in the barrow at one time) I carried and placed them in the holding area at the bottom of the garden.

I wished I'd counted them.
By ten thirty they where all up and Derek had made a start of breaking up the concrete path. It was such a hard job to get it started. The house was build in 1948, we recon they knew how to mix good solid concrete back in those days. However, once he'd worked out a system of getting it started, by whacking it with a great sledge hammer to form a few cracks, it didn't take long to get through it with the breaker.

Well how hard could it be? move over give me a go!

It wasn't long before we had a mountain of rubble, its crazy when you see a small run of path quadruple in size.

A very productive days work ready for the skip to arrive. Then the real hard work begins, clearing the site ready for the founds to be dug.............