We had to put up the retaining wall ASAP. There was real concern that rain would cause a mini mudslide. I personally think it was a small chance as there was only a thin layer of soil and the rest of the ground was made up of rubble. We’re guessing it was either the previous house if there was one or rubble from another property close by. There are broken tiles, bricks and all sorts creating the high banking for the lawn.
The retaining wall is not to the specification provided by the Architect as the cost of removing the dirt was much higher than expected. The Architects plan was to use sleepers. It would have meant removing dirt furthermore dirt and filling it up with concrete. In hindsight, maybe we should have stuck to the original plan. The plan now is to either render the brick or use cedar wood to clad. The later is my first preference.
It does feel like a big chunk of the garden has gone.
We decided a while back to stop the services from the Architect due to costs. That leaves the builder with a lot of power and me needing to get to grip with learning the technical side of the build.
The builders made out it was an easy build and they could handle, however, it clearly has not been as easy as they initially thought. After talking to a few experienced people about the subject they all had the same opinion, “All builders think they know best and they are the dog’s bollocks”. It’s important to keep this in mind when tendering to builders and not be fooled by the builder’s spiel. Stick to the details of the build. This is where the architect is handy. A good architect knows when the contractors know what they are talking about and if the calculations make sense. It’s worth having an architect onboard to help in this process.
I also miss asking the architect for advice. The build would have progressed further to date if the architect was still onboard as they would have checked the build at certain stages and made sure the builder had the materials needed to schedule.
I’m still in touch with the architect for situations where I’m really stuck.
Here’s an example of how the architect can think out of the box. It’s based on the article ‘Panic Button‘.
I messaged the architect asking how we can resolve the depth issue for the kitchen units and counter to fit between the window and wall. We were short of the 60cm needed. Ideally, we really we needed the depth of 65cm.
The architect replied with an easy fix.
‘You bring the plaster in so you don’t see the frames of the windows internally…you only have to do it to the large Windows, you can do the bay if you want’
Make the windows frameless.
scetch sent in what’s app
Brilliant Idea. One I would never have thought off.
Company Name: Edite
Tel: 0208 133 7446
There seems to be another freeze on the build. There’s been no work for over a week as the builder waits for the steel to arrive. The suppliers do all the fabrication as requested by the builder. We met the engineer on the 18th Sep to go through sections the contractors were unsure of. The engineer explained in detail to the builder and he seemed to understand. Fingers crossed it’s measured correctly as it’s a big part of the cost for our project. For the record, this should have been completed at least one month ago. It’s another reason why it’s worth having an architect involved if it’s your first time as they would have overseen the project needs in advanced.
We have made changes to the internal layout of the first floor. The good thing is once you have your plans finalized and given the go ahead, you’re able to make amendments to the internal layout as long as it’s not changing the look of the property. You must also consider building regs when making changes, e.g. you can’t move the stairs location, change the head height from the stairs, etc.
Below shows the old and new plan for the first floor. We had a big debate regarding having an en-suite. At the end, I’m glad we have it (I always wanted it). We managed to convince a certain someone by stating that an en-suite adds value to the property and explained scenarios where an en-suite will be ideal, e.g. kids using both bathrooms, wanting to be ready before the guests, etc.
First roof light is in. We could immediately feel the difference. Once the second one is in, the light in the landing should be plentiful.
Here are the Architects proposed plans. These are the plans we agreed to go with. I will upload the other proposed plans at some point. We were super impressed with the plans. The living spaces are well defined giving every room a purpose. Our biggest problem before was that the back room had no real purpose. Hopefully, with this plan, our problem will be solved.
Here’s the existing floor plan. It’s clear how divided the house was. I say “was” as I’m writing this while the house works are going on and they have already knocked down the wall between the kitchen and dining room.