When I selected my building contractor the expectation was that he would be ready to start at the end of September. He’s been asked to do some additional work on his current project and there are a few last-minute details to sort out with the design of my steelwork so by mutual agreement we’re going to start on Monday 5th October, one week today.
To make that happen we need to sign the contract (we’re using one from JCT, the Joint Contracts Tribunal) before the end of this week. That’s planned to happen at a meeting with the Architects on Friday.
If everything goes to plan the house should be finished around the end of July 2016.
I really need to get into the habit of posting more frequent updates. While there’s nothing big happening on-site at the moment there are lots of small but important preparatory steps being completed:
- My mortgage application is progressing. I’ve applied to the Ecology Building Society since they come highly recommended by a number of people and they give a substantial discount for a certified Passivhaus (although only once it’s actually certified). They’ve been in touch with my solicitor and their appointed surveyor called round to do a valuation last week (he seemed surprised there was so little to see though I’m not sure what more he was expecting from a building plot!). While I don’t have a formal mortgage offer yet they also haven’t said no yet so I’m taking that as a positive sign.
- I got Anthony Watkins from Mapmatic back to mark out the placement of the main house on the site, as a basis for more detailed setting-out from his datum lines.
- I’ve been working with potential suppliers of the Ground Source Heat Pump system which I excluded from the main building contract since it’s something I want direct control over. I’m now pretty sure I know what make and model of GSHP unit I will be using: an 8kW NIBE F1145 which is expensive but it has a very high efficiency and should last for a long time. It is surprising how much space will be required for the underground “collector” pipes – they need to run all the way from the house to the boundary of the site, more than 50m – so I can see why it’s difficult to accommodate those on more modest sites (without resorting to a borehole arrangement where the pipes go vertically down rather than running horizontally).
- I’ve been confirming and marking the location of the few underground services that might get in the way of the building work. The main one is the electricity supply to the static caravan which I deliberately kept away from the location of the new house but it does cross the line of the GSHP collectors which will need to go underneath it (the electricity cable is something like 600mm deep and the GSHP collector pipes will be more like 1200mm deep).
- I’ve been revising the specification for all the bathroom fittings. The original Sanitaryware Schedule was prepared by Justin’s team and specified fittings they’d used on other houses. I want to use some different items (that I had used in my previous house as something of a test). Even after settling on one manufacturer (Ideal Standard) and a basic design style (my preference is for simple geometric shapes) there are different considerations for different bathrooms because of space limitations and because it makes sense to use a wall-mounted toilet with a concealed cistern in some places and a regular close-coupled cistern in other places etc. I’m also proposing to mix-and-match items from different ranges rather than sticking with just one since I find I like the basins from one range and the baths from another. I think I’m there now but the full list is quite extensive: 9 washbasins, 7 toilets, 7 showers and 3 baths.