Work started on setting out the foundations on 12th May 2011, followed by construction of the lower floor in blockwork.

Work on the upper floor and roof, which is of Timber Frame construction, commenced on Tuesday 9th August. The upper floor and roof trusses were all in place in place by the end of the week, following which work commenced on building the blockwork outer skin and boarding out the roof in preparation for slating.

During the following weeks they  completed waterproofing of the retaining walls and backfilled behind them with many tons of rock from the pile previously excavated during the preparation of the site in 2009, constructed the ramped driveway access, built the chimney stack and hearth, fitted the soffits, fascia boards and gutters, connected the drains, and installed the external doors.

Having completed the main structure and the main external works, the builders finally left on  Thursday 17th November, having been on site for 6 months with only 4 short breaks at home.  

The roofers   started slating on 16th November, and after having to break off due to the weather, completed the job in early January 2012.

Most of the windows and external doors were installed in early February, with the balance due to be completed a few weeks later. The garage doors were fitted in mid-February.


What happened next:

During the rest of 2012 and into 2013, this “self-build” became just that, as the internal work continued on the main storey, with the “self-builder” and friends insulating the stud walls, covering with OSB and then plasterboard, and bringing in contractors to tackle the insulation and boarding of the ceiling, and the plastering of the finished surfaces.

By the end of 2012, underfloor heating pipes had been laid over insulation and covered with cement screed, and an air source heat pump had been installed, together with first fix plumbing.

In 2013, Marble tiles were laid in the open plan living area, and ceramic tiles in the bathrooms.  The accessible shower room was fitted out and operational, just requiring a little tiling to be completed before occupation.   The electrical installation to the main storey were fixed and signed off.  Permission was granted to change the attic storage room into a further bedroom with ensuite shower room.  The 2nd fix carpentry was commenced, including staircase from basement to main level, and painting of the walls and ceilings undertaken.

Outside, the outer face of the blockwork was finished off with a combination of render and larch cladding to make it fully waterproof.   The ground was brought up to finished levels at the upper storey, and the drive and parking area will be surfaced with compacted stone.

In 2014, 2nd fix carpentry continued, with installation of an oak staircase and glass ballustrade from the open plan living area to the mezzanine and attic.   Kitchen cupboards and appliances were fitted to provide a “kosher” kitchen…. and keep meat preparation out of sight of the open plan living area!  Carpets were been laid in the attic bedroom and mezzanine, and the attic ensuite bedroom completed.  Painting of the exterior walls was also completed.

The lower storey semi-basement at that stage remained a shell of bare building block – although underfloor heating was in place, and the first fix plumbing.  In order to be able to meet fire regulations before occupying the premises, the insulated and plasterboarded concrete ceiling of the garage (under the bedroom wing) was plastered.   Work got underway in the lower storey, with the “mud-porch” insulated, plasterboarded and ready to be plastered and painted.    The hallway and bedroom and hobby room ceiling have been studded out in preparation for first fix electrics,  insulation and plasterboarding.

Following occupation in August 2014, one guest bedrooms’ ensuite shower room was fitted out, and all of the lower storey 1st fix electrics.   The master bedroom ensuite, construction of balcony, and completion of the lower storey were on schedule for 2015.

2015 was a lost year, however, with little progress due to the builder who had been expected in the summer having a serious accident on another job earlier that year – which I did not learn about until considerably later, but which time no builder could be found until September.  It then transpired that the builder who finally came, with a “sprained” hand, and who started to build the pillars for the balcony, had in fact broken his hand in two places.  Work had to stop in October pending his recovery.   As accidents generally happen in threes, I completed this Troika by breaking a bone in my own foot, putting me out of action well into 2016.

2016 With the balcony for the main living area put on hold pending an end to the frosts, the builder finally recommenced work in February in the lower storey, and has completed the insulation and plasterboarding of the bedroom and day-room, and is working towards completing the utility room and lobbies before setting to work on the wet-room.   Meanwhile he is away for three weeks on his honeymoon, so things are again on hold.  Hopefully by the time that I reach my next landmark birthday in November (when the building warrant extension expires) the balcony will also be erected, just leaving the deer fencing will  to be completed, some dry stone walling to be repaired, and gardens established.

So if anyone fancies a working holiday …….!


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