Thursday, 19 April 2012

From the bus window...

Well, it might look no different but lots going on! This is what I see from the bus on the days I remember to sit on the right side – I think that is John finishing off the ground source pipes a few months ago.

While Rob deals with earth moving, ufh pipework, electricity junctions, warmcel measurements, sewage overflows, and service trunking this is what I have gleaned:

We’ve had another (THIRD!) percolation test because the first two weren’t recorded properly and we’ve been advised that it is plenty good enough for us to have a normal septic tank which should save us a few pounds:

The first lot of foundation quotes came in scarily high (up to £50,000!) but we think that we’ve already costed in some of the expensive bits and with changes to the increasingly important retaining wall we can bring it down and tomorrow Rob and the architect should be finalising who we’re working with. I think that some visible action needs to happen soon for this to not seem like a hamster wheel for Rob…

We're thinking of going with grey/blue brick for about half of the retaining wall, including the area that is up to 2m in height and the remaining section on the SE elevation, nearest the front door will most likely be done in gabions and the wall lowered slightly, giving us a larger sloping area for planting.

The back of the house has had some adjustments too as it appears the structural nature of the roof hadn’t exactly been sorted…the bit over the garage had to move in line with the main section which has had a knock on effect to everything else especially when we need to keep the top floor windows at the same height. So now we’re having a covered section outside the kitchen window and back door with four panes of glass on wooden frame, slightly angled:

And as you can see, the rather vital issue of the cat flat is being settled by including it in the ‘play room’ wall…

Most exciting though is that the architect (he, himself, not us asking/berating/pleading) says he is hoping to finish the drawings by 27th April. Poop poop!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


It is time for an we have been busy! This appears to come as a surprise to our ex architect but thankfully things are feeling more real now.

Rob is organising a team of several specialists which is tricky but positive and we're really lucky to have so many people keen to work on our house - which has been registered for now as Cae Bach (little field). It seems like the most apt description of what we have at the moment and as we're currently in Cae Mawr...

  • So, we currently have new local architects who haven't much experience of very low energy houses but are keen to work on more and they have sent out a tender for foundations and are in the process of finishing up the technical drawings.
  • We have our structural engineer from Shrewsbury who is completing the foundation drawings this week and starting on plans for the load bearing walls, the roof, and the steel 'goal posts' which will support all the glazing at the back of the house.
  • We have a Passiv designer, based in Herefordshire, who is detailing the structural and insulation sections and junctions for air tightness and phpp; overseeing the relationship between the heating, circulation, & insulation.
  • Our local heating engineer is designing the underfloor heating powered by the ground source system
  • The energy consultant (don't know where he is based - been talking on the phone so far!) is working out how the MVHR system, the solar hot water, the PV and the ground source work together to keep our house at a lovely 20 degrees!
  • And finally we have an air tightness and windows specialist builder overseeing the construction too...
We've gone from a one man does it all (or actually very little) to potentially too many cooks!

We're lacking a builder of course, but hopefully not for too much longer as a few seem interested. We're off up north to visit friends tomorrow and will meet some at a project in Lancaster.

In other news...

A great community venture is attempting to reopen our village shop Cafe Clettwr

Cafe - on RightMove

so we'll be there for the open day on 21 April!  1960s photo - Llancynfelyn website