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My house extension diary

Discussion in 'Your Projects' started by Gregory01, 9 Sep 2013.

  1. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    Firstly what a great site! I have spent hours reading through other peoples house extension diaries it has inspired me to write my own. I decided to put this together to give People who are considering doing an extension on a budget an insight into my experiences. I also think it will be pretty cool to look back on this in a year or two once the project is finished and remember the highs and lows of the journey.

    So just a brief bit of background about me. My name is Greg, i'm 27 years old and live with my partner and her daughter. We currently are living in a 2 bed flat which isn't quite what i would call living the dream. We want to expand our family and are seriously short of space.

    After saving like crazy and hunting through rightmove 10 times a day waiting for the right property to come along we finally found it - a 3 bed detached house built circa 1960. It is, as the estate agents would say, in need of modernisation. On the plus side the location is perfect and as my parents have always said, if you don't like the house you can change it, if you don't like the location then your stuffed.

    Our plan is to extend the house to give us a family home which will last us for many years. We are after quite a bit of extra space and our budget is small. I'm rubbish at DIY and have never taken on a project like this before so may well end up falling flat on my face but we will see. I plan on updating the blog as I go and will cover everything from the initial architect ideas right up to the completion statement (hopefully).

    We have not long picked up the keys so I will upload some photos for the "before" shots shortly.
     
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  3. dann09

    dann09

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    Good luck to you Gregory and your family,

    1. If possible, dont live on site.

    2. Communicate, communicate, communicate with your partner.

    3. Come here or to the Building Forum & ask for advice before doing whatever - not after the fact.

    4. Safety: if in doubt, dont do it. Its the building trade not the circus.
     
  4. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    the before pictures. as you can see the front garden is quite big in comparison to the rear garden. I have applied to the council to put a dropped kerb in front of the house as currently there is only 1 parking space which is to the rear of the property in front of the garage.

    The dropped kerb application was very borderline as the property in on the corner of a junction and they will not allow a dropped kerb within 10 meters of the junction. Although there was not quite enough room for a new dropped kerb and still allowing the 10 meters the council have agreed to extend my neighbours dropped kerb which will still leave me with about 4 meters of dropped kerb to access the property.

    All a bit complicated but the main thing is the council have agreed it which feels like a good start to the project. They want £990 for it though which seems high so I may get some other authorised company to give a quote to see how they compare. Has anyone else had experience in doing this?

     
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  5. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    I thought it would be a good time to update this blog on my experiance of architects and plan drawers.

    I didnt feel comfortable drawing plans and elivations myself so wanted a company on board to offer some expertise. I spoke with a number of companies and shortlisted them to 3. I tried to get a range of companies so I got an architect, an architectual technologist and a plan drawer. Obviously I was expecting a big difference in price and they were £3500, £2500 and £1100 respectively.

    I am keen for the layout to work and so had no issue in paying more if I would end up with a fantastic design. What I found was that none of the people seemed keen to give away any ideas at the initial meeting and Im guessing this was because they get a lot of people who use them for their ideas and then do it themselves. For me this was very frustrating as I really wanted them to come up with a glimmer of inspiration which would have persuaded me to go with one or the other.

    I decided it was very important to make sure I felt I could work with whichever company I chose and the most down to earth people were the plan drawers (and it was an added bonus that they were cheap). They are a father and son team, with the older of the 2 who seemed to have a lot of experience and the younger seemed very keen.

    I decided to take up some references but didnt want them to give me the names and numbers of some satisfied customers (hey any company can do that). If anyone else is in a similar position I would recommend using the councils planning portal. You can search through planning applications based on the company which meant I could see who else had used the company and the outcome of their planning application.

    I asked them if I could speak to 3 of their customers who I chose through the planning portal. The general feedback was good with the main issue being that as they are so busy things didnt seem to get done on time (always a few days late). Also one customer said the drainage plans were not as detailed as they should be.

    Not expecting the earth I instructed them and within 5 days they were out doing an electronic survey of the house. I had been playing around with a website http://www.floorplanner.com/ It is fantastic if you want to play around with ideas and I used it to show the plan drawers what I wanted so they could do the design. Initially I only designed the downstairs and asked them to do the upstairs.

    Here is the initial layout downstairs


    And the proposed new layout


    This is the current upstairs layout


    This is the initial design they came back with.


    To be honest I wasnt very happy with it. It is a low cost option as doesnt involve moving too many walls however I just felt that the hallway didnt work and I was left with 2 small bedrooms, 1 medium size and 1 which would just be gigantic.

    I set about using floorplanner and came up with the following design which is what we are going to go with. It does mean we loose an en suite however we get 4 big bedrooms and a big bathroom.


    Lastly here are a few pictures of the elivations.


    We are hoping to go for a light render, some red cedar cladding and grey windows. It is currently in for pre planning and it looks like its just a waiting game now which is really frustrating as we just want the go ahead.

    Any comments / thoughts / suggestions are welcome
     
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  6. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    I cant believe it has been a whole 8 months since I last updated this blog. The main thing I have learnt so far is that everything takes longer than you expect and no one will be as keen to get it started as quickly as you will.

    The planners were a complete pain in the backside and although Im up for constructive critisim it felt like their objections had no reasoning behind them. Unfortunately they were not happy with the original design so this has had to be changed to the following


    In the end after they kept saying no I made 3 or 4 different designs and went and spoke to the planners face to face to see what they liked. This design was their preferred option and after all the headaches I was pretty happy to nod, smile and agree to their every request if it meant they would grant us permission.

    After a few more cock ups that only the local council could manage, we finally got our permission granted on the 31st March 2014! Phew, lets just hope that was the hardest part of the process.
     
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  7. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Good stuff, lets see some progress pics now .....
     
  8. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    Some progress!! The builders started on Tuesday and I don't know quite what I was expecting but it's all systems go. In 2 days with a digger the plot is officially a building site. Here is a few pics of the trenches.

     
  9. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    It's the end of week 1 and the digger has been busy. All the trenches have been dug and a couple of manholes have been removed.

    Today we had the first inspection from the building inspector. I ended up going with a private company rather than the council. This was partly due to research on here, partly because the company I wanted to use came with a good recommendation and partly because I would a lot rather a private company got my money than the council. This is nothing personal to the council just that they managed to take forever and a day to agree my application, and with lots of mess ups I wouldn't trust a quick and reliable service from any department in the council.

    To cut a long story short the builders called the inspector up on Thursday to inspect the trenches. He couldn't get out until Monday as had something up country booked for Friday. Needless to say the builders weren't too happy and neither was I as I had been promised they would come out within 24 hours. After a chat with the inspector he rearranged his diary and came out this morning (Friday). As it turns out a really nice guy who sounded like he knew what he was on about. - a good start. He is happy with the trenches, have guidance on the drainage etc and the builders were able to crack on.

    I'm not able to say if the private company was a good option or not as I have not used the council before. Maybe the council might have got out quicker, maybe the wouldn't. Overall I'm really happy with the guy we have so I'm happy with the decision. I guess it all depends on the person you get allocated, some will be great and some won't.

    Here is some pics of where we are up to. Hopefully next week will be filling the trenches and finishing the drainage. Very happy so far.

     
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  11. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Three questions

    [1] will the private company's "completion certificate" have the same legal standing as a completion certificate from the council building control office.

    [2] ""as had something up country booked for Friday."" How far "up country" does he cover ? If he covers a large area he may not be fully informed about local requirements and conditions. What he "approves" may be less than is required by local conditions at your location

    [3] how will you rod out that pipe if it blocks on the first bend in the brown after the black pipe ends
     
  12. Gregory01

    Gregory01

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    Hi Bernardgreen

    I will answer your questions as best i can

    1/ yes I believe the companies completion certificate will be the same as the councils. They are one of the authorised companies to offer this service and prior to commencing work they have to write to the council to let them know they have been instructed to do the building control. The council then write back to them to confirm they are happy for them to do the work. All standard practice.

    2/ the inspector lives about 15 miles away from our site. I don't believe the trip up country was a normal work one as he explained normally he wouldn't be doing this hence the delay he quoted was not normal practice.

    The company he works for cover the whole of the uk with 20 ish main offices and satellite inspectors around the country. This guy is the main person the architects recommend as as they do a lot of work through them locally I assume he should be familiar with the area.

    3/ I'm not certain about this one as the builders were talking about drilling up the floor in the kitchen to replace this pipe. So I'm not sure if what they have done is a temporary solution or not. Either way the building inspector has said he wants an internal rodding eye just inside the house. Would that suffice?
     
  13. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    If the local council have "approved" the company then all should be OK.

    It probably will suffice.

    A "funny" story. The house we DIY built in 1980 had a short run of soil pipe that could only be rodded by removing the downstairs toilet. The chance of it blocking was so remote this rodding access was considered OK by the inspector.

    It was sold 3 years ago and the new owners ( friends ) made alterations including moving the downstairs toilet. I got a call "Help the toilets overflowing. "

    During the work someone had been dumping plaster waste down the toilets. The short section was clogged. Moving the toilet meant there was no longer the rodding access.

    The solution was two sets of rods end to end and put into the vent pipe above the roof working on a ladder..
     
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  14. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Get up to speed bernard, have you been living in a shell for the last decade?
     
  15. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    No for the past three years I have been living in a 497 year old Grade II listed cottage which I am DIY renovating.

    Maybe the advice about building control on this project given to me is wrong but it was that inspections had to be carried out by the local authority or one of their approved agents.
     
  16. Bodgeitandleggit

    Bodgeitandleggit

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    497 year old cottage.....did you build it yourself Bernard :D :D :D :D
     
  17. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    No I got my grandson to build it for me........ :evil:
     
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