Slow going - my double storey extension build

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Hi folks,

I thought I should start documenting what is probably one of the slowest builds on this forum.

Over the past few years I’ve found diynot to be a fantastic resource for any help I’ve needed, so this thread is here to assist others and show the regular contributors exactly what project all my various questions have been for!

We bought our place in late 2012 as a very ugly 1979 detached property which needed a total refurb. The area was nice and the house has a fair bit of land with it (relatively for the area) and we thought it had potential. All the garden both left and right in the first photo is ours.

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Fast forward 9 months and the inside was pretty much renovated (including 3 months of living upstairs!). Turned out ok inside but the refurb left the old kitchen, boiler, etc in situ as we had decided at this point we wanted to extend the house on the left hand side (when looking from the front), which would ultimately relocate the kitchen.

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We then had to get the house remortgaged so we were looking at ways to add value to get the LTV down, so I bought a second hand K2 conservatory from eBay for £1.7k. Probability a bit steep for a used conney, but glass roof and steel floor and steel walls (with brick slips) made it a doddle to install...and I also made my first door opening ever as the French doors were into the house were into what was previously an exterior wall. Total cost of the install of the conservatory was £2.5k in the end. And then another £1.5k for the new shed and decking for the garden...

Haven’t put too many pictures of the conservatory build or refurb here, as this thread is mainly about the extension....

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So that was 2013 pretty much covered off.

2014 we got our plans drawn up for the extension. We wanted an extra bedroom as there was no true master (biggest current bedroom 3.5 x 4m). Most houses on the estate have a double garage whole we had a single, so we wanted to have that extra storage space. We also wanted a bigger kitchen/diner.

Originally the idea was a straight up double storey extension, but as soon as our designer can round that idea was canned as the house has a really low roof, so joining the extension roof at 90 degrees mean that the width of the 2nd floor room were limited somewhat because of the roof line and maintaining a suitable angle for a pitched roof.

Eventually we ended up with these plans, which give us what we wanted.

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We also wanted to change the look of the property, with the now popular look of white render, grey windows and some wood cladding to hide the ugly stonework.

The planning application went in during 2015 as we weren’t in a mega rush (more of this later), and was approved in December 2015.
 
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Looks good. Have you started it yet - I got planning permission to build a house on my workshop site in October 2017 and it expires this year. Only three years in that area.
 
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Looks good. Have you started it yet - I got planning permission to build a house on my workshop site in October 2017 and it expires this year. Only three years in that area.
Thanks! Yes we’ve started, we have the same 3 year limitation for starting the works. More on that to follow... :)
 
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I'm down in Southend, Essex and started my first floor extension on top of the first one I built in 2000 ish. Had to put 2 steels in last November to support the upstairs bit. Had planning issues but got all of that sorted now as had to take it to appeal and was lucky to win.... This has been slow going as well....taken more time than I would of liked it to.
 

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Re my post above and the pictures in the post above. I just finished making good a few weeks ago. I got a bag of plaster and the paint just after lockdown started so have had time to finish it and also the utility room behind it, next I have to do the ceiling joists and the bit above. The steels and flitch beam had to go in as I had a point load above the window and doorway and the existing lintels would not of been up to it. I had to do the bit below before I have to put the timber frame on above. Reason for the timber frame and not brick and blocks is the cavity is only 50mm wide so will not meet U regs. I patched in the plaster with fire the pink stuff plasterboard a bit of bonding and multifinish. Learnt how to plaster from youtube. Good luck with your project.......taken me a few months to get this far....
 

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Re my post above and the pictures in the post above. I just finished making good a few weeks ago. I got a bag of plaster and the paint just after lockdown started so have had time to finish it and also the utility room behind it, next I have to do the ceiling joists and the bit above. The steels and flitch beam had to go in as I had a point load above the window and doorway and the existing lintels would not of been up to it. I had to do the bit below before I have to put the timber frame on above. Reason for the timber frame and not brick and blocks is the cavity is only 50mm wide so will not meet U regs. I patched in the plaster with fire the pink stuff plasterboard a bit of bonding and multifinish. Learnt how to plaster from youtube. Good luck with your project.......taken me a few months to get this far....

Looking great Glen, thanks for sharing! I love looking at the steels and how you’ve put them in...I’ve got a few chunky ones to go in to support the existing exterior wall and the first floor walls. @tony1851 helped me with the calcs for mine.

Good work winning your planning appeal, I was worried might might have to go that way as it’s nearly more than 50% the original footprint, but thankfully no such issues in the end :)
 
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Hi folks,

I thought I should start documenting what is probably one of the slowest builds on this forum.

Over the past few years I’ve found diynot to be a fantastic resource for any help I’ve needed, so this thread is here to assist others and show the regular contributors exactly what project all my various questions have been for!

We bought our place in late 2012 as a very ugly 1979 detached property which needed a total refurb. The area was nice and the house has a fair bit of land with it (relatively for the area) and we thought it had potential. All the garden both left and right in the first photo is ours.

View attachment 192572 View attachment 192573
View attachment 192579
View attachment 192574

Fast forward 9 months and the inside was pretty much renovated (including 3 months of living upstairs!). Turned out ok inside but the refurb left the old kitchen, boiler, etc in situ as we had decided at this point we wanted to extend the house on the left hand side (when looking from the front), which would ultimately relocate the kitchen.

View attachment 192580 View attachment 192578

We then had to get the house remortgaged so we were looking at ways to add value to get the LTV down, so I bought a second hand K2 conservatory from eBay for £1.7k. Probability a bit steep for a used conney, but glass roof and steel floor and steel walls (with brick slips) made it a doddle to install...and I also made my first door opening ever as the French doors were into the house were into what was previously an exterior wall. Total cost of the install of the conservatory was £2.5k in the end. And then another £1.5k for the new shed and decking for the garden...

Haven’t put too many pictures of the conservatory build or refurb here, as this thread is mainly about the extension....

View attachment 192577
View attachment 192581

So that was 2013 pretty much covered off.

2014 we got our plans drawn up for the extension. We wanted an extra bedroom as there was no true master (biggest current bedroom 3.5 x 4m). Most houses on the estate have a double garage whole we had a single, so we wanted to have that extra storage space. We also wanted a bigger kitchen/diner.

Originally the idea was a straight up double storey extension, but as soon as our designer can round that idea was canned as the house has a really low roof, so joining the extension roof at 90 degrees mean that the width of the 2nd floor room were limited somewhat because of the roof line and maintaining a suitable angle for a pitched roof.

Eventually we ended up with these plans, which give us what we wanted.

View attachment 192575 View attachment 192576

We also wanted to change the look of the property, with the now popular look of white render, grey windows and some wood cladding to hide the ugly stonework.

The planning application went in during 2015 as we weren’t in a mega rush (more of this later), and was approved in December 2015.

Hey, don't worry about slow builds. I'm on my 3rd year of a loft conversion! Yours looks great, good to see, Well done
 
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Looking great Glen, thanks for sharing! I love looking at the steels and how you’ve put them in...I’ve got a few chunky ones to go in to support the existing exterior wall and the first floor walls. @tony1851 helped me with the calcs for mine.

Good work winning your planning appeal, I was worried might might have to go that way as it’s nearly more than 50% the original footprint, but thankfully no such issues in the end :)

I'll post another pictures for you below. That's before I put the fire board on the pink plasterboard stuff around the steel as thats what my local building regs advised. Those guys are very helpful. The original plan was to cut a slot under the steel and slide a steel plate in to cause less disruption but in the end a couple of rows of engineering bricks went in, I got help from a local bricklayer as I am not that fast. The opening I had with the door in it used to be a kitchen window and because it was wider had stud work ether side before it got smashed out for the new steel. Instead of rebuilding it with stud work it made sense to put in some breeze blocks instead. I had already ordered the steels so just left it and put them under the steel.
I had an issue with the 45 degree rule and were they take the line from on the next door neighbours window. Some councils take it from the middle of the window and some from the edge nearest me. I would of lost a meter wider if I had not took it to appeal! That would mean I could not get a double bed in up there with room around it. I worked out that I would loose about 12m square I think from the build. I had to pay someone to write the appeal but was worth it. It was a gamble but well worth it.

Good luck with your work..
 

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Slow and steady wins the race!

Looking forward to more updates as your thread so far is great. Nice decriptions to match the pictures.

Dom
 
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If you want slow, check out of my tiny little single storey extension which has taken a year so far! Life's all about the adventure, though, eh!

Edit: Sorry, didn't put two and two together, I see you've actually commented!
 
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Ok, so on with the story. Fast forward 2.5 years since the planning approval and we’d done absolutely nothing further about the build. Life, work, etc had just meant that this hadn’t been a priority. However, we were conscious that the planning would expire after 3 years, and with new neighbours on both sides we weren’t sure if needing to go for planning again in the future might be more difficult if those neighbours objected.

So now it was July 2018 and we called some builders round for a quote. Called 12 builders, got answers/call backs from 9. 7 agreed to come round, 5 turned up and we ended getting quotes off 3 builders for the ‘watertight’ shell - so basically excluding the interior fit out. Two quote were north of £120k, and the third was £80k...more like what we were expecting...but they wanted a paid up front, which was a non-starter in my book.

So the project went back on hiatus until October, with the planning to expire 2 months later. At this point, I figured we could get started with the demolition of the existing garage and get the groundworks for the extension started. This would at least then trigger the start of the build and ‘activate’ the planning application. As is the way with these things...there’s then no time limit to finish (thankfully).

So we went on to Trust-a-trader for demolition contractors as, while I thought I could do this bit myself, at the time my work was crazy. I just didn’t think I could fit the demo work in the time scales to hit the planning deadline.

Got 10 virtual quotes for the demolition work, picked the guys who were middle of the pack for price but had 167 reviews and pretty much all 5 star ratings. Spoke on the phone with him and seemed sound. £1.5k price agreed for demo of garage, dig up floor and removal of waste.

Here’s the house on the day the work started:

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After a morning’s work, it looked like this:

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And for the eagle-eyed on here you’ll see my rather sexy plywood box with felt roof on the wall. The gas and electric meters and the fuse box lived in the garage, so they needed to be made weather proof.

All was going well...then they started removing the garage floor. I hadn’t given it much thought, and the demo guys assumed it would be a standard garage slab...but after they started digging it up it turned out to be a beast of a reinforced floor, which was the same thickness as the rest of the house.

I guess that concrete must have been cheap back in the 70’s as they used a shedload of it!!!

I didn’t get many pictures of it, but basically after 2 days of pneumatic drilling the guys had only got about 25% of the way through the slab.

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We had a powwow with the demo guys, who’d obviously not expected (nor priced) to be digging out a nuclear bunker, and we settled on another £1k to finish the job. Part of this money I understood was to get a mini digger and pecker on, which they did for a day before returning to their pneumatic breaker. Another 4 days of drilling and I think we were all at our wits end...as probably were our neighbours who are retired and home all day.

Unfortunately the demo guys left without finish the job fully, but I was glad to have them gone at that stage. In trying to save a few quid on not having the digger for 2 or 3 days they ended up breaking both their pneumatic breakers, and seriously cheesed off our neighbours!

They left with a 2m strip of 600mm deep reinforced foundation at the front of the property and a really untidy edge against the house.

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My plan was to hire the mini digger with pecker myself for a weekend and finish it off.

It was now-mid November, and the planning permission expired on the 6th December, so in the intervening period I’d been getting quotes for the piled foundations (more on that in my next post), but basically I only had one weekend within which to clear the rest of the site before the piling guys were coming. In that weekend I’d need to finish removing foundations the demo guys left in the above photo, and dig out a concrete manhole which was going to be inside the footprint of the extension and had was going to be made redundant by the building. No problem with the digger...I thought!

Digger turns up on the Saturday morning, but without the pecker I’d ordered. 1.5h hours later and they come back with the pecker....and the bloody thing doesn’t work. “Sorry mate, it’ll have to be next week now...” which wasn’t an option with the piling guys coming. The hire co came back with a pneumatic breaker and compressor, but the first one was leaking a bit of fluid...being a decent person, I didn’t want to bugger up their gear, so I shot up to their depot as it was shutting in 15 mins and swapped the breaker. When I got back that ‘new’ breaker just didn’t work at all and I was fuming as the hire shop was now closed! So it was off to screwfix for me, where I bought an electric 15kg breaker.

Oh my god, it was an absolute nightmare - just like the demo guys had found - the concrete only broke off in tiny little chunks and it’s was slow, hard and noisy going. My easy weekend turned out to be a proper slog. Invariably I overran the weekend, and as I couldn’t get time off work, I had to work by floodlight in the evenings to get ready for the piling company (as you can see from the darkness of this next picture!). This may me even more popular with the neighbours of course, but a bottle of wine and some chocolates delivered with an apology did go some way to appeasing them.

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In the end I was using my disc cutter to slice into the foundation, to then chip off slightly bigger bits with the breaker.

With 2 days to spare, we were finally ready for the piling guys.

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The above picture was taken on the 25th November, with planning permission expiring on the 6th December. While I knew that technically I could argue the demolition constituted the start of the build, and thus validated the PP, in my mind I wanted the sign off from BC for the foundations to be done before the 6th so there was an indisputable record from the council that the work was underway within the 3 year period....
 

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That's some hell of a lot of work. When I did my extension back in 99-2000 ish I had a patio out the back with slabs on the top of it. Lucky for me building control let take the slabs off and knock off all around the edge. I then dug down the footings to 1.2m down and then after I got up to DPC level with the brick work, I repaired the edge bit to the brick. So I never made a base just reused the patio base which was thick enough. Sand on top then visqueen and then insulation then screed. I would not of wanted to break it all out....that was 20 years ago now... good work on your part....
I take it you now have a chiropractor???
 
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Wow that must have been one hell of a job getting that slab up. Talk about cutting it fine too!

Honestly, never again. It was awful!

That's some hell of a lot of work. When I did my extension back in 99-2000 ish I had a patio out the back with slabs on the top of it. Lucky for me building control let take the slabs off and knock off all around the edge. I then dug down the footings to 1.2m down and then after I got up to DPC level with the brick work, I repaired the edge bit to the brick. So I never made a base just reused the patio base which was thick enough. Sand on top then visqueen and then insulation then screed. I would not of wanted to break it all out....that was 20 years ago now... good work on your part....
I take it you now have a chiropractor???

That sounds like a much better/easier way of doing it. Not sure you'd get away with that now though! It hurt my ears more than my back to be honest - those breakers are loud... I had to buy some ear defenders after a few hours on it.
 
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That sounds like a much better/easier way of doing it. Not sure you'd get away with that now though! It hurt my ears more than my back to be honest - those breakers are loud... I had to buy some ear defenders after a few hours on it

Yeah, I am not sure but would always been worth asking. Yeah you always need to put the ear defenders on when doing that or anything else noisy. I have a couple of breakers, a hand held one and a toolstation one. Both diy jobs but well worth the price. I have some drainage to do and the £119 pound toolstation one will break it out as I have done a test explore. These tools are great for their price. Good luck with it all....
 

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