Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blast from the past

Recently found this visual of our first design for the site, the one that was rejected and also failed at Appeal - mainly due to its conventional foundations.
Actually I'm now pleased to say I prefer the current design!

Rather underwhelming

This little concrete-filled pipe is one of the dozen mini-piles that will hold up the shack. I confess I was expecting to be more impressed, as I can get quite excited about the engineering side of the project...

Due to the site's (IMHO excessive) woodland tree preservation order, we were never going to be allowed regular foundations, so this technique was employed instead.

Each pile is 'drilled' down into the ground until it gets 'tight' (sadly I missed watching this bit) - in this case around 4 metres - and then a small amount of concrete is infilled. The top of each pile is capped at the precise right level in the next stage, and a kind of 'foot' joins it to the steel frame what will support the house.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Do not pass 'go'

Despite our foundations being built, our house is staring into the throat of a serious threat: Our mortgage company - the to-date very helpful Ecology Building Society - have got very uptight (as is their right in the present 'crunch' I guess) about parking and access issues at our site. This is long after they already lent us the money to buy it in the first place.

I'll spare you the details but there's a whole load of stuff around our neighbours' land adjacent to our site (close to or converging on an area historically used as parking for our site) and the fact noone seems to own the access track to our site (its ONLY access). I thought the fact noone owned the ruddy track was a good thing but now it seems we need to actively prove that noone could ever even claim to own it. Also I had a certain belief in the 'searches' you pay your solicitor to do when you buy a property - if something really threatening about the access to the site had been turned up, wouldn't we have heard?
In my lighter moments I can enjoy the fact that the 'green' mortgage lender the Ecology is so obsessed with the provision of car parking at the site.

Our neighbours - incredibly - got planning permission to put a gate up over the access track to our site. Though this has as yet not materialised, the Planners seemed to have no qualms about permitting development on land not owned by the applicant. This gives great scope to us all - I may apply for permission for a gate just in front of theirs.