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Dave & Kathy's buliding plot at Ardross.    Page last updated 31/7/2007

This page tells you a bit about Dave & Kathy's building plot and the house that we built in Ardross.

The most recent work is at the top of the page, to save you having to keep scrolling down as the build progresses. To view the whole lot in chronological order, start at the bottom of the page. To view the pictures, click the hyperlinks (then press your browsers "back" button to return here)

July 31st 2007 update

It seems like an age since the last update. That's really because there's not been much to report. From the last update you will see the house was just about finished, and all that was left to do was complete the landscaping of the garden. That has taken us all year so far, but that is just about complete now, so here it is:

The first task was to enclose a part of the garden with a low wooden fence so that we can have a safe familly play area for Frances to play in safety without fear of her running onto the road, or falling down into the burn. Here are some photographs of that part of the garden: Garden 4     Garden 5     Garden 6

Having got Frances safe, the next priority was to establish our vegetable plot. This has been constructed as a raised bed. All the soil in this (about 5 cubic metres) has been painstakenly sifted and sorted from our last pile of topsoil, to remove all the rubish, and the vast quantity of stones, and mixed with all the compost we have been making over the past 3 years. I took two full trailer loads of stones to the local tip, plus a lot of the larger ones we kept for possible future landscaping projects. Garden 9     Garden 11 This is now planted (and some already nearly ready to harvest) with potatoes, carrots, swede, leeks and turnips. It will be interesting to see what grows well here and what doesn't. Unfortunately nearly half the bed won't get planrted this year because we only bought first early potatoes (in case the whole plot was not ready) but when we went back later to buy the maincrop, we found them all sold out!.

After that, all that remained was to flatten out and grass the last corner of the garden, now that the last pile of soil has been used up: Garden 7     Garden 11     Garden 12     That also entailed finally setting all the drainage manhole covers level with the ground, now that eventually the finished ground level has been fixed.

Finally Kathy has been turning the bare patch of grass into a proper garden by planting ground cover plants, some shrubs, and creating a herb bed around one of our "garden ornament" boulders: Garden 8     Garden 13     Garden 14     Garden 15

That just about completes the landscaping. There is just one more thing to do. At the moment the front boundary of the garden is just open to the road. That doesn't bother us as this road is so quiet, but to finish things off the next task is to erect a simple post and rail fence as a "temporary" boundary, while at the same time plainting a mixed hedge to provide a final boundary. We will also incorporate a pair of gates, should we ever require vehicle access to the rear garden.

December 1st 2006 update

Not much to report with this update other than my workshop above the garage is now just about completed. It is divided into two rooms. The first being a storage space: Storeroom 1     Storeroom 2     and the second part being my actual work room: Workshop 1     Workshop 2     Workshop 3     Workshop 4

Most of the clean up work has been done, but we still have a lot of fire wood to process and sort out, and we still need to reinstate the gravel that was washed away from the caravan parking area.

October 9th 2006 update

All the landscaping work of the entrance and parking area has finally been completed. The last of the building rubble has gone, and the area has been graveled. Here is a detailed view showing the parking space for the caravan and trailer alongside the garage: Parking Area     and here is a general view of the whole of the front of the house, now nice and uncluttered and with ample parking for us and guests: front view

Similarly the back of the house and the garden behind the garage is just about complete: behind garage     and whole house from rear

The big news of course is that last Monday we finally received our completion certificate from building control. After weeks of discussions amongst themselves, they finally agreed that the 900mm handrail around the landing does indeed comply with building regulations. This means as of last monday the house is officially completed to standard.

Of course our work is not quite finished yet. I am now in the process of building my workshop in the roof space of the garage, and so far have installed the stairs and lined and insulated the space. Then of course there's still the vegetable plot to create in the garden, which should use up the last remaining pile of spare soil.

August 10th 2006 update

My patience ran out waiting for the original person to do the harling, so I looked again. One of the people who had quoted a high price initially came back with a much more realistic price, so he did the job for me. It ended up costing a little more, but at least it is done. Here he is working on the tricky bit, harling the end wall of the house above the garage roof: Harling in progress

Once the harling was completed, I was able to put the last few roof tiles on, and give the whole area a good clean up. The last of the rubble and a lot of scrap wood etc went to the tip on my trailer.

The area alongside the garage has now been cleared, leveled and dressed with scaplings ready for it's finish of gravel. This will be an additional parking area mainly for the caravan and trailer. Also the gas bottles to power the cooker have finally been moved to their permanent position alongside the garage.

To the rear of the garage, the final bit of soil has been placed and leveled along the back of the garage and grass seeded. Later a path will be laid along here. Here are a couple of photographs: Rear view     front view

Finally here is a more general view of the whole house from the front. front view    

Today we had what was supposed to be the final inspection from our building control oficer. Well he was happy with everything except the handrail around the landing which he had raised concern about before. We are now at an impass. I have made it clear I will appeal to the highest level to keep what we have, so we now await his decision when he refers the matter to his colleages.

So after three years of building, we are nearly there. To completely finish, I need to lay the gravel on all of the parking area's, so the caravan can move from it's temporary spot at the front to it's permanent storage space alongside the garage. Inside the garage, I need to develop the loft space into my electrical workshop, and at the far end of the garden we still have some spare soil to use up. Some of this will be used for a raised vegetable bed, and the rest for a bit more landscaping of the bank beyond the burn.

July 9th 2006 update

Progress on the garage continues to be slow for reasons I will explain in a moment. Firstly I completed the woodwork around the edges of the garage roof and fitted the guttering. I have also installed the rear pedestrian door to the garage. This door used to be on the end of the house where it now joins into the garage. That door has now been replaced as building regulations demand with a fire door. Rear view

You will see that the scaffold tower that I had on loan has been returned to it's owner who wanted to use it himself.

At this point I had intended to get the walls of the garage rendered (or harled as they call it up here). I had trouble finding someone to do it, and the prices varied enormously with the most expensive more than twice the cheapest. Eventually I chose one, and he agreed to do it "soon". I have been chasing him now for 2 months. Whenever I phone him he says he hopes to do it "next week" but still he hasn't started. For several weeks I did nothing while waiting, but eventually decided I might as well press on with what I can do myself.

To make the garage secure I fitted the garage doors (which had to be ordered, 2 weeks delay). This enabled me to kit out the interior (downstairs only) and re establish some workshop facilities, a luxury I last had 3 years ago before we moved. garage interior     It's nice to have the cars under cover again, and a decent workbench. Note also the bags of cement etc sitting there waiting to be used for the rendering.

Next I ordered the roof tiles, which were deleivered just 3 days later. Gradually over 4 days I have tiled most of the roof. I have deliberately left off the last 4 tiles on each row to allow access up the roof for the rendering of the last bit of the end wall of the house. Those tiles will be fitted once the rendering is eventually completed. Here are some photographs taken today: rear view     front view

The area of garden to the rear of the garage that was leveled in the spring and grass seeded is doing quite well, so the garden is beginning to look much more established. garden 3

Now that the garden shed and the summer house have been relieved of their (temporary) duty as store rooms for all my tools etc, they have been re organised properly as a garden shed with a workbench in there as well for gardening matters, and the summer house is useable as a place to sit and look at the mountain views (which we can't see from the house due to trees). All this sorting out of what you might call work areas really feels like the last phase of moving in and getting properly established at last.

So now we are waiting to see if the man ever gets around to doing the rendering. If he doesn't come soon, I will have to look for someone else, which I am sure will end up costing more. Until then there won't be much more progress again.

April 16th 2006 update

Progress has been slow once more. Partly due to me being very busy working, but also due to the fact that on 23rd March our daughter Frances was born. Most of you will have seen a picture of her but for those that haven't here she is Frances   taken when she was 5 days old.

Back to the business of building the garage. At last I have got the loan of a scaffold tower, and the bricklayers came back to brick up the gable end. I have finished preparing the roof, including the tile battens, the leadwork where the roof joins the house and fitting the velux window that will illuminate my workshop. Here are front and back pictures of progress so far: Rear view     Front view

Inside the upstairs has been boarded and the garage has been wired. Downstairs I have at last re assembled my workbench. Here is a picture of the inside of the garage roof space: Inside view     This loft room is 12 feet by 18 feet and eventually this will be lined and divided into two rooms, a workshop and a store room.

Outside the area of ground behind the garage has now been cleared of all remaining building materials and finally levelled and grass seeded. This is the last major part of the garden to be "landscaped" Garden

The next step is for me to complete the woodwork around the fascias and soffits, and to fit the rear door. Then we can get the builders in to render the outside.

March 7th 2006 update

I have been busy putting the roof on the garage. Starting with erecting the pre formed trusses. Not easy as they weigh 58 Kg each and are 20 feet long, and to save money they have all been put up manually, rather than hiring a crane. Here's the completed roof framing: Front view    Rear view

True to form the weather interrupts things. Aparantly this is the worst March snowfall for 50 years:
snow on plot 1     snow on plot 2

But the weather doesn't stop things. At least carpentry can continue under sub zero temperatures. Here I have completed boarding and felting the roof, so it is beginning to become water tight:
front view     Rear view

You might just be able to make out the internal roof profile in those photographs. You will see I have used "Attic Trusses" to create a room in the roof of the garage. This room will be 12 feet by 18 feet, a very usefull space. It will probably be divided in two as a storage area and a workshop eventually, but to start with at least it will just be boarded as a "storage platform". I will be fitting a velux window into the rear of this roof.

The next job to be done is get the bricklayers back to build up the gable end. which will really make the garage watertight.

February 2nd 2006 update

In spite of being in the middle of winter, some progress on the garage has been made whenever there has been a break in the weather.

Firstly we managed to get the bricklayers in for a weekend and build the blockwork up to roof level:
Garage walls partly built    Garage walls from the rear    Garage walls from the front

Next, a couple of weeks later when I had some assistance I fitted the concrete lintels over the door openings(boy they were heavy!), and fitted the garage window: garage with lintels

Also whenever I have had a bit of spare time, I have been gradually completing leveling the ground behind     the garage which is now completed:   Garden behind garage close up    view from up on the bank
Notice I uncovered another large boulder in the pile of soil, so it has been left in the middle of the garden to form a seat. When the spring comes all this will be seeded to largely complete the garden work.

The next job is to put a roof on it. I have just ordered the roof trusses which will take a couple of weeks. Also I first have to lay a row of half blocks on the back wall to bring this up to the same level as the front wall.

December 29th 2005 update

Progress continues to be slow due to the cold weather. However here is a short update of what has happened recently.

I have been laying the rainwater drainage. The driveway slopes down into the garage, so to prevent it flooding a drainage channel has been laid across the entrance. We had to wait for a couple of frost free days to lay this as it's set in concrete. Rainwater drainage I have laid the pipe from this down into the burn, and also the branch from it for the rainwater from the roof.

I have started to do some of the landscaping behind the garage, using up some of the left over soil from the excavations. So far I have worked out the finished ground levels and set out the edges. General view close up
General view from on the bank. The pile of soil is considerably smaller than it was, but there's still a lot to do.

December 10th 2005 update

Shortly after the last update the bricklayers came and built the blockwork up to damp course level in a day. I didn't think to photographe it straight away, but here is the blockwork with the trenches just partly infilled:

Starting to infill the trenches    And a bit more infilling

Construction of the garage proceeded slowly after this. Partly due to weather, it's getting cold now and we have had a lot of frosty weather, partly due to the fact that I'm doing all the work myself and finally due to the fact that I am getting a lot of work at the moment so don't have as much time as I would like. But progress is being made as follows:

Whole garage area roughly infilled and compacted

As mentioned, weather has been a big problem. Lots of frosts, which is no good for pouring concrete. But the weather forecast for this weekend was mild, no frosts and mostly dry. So I had a very busy week to get ready to use this weather window for pouring the concrete:

Final layer of infill now compacted    Damp course in position    Steel reinforcing and shuttering in place
Concrete poured (still wet in this photo)

So after a hectic week, another major milestone has been reached, not least because now we are in winter, oportunities for pouring concrete don't come along very often. The concrete was poured today (10th December) under perfect conditions, mild, dry and no frost forecast. By Monday we should be back to frosty nights.

October 27th 2005 update

The building warrant for the garage came in the post a couple of weeks ago, so I started to think about building the garage. I had been trying to get hold of the digger and driver, but not had much luck, so on Tuesday when I eventually got hold of him and he said how about tomorrow, I agreed, even though it was short notice and I had a lot to prepare for, including measuring and pegging out the site. I had previously moved the caravan onto the front of the plot in order to allow the digger room to work.

Wednesday arived and at 8AM, first light up here now, he arived and commenced digging. Here are a few photos of the digger in action and the resulting trenches: Garage 1    Garage 2    Garage 3    Garage 4
This is the same digger, but different driver that dug the foundations for the main part of the house. As with the main house foundations they had to go deep due to the nature of the ground and the ladder in one of those photo's gives you some idea of the scale.

It only took a couple of hours to dig all the trenches. There was the one (predictable) accident where the digger dug through a live water pipe. This was the water pipe that had previously fed the mobile home, and had been left connected to feed a tap inside the garage. I had to shut off all the water and get down in the trench and make a repair. We then had to wait for the concrete, which had also been booked at short notice. I had booked a full 8 cubic metre load to try and pour the foundations thicker to minimise on the blockwork. The concrete was due to arrive at 1PM but did not actually arrive until 3PM, by which time it was raining quite steady, and a pump was being used to keep the trenches dry(ish) intil the concrete was poured.

Here are a couple of photo's of the digger pouring the concrete into the trenches: Garage 5    Garage 6    By the time they had finished it was raining quite hard. There was little I could do but hope, but we were able to cover the floor of the pit to try and preserve a reasonable finish to that bit at least.

The next day was a complete contrast. A warm and sunny day, and they say the hottest October day on record. I pumped out all (well most) of the water from the trenches and was relieved to find the conctrete footings had set okay, The finish is not perfect but it will do.

Here are some more photographs: This is the footing for the central column between the two garage doors, showing the water pipe that got severed Garage 7    This is the floor of the pit. It's only a small pit, about 1 metre deep, just right to sit in and work. Should make jobs like oil changes a lot easier: Garage 8    And these are the footings for the two main walls of the garage: Garage 9    Garage 10    And lastly here is a view of the garage site from up on the bank. There's another large pile of generally poor soil to deal with, though a lot of this will end up back filling the trenches after the walls have been built: Garage 11

I am now trying to organise a brick layer. The next update should be when the blockwork starts.

October 4th 2005 update

The missing extractor fan in the utility room has been fitted. This was the only thing found wrong on our last building control inspection. The issue of the stairs noted in my last update appears to be our building control officer miss interpreting the requirements, but we have yet to resolve this with him. At the moment we are still waiting for the amendment to the building warrant to allow us to start the garage, so no progress on the house build at the moment.

I have however been using the spare time to do some more on the plot. Firstly my neighbour and I erected a fence between our two plots: Fence view 1     Fence view 2     Fence view 3     (that's our neighbour's house in those views). This is the first time that our plot has been fully fenced since we bought it. You might just make out in the photos that we have also planted a beech hedge along our side of the fence - A planning requirement. The plants are very small at the moment but hopefully it will grow.

I have been doing a bit more landscaping. Always a good time filler when there's nothing else to do. Here I have been landscaping and leveling off a bit more of the ground on the bank around an old tree stump     This has used up a bit more off the spare topsoil pile, so I have also levelled and seeded the last strip along the front of the plot     his means that now the whole of the frontage of the plot is levelled and seeded. Eventually we will plant another hedge along the front to screen our garden from the road a bit, and incorporate a pair of gates into this in case we require vehicle access to the garden.

September 2nd 2005 update

The last few internal details of the house have been finished. Namely the last few Tiles in the Kitchen and the log burning stove in the living room

In preparation for starting the garage, I have cleared all the rubble and general clutter from the garage site, and marked out exactly where it will go. In these two photo's if you look carefully you will see a red rectangle painted on the ground next to the car. That is where I intend to install a pit:     view 1      view 2

Today we had an inspection visit from building control. He is happy with the house except for two points. The first is a minor one, we need to fit an extract fan in the utility room, which is a simple enough job.

The other problem however is not so straightforward, there is a major problem with the banister rails around the stairs. We have used the Richard Burbidge "Fusion" system which claims to meed "UK building regulatons". It turns out however that it only meets "England and Wales" building regulations. In Scotland building regulations are slightly different in that the handrail around a landing must be 1100mm high, compared to 900mm for England and Wales. Our inspector was also concerned with the strength of the handrails. Again Richard Burbidge claim it meets "UK" building regulations in this respect. Obviously we need to make some alterations to increase the height and improve the strength. His concern appeared to be too much slop in the brackets that join the newel posts to the newel bases. On Monday I will be phoning Richard Burbidge to ask them to explain how they propose to modify the components that they supplied us to meet Scottish building regulations.

We also discussed the garage with our inspector. He was happy with what we want to do, including the pit and a "storage platform" in the garage roof space. We have to apply for an extension to our building warrant for the garage, so it will take a few weeks to do the paperwork before we can start on building the garage.

August 17th 2005 update

It's been a long time since the last update. No excuses, just that I was too busy working on the house and never got the time to stop and photograph the progress. So much so that this update is to report that with the exception of just a few small things, the main part of the couse is complete.

As reported in the last update, our priority was to get all the guest rooms and common parts of the house completed first so that the B&B could open. there's nothing like a deadline to progress a job, and having guests booked in for the beginning of May was just such a deadline. We achieved that so here are some pictures of the guests rooms: Bedroom 1      Bedroom 1 en-suite      Bedroom 2      Bedroom 2 en-suite      Guests Lounge      And here are some of the common parts of the house Hall and Stairs      Landing     

Having completed the guest rooms, I took a bit of time off from the inside, and landscaped a large part of the garden, and built the deck. In these photo's it's easy to spot the newly sown grass that still needs to thicken out a bit: Front Garden      Lawn to side of house      Deck outside patio doors      Main view of garden you can see there is still a relatively small pile of soil remaining to be levelled. This is the remaining top soil to be used for landscaping once the garage is built. The other end of the garden This end of the plot has not been landscaped yet, that will be done once the garage has been built. Garage site this is where the double garage will be added onto the end of the house

Having got the garden under control I then set about completing the rest of the house inside: Bedroom 3      Bedroom 3 en-suite      Bedroom 4      Bedroom 5 This is currently being used as my workshop. There's still the skirting board to fit in this room but that will wait a while. Bathroom      Bathroom      Living Room The only thing left to do in this room is to fit the wood burning stove into the fireplace Living Room and lastly Kitchen This just requires a few more tiles fitting above the cooker hood.

So we now have a just about completed house. It won't take long to finish the very few remaining details. The plan then is to get building control to come and check things out and see if there is anything missed out, then to start the construction of the garage. Expect the next update when the excavation for that starts.

April 8th 2005 update

The main progress recently has been the completion of the plumbing for the en-suite shower rooms. In fact this completes all the plumbing in the whole house. Another milestone linked to this is the final few sheets of plasterboard have been fitted, a few had been left off to allow access for the plumbing. Also with the wiring of the last shower and shaver socket that's all the wiring finally finished as well. The tiling in the two guest en-suites is complete, but our own en-suite still needs tiling around the shower.

Here are some photographs: Bed 2 en-suite plumbing      Bed 2 en-suite nearly finished
Bed 3 en-suite plumbing      Bed 3 en-suite nearly finished     

I have also been busy hanging doors and starting to fit the architrave and skirting boards to the rooms. Just two more doors to hang, but lot's more skirting. The priority once more is to complete the guest rooms first so that the B&B can open.

This week we have the taper in, taping and jointing the remaining plasterboard. Once this is complete the decorating can be finished, and the last big job, laying the floor tiles in the hall and kitchen can start. We have bought the tiles so that should start next week.

I spent a bit more time landscaping at the front of the house. The strip of land between the road and the front of the house is now levelled and seeded with grass seed, so at least the entrance to the house from the road now looks respectable. The side and rear gardens still have a lot of work to be done.

We are getting much closer to completion, and very close to opening as a B&B, so I have updated our main B&B website to remove all the bits about "opening soon". I also managed to get a couple of photographs of the house and garden, carefully missing out the piles of building materials etc, they can be found on the pictures page on that site.

Yet another milestone passed last week. The mobile home left our site. It has been here for 2 years, and we lived in it for 14 months while the house was being built. It has gone about 30 miles to become the temporary accommodation for someone who has bought a derelict house to do up. Here is a picture of it being loaded onto the lorry mobile home loading

Talking of the state of the site, once the mobile home left, we had a good clear up. Our touring caravan has been moved to where the mobile home was, and all remaining building materials moved and stacked neatly as well. We had a good bonfire last weekend to get rid of something like 15 old pallets that had accumulated.

A couple of weeks back we had a minor setback, the boiler stopped working. It's obviously new and under warranty. They sent a plumber to look at it, and found that the water jacket was leaking inside, and it had filled up with water to the point where the burner became flooded. It required a complete replacement, which meant we were without heating for a week, but they paid for the plumber to remove the faulty one, and fit the replacement.

February 8th 2005 update

The big news is that we had an inspection by our building control officer in the middle of December, and subject to me doing a couple of small jobs (which I have now done) he was happy to issue us with a temporary habitation certificate. So we are now living in the house, and everything has been unpacked from the mobile home. The mobile home is now for sale.

There was then a big push to get the house a bit more ready inside, as we had 13 relatives visiting us for new year. We managed to get the bath in one of the en-suite rooms finished together with it's shower and tiling ensuite 1 Also 3 of the bedrooms have had carpets fitted and partly furnished.

After new year we took some time off from working on the house to finish unpacking things from the mobile home, and getting organised inside the house. As part of this we built the carcase of the built in wardrobe in our bedroom Wardrobe and fitted the shelves in the airing cupboard

Old news but here is a picture of the Utility room just about finished, but presently more of a tool store.

I have fitted out bedroom 5 as my workshop. It's been two years since I dismantled my workshop in the old house in preparation for selling it.

Having got organised in the house, work has resumed. First is the main bathroom that is now fully tiled Bathroom

I am now working on the en-suite bathrooms. Starting with bedroom 1, this is the largest of the en-suites that has a bath. Here are a couple of pictures of it taking shape. Plumbing complete     Boxed in and tiled Just a bit more tiling needed to complete it.

I also spent a couple more days digging away outsite. The largest of the piles of soil along the front has been removed, and a lot of the trench at the front filled in and levelled. This has now been gravelled to form a parking area. You can also see the finished ground level along the front of the house.

That's all for now. The next priority is to complete the en-suite bathrooms so that we can finally open for B&B.

November 27th 2004 update

We have been busy in the last month working on the inside of the house to make it habitable. At this stage we are concentrating on getting each room finished just enough to use, so details like skirting boards etc will be left for later. We have had enough of the mobile home and want to be fully living in the house.

The Kitchen is now fully functional. It needs tiling but that's a "detail" that can wait. For now it's useable. Here are some photo's: One side of the kitchen    and the other side   

The next big step forward is the main living room has had it's final maple floor laid. Here are some photo's of the room empty: Front view    Rear View   

We had ordered some furniture in time for Christmas. As it happens, the first of the suites was available in a week, so we have now furnished the living room: Front view    Rear view    We have also been unpacking a lot of our existing furniture that had been in storage for over a year.

The "Guest lounge" has also just had it's wooden flooring laid, but I don't have a photo of that at the moment.

The Office is also finished. The cat likes it! Office    Just out of shot on the top shelf is the satellite receivers and the TV distribution system that allows us to watch any channel (terestrial or satellite) on any TV in the house. Every room except the bathroom and WC has a TV feed.

The stairs had been installed a while ago. In the last few days I have been fitting the banisters. We are using the Richard Burbidge "Fusion system" which consists of pine handrails joined with chrome plated brackets, and chrome plated spindles. This picture shows all the habdrails in place, and just one run of spindles on the landing: Stairs with handrails   

The bathroom has been partly tiled. Again the theme is get enough done to make it useable. The two walls adjoining the bath are tiled, and a shower curtain installed, so now we can shower in the house as well as bath. Eventually the tiles will continue along the wall behind the basin and WC, but again that can wait a bit. Bathroom

Old news, but here is a picture of the Oil Tank. There's still a lot of landscaping to do!

Another item progressed is the utility room. The worktop has been installed complete with a sink, and the washing machine and tumble dryer are both fully installed. This room is a long way from being finished as it's one that has not yet even had it's plasterboard taped and filled, but at least it's useable. Sory no photo of this at the moment.

As well as all this I have been fitting doors to the rooms and Kathy has been busy painting them (the rooms not the doors), with most having at least one coat. Still another 7 doors to hang.

October 31st 2004 update

Apologies to all for taking so long since the last update. I had problems uploading files to this website and simply did not have time to sort it out (too busy building!). At last I have sorted the problem (without ever finding out exactly what it really was!) so here is a large update of what's been going on since May

Firstly, the completion of the build sequence. Here is the house essentially completed externally. It's been harled on the outside and the scaffolding has gone. Externally all that's left is the landscaping.

House view from the front    House view from the rear

Since then I have been busy on the inside. The following, in roughly chronological order show some of what I have been doing. Starting with installing the rest of the plumbing and under floor heating:

First fix plumbing upstairs    First fix plumbing downstairs    Under floor heating pipes in kitchen   
Under floor heating pipes in hall    Under floor heating pipes in the guest lounge
Under floor heating pipes in the office    Under floor heating pipes in the utility room
Ground floor UFH manifold    First floor UFH manifold

I also started constructing the access ramp to the front door: Access ramp to front door under construction

Then came fixing the plasterboard. 240 sheets in total, held in place by 18,000 screws. The following show some of the rooms boarded ready for taping and filling:

Bedroom 1    Bedroom 2    Bedroom 3    Bedroom 4    Bedroom 5    Living room    Guests lounge

Along the way I fitted the main bathroom and downstairs toilet: Main bathroom    Downstairs WC

And the kitchen, here it is under construction: Sink unit and dishwasher    Cooker    Fridge / freezer

And here is the utility room under construction, the boiler is at the left of the picture: Utility room

And of course I installed the stairs Stairs

That's all I have photo's of at the moment. Now that the website is sorted, I shall take some more and post another update very shortly.

May 18th 2004 update

Although a little old news now, I have at long last had the film developed containing the photo's of the main build of the house shell, so here they are. This sequence of photographs follow on from those in the March 9th update further down the page.

Timber frame second floor from the front    Inside aerial view of house before the roof went on   
shell complete up to roof frame from front    shell complete up to roof frame from rear   
With the roof clad in sarking and felted from front    With the roof clad in sarking and felted from rear   
Blockwork under construction from the front    Blockwork under construction from the rear   
Roof tiling completed from front    Roof tiling completed from rear   

The latest news is that the harling (rendering) has been completed and the scaffolding is in the process of being dismantled. I will photograph this shortly. I am currently busy installing the under floor heating. Another update will be posted shortly showing some photo's of this.

April 14th 2004 update

The build is progressing well. The timber frame was completed in just over a week. There was a couple of weeks without any progress from the builders, but I have been using that time to work on the internal fit out. The builders are back now. The blockwork is now complete except for the chimney and one gable end and the tilers are about to start on the roof. These photo's are still in the camera, so still not available for the website.

I have been busy working on the inside of the house. Most of the wiring is now in place, and I am currently working on the first fix plumbing. Part of the first layer of flooring has been laid (those parts where the plumbing and wiring is complete) and some more of the internal walls have been erected. We have ordered the under floor heating, and wooden flooring for the two living rooms.

Recently I bought a cheap little digital camera, so while waiting for the pictures of the main build that are in the film camera, here are some internal pictures taken with the digital camera.

Firstly some general internal views:
Front of main living room       Rear of main living room       Guests lounge       Entrance hall and stairwell       kitchen       Bedroom 1       Bedroom 2       Bedroom 3       Bedroom 4       Bedroom 5      

And some views of the services I have been installing:
All wiring connected to consumer unit       Some of the ground floor heating and water pipes      

March 9th 2004 update

Bang on Schedule on 23rd February the timber frame arived and the builders began erecting it. Here are some photo's: Timber frame first floor from the rear    Timber frame first floor from the front   
Timber frame second floor from the rear   
There are more photo's to come, but they are still in the camera.

January 17th 2004 update

Here are the first four courses of underbuilding again, now infilled ready for the final four courses to be built on. blockwork2.jpg and here is the blockwork just being finished up to damp course level blockwork3.jpg

Then came the Christmas / new year holiday, and snow. No work possible for a while snowonplot.jpg

The first week in January was a mild spell, the snow melted and the ground thawed, a whole week without frost. The builders finished the infilling and laying the concrete oversite. Here is the finished underbuild blockwork4.jpg

There was a little accident during this. The digger, while infilling around the house, pushed in the outer leaf blockwork along one wall. blockwork5.jpg This will need repairing before the outer wall blockwork is built, but won't affect the erection of the timber frame.

December 8th 2003 update

Here is the concrete being poured into the trenches by the digger concrete1.jpg and concrete2.jpg and the finished foundations concrete3.jpg and concrete4.jpg

Now the blockwork has started. Here it's four blocks high blockwork1.jpg There are another four courses to go to DPC level. Some deep foundations!

Meanwhile, I have been using some more of the surplus soil to landscape more of the south side of the burn. Here at the foot of the bank is an area I have leveled for the garden shed shedsite.jpg and at the top of the bank, I have leveled a path along the top and created two flat area's: Here looking east to the summer house topofbank1.jpg and looking west from the summerhouse topofbank2.jpg

November 20th 2003 update

We moved into the mobile home on the plot in September 2003. While waiting for the builders to start, I spent a lot of time landscaping parts of the site that will not be affected by the building work. In particular rebuilding and re shaping the banks of the burn. The finished result is shown in these two pictures: burn1.jpg burn2.jpg

We struggled to get a good television picture in the mobile home, as it's at the bottom of the bank and we couldn't get the aerial high enough. So I fixed the satellite dish to the base of our beech tree on the top of the bank. dishontree.jpg

5 th November, the builders finally start. I hired and drove the dumper truck to move all the surplus soil onto another plot just down the road from us, and to move some of it up to the top of our plot for more landscaping work. Here is the site with most of the top soil removed, prior to digging the actual foundation trenches. digging1.jpg Next they partly infilled the site with "as dug quarry material" and then dug the foundation trenches through this. Here they are about half way through: foundations1.jpg You can see in the foreground some of the large boulders they have dug out. These might end up as large garden ornaments.

Pictures taken during our on site visit at the end of May 2003, when we installed the septic tank and soakaway:

Work about to start. Drain pipes laid out where they will go: pipes.jpg

The septic tank, sample chamber, and pump chamber being burried in the ground tanks.jpg

Installing the soakaway in the neighbouring field Soakaway1.jpg Soakaway2.jpg

Two pictures of the "culvert", the section of the burn that is bridged. The outflow pipe from the septic tank passes over here, as well as providing access to the bit of land the other side of the burn   Culvert1.jpg    Culvert2.jpg

The job is done. Two views of the fully serviced plot from up on the bank: Serviced_Site.jpg Serviced_Site2.jpg and from the front Plot_From_Front.jpg

Pictures taken during our on site visit at the end of March 2003. The mobile home had just been sited, and we were installing the mains water and electricity supplies to the site:

The work is done, here's the mobile home now connected to the services: MobileHome.jpg and here's the whole plot from up on the bank plot.jpg

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