Sunday, 27 March 2011

Week 4 - Digging

We spent the majority of this weekend digging trenches for utilities using the mini-digger - lots of fun! Kai's dad Colin was a key player in helping us get everything done - an expert in groundworks.
First off was a 12m trench 450mm deep for the electricity ducting. Kai did a great job of digging a perfectly straight and clean trench whilst getting used to the mini-digger.

After the ducting was laid and covered with stone dust, my job was to backfill the trench (less skill required).

Kai dug the remaining trenches (drainage 6m long, water 8m long 750mm deep) and by the end of the Saturday we had connected the drainage run up to the caravan.

The water pipe is temporarily set up to a standpipe until Bristol Water come and do the connection to the main. After that we'll connect the caravan up.

Sunday's job was to tackle the huge tree stump which is where the foundations at the front of the house will be. At about 1m diameter this stump is a whopper. 

Unfortunately one of the old and worn hydraulic hoses on the the digging arm burst half way through the morning so we (Kai and Colin!) had to continue severing the roots around the stump using an axe. Far too much like hard work, we decided to come back to this task when we next have a digger on site - hopefully the hire company will give us another day with the digger for free as the hose-burst-issue wasn't our fault, guv.

We had a go at grading back the entrance so that we'll be able to get vehicles on and off the site. Luckily we were able to use the grading blade on the digger because it was unaffected by the burst hose.

Last job on Sunday afternoon was to put the shed panels together. Each panel was incredibly heavy, so we were very grateful for Colin's help lifting them into position!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Week 3 - Shedding

Kai dug a second trial pit to convince the tree man that there really are no significant roots around the foundations. Tomorrow he will give us his final answer as to whether or not we can use a digger. We also used the trial pit to carry out a percolation test - necessary to check if the ground is suitable for a soakaway.

The arrival of some aggregates - gravel, sand and stone dust ready to go in the trenches for electricity and water supplies. Amazing 'seeing through hedge' skills by the truck driver!

Building the first side of the shed, having made the floor.
The completed end-wall of the shed.
Kai's proud of the doorway, deservedly so. 
The shed will be put together in its final position in the corner of the plot once the trenching for the electricity supply has been completed and backfilled.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Week 2 - Site Set-up

Kai's mum was a great help this weekend - she cut back the overhanging laurel bushes along the front of the plot which has made a huge difference. Thanks very much Jenny! The hedge is a little bit bare now on the road side but it'll bounce back in a matter of weeks. It will need a more aggressive cut back for the driveway visibility splays in about a year's time.

Some free stuff we managed to pick up - concrete blocks to wedge the static in its permanent position, and paving slabs to form a base when we come to build the shed.

Managed to get hold of a shed-load of timber (quite literally - we're going to build a shed out of it) all for £100 from a guy who wanted to get rid of it. There's probably about a grand's worth there... bargain!

Kai dug a trial pit down to bedrock (1m depth) to see if we encounter any big tree roots. Didn't find any significant ones, so a chat with the arboriculturalist is in order this week, we're hoping he will allow conventional strip footings and lift the restriction on heavy mechanised digging in this corner of the plot.

Kai's nifty freehand routing skills and ability to knock up anything out of leftover plywood means we now have an address and mail box!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Week 1 - And so it begins!

We had a call on Friday afternoon to say the static caravan would be arriving on Saturday morning. We didn't even have a proper access to the plot at this stage so spent a couple of hours on Friday evening cutting down a section of the hedge and dismantling the stone wall at the front of the plot. Slightly frantic start!

Saturday morning, while waiting for the caravan to be delivered Kai cut down the trees from the back corner of the site. They had to come down because some of the foundations will be going there.

Delivery of the caravan!

We spent Sunday making up the hoarding and gates to make the plot secure. Just need to move the caravan to its final position so that we can open the gates fully.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Large Purchases

This week, we've been mostly making some large purchases, namely:

A building plot (sale completed today!!!) - £110,000
A trailer for lugging around building materials - £300
A trailer to live in - the most beautiful static caravan you have ever seen! - £1000
An electricity connection - £2800!!!!
Some hessian fabric - £18

So now that we actually own the plot we're going to get started on the weekend by creating the site entrance ready for caravan delivery and digging a trial pit, wooo!