Building a home :: An Update

You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote this post about our annexe/extension build and what we were going to be doing.

We’re nearly four weeks into the build so far and what a stress it has been at times, and at others… well apart from the invoice sitting in the inbox, you wouldn’t know anything was happening.

Everything seems to be on schedule, for the most part, although we have had a few unforeseen issues adding time (and money, she sobs) to the build, but nothing too dramatic. The base of the annexe and the main extension is now completed, and as everyone forewarned us, it all looks TINY. I keep looking at what will be the extension and thinking… REALLY?! I have spent all my money on THAT. I’m told it’s normal, it looks small when it’s just a base, in fact big houses look small as just a base, so worrying about it is a little bit pointless – plus there aren’t really any backsies on a build. It’s not like I can as them to put the garden back together and whip up a garage is it?

There have been a few low moments when Adam and I have sat down and questioned why the devil we didn’t just buy a new house, but we wanted to create a family home but also have my mum close so that she wasn’t alone, especially as she is retired and has had bad health from time to time. When things felt like they were going wrong, a daily mantra of “we’re doing the right thing” took over.

So what’s gone wrong?

I’m pleased you asked. To start with, I was under the impression that our architect had done everything she was meant to do and that I didn’t actually need anything else from her. Bare in mind that I don’t actually have a CLUE what I’m doing here, and as I had paid for everything and not heard from her, I didn’t expect her shock when I called to ask her to resend the building regulators (the main man, the head honcho, the one that can drive a nail in your build’s coffin faster than Undertaker circa 92′) details for our builders to get in touch with him.

Basically, she wasn’t ready for us to start, I thought she was and it was a bit of a mix up. That really was dealt with so quickly, until she said “but you’re just building the annexe now, yes?” and I had to reply “Erm, no, all of it.” The original plan was to build an annexe using my savings (ha, naïve Harriet, very naïve) but when the architect’s estimated costing of £40K build price to the builder’s cost of £70K, we realised that was never going to happen – so we decided to take the leap, and do both projects together and mortgage the cost. Anyway, cut a long story short, we only had basic planning drawings and NOT anything that could be built from, so that had to be rectified for the builders to really crack on with the extension part of the build.

That was the first issue but 5 days later we got the biggest shock to date – the words “The annexe doesn’t fit”. The architect had actually measured the plot incorrectly (or rather, she measured it correctly and then misread her own writing) by a whopping 300mm. Fortunately there was a very swift rectification of the problem and the building has ended up having a little bit more floor space than we originally expected which is great, but those few days of waiting to see what we going on were awful.

In addition to the wrong measurements, we also had an issue with the height of the building, which the building regulator and builders set right by altering the pitch of the roof but it was so disappointing after having such a brilliant experience to date with our architect to discover that she has made so many errors at the final hour.

There has also been a change to the water proofing around the annexe (caused by a height error from… you guessed it… our architect) and the fact that the builders had no idea the extension had a glass roof because it also wasn’t on the plans! We’ve actually changed our minds on this and instead of going for a very pricey glass roof we are going for giant velux windows. I just felt like they looked nicer in the end. The extension isn’t a conservatory so we didn’t want to find that it felt like one, we just wanted lots of light.

So that’s where we’re up to with the bad. We’ve already added around £10K on to the original budget because of the velux windows and architect errors (most of that is velux as we went fancy).

So what’s gone right?

Well the builders for a start. Builders get a bad rep, and though this is far from over, I can’t fault our builders at all, they are so professional and have worked through a plethora of errors from an external party.

They are still, for the most part I believe, on target. I was warned that the water tanking (fancy name for damp proofing I believe) will adjust the time frame slightly so it’s likely that we will be told soon how much it is going to be affected. Their communication has, for the most part, been brilliant and we’re just really pleased with the progress.

The actual build itself appears to be going great, there is something different every day, something exciting for the kids to see like a mixer and we haven’t been rained off yet (praise be) so we’re super thankful for that as absolutely no one can control the weather.

We’re at the point now where the base to the annexe is being finished off, the pipes are laid in and the whole thing looks messy and like not a lot has changed in the last week or so. This next stage should be building to pan I believe! I now know that that means “building to ceiling height” which makes me feel all fancy.

At the moment it’s all very focused on the annexe. They haven’t come into the main house yet, that is where the majority of work will affect us as we will have one room, no kitchen and no downstairs toilet for all of us – but we’re not looking at that until the end of May/beginning of June, and we’ve prepped for it well!

So that’s it, that’s where we’re at. I’ll update again soon!

H 🙂

1 Comment

  1. May 8, 2019 / 2:25 pm

    Yikes! I hope your Architect hasn’t been paid already! Fingers crossed no more nasty surprises!

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