This week we managed to finalise the design of the new house and get the plans out to our candidate builders for quotations. We still don’t know quite what it’ll cost to build this place but in a couple of weeks all should be made clear.
(We do of course know roughly what the cost will be but it will be good to pin it down a bit more!)
Andy Black at Firefly Wood, our architect, has done a sterling job pulling all the plans together. We hadn’t really appreciated the sheer volume of information that is needed to communicate how the house should be built. To give you an idea here’s the list of what we sent out, starting with the elevation drawings which illustrate the house from all four sides and depict the amount of soil to be removed to get to a level building site. We plan to keep this soil to build up the land at the back of the house for a future terrace for sipping Pimms on …
The next diagram is the site plan. This is where we began to understand just how big the plot is and how many paving slabs we’re going to need for the path to the front door. The dashed lines across the plan are half metre contour lines from the initial survey – the plot slopes down to the north at the top of the plan.
Most of the build detail is in the floor plans. This detail gives you a taste of the amount of information carried in a building plan. These plans are the result of over 8 months of agonising over room layouts, lighting, size of bathrooms, what to put in the utility room, where the wood burning stove goes and much more besides. Just hope we’ve got it all right!
One of the reasons for the delay in getting the design finished was our last minute (no, last second) requirement to remodel the upstairs toilet, of all things. But rather make changes now than when the builder is on site and raring to go.
We are buying the timber frame from the architect, not from the builder. So we have to let the builder know exactly what has already been provided so we don’t pay for it twice over. Again the amount of detail is significant – this goes on for three pages and includes all the doors, windows and staircase complete with glass balustrades.
To complete the picture for the ground works, there is a drainage plan which shows where rainwater drains away to and how the sewage will get to the treatment plant.
Two full A2 pages of engineering drawings are in the pack. These document exactly how the house foundations will be built. Critical stuff. Included here is the description of the 6 layers of stuff that go into the floors and that’s before we add the tiles or timber floor.
More engineering type drawings, this time documenting how the timber frame is to be constructed. Important detail here for making sure the building is as wind tight as possible, and with as few thermal bridging problems as possible. In this diagram you can see the insulated plasterboard that has been specified which will add a bit more warmth to the sloping ceilings upstairs.
In the finishes spec we describe broadly how we want the house to look inside. Since we haven’t made up our minds yet as you can tell from the Kitchen Design article, we simply say what sort of thing we think we want (“a kitchen”, ” a bathroom with a shower” etc) and set aside a sum of money to cover it all. This is known as the PC sum.
So now we sit back and wait? Some chance! I think we need to go up to the plot in the next week or so, take possession of our caravan, go and talk to our builders and see some more of their work and go and take some photos of the stone we’re planning to put on the living room walls. Watch this space!