After last week’s monumental spend (grand total, circa £55K or, as Richard puts it, a happy walk through the Pistonheads classifieds), this week has only got worse. No, just joking, it’s been a corker. Stu re-appeared totally pickled from his fishing trip but I was delighted to hear that he wasn’t pissed off in the slightest about coming back to work on Monday. We missed him and I think he secretly missed us. Lemon drizzle cake (on a Monday would you believe) softened the blow a little.
DependaPaul finally showed up to work in his summer’s-finally-over trousers and Richard has been really getting involved in the decisions about the Fenbilly Farm’s final details. Having chosen the sockets last week, I asked him to think about other final finishes. In my mind, I was thinking things like where the sockets would go, what kind of doors we were going to plump for and choosing the final floor finishes. He’s been an eager beaver, or so I thought. In reality, all he’s done is look at really big televisions. Seriously, I despair. Still, it means that the manege is closer than I thought…
Back to progress and the extension is up to damp, awaiting the SIPS panels. SIPS aren’t exactly a well-known method of construction in this country. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) involve building the entire structure in a factory (in our case, Yorkshire), bringing it to site on the back of a lorry and erecting the panels in a matter of days. Well, that’s what I’ve read, anyway. Actually communicating with the SIPS manufacturers is a different matter entirely. Apart from one lowly email throughout the process (bearing in mind we decided to use them back in July), we haven’t heard a stitch. Apart from invoices.
Finally, Andy rang to say the SIPS would be arriving next Wednesday and that we’d need something to get them off the lorry. But he couldn’t actually confirm it’d be Wednesday, until next Monday. So that’s quite helpful. Ten minutes later, I got another invoice. I’m reliably informed that the tv company are fully up to speed about when the SIPS are arriving. Make of that what you will. Anyway, these things are sent to try us, we’ll just have to wait until next week.
The actual installation team for the SIPS panels turned up last week to come and measure the oversite and blockwork. Essentially, the SIPS soleplate sits on the blockwork footings so accuracy is the key to make the whole thing run more smoothly. Each block is measured by laser and marked – the more inaccuracy, the more packing and therefore more work is required to get a good fit for the panels. I’m delighted to report that the guys at Landtech, and Simon in particular, have done a nothing short of brilliant job. It’s the most accurate slab that Duane and the boys have ever seen, making their job far easier. I think across the whole extension, Simon was 5mm out – and that was only one random block where either Rich or I was probably annoying him or plying him with tea and cake! So there’s the lesson for the day, if you’re building a SIPS house, employ Landtech to do your groundworks and footings…
At the weekend, the guys from JBSR came to install the Helifixing to finally secure the structure of the building. Not that much needed doing thanks to Stu’s heroic efforts over the past couple of months, but there were a couple of areas outside that just needed shoring up, and quite a lot of work inside. I think I mentioned the Helifixing in detail on a previous blog, but it’s essentially flexible, twisted steel rods that run through the courses of stone, are resined in and then disappear behind the pointing. With JBSR being approved contractors, it means we get a structural guarantee with the works being done.
It was pretty chilly on Saturday at eight in the morning, especially with a north east wind blowing. I don’t think the guys were overly excited to start with the exterior work so that Stu could get on with the pointing this week. Sorry chaps, hopefully the inside should be a little bit warmer.
So these week’s seen the Helifixing, some more lovely pointing and DependaPaul’s been working like a dog to get the actual floor down in the upstairs. It’s the first time we’ve walked up there without any danger of falling through – the whole place is taking a bit more shape now. I sat in the imaginary bath, trying to picture it in a couple of months when I’m relaxing in a bubbly bath consuming a bottle of bubbles and admiring the view over the pond. Or, more likely, screaming at the dog to stop chasing after the ducks. Like downstairs, now the floor’s down and you can start to imagine the ceiling heights and room sizes, and I have to say, it’s looking quite generous. More generous that the ‘van anyway. If I hit my knee once more on the bed, I’m going to have to take an axe to it. The bed, not my knee.
Not much else has happened this week. APART FROM THE MASSIVELY GORGEOUS WINDOWS GOING IN. Like, one of the most exciting things we’ve ever seen. They turned up last week, bang on time and Stu started putting them in first thing Monday. I can’t believe I missed it! Fitted a treat, look most splendid. I can’t believe some people get put off buying a house because of the wall colour in the living room, it’s actually the first time we’ve actually seen the house with a window in it, let alone paint on the walls (or, indeed, walls).
I know I’ve mentioned them before, but Howarth were the window supplier and I can’t rate their service highly enough. The windows have to be the bargain of the build thus far. Two sash windows, thirteen flush fit casements, a four metre span of bi-fold doors and a half glazed door for the west elevation. All wooden, all double glazed, all sprayed, all fittings fitted, matching coloured night vents and guarantees on both windows and paint. Oh, and the majority have had to have toughened glass to boot. So go on, my favourite game, guess how much? A penny chew for the closest answer.
Another weekend to deliberate and then it’ll be all change again next week. Lazy God reckons I’ll tire of the adventure soon enough and will wonder when it will all end. But for now, Mr M and I are just really enjoying the ride. Even Rich pulling the caravan door off on the chilliest night so far hasn’t dampened our spirits. And I have to say, there have been a lot of spirits. Long may it continue 😉