It seems that there are always a thousand things to think about at any given point in a house build project.
At this precise moment we’re appointing a Quantity Surveyor to manage and oversee the build quotes, and get a more accurate projection of build costs for budget. We’re hoping to have costs through and an idea of possible build start dates in the next few weeks.
We’re also looking at flooring in more detail again. The bathrooms, entrance hall and utility room will all be tiled for practicality, and although I started off considering stone floors, the maintenance requirement for regular re-sealing has put me off a little, and I’m now thinking more of big, matt finish porcelain tiles.
Samples will be winging their way through the post over the next few weeks so that we can narrow down the selection.
In parallel, we’re waiting to hear whether the Forestry Commission managed to get out to the croft before Christmas as they were hoping to in order to survey the land from a tree planting perspective.
It all feels as if it’s on the very cusp of happening. Just a few inches further…☺️
Building Warrant came through a few days before Christmas. It was a great start to the festivities!
This is what we are building. It’s a 1.5 storey larch clad eco longhouse with traditional slate roof.
The front door is actually at the back of the building, nestled into the hill at the back of the croft. The picture windows are at the front, overlooking the Sound of Sleat, and hopefully providing much light.
Once the architects are back after the Christmas break we’ll start looking at build schedules. Can’t wait!
I’ve been laid up for the last week recovering from a knee replacement operation. Before I had the operation I blithely imagined that I would be able to spend time researching and planning house options at leisure whilst comfortably resting my leg. Ha. The reality has been a little different, with the leg pain and the brain fog caused by the medication meaning that I’ve not been able to focus on anything much..
Because I won’t be able to get up to the kitchen design centre in Fife anytime soon, they’ve helpfully sent us samples of worktop and kitchen door fronts. The architects recommend Pronorm, a German kitchen manufacturer, and their range is extensive. It’s too much choice! We’re trying to keep it simple and the costs under control, which is a challenge. So far I’m looking at Silestone worktops with an under-mounted sink, an appliance wall, and two banks of under-unit storage with integral appliances.
We’ve also just had an email from the architects to say that we can expect building warrant approval by Christmas, which is brilliant news, and such a relief. I hope that this means that groundwork on the plot can start in the Spring.
Now that the building warrant is in, we need to spend the next few weeks finalising decisions on kitchen, bathroom and flooring options. I started the process earlier this summer, but parked the initial designs when we got consumed with such things as the access road, electrical points and window types, all very essential for the warrant submission.
I didn’t really dare breathe much more on the more cosmetic elements, almost feeling that it was in danger of jinxing things somehow to spend time on this without having all the permissions in place. But on Friday I picked up the phone to the kitchen designer in Scotland, sent him the final room dimensions, and told him that it was time to re-engage.
Lock and load, kitchen designer! I’m back. And with some new ideas!
In some ways the break of six months without fully considering things like tile colours, tap designs and shower fittings has made things easier, and my vision of what we want clearer. I’m more convinced than ever that simple is best, with good quality, natural materials wherever possible. Most of the ideas that I originally hatched six months ago still hold water, but some things have changed, and I’m grateful that we have had that time to alter things.
The inner project manager within me is now itching to list out all the decisions we need to make, create mood boards, check out suppliers, arrange samples, agree visits wherever possible to physically try things out (like the bath), estimate costs, and get on with it…
At long last, what feels like a major milestone has been achieved – the building warrant pack is complete and has been submitted to the Highland Council for review and approval!
This has been so much more of an effort than we ever imagined.
Every SIP panel, roof tile, larch board, power outlet, plug socket, door material, light switch and window frame has had to be specified, documented and checked.
We’ve had the SAP assessment completed by the Energy Consultant and we’re very pleased with the energy rating for the house. It should be snug and cheap to heat, with an Air Source Heat Pump, underfloor heating and tons of insulation.
We’ve had our challenges with the access road. The gradient of the croft leading up to the building plot is pretty steep, and the engineer has had to wind the road around the plot much more than we’d originally thought to keep the gradient of the road useable and within building regs. That means more road, more excavation and more expense, but it has to be done.
Now we sit back and wait, hoping for a smooth approvals process so that we can finally start looking at the build itself next Spring.
We are creeping forwards! Slowly and painfully, but progress is being made…