Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

January 23rd & 24th

It's getting harder and harder to find the time to keep this going! Melvin and I are battering away, working long hours to try to wade through the list of things that need doing before we move in next Wednesday. He's now finished installing all the radiators, including the two towel rads in the bathrooms, which he hates, and which took him a large chunk of yesterday. We had to open up one of the walls (through the water-tank cupboard behind it) to put a supporting timber in to take the weight of a radiator full of water. I've been pottering on with finishing joinery, mainly skirting and door-frames, but also an oak hatch in the lobby, and, today, the first of the architraves, the timber for which arrived this morning.
The boiler and oil-tank came yesterday, and is sitting in the snug waiting for Jim to come and install it tomorrow.
I had an email from Building Control today, which was the first sign for months that they are doing anything. Apart from asking for an additional £360 fee (to add to the other additional £220 fee - and which they can bloody well whistle for), they have come up with four pages of bullet points they want addressing. Most of these are just things they need adding to the drawings. One is a request for guidance / literature on the use of timber in strawbale construction, so while asking for an extra £360 to do the job they should already have done, they're asking me to do it for them! Still - I suppose that's what we pay our average £1500 council-tax for. Nothing in the email is any cause for concern, but it's something I'll have to find the time to address.
BT have run into problems laying a cable to the site. The new cable they're laying down the valley is all underground, and they've no way of bringing it across the narrow stone bridge out on the road. Whatever they do to get around this, it's going to delay things, and there's now no chance of having the phone connected by next Wednesday. This means that I'll have to find office-space elsewhere, possibly in the house we're renting, if it's available for another month. More expense!
Melvin has finished insulating the loft, which now has 340mm of fibreglass on the floor, compared with the 200mm set out in the building regs.
While all this has been going on, Walker Groundworks have finally pitched up and started the landscaping. The priority is to get a decent surface down for vehicular access to the site. It's been getting very tricky driving out at night, with the steep slope impossibly muddy and slippery. The type 1 bottoming(!) they've spent the last two days spreading has already made a huge difference.
With no sign of our mains water connection, and the memory of Hamish's horrendous water-borne gut-rot of 2006 still vivid, we've decided to use bottled water for drinking and teeth-cleaning for the time-being. The spring that is currently feeding the house has plenty of pressure, and has been used by our neighbours for drinking for years, but we're reluctant to use our un-immune weans as guinae-pigs.


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