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.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Moving inexorably towards D-Day

Last week I was delighted to find the registration of my warrant application lying on the doormat. My email asking building control to try to hurry it along must have worked. All they need now is SEPA's approval of the sewage plant that's being installed by the vendor of the plot. This has already been dealt with, so I asked the vendor's solicitor to do the needful.
Spoke to Walker Groundworks and arranged for them to start the foundation towards the end of this week. Exciting times!
On the flip-side, progress with the drawings seems to come in faltering steps, with each new set of drawings revealing a fresh batch of misunderstandings, misconceptions and errors. The foundation details and calculations are just about there, I think, so at least we can make a start while the frame details are being sorted.
I've had three quotes for roof trusses, each a few hundred pounds lower than its predecessor. The latest is £2800 + VAT for the 28 trusses and two ladders, from a workshop in Northumberland.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

May 10th - Warrant delayed

Spoke to Building control yesterday, a week after sending in my warrant application. Apparently the regs changed on May 1st, and heaps of people submitted their applications at the end of April to sneak in before the change. Typical of me to miss the deadline. In my defence, I had no idea a change was in the offing, and still have no idea what has changed. The upshot is that the department now has a huge backlog, and I was warned that I'll not hear anything for at least a month. This blows my schedule completely out of the water, and I need to investigate the consequences of pressing ahead regardless.

Friday, 4 May 2007

May 4th - Interest payment

Had a call from our solicitor to say that the vendors want £880 interest because of the month-long gap between exchange of missives and payment. This delay was entirely down to the planning department's incompetence, and I'm wondering if there's anything I can do about it. £880 would probably pay for a good condensing boiler or three of the velux units.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Building warrant application sent

Let battle commence. Today sent off a building warrant application with a cheque for £760 (based on an estimated build cost of £75,000) and drawings and calculations for the foundations. Interesting article appeared today on the BBC website, and a fabulous oak-framed strawbale house was featured on Grand Designs.

Planning Granted - 1st May 2007!

After a mere 6 months and one week, the Planning department have done what they initially promised to do in eight weeks and given a decision on our application. And, bless 'em - they've approved it. It's taken a lot of badgering and the involvement of a local councillor to keep their minds on the job, but we're finally in a position to finalise the purchase of the plot and, hopefully, get cracking on the ground-works. Now then - time to commence proceedings with Building Control...