We work with varying clients on a range of projects, each of which presents its own set of unique challenges. We find that the best way of overcoming issues is by getting a better idea of the story behind a build. This could mean discussing the logistics of a 200 plot development, or understanding the specific vision behind of a self-build.
Today’s case study concerns a self-build in Attleborough, Norfolk.
We first heard about John Cuthbert’s project when we received a quotation request via our web form. The project required a block and beam floorfor a new dwelling. Like many of the self-build projects that we are asked to work on, John’s was not as straight forward as first supposed but we are pleased to hear that things are now progressing steadily.
The story below, kindly penned by Laura Cuthbert, gives an insight into carrying out a block and beam installation independently, and may be useful to any readers that are planning on carrying out their own build in the future.
Our self-build project was driven by the need for more accommodation. Spiralling house prices coupled with the cost of moving made this look a viable project and with the help of our architect Andrew Matthews of ADM Architectural Services we were able to secure planning permission to develop at the rear of an existing garage and workshop.
We had originally planned to develop the garage, but this proposal has made the build a whole lot easier and ultimately allowed us to retain the garage and raise the height to provide additional storage. With building regulations passed we were ready for phase one of the build, the footings, only to receive the dreaded phone call from the ground workers that the footings had failed due to a large oak tree that was within 10m.
Our building Inspector provided 2 solutions either dig the footings deeper ie. 2 metres or build a raft.
On the advice of our structural engineer Simon of Plandescil the raft appeared to be the most costly of the options, so we decided to dig the footings 2 metres deep where they are within 10m of the tree and then step 300mm at 2metre intervals. I have to say that re-digging footings is a lot harder that doing it right the first time and spending time in the bucket cleaning out the corners was not an experience I’d like to repeat. Still with the footings dug and 16 cubic metres of concrete later the footings were complete.
Next step was to install a beam floor, so after some research, found out what this entailed then contacted suppliers for their expertise.
We chose Floorspan Contracts from Wisbech who provided us with an excellent customer focused service. Despite my many alterations, forgetting to mention the 3 inch York stone flooring and AGA the staff were always very accommodating, and I honestly felt that nothing was too much trouble. Once the design was finally signed off the floor was delivered on time and was surprisingly easy to install with the comprehensive instructions provided.
As you can see two months on the problems with the footings are all a very distant memory and we are now at first floor level with attic trusses being installed. I can wholeheartedly recommend Richard from Enviro Timber Engineering who provided an excellent bespoke service for our build.
So, what’s next? Getting watertight for winter is our next priority...”
We are really please to have worked with John and Laura on this project and would urge any that are thinking about carrying out a similar project to follow their example- combining careful planning and research with a problem-solving attitude to unforeseen problems. Floorspan do offer an installation service, that many of our self-build customers utilise as a cost-effective way of ensuring peace of mind. However, we are glad that, in this case, self-installation worked out for the best and we hope to see pictures of the completed home in the coming months.
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