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And Then There Was One........

Posted by ProDave , 25 November 2015 · 1,322 views

...... person working on the building site.

Well how things have changed in the last few weeks.

Just a few weeks ago, it was warm and dry, a late unseasonably warm and dry spell. My team of builders were finishing off the basic shell of the house and managed to get the roof covered before it turned wet. We even managed to get the treatment plant into the ground on what turned out to have been the last suitable weekend this year, talk about in the nick of time.

Fast forward to now. The last few weeks have been wet, and cold. Pretty normal for November of course. The days are short and with the dreary weather it's too dark to work beyond 4PM. With the wet weather the water table has come up and the site has reverted back to a swamp, so I won't be doing any more ground work for a while.

So what's all this "and then there was one" bit?

Well there is a distinct difference on the site now. A lack of workmen working. And that my dear friend is a complex issue regarding finances and the economic climate.

This house is to be our retirement house, downsizing from our present one (though it's actually not that much smaller). So not surprisingly the financing of the new build depends partly largely upon selling the old one. We had started the build with a finite pot of money to get us going and our old one has been on the marker just coming up to 1 year now. If the "plan" had worked properly we would now be living either in the static caravan on site, or in a smaller house and we would have the funds to comfortably finish the new house.

Whoever said a plan ever goes to plan? Well it certainly never does when it involves us, and selling property. After almost a year on the market, that's how it remains, on the market, with no sign of a buyer, and all the noises from the estate agents (and I have talked to a lot of them) are "expect it to take 3 years to sell"

I won't pontificate my theories about what is wrong in Scotland and why it's not selling, but to say it has "disrupted" our plans is somewhat of an understatement.

So what am I doing to recover something from this sad situation?

Well frankly I am now single handed fire fighting. We have a building that is not yet completely wind and water tight. Winter has now got here and frankly we (the house) is not ready for winter yet. But I can no longer afford to pay labour for anyone else to work on the house. If I am VERY careful with money, and do just about all the remaining work myself, then I might, just might be able to get the house shell externally finished and then properly wind and water tight before the pot runs completely dry.

So I need to work every daylight hour on the house. But to compound that plan, this is coming up to my busiest time of year and I have to work to earn money, so I can't turn work away.

The immediate priority is to get some tiles on the roof. I have been doing a lot of preparation for that in preparing the fascia boards etc ready, working out the gauging etc and working out what we need. I'm now trying to get all the roof tiles ordered at the best price I can. Then it will be days of work tiling the roof mostly alone. There is a chance I will get some help from another local self builder on a labour exchange basis as I can't afford to pay him.

I am on the verge of ordering the windows having pared the quote down to the bone. It will just be the house windows and doors for now, the sun room and garage will have to wait until later. Realistically we won't get the windows until February.

The wood fibre cladding for the outside won't go on yet, that can't really go on until the windows are in, and the weather is warm enough for the lime render to happen very soon afterwards, so that's realistically not going to happen until next spring now.

This leaves the timber frame exposed to the elements over the winter. Not an ideal situation. So already I have sheeted the whole west facing gable end with plastic sheeting to keep the prevailing weather off that end. I will probably sheet up more of the house as the winter deepens to protect it somewhat.

So until our fortunes change, this has now turned into an exercise of one man, with an almost non existent budget, trying my hardest to progress a partly built house.

It's going to be a long, slow, winter.

Sounds tough, Dave.Let's hope we don't get too many storms this year and you never know, your house might sell- probably more likely than winning the lottery!
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Sounds like me when I done mine. Took me 18 months on my days of work doing all the work to get the build ready for windows. Don't let it get you down. Head up and keep going. All them few hours here and there add up. I had a radio so I was singing away to myself. A bit of noise makes all the difference esp if the singing is as bad as mine.
Have you tiled a roof before. Get it all covered up to keep the rain out. Window and door openings covered in.
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Yes I've tiled two roofs before. But this will be my first time using a fibreglass valley system, and I'm not looking forward to the tedious job of cutting all the tiles where they meet the valleys. I'm not fitting the roof windows at this stage, just tiling over the openings.

My thinking is once I get the house externally finished is to complete all the drainage and landscape the garden. That costs nothing apart from some diesel for the digger, and once that's done i can sell the digger and most of the scaffold. This will probably be the first house in history to have a landscaped garden before the interior has even been started.
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Have you seen the low profile GRP valley system. The two sides of the valley all but meet. I had it as what I wanted for mine but couldn't get it delivered to NI.
http://www.klober.co...y Valley Trough
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As Declan says, a bit each night - at least being self employed you should be able to fill gaps between paid work effectively. Plenty of 500w lights on the scaffold, also a good head torch on your helmet and you are all set. Did many hours on my roof in the winter nights as otherwise it wouldn't get done.

The GRP valley system you can buy from Jewsons now. I used it on my build. I also would be sorely tempted to fit the roof windows as they are an easy fit and will be one less thing to do later when it will be more work.
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I feel your pain Dave. Two builds ago we took the risk and decided to push on and build whilst we were trying to sell our existing house. At one point my borrowings were over 10 x my salary (back in the days when the banks would lend, lend, lend). It was terrifying and I had many sleepless nights, as savings / cash dwindled to nothing. Hopefully, things will pick up again in the new year.
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Borrowing is not an option I want to consider. I would rather halt the build and wait than go down that slippery slope.

The roof windows have to wait as they are an expense that can be delayed without stopping the building becoming wind and water tight. If I buy them now, it might mean something more important like the rendering can't be afforded. The apertures for them are already made in the roof structure, so I will just be battening and tiling across the roof window space. I won't be nailing those few tiles so it will be simple later on to remove the tiles, cut the battens and fit the roof windows.

I wasn't planning on tiling at night.
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Hi Dave, really feel for you and hope you find a buyer soon. Remember, you only need one! Just one word of warning regarding leaving out the Velus windows, we've found that the Edgemere tiles really don't tolerate being walked upon, and worse still if they do crack it tends to be under the overlap where it's easily missed. Hopefully your roof windows are easily accessible without needing to clamber over tiles. If not, I'd recommend leaving a strip un-nailed that you can remove to provide a route to where you need to get to.
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doing the same as u except that I've got 1 more door to hang before we are wind & weather tight. Just in time.

Screwfix are selling LED site lamps - £40 - they are really good.

Hope it doesn't get too windy up there!

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The new house had it's first snow on it today.

I should have the roof tiles this week, so praying for at least some dry weather to crack on with the tiling.
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