Site Progress

What else has been happening whilst we have been waiting for electricity? Around the site there has been steady (if slow) progress.

 Panarama banana shaped barns......but just look at those clean and neatly stacked bricks!

Panarama banana shaped barns......but just look at those clean and neatly stacked bricks!

Brick cleaning..................is finished!!!! After a herculean effort by Richard and to a pressing deadline, all the bricks are cleaned and stacked, or have already been built into barn 3. It's not been a fun job and friends and family have all chipped in (geddit?), but the vast majority of it was done by Mr Brick himself. I think it would be safe to say that he would never want to clean another brick in his life. The front of the barns has been cleared of bricks and looks much tidier, and the bricks are all nicely stacked onto pallets in the courtyard.

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Windows in barn 2 are installed and make it look so much better. The 'barn' doors are also fitted in both barn 1 and 2. These look like half timbered barn doors from the outside but from the inside just look like a window. The idea was to preserve the appearance of stables and cowsheds but without having a load of long glass doors and windows.

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Barn 3 is almost ready for the roof. There is some final brickwork to finish off the apexes and then the felt, battens and tiles will be added. The bricklayer is back with us next week so we are hopeful of some speedy process in the good weather.  We already have residents in the kitchen - I startled a baby blackbird yesterday which had fledged from it's nest in the floor joists. The tell-tale droppings in the middle of the kitchen gave it away. At least it has time to grow up and leave home before the roof and windows go in!

 

The internal feature wall in the kitchen in barn 1 is reclaimed brick and looks marvellous apart from the stubborn damp patch. The builder has conducted a thorough guttering,  roof and cavity inspection and it seems that there is definitely no rain getting in, not that there has been much rain in this scorching summer. We have applied heat directly onto the brick and the damp recedes but then seems to reappear overnight, so the theory at the moment is that the walls are still drying out on the party wall where there is little ventilation. There is no doubt that the walls and bricks were thoroughly and repeatedly drenched before the roof and windows went in and it has taken ages for the humidity to go down.

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Electricity update

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It's getting very close for a final go ahead for electricity.  We thought we had passed the finish post after all the documents were signed and we had paid a kings ransom for the privilege and had a date from Western Power for installation in September. However, after instructing our builder to start the groundwork it has now transpired that we haven't had the final go ahead and there a more bills to pay. Funnily enough, starting the work seems to have prompted some action. Talk about a tortuous (and expensive) process. It has been a traumatic time with a 3 way solicitor exchange and deeds discussed and signed by board of trustees at their quarterly board meetings. It has been beyond a joke, but we are looking forward now to completing barn 1. We may actually move in this year!!!!!!

Again, still no electricity

 Indoor water feature

Indoor water feature

 The scaffolding is getting higher and so is the brickwork.

The scaffolding is getting higher and so is the brickwork.

We are wondering if we will ever get electricity. The paperwork has (finally) been drawn up and has been to the charitable trust's quarterly board meeting. Yes, I did say quarterly. There is no wonder this is taking for ever. However, we have heard nothing yet. And no-one has asked us for money so all we can do is send emails and make phone calls.

Meanwhile the build is continuing on barn 3 with a mad scramble to clean bricks to keep up with the brickie. The weather has been either summery with 25C temperatures or pouring down with rain and cold and horrible so it's been a case of making walls while the sun shines!

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Still no electricity

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Well, it's April and we still have no electricity. In fact, we are still waiting for the legals to be competed. Absolutely shocking state of affairs. We regularly contact Western Power, who then speak to their solicitors, who then speak to the solicitors for the landowner whose land we need to cross to obtain electricity. We can't speak to any solicitors direct, except of course our own, as the other solicitors are acting for their clients and not us. We have been told that it is 'very close' since January. Thank goodness it's not 'in the middle' otherwise we'll be waiting for electricity this time next year.

So after that mini rant about electricity, where are we with everything else? The good news is that despite the repeated spells of white stuff out of the sky, barn 3 is progressing nicely. It is almost at first floor window lintel stage and is looking really nice. We went 'upstairs' the  other day to check out the first floor and it really gives a feel for the views from the windows and the roof height - we were a little concerned that we would be 'stooping' where the slope of the roof meets the top of the walls, but it looks like it is going to be airy enough for me at least, and only very tall folk will have to be a little bit careful.

Barn 1 hasn't been finished yet. The electricity situation has dampened down the drive to push to a completion. When we have a date for electricity it will hopefully be all systems go and we will re-order the kitchen to time it to be fitted at the same time as the electricity is switched on. The bathrooms can also be completed as the water will also be connected up at the same time as the electricity. We seem to have paid a lot of bills eg water and electricity without seeing any of the actual products! Interestingly we did get a bill for a tv license which was mildly amusing, and no, we didn't pay it. While rain and snow has stopped play (brick cleaning) we have been doing some of the more fun research like looking at lighting and wooden floors and bathrooms. I have to admit that it would be nice to have a normal life back and actually live in the barns.

Now there is a push to clear the front of the barns. The huge pile of bricks to clean has almost been converted into a pile of rubble and pallets of bricks. The process entails digging through the brick pile and sorting out the good bricks from the broken bricks. The good bricks are cleaned and stacked on pallets and ultimately converted back into barn building. The brick pile is the remains of barn 3 which was scooped up and shifted around to the front of the barns.  As we have time pressure to tidy up the front (at the neighbours request) the good bricks are being partially cleaned (the big lumps of mortar knocked off) and then palleted up ready to be moved into the courtyard where they can be finished off and used for the rebuild. This has become a critical process as the bricklayers are running out of cleaned bricks.

 
 

Now isn't this a cheery sight? The log burner is fully commissioned and being lit daily. It's the first thing the builders do when they are having their breaks! 

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Barn 2 has no more progress although the windows and doors have been ordered and will be delivered at the end of April. That will make a dramatic difference to the look of the buildings and will mean that we can take most of the railings down from the front.  We are hopeful of faster progress from now on assuming we get some flipping electricity.

Feb Progress report

 the brick cleaning Pile and chief technician

the brick cleaning Pile and chief technician

 Reclaimed brick and quarry tile hearth

Reclaimed brick and quarry tile hearth

Well, this shouldn't take long as nothing much has happened. Except that is for the exemplary brick cleaning and site tidying efforts of Richard. Also the joists and floor boards have been delivered and put in place in barn 3......mostly.......there is an issue to be resolved around the position of one of the joists to allow the log burner flue to go through to the roof. However, whilst there has been a sad lack of building progress, quietly behind the scenes we have been:- 

  • reworking the bathrooms for barn 1 since the originally requested items are no longer in stock.....arghhhhh. 
  • planning bathrooms for barn 2
  • researching suppliers for engineered oak flooring for barn 1 (and the others if it all works well).
  • researching and buying tiles for barn 1 downstairs loo
  • trying to progress the electricity connection....just waiting for the legals now.
  • building a hearth in barn 3 and a buying a log burner. The quarry tiles were from the dairy in the farmhouse. We found them in one of the barns and wheelbarrowed them over to the garden 'just in case'. I really like them and think we will use them in the next barn too.
  • gently heating and dehumidifying barn 1 to bring down the humidity
  • having the window and door manufacturer fix the locks on the doors and windows. It had been a bit disappointing as the doors looked absolutely brilliant but were all a bit stiff and some we couldn't even open. Now they are almost perfect - just a few more tweaks and all will be well.
  • ordering and picking up a date stone. We wanted a nice big stone above the garage, and decided to go with 2017 rather than 2018 since that was when the build started, and in fact finished on barns 1 and 2. Maybe we will even move in before 2019! (lo).