Up and Away

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. It’s mainly up to the brickies this next couple of weeks who are pretty much left to their own devices to muck up and crack on with building the extension and the internal brickwork. It may not look that big from these photos, but when finished this chalet bungalow will offer c. 3,000 sq ft of living accommodation.

However, we’ve had to buy more bricks in. Some cheeky buggers have been stealing supplies off site overnight. Must say, in 15 years of building, this is the first time we’ve had someone nick our building blocks! It’s been gradual – now we think about it, there were some bags of cement that went AWOL last week, but we thought we’d under-ordered. It all makes sense now as it was more prominent this week when all the bricks were loaded out in to piles for ease of work the next day, only to find that some had gone walk-about in the morning. We hope someone is sleeping better at night knowing that ReVamp has contributed to their build!

It is a bit of a pain though, as we now can’t get everything set up at the end of each day to hit the next day running. We’re having to get deliveries on site, first thing in the morning, for what we need that day. We’ve been careful not to leave other materials/machinery on site, but stealing bricks…really?!

We’re now determined to get this house up and secure as soon as possible!

I’ve done a walk-around on site with Mac and his partner Andy this week too, so we can determine the final layout of the house downstairs. When you’re doing a property to sell on, it’s all about trying to make it appeal to the widest audience possible.

As a chalet bungalow, given this is the 5th we’ve now done, we’ve got a bit of experience with what people are looking for. There is often the demand to have a downstairs bedroom with a fully accessible bathroom should there be a less-mobile family member. We have therefore rejigged the downstairs layout to make the downstairs bedroom bigger so it could be used as a master bedroom too, allowing for both a walk-in bathroom/wet room with full disabled access, as well as a walk-in wardrobe. We’ll also allow for a 33 inch door in to the ensuite for wheelchair access should it be needed. To achieve this we’re taking out the wall you can see in the picture above to enlarge the front bedroom, and moving the downstairs toilet over to the left a bit. We’ve worked it so we’ll still have good space for a utility room and a cloakroom area in the hallway. Utility and cloakroom for me are fundamental requirements in a 5 bedroom home, with all the people and kit that invariably come with it!

At the end of the first week of building, the extension was well underway.

By the end of the second week of building all the internal and external brick work was complete with the cavity insulation and cavity lintels over the window and door openings. We always upgrade to super heavy duty lintels for door openings to accommodate bi-folds or sliding doors. Timber wall plates then go on top of the internal block work, laid on a bed of cement and secured with steel wall straps ready for the new truss roof. Cavity closures are finally put in place to protect any openings as required by building regs.

Additionally, two internal walls were upgraded to 7 newton block work providing a much stronger support for the steels that will be going in. Two building piers were created to support the small steel that will run across the centre of the house, which will be supporting one end of the larger 8m double steel going in down the middle back length of the house and extension to support the new truss roof.

Alongside this, a carpenter has been in to create the internal ground floor studwork to allow for the new downstairs bedroom, ensuite and dressing room, along with the separate toilet. For the studwork we use CLS C24 grade treated timber – good job given the awful driving rain we’ve had the past couple of weeks! Using treated timber ensures the studwork won’t be affected if water gets to it.

Finally, the scaffolding went up on Wednesday so we’re all ready to take things to the next level.

During the second week of build, as the brick layers could be left to their own devices, we meanwhile made the most of half term and escaped to the pistes of Alpe D’Huez en famille.

So, a week away and all the brick work is up to wall plate level, the stud work is in and the supporting walls, padstones and piers are in place ready for the trusses. It took 10 working days for 2 brick layers to complete all this required brick work and get it prepped in readiness for the steels and roof that are arriving next week.

Mac has taken a few calls and messages to check progress whilst we’ve been away, and receive pictures of the supporting walls and padstones that have been built to ensure all is in place as required. He’s also booked in the crane and steels to arrive Monday, arranged a couple of labourers via an agency for early next week to assist with taking down the roof, and the trusses are booked in to arrive Wednesday. Who knew he was 3300ft up at the Pic Blanc glacier whilst getting everything organised for the following week?!

Cheers from Alpe D’Huez!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *