SECRETS OF SUCCESS Back with a bang!

Selfbuilder + Homemaker is following first-time self-builders Andy and Sarah Ball from the start of their project to completion. The last time we heard from them, they had just lost their builder. Now, a year on, the project is firmly back on. Sarah takes up the story on the demolition and groundworks

Before the

digger comes in there’s a lot of recycling to organise


ell, it’s taken a bit of time, but we’re off. We have demolished the old house and the plot is

ready to get building.

If you’ve been following the build of Number 41, you’ll know that it’s been a bit stop-start for us. We lost two builders, but now we are back on track and it’s all systems go. We have Paul, a contractor who is managing the build for us. He’s just completed a larger, but similar, modern super-insulated house less than a mile and a half from us, which was designed by the same architect. Living on the plot for four years has given us a real insight into how the new house will work through the seasons. We have made a few changes to the original design – some things to make the build cheaper and others to make the most of the things we like about the position of the house.

The cost of the build was originally

prohibitive for the site. The position and size of the plot means we have to be

may/june 2018

realistic about what it’s likely to be worth on completion. Andy and I had discussed removing the cantilevers and straightening up the house to reduce the amount of steel required. It also makes it a simpler house to build, but we were both keen not to create a boring house. We both like new homes to look modern. Having a 1950s flat roof house already on site meant there was a precedent to have a modernist design and that was part of the attraction to the plot. Dan, our architect made the changes, and we love it as much as the first design. I think we were both relieved that it retains its clean lines and that we have maintained the ground floor plan in its entirety. The first floor works better for us than it did before. Of course, we have lost some of the detailing, but Dan has put in some interesting design features. Andy and I were keen to have windows on the side where the car park to the recreation ground is screened off by trees. If we hadn’t lived in the house, we

wouldn’t have known what an exciting place it is for squirrels and birds. Because of this we have had two large windows put in so that we can watch the wildlife throughout the year. On the east side of the house and next to the car park, we thought it wouldn’t be very private, but for most of the year the leaves on the trees give us cover. With the changes made, it was time for action. To demolish a building, all the services have to be removed. As we aren’t having gas in the new house we had to arrange to get the meter taken away and the gas cut off back to the road. The electric meter needed to be moved and the water diverted. Once all this was done, the demolition could start. Before the digger comes in, there’s a

lot of recycling to organise. Sorting the materials into different piles means more of it can be reused. Once they had it sorted, the big Hyundai excavator was delivered. It was huge! It certainly looked massive on our plot. But the driver’s 29

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