Work on this new four bedroom house on a green-field site in Ballogie, Aberdeenshire started in mid-November and despite days of temperatures not getting above 0⁰ the contractor has made decent progress. One of the key design demands was to make the finished product as low energy consuming as possible.
The first item on the construction schedule was the enabling works for the site. These included clearing the site of any vegetation, stone rubble and creating a storage area for the contractor. This was done over a couple of days and it was remarkable to see the site, that had been a green field, overgrown and littered with collapsed drystane dykes, transformed into the blank canvas it became almost overnight.
Up next was the scraping back of the topsoil in the area where the house will be. This again was swiftly completed which meant the contractor could then get the outline of the house plotted onto the then exposed hard earth. This was a fairly exciting moment because no matter how many times you’ve seen the house in your head or explored the model of it in the office, nothing compares to seeing exactly how it’s going to sit on the site, being able to stand at what will be the front door for the first time is fantastic!
Once the outline of the house had been plotted on the site work began on digging the foundations. It was while this was happening that the first unexpected event on site occurred. Whilst digging the foundations a surprise water pipe was found running across the site which did bring about a slight delay whilst Scottish Water were consulted and a solution for what to do with the pipe was found. Luckily the delay wasn’t a long one and the contractor managed to get the concrete for the foundations poured before a particularly vicious cold snap took hold of the site, stopping any potential work with concrete.
As soon as the newly poured concrete was dry the outline of the house was plotted again, this time on the foundations, to be doubly sure about its position. At this point, the light grey concrete is highly visible against the dark brown soil and it’s easy to look at the building and think this is going to be much smaller than imagined. It is however an illusion and worrying at this point is to be avoided. The house will seem to change size through the various stages of construction.
With the foundations poured and house marked out, the contractor could then start work on constructing the garage portion and erecting the steelwork. This is another point where the house appears to change size but at this point it starts to feel larger than planned, again this is just visual trickery. It does however mark a special moment because at this point you get to experience the house in 3D. You can stand in the kitchen looking towards the fields beyond and imagine what it will be like to stand at the spot when the house is complete.
With temperatures now regularly below -5 degrees and the onslaught of the festive period, work on site has understandably slowed down somewhat. This doesn’t however stop any of the background work on the project, the ordering of materials and services etc. and everyone working to make sure that when the weather improves any time lost as a result of it is gained back easily. Here’s to 2013 and completion!