Saturday, January 31, 2009

Timeline Prologue

Reading the previous post I realised that a bit more background information might be useful.

We bought the house just before our daughter Caroline was born in late 2001. The idea was to move in at least 3 months before she was due, but the mortgage surveyor insisted that we get some damp-proofing done before completing. The company (recommended by the estate agent - no longer recommended by me!), proceeded to do the work, got it wrong and then didn't reinstate the plaster or skirtings that were lost in the process. In the end it took 4 visits spread over about the same number of weeks to get the basics of the damp proofing done (drilling and injecting into the brickwork) and the plasterwork is still hanging off in the living room 7 years later. The damp proofing itself has a 10 year warranty, so even though the plaster might be off the walls will be dry - haha!

The living room "damp" was described by the first workman as the "worst case of wet rot that he had ever seen" with loads of tendrils pushing out the plaster on the inside of the wall. In the end this turned out to be the roots of next door's climbing plant which had grown right through the somewhat powdery mortar and bricks! This still needed to be fixed of course but we were relieved that there was no rot. Another week or two went by before they could visit again.

In the end we managed to move in about 3 weeks before Caroline was born, and haven't really stopped since. Minor bits of DIY have been done but all the major stuff has been put off in anticipation of extending later on (of course at the time I didn't think it would take quite so long).

The next summer I got organised and did a quick survey of the house and started to draft this up in Autocad. I guess this part took about a week. Then the design work started........


So, where is it up to?

Well, I managed to get a permitted development certificate in September, after a lot of juggling volumes to get it under the maximum of 50m³ over the original pre-1948 volume of the house.

This was complicated by the existing rear extension (mid-1980s) and my initial assumption that the 1898 outhouse (shown on the original drawings for the street) would be included in the calculation. But the council decided that I would need to prove that this had actually been built (archaeology of footings?) and only let me know that this was the case 1 day before the deadline for submission of amendments.

In the end I had to do a very detailed volume breakdown, but this was preferable to having to do a full planning submission. Currently the push is on to get the working drawings completed. First priority is to sort out the structure, closely followed by the specification and schedules.

Part of the reason for getting this blog going was to compare notes with other designers and owners about what works and what doesn't in terms of specified products and design solutions.
Whilst it is fairly easy to trawl the net and get a complete overdose of production information from manufacturers, there are surprisingly few examples of extended terraced houses shown online (apart from on estate agents sites of course). As an architect I find this really surprising since these are amongst the most common form of housing in the UK.

As this blog progresses, I intend to pick apart the various bits of the building that I'm thinking about and post some of the more helpful links to publications, web sites and professional bodies, that deal with those elements. It's also likely that I will have to include a rant section as well (there are a few of these that I'm storing up).

Friday, January 30, 2009