Bungalow construction - Groundwork

Building plot

The groundwork was probably the most problematic part of the build, and issues such as clay subsoil, tree roots and the sloping site resulted in a significant budget overrun. The picture on the left shows Betsy "rescuing" plants from her beloved garden just minutes before the JCB arrived and began to strip the topsoil.

Topsoil removal Topsoil removal

We had hoped to pile up the topsoil and clay from the footings without encroaching on the orchard at the top of the garden, but there was just too much of it and in the end the orchard had to go!

Ditch cleared offloading pipes Ditch culveting

On the far left you can see the ditch which we obtained permission from the Environment Agency to culvert. This gave us a bit more plot width to play with, but added more to the Groundwork costs. Access to the plot was a continuing issue - here John is ferrying the culvert pipes in his dumper truck and dropping them into position using his JCB.

Bridge pipes in place Bridge concreted Water trench

To reach the bungalow the driveway had to cross a stream. A bridge already existed, but had to be widened and strengthened. The solution was to drop 4 reinforced concrete pipes into the stream bed and pour concrete around them. There was sufficient depth between the top of the bridge and the final level of the driveway to bury Gas, Electric, BT and Sewer pipes; but the mains water pipes had to go under the stream for extra frost protection.

Mud everywhere Mud everywhere Blocks arrive Blockwork begins

We ran into bad weather as work on the footings got underway and we spent many hours trying to get the worst of the mud off the neighbour's driveway. But soon the blockwork began to rise out of the ground.

Utilities trenches Utilities trenches Utilities trenches

Finally, trenches for all the services were dug. Apart from the sewer, all the services had to be brought along the neighbour's drive, as a result of which it was in a very messy state for many months until we were in a position to have it re-surfaced.