Bungalow construction - Preparation
This is the site of our new bungalow - it was the vegetable plot of the property that had been our family home for many years. The site area is about 1/4 acre - one third of the original garden. We had the luxury of being able to supervise the building work whilst living on-site in our old home. No on-site caravans for us ..... At the top of the site, through the gap in the hedge, was a productive orchard. We had hoped not to disturb the orchard during the building work, but the amount of top-soil and clay taken off the site was more than we anticipated, and we ended up "trashing" the orchard for somewhere to stockpile it! Running down the left hand side of the site is a very small drainage ditch. We obtained the permission of the Environment Agency to culvert part of this ditch in order to gain a bit of extra plot width.
This is the hole that Steve dug for a "Percolation Test" to see how quickly water would drain away; this would determine the size of the soakaway we would need to take our surface water. It sounds easy when the manual says "dig a 1 meter cube hole" - not so easy when you have to do it with just a shovel and pick-axe. Steve filled the round hole with water and one week later it hadn't dropped! We'd expected this result because the subsoil was solid clay; so we had to come up with an alternative - a "French Drain".
Close to where the corner of the Bungalow would be there was a young Oak tree. We obtained permission to fell the tree, but the presence of the roots meant we had to go particularly deep with the bungalow footings in this area. This is the tree just after Steve had taken a chain-saw to it. Betsy and our neighbour Charlie were pulling on a rope tied to the top of the tree to make sure it fell in the right directions. Fortunately Steve's calculations on how long the rope needed to be proved accurate!