Laying the Foundations
Tuesday 28th June 2011
It was all systems go after the Mayor of St Neots dug the first turf in our ground breaking ceremony. After pegging the ground, the diggers moved in and we began work on the foundations, laying metre deep trenches, which were inspected and approved by the local building inspector.
After that, a beam and block floor, supplied by Floorspan of Wisbech was laid down. Beam and block floors are becoming more and more popular as they use pre stressed concrete beams, can be laid in a day and eliminate the risk to ground floors of soil shrinkage or heave. On top of this, we laid 140mm coursing blocks around the perimeter and along the line of the internal walls. This will help us reach Code Level 4 as it creates a well allowing the use of thicker insulation.
The foundations took three weeks to complete, which is absolutely spot on for a house this size. The only slight glitch came when we hit a water pipe we hadn’t been aware of while digging the foundations for the garage. Fortunately there’s a hire shop down the road so we were able to pump the water away, and the pipe was repaired quickly, so it was a nuisance rather than a crisis.
For a typical Potton Home, we’d have applied for planning permission taking account of any Code related requirements, including energy efficiency and water usage. Under the Code, you’re awarded points for the various measures you take to make your home sustainable.There are all sorts of things you can do to meet the requirements of the Code which we’ll be looking at as the build progresses.
So far, our coursing blocks and insulated floor are the major practical work we’ve done towards making our barn as sustainable as possible. But there’s something else we’re doing that will count towards our final assessment; we’ve introduced an on-site waste management plan, so have skips for recyclable material and we’re also monitoring our water usage by drawing all the water we need from a tank.
The Potton timber frame kit arrives on July 4. Of course, normally it would be here as soon as we’d finished the foundations but as this is a special project, we’re extending the build time to give people a really good idea of how it’s done. I’ll update in a month to let you know how work’s progressing.
Brent Ackerman - Project Manager
Click here to see Brent Ackerman's video on laying the foundations.