Diary of the house build

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April 2001

Before any work had started on site, Border Oak had started making the green oak frame in their workshop, which we were able to photograph before it was delivered. Before they leave the workshop, the individual frames are all tested to check that they fit perfectly.

The piling started on 9th April 2001. We were staggered that it only took two days. Each 3-metre steel tube (which had a pinched end like the fin of a bomb) had a few scoops of sand and cement shovelled into the bottom and then it was positioned onto a giant pile driver and driven in. It was constantly checked with a spirit level clamped onto the side to ensure it was vertical, and if necessary, another pile was welded onto the top of the first one until the right depth was reached; at this stage the ends were left standing proud of the earth.

The next job was to dig out the trench for the ground beams, and at this stage conduits were put in under the trenches ready for the water and power supplies. A lean mix then went into the base of the trenches, followed by blockwork shuttering. The piles were all filled with concrete with a metal rod sticking up out of each.

A clay master board then went into the trenches, followed by the steel rod beams which were constructed on site and then lowered in.