Electrical Planning Meeting Arranged

We’ve been wondering in the past few days about our electrical planning, as we read somewhere that this needs to be completed 8-10 weeks before construction starts.

Because our construction start date has being brought forward so much (as we are filling a gap in Viebrockhaus’ schedule due to another project being delayed), we are now only seven weeks away and we still didn’t have an appointment.

A quick e-mail to Viebrockhaus and we have been able to persuade them to arrange the electrical planning on the day after the decor planning.

This has the advantage that we only need to drive to Kaarst once rather than twice, and the disadvantage of having so many decisions all at once.

Since we have already decided most of the decor during our first trip to Kaarst back in August, hopefully we will cope!

Service Meeting & Groundwork Price (Finally!)


It was an early start this morning as we had to be at Viebrockhaus at 9am, and the traffic is never good going that way. Additionally, we had another important meeting with a Sausage and Egg McMuffin at 8.45!

Having successfully completed breakfast, we arrived at Viebrockhaus and were immediately greeted with the news that the seemingly long awaited groundwork price offer for the plot had indeed magically appeared late yesterday evening.

In fairness, it is still less than two weeks since the survey, so it didn’t really take long. We now have a copy of the 16-page survey report which seems to go into a lot of detail.

The price (which is a fixed price) came in a couple of thousand Euros above the latest estimate, but a couple of thousand Euros below the original estimate we had received. Reason – protection for the cellar from water during the building phase. Since it is below the original offer, we will not get another offer from a third party, which could only serve to delay the start and risk complicating the warranty for the house.

We then proceeded to go through the plans for the cellar, ground floor and first floor, incorporating a few more minor changes which hadn’t already been added to the plan, and shifting the house left and right a few centimetres into the exact place we want it.

The plans are now locked in, and the paperwork for the planning approval is now being done.

Picture credit: pixabay.com

We’ve bought the plot!


Today we are pleased to announce that we have taken a big step forward. At 4.30 pm we met with the current owner of the plot and the notary for the reading and signing of the contract.

After a few formalities, filling in passport numbers and tax IDs, the notary read out the entire contract, all 10 pages of it and then we and the current owner put ink to paper.

We left the notary’s office about 5.40 pm as fully signed up future owners of the plot!

An observation about notaries – we can confirm what we read in someone else’s blog, that they have their own special express speed for reading out long documents – it was difficult to keep up at times! Fortunately, we had both read through the draft when we received it last week, so were able to follow all of the points.

The original plot (as originally purchased by the seller) is now being split into three plots (of which we are buying just the one), and the formalities are not yet complete, so it is not yet possible to enter the sale into the land registry (and we also don’t have pay for it just yet).

Fortunately, this should be finished in the next few days, and should not delay the start of our build. Hopefully, by the time the documents for the planning application are all prepared following the meeting tomorrow morning, this will be finished, and will not delay submitting the planning application or hold it up.

If all continues to go to plan, building will start 49 days from today. When put like that it all rather does sound a little tight, so we will keep our fingers very tightly crossed.

Picture credit: pixabay.com

Our Sign Has Arrived

Not very much has happened in the past few days. At the moment we are simply waiting for the meeting with the Notary on Monday afternoon, the “Service Meeting” (for finalising the planning application) on Tuesday morning, the kitchen planning on 8th October and the decor planning on 12 October.

Since we have to go to the showroom in Kaarst for the decor planning meeting, Viebrockhaus is kindly putting us up in a hotel for the night so that we can be there first thing.

We think we will have to go to Kaarst yet again for the electrical planning,  we will hopefully get the same offer next time too. With hindsight, maybe we should have asked if we also can do the electrical planning while we are there on 12th October, but it might be a little overwhelming to have to make so many decisions in one go!

For something to do while we are waiting, we have added three new things to the blog (further down the home page):

  1. There is now a Contact Us link, so if you want to ask any questions, or just to say hello please feel free!
  2. To make sure we don’t lose track of all the appointments and meetings, we have added a Milestone Plan.
  3. We have added links to a few other blogs (in German) of other people currently building with Viebrockhaus. We are reading those blogs on a daily basis to inform and educate ourselves what we can expect a few months down the line.

Also, in case you didn’t notice – the sketch of the house at the top of the page has now been updated so that it more closely matches the brickwork.

Today we visited the site just to see how the other houses have moved on in the past week and were pleasantly surprised to see that our sign (with our names on it) has been installed already!

Viebrockhaus Sign

We still have no news about the results of the ground survey and we have still not received the fixed price offer – surely that must come soon – maybe it will magically appear by the time we meet with our consultant on Tuesday.

Kitchen Planning, Draft Contract, Mortgage and Updated Draft Plan

Quite a few updates over the last two days, so we have split this update into four sections…

Kitchen Planning

Yesterday morning, we made some further progress with the kitchen planning, making a new mock-up in the online planning tool. We have now added wall cupboards all the way around as we worked out that the vent in the ceiling does not prevent us doing so.


With a print out in our hands, we then went and had a great discussion with a kitchen consultant at a local furniture store, who kindly made a draft version within his planning software and gave us an approximate price for the cabinets, electrical devices and installation.

The price for the cabinets as well as the hob, oven, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and installation were roughly in line with our expectations (only a little bit higher, but you can always spend more than you first want to!)

The only item, where we may have underestimated, was the cooker hood.

Because of the energy efficient construction of the house, we need to have an air circulation hood (which puts the filtered air back into the house) rather than a traditional extractor hood (which puts the air through the wall and outside).

We learned that there are two types of air circulation hoods available:

  • one where you need to buy and change the filter every few months
  • one where you don’t have to change the filter (for 10 years or more) which works by filtering the air and then splitting the remaining molecules with a plasma catalyser so that only oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour remain and get put back into the room (see here for a more technical / accurate description of how it works.)

The second option has (of course) a much higher initial cost but this should be recovered over time by not having to buy filters, and the overall air quality of what is put into the room should be better. We will probably go for this but haven’t finally decided. Maybe it depends on the groundwork costs, which we (frustratingly) are still waiting for.

Since we need to have the plans for the kitchen finalised quite soon (so that Viebrockhaus know where to put the water and electrical installations) we have made an appointment for 8th October to go back to work out the final details for the kitchen and to place an order.

Draft Contract for the Plot

Today we finally received the draft contract for the purchase of the plot which we have been waiting for for a while now. We have one or two small questions but in general, everything seems to be in order and as expected. Our meeting with the notary for the formal reading and signing of the contract is now confirmed for next Monday.


Also today, we had another short meeting with the bank to hand over the KFW 40 paperwork (which confirms the Energy Efficient Construction and eligibility for the reduced interest rate and €10,000 bonus) as well as the construction specification from Viebrockhaus. Everything is now in place and the mortgage contract can now be prepared.

Updated Draft Plan

Later, during the afternoon, we received the latest version of the draft plan from Viebrockhaus, and have checked it this evening. There are a few small mistakes which still need to be corrected during our ‘Service Meeting’ next week, mainly caused by changes that we had earlier made and then unmade not having been completely reset.

  • The utility room and downstairs WC are slightly the wrong shape and size now, caused by us having previously added a shower in the downstairs WC and later removing it.
  • One of the cellar window grates is directly under the utility room door, which is not where we originally had drawn it – at the moment is not clear whether this is intentional or not (it may be actually a good place to have it). We have made a note to check this
  • The carport is still drawn in the wrong place – actually where it is drawn is outside of the area it is allowed to go (as it cannot be more than 15 meters from the boundary). We need to make sure that this is correct on the planning permission request so that we don’t cause any delays.)
  • The outside tap has jumped from the sidewall (behind where our fence/gate will originally go) to the front wall. This may be unavoidable – we read somewhere that for hygiene reasons it is not allowed to the last tap on the pipe – in which case maybe it makes sense to have it at the front. We will just need to find a way to ensure that no-one steals our water!
  • The bathroom layout (Shower and wash basin) needs to be reset to the original plan as we have now decided NOT to have the L-shaped wall for the walk-in shower, and to revert to having glass shower walls. When we looked at the 3D model provided by Viebrockaus we realised that the L-shaped wall would block most of the light out from the bathroom (which we might not like)

Our adviser at Viebrockhaus continues to be very helpful and patient with all of our changes and un-changes, and we are now very close to being done with the plan, ready for the planning permission paperwork.

Hopefully, the groundwork costs will be here soon…

News from Viebrockhaus

We had a surprise in our email from Viebrockhaus this morning.

The email brought news that because of one of their other projects being delayed, we have the opportunity to jump in and fill this gap if we want to.

This means that provided we can be ready quickly (3 weeks from now) with all the decisions about the decor (floor tiles, bathroom furniture, door handles, light switches etc.), that building can begin in Week 46 (w/c 14th November) 2016!

The original timeline we had was that they would not start building until February or March, with a moving-in date in July.

Since we have mostly already decided on all of the decor, we of course jumped at this opportunity and Week 46 is now reserved for us and our new target moving-in date should also be somewhat earlier. During the next week or so we should get a revised time plan.

Ground Survey Completed

Today, the ground survey of the building plot was done.

Using the machine in the photos below, three holes were drilled to a depth of 5.8 meters and samples taken away for analysis.



In the coming days we expect to receive the final offer for the ground work for the building plot. As mentioned previously, we will then see how close the estimate from Viebrockhaus was.

Also today, we spoke to the current owner of the plot and have provisionally agreed to meet with the notary for the finalisation of the contract for the purchase of the land on 26th September.

Unfortunately the coincides with the next meeting we already arranged with Viebrockhaus, so that meeting might get delayed a day or two but this should not be an issue.

3D Model in Sketchup

In the last post, we were waiting for the price for the metal carport. When this arrived with a much higher number than we expected, we changed our minds again and have finally now decided on a wooden one after all as it is less than a quarter of the price. Our current thoughts are to paint it white.

We have also been busy making a model of the entire plot in Sketchup.

The large patio area is on the west side of the house, so should be able to sit in the sun from around midday until evening. Since we might light to have breakfast or morning coffee in the sun, we are also planning a smaller patio on the south side.

image image image image image


Mortgage is Approved

Today we heard from the bank that our mortgage application has been approved 🙂

Now we are only waiting for the arrangements for the purchase of the building plot to be organised. We are hoping that this will all be completed in the next two weeks, ahead of our next meeting with Viebrockhaus.

If all runs to plan, we will get the exact building start date confirmed after that meeting.

Today we also spoke to Siebau who are going to send a price proposal and plans for the metal carport we have provisionally chosen. The attraction of a metal carport – the lower maintenance versus a wooden one which will need treating every year or two – is appealing to us, but in the end, it will come down to the price difference.

Lastly for today – we have an appointment for the Ground Survey for next Wednesday. (This  consists of drilling some holes and leads to getting the final pricing for the specific work needed for the building plot – up to now we have an estimate for this based on one of the neighbouring plots – let’s see how close that estimate is!)