Upstairs Flooring

img_1803-editIt’s Saturday again, and we set off at 9am to go to the site with a tape measure. We forgot to take it with us on Tuesday when the marker posts to mark the corners of the house were put in and wanted to check that they are in the right place. Everything is good, they are where they should be.

The plot behind ours (which had a digger parked on it on Tuesday), now has a huge cellar-shaped hole in it. It looks like that house (which is being built by a different builder) is going to be going up at the same time too.

After that, we went to the DIY store to look again at click-vinyl flooring. The in-store expert from Logoclic was really helpful and answered all of our questions about the Aqua Splash range, which we had seen for the first time last week.

Even though we are not going to put it into the bathroom, we want to have something waterproof so that we can clean it with our steam cleaner (I almost wrote ‘pressure washer’ by mistake – no it doesn’t need to be that waterproof!).

We already had some samples which we brought home last week, but a new colour had just arrived so we forked out for the €3 deposit so that we could bring the new one home too. We now have samples the four colours shown in the picture above at home.

After looking at them in both daylight and also with lights on this evening, we have decided on ‘Stratford’ (top left).

Next job: take the other samples back and collect €9!


First Meeting with our Construction Manager

p1000970We met our Construction Manager (Mr H) for the first time today. When we arrived at the plot, the four corners of our house had already been marked out with wooden posts (as well as the houses of two neighbours).

Now those posts are there we can see where the back of the house will be, and where the terrace will be. This means that we are now able to visualise the size of the garden much more easily. (It is more than big enough for us, at roughly 11 meters long x 15 meters wide).

Mr H then introduced himself and told us a little bit about himself. He will be our Construction Manager for the entire build (not just for the structural build phase, as we had first thought).

We are pleased to say that he comes across as very knowledgeable and friendly. From now on he will be our single point of contact at Viebrockhaus, and is available to be called / e-mailed any time in case we have any questions, and promises that he will get back to us the same day (or latest the next day if we call too late!)

We went through various details:

  • for the groundwork and electricity, water and telephone connections
  • the height (above sea level) that the ground floor will be built
  • how the construction site will be laid out (where they will put various containers and a silo).
  • including a couple things we are going to do ourselves before the handover into the plan (upstairs flooring and loft flooring)
  • a rough timeline for the structural build – assuming that they will start in the next two or three weeks as planned, they aim to get it water tight (roof on and windows in) before the Christmas holiday.

Again we are surprised – we had expected that they would only build the cellar this year, and only start with the work above ground in January. In theory, this should mean that they are also finished earlier (and we can move in earlier), but we will not get a detailed timeline until the roof is on, at which point the weather becomes less of a consideration. At that point, they will commit to a handover date (and from reading other people’s blogs, Viebrockhaus keeps to this commitment).

As we shook hands and said goodbye to Mr H, he handed over our time-capsule (which will be built into the brickwork at the topping out ceremony), and our builders hard hats. All we need now are hi-vis jackets (actually it is the law to have these in cars in Germany, so we can use the ones we already have!).








We then went to have another walk around the garden before we left, and while there, were asked by a couple of passers-by (and their small Jack Russell) if we were the owners of that plot. When we said yes, they introduced themselves as our new next-door neighbours! It was nice to meet them and exchange telephone numbers. Their build should be started at more or less exactly the same time.

Now we (and also our new neighbours) are just waiting on the planning approval and the transfer of the land. Hopefully, it will all fall into place with no unexpected delays.



Planning Application Submitted

Today we received a copy of all the paperwork that has been sent to the Planning Authority, along with news that the originals have also been sent at the same time, so they should also have received this today.

Most of the documents are copies of the same ones we saw a couple of weeks ago (when we had the originals to check and sign them), but a couple of documents are new.

Most interesting is one of the plans which also shows the neighbouring plots, and where the neighbours are planning to build their houses.

The house to the right of us looks like it will be built quite a further away from the boundary than the three-meter minimum (it looks like maybe 4 or even 4½ meters). As we ourselves are almost 3½ meters from the boundary, this means 7½ – 8 meters.

Since on three sides we are not really surrounded at all (because of the road), we shouldn’t feel penned-in at all 🙂

Also today, post from the company that Viebrockhaus has contracted to install our fresh water supply, which we just need to sign and return.

Tomorrow we are off to Segmüller (large furniture store) to look at lighting and TV stands, and for lunch.

I still haven’t worked out a way to see how much light a single lamp gives off when it is in a display of lots of lights. It’s a shame they don’t have switches on each so that you can turn the others off.

We’ve got our Construction Manager

Today we received a call from Viebrockhaus, asking us if we are available on Tuesday next week for an initial meeting with Mr H, who will be our construction manager. Fortunately, the time works for both of us.

As we understand it, Mr H will be responsible just for the groundwork and structural build phase, and that someone else will then overtake the role of construction manager for the remainder of the project (once the roof is on).

We’ve already started writing a list of questions to ask him, and will probably think of some more by next week.

The same day, the site will also be marked out (the position where the house should go), so we’ll be sure to take our tape measure, just to check!

We will soon have some new photos to upload here!


Electrical Planning

Late into the evening, and we are back home, having spent another enjoyable day in Kaarst going through the fine details for the house.

The meeting today was with ‘ePlan 1.1’, who take care of the electrical planning for all new Viebrockhaus houses.

We started by going through all of the electrics for outside the house (power cable for the rainwater tank pump, power cable for the shed, outside lights and sockets), followed by a room-by-room detailed planning of where every socket, light switch, satellite cable etc. is going.

Even though Viebrockhaus include a lot in the standard price, our extras still include:

  • Around 30 additional sockets (so now we have 80!)
  • A few additional lights (just the cables) inside and outside
  • Satellite dish with cabling to three rooms
  • Network cabling to three rooms
  • A duct to allow for easy installation of more solar panels if we want to in future.

Before we set off for home, we received a printout of the offer for the extras, broken down line-by-line, and a copy of the plan with everything marked.

Our next job is to check (and make any adjustments, if necessary) and sign the plan off in the next two weeks.

Viebrockhaus then have everything they need to build our new house!




Decor Planning Meeting

As planned, today we have been in Kaarst for the first of two days of planning. Today – the interior and exterior decoration…

Since Viebrockhaus kindly put us up in a hotel last night, we were able to have a relatively late start this morning after a nice breakfast, with only 5 minutes drive to Viebrockhaus for a 10am meeting.

When we arrived at 9.45, Mr G was already waiting for us, with our plans already open on the table in front of him. After bringing us a coffee, we were made a start!

We had been told in advance, that the meeting would last around five hours, but as we were very well prepared (and had already made decisions about many of the things), had expected it would not last that long.

The first thing we did was to go over the minor corrections to the plan that we had identified last week (the main one being the 15cm repositioning of the utility room internal door). These are now all marked on the plan with a red pen. Hopefully, the next printed version of the plan will be completely correct.

Next, we started our tour through the exhibition, deciding and documenting on all the fine details. After this, any further changes might not be free (as Viebrockhaus will start ordering the materials), so on some topics, we took some time to consider and try to make the decision that will be happy with for years to come.

For the topics where we had already made a decision back in August, it was just a case of Mr G writing them down.

In the end, the meeting lasted 4.5 hours. We have to wonder how long other people that haven’t put in as much preparation as us would need (keep in mind we had already been through the exhibition in August – some people are probably there for the first time at this meeting).

The following things are now cast in stone…

  • The direction that each door and window will open
  • The colour of the…
    • bricks – as written some weeks ago Roeben Accum Blue-Brown
    • cement (standard grey 1.5)
    • roof tiles (black, to match the solar panels)
    • stairs (anthracite)
    • air vents (dark brown)
  • The flooring
    • Villeroy & Boch ‘Lodge’ in Greige for almost all of the ground floor
    • Villeroy & Boch ‘Upper Side’ in Anthracite for the utility room
    • Villeroy & Boch ‘Bernina’ Greige Matt for the bathroom
  • The bathroom (and the downstairs loo)
    • Toilets (Villeroy & Boch ‘Avento’ Direct Flush)
    • Sink (Villeroy & Boch ‘Avento’ – 60cm wide upstairs / 45cm downstairs)
    • Bath (Villeroy & Boch ‘O.novo’ Rectangular)
    • Shower tray (Villeroy & Boch Architectura Metal Rim 120cm x 90cm)
  • The doors, inside and out
  • And then a lot of very small but important things
    • The shape of the skirting boards
    • The colour of the roller shutters
    • The design of the light switches and sockets
    • Which door handles
    • Which taps and shower head
    • The height of the toilets / sinks
    • etc.

Thanks to Mr G’s expertise, methodical approach and patience, it was a very enjoyable day, and we are very happy that Viebrockhaus can now proceed to order the materials to build our house. It’s only about four weeks until they are planning to start.

Tomorrow – electrical planning….

6600 Litres of Rainwater

watering-791312_640One last thing for our planning application preparations is to decide on the location of our rainwater tank.

When I first read the list of local regulations and saw that we have to have a rainwater tank, I had a 250-litre plastic water butt in mind. Wrong!

What we are going to have is a 6600-litre concrete tank, buried in the back garden. This will collect rainwater from both sides of the roof, and there will be a pump inside so that we can connect a hose to it for watering the garden.

The plants will be happy with that!

Picture credit: Pixabay

A Free Dishwasher

Three weeks after we first visited the furniture to store to start planning our kitchen, the time has finally come for our kitchen planning meeting. Having printed out the latest version from the online kitchen planner, as well as the latest plan of the ground floor, and the plan of our electric sockets we set off.

Good news – buy a kitchen today and get a free dishwasher (as well as the 50% discount that seems to be permanently offered!)

It only took a few minutes for the sales consultant to update the basic plan (in his software) that he made when we were first there – we have switched the position of the fridge and the tall cupboard so that the fridge is nearer to where you would be standing when you want something out of the fridge), and a few other minor changes to the dimensions. After this, we could start on the detailed fine-tuning. We have ended up with:

  • ‘Neron’ Magnolia-white matt doors, carcases & plinths (we finally decided against the dark grey plinths)
  • Lava grey, stone structure worktops (a last minute change, as we didn’t like the colour we had chosen in the online planner when we saw it)
  • Dark grey Franke Fragranite BFG611 sink (see here)
  • Franke Atlas Mixer tap with pull-out spray (see here)
  • AEG BP500310WM Oven and AEG HKL85510XB Induction Hob (see here)
  • AEG 178cm Fridge / Freezer (see here)
  • AEG Favorit TimeBeam Dishwasher (see here) ***FREE*** 🙂
  • Microwave cupboard above the oven, with a hydraulic door. This will give us a lot more worktop space free.
  • LED under-counter lighting
  • Refsta plasmaNorm Puro Cooker Hood (permanent plasma molecule splitting oxidisation system)

For our kitchen island, we originally had planned it as 100cm x 180cm, but have now decided to add an additional strip of worktop, overlaid on the existing worktop, overhanging by about 20 cm to form a breakfast bar, where we will place high stools (on the dining room side of course!)

We also are having a single 80cm wide high shelf on the wall at the end of the island, for the kitchen radio, and maybe some herb plants etc.

And with that, after two and a half hours of enjoyment (buying a kitchen is quite a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon), we came to the total price, less the discount. We landed up just a whisker over where we expected based on the first discussion in September. We also have our third invoice (just for a deposit, the rest we don’t have to pay until after it is installed).


Planning Application

Today we received post from Viebrockhaus, with the latest version of the plan for us to sign (this time printed out on A0 paper).

Pretty much everything is now right, except for the Utility Room door which has now moved too far left. We will send this back signed, but with the door marked in the correct place (15 cm further right).

We also received a mail from Mr K, who introduces himself as responsible for supporting us with the planning application. He had attached several forms which are already filled out so that we just have to sign them and send them back. He will then be able to submit the planning application.

Our second invoice arrived, this time from the local authority – 30 Euro – just to tell us that they do not want to purchase the plot themselves, and therefore have no objections to us buying it!