Another icy cold night with clear blue skies and sunshine this morning. On the drive to the site, I was sceptical about whether the builders would even be there at all at 8am, but work was well under way.
More supplies had been delivered, and a small pile of broken bricks meant that someone was working already, but I couldn’t see anyone at first.
Some moments later and I found them, in the cellar, staying warm and building the internal walls. One of the builders did then come up to use the saw.
Until it warms up it is too cold for bricklaying outside, but with all that insulation (and maybe some electric heaters?) it was warm enough in the cellar. They were, however, confident that with the sun shining they would be able to work outside later in the day.
Here are a couple of panorama shots of the site. The difference now that the big hole is completely filled in is amazing – the garden seems to have re-appeared!
I was able to leave the office early today and managed to get back to the site just before 4pm.
It looks in the picture above that they have finished the interior walls in the cellar, but in fact, they haven’t had time. They were too busy working on the exterior walls for the ground floor!
If it is too cold tomorrow morning, they will finish the cellar off first thing.
At 8am, one corner of the cellar still hadn’t been filled in with soil, but the digger driver assured me that they would be finished today (as you can see in the photos further down, they were indeed more or less finished by around 2pm).
The site now looks more or less the same as is we didn’t have a cellar, but instead just a concrete base for the house. Only the window shafts and the hole where the stairs tell the full story.
Our Construction Manager, Mr H. called this morning, to let us know that they are going to start earlier than originally planned with the walls, and asked us to pick up a water standpipe from the water authority and drop it off at the site. We had already clarified that this was just a case of going to the water authority, handing over a cash deposit and picking one up.
Sometime during the morning, a delivery of concrete blocks arrived from Ytong for the ground floor (the blocks for the internal cellar walls were already down in the cellar since last week).
Due to the current cold temperatures, they have only started in the cellar today, so it doesn’t look any different yet. Hopefully, it will warm up again in the coming days.
Pictures from 8am:
Pictures from 2pm:
On the way to the supermarket, we dropped in at the site to see how much of the filling-in they had done yesterday. I would say that for the two sides that they have started to filled-in three-quarters of the two sides that they have started filling in, so I would expect that they need two or three more days until they are finished.
We also climbed down the ladder into the cellar. Inside our house for the very first time.
As you can see, at the moment there is quite a lot of water on the floor (because the concrete base was full of water before they built the cellar). Hopefully, it will dry out soon.
By 4pm on Day 4, the cellar construction has been completed.
Our cellar has now been wrapped in black plastic (which I learned today is not for waterproofing, but only to protect the insulation). Now they have started burying it in the ground!
I was also able to walk across a wooden plank which is acting as a bridge, and stand on top of the cellar roof for the first time. Last time I stood there it was still more or less a field, and we were saying “the lounge will be about there” and so on. Now it is easier to visualise!
I am not how much longer they were planning to work, but they still had only worked on two sides, so we expect that this will take until the middle of next week to be completely done.
We have now received the first three invoices from Viebrockhaus – the first for the planning, the second for the groundwork and the third for the cellar.
As planned, the cellar is now fully insulated, and the joints are all waterproofed…
First thing this morning we had a short meeting with a surveyor from the electricity installation company at the site. They will overtake the co-ordination of the fresh water, electricity and telephone connections (so that it is not necessary to dig the street up three different times).
Unfortunately, our construction manager wasn’t able to attend as promised (he was just down the road at another house but seemed to have double booked himself), but hopefully the questions the surveyor had for him can be sorted out by telephone so that we don’t have to make another appointment.
As for the construction, on day 2 of the cellar build, the builders have been busy installing the insulation on the outside of the walls.
Tomorrow, they are going to be finished with that and then (as we have understood it) the cellar will be ‘wrapped’ in a waterproof material to keep the damp out. In the coming days, the hole will be filled in again. From then on the cellar will only be visible from the inside.
Finally, after a week-and-a-half of waiting, the cellar was built today.
Several of us arrived in shifts to take photos throughout the day, starting at 8am, by which the team of around 5 builders were already busy at work, supported by a crane and its driver, and a convoy of 3 large trucks (two containing the wall elements, and one more with the cellar roof).
They must have started at first light, as by 8am they had already installed the first of 8 concrete cellar wall elements.
By 8:45 the last of the elements was in place. The concrete slabs for the cellar roof were still sitting waiting on their truck!
They didn’t sit there long either, just long enough for some supports to be installed and for the crane to put the blocks for building the interior cellar walls into the cellar before the roof went on and would mean carrying the blocks down there by hand!
Before lunch, the last of the roof panels was on, and preparations for pouring concrete were started. Here’s how it looked by 2pm.
On the way home from work we went to have a look and met a concrete mixer truck going the other way, and as we arrived at the site the concrete pump was just pulling off, and the builders were putting the finishing touches to the concrete and covering it with polythene for the night.
We will go and have a look in the morning, as we have to meet the electricity installation company. Hopefully, some more pictures to follow soon!
Despite our understanding that due to the short delay during the week the concrete was not coming today, it seems that it got rescheduled again, and we now have a concrete slab.
Once it has dried, the next step will be the cellar! Maybe already this week…?