Friday, 22 May 2015

More Letters

Today we received more letters regarding the build.  The first was a large envelope from the architect containing all the plans once again, this time approved by allkauf and with a final costing for our changes like the wood effect windows.

A second letter came directly from allkauf confirming that they have approved the plans and again listing the additional costs.

Hopefully once we have signed and returned the plans we will finally get the invitation to go to allkauf's factory to choose all the internal fittings.

Ground Works Part 2

Our architect has provided us a list of tasks we should ask the groundworkers to do and with this we posted an ad for quotes for the work on myhammer (a site where you can request offers from builders, handymen, etc) a couple of weeks ago. Last Thursday we drove up to Lehningen to meet met up with the first groundworker that contacted us via the ad after he initially quoted a good price by email.  Once we were all there it conspired that he had actually initially only quoted for digging the hole but could do the remaining things like the outside wall insulation of the cellar or putting in the control shafts for the water for additional costs.  All together it would be far more expensive than a quote we already have from another company that quoted for everything we need.

That other company is local to the building site and we went to meet them on Wednesday morning to discuss their offer in detail.  They are a family run company and we met with the mother and son who were both friendly and answered all our questions.  They also gave us more details on the potential final costs as most are calculated per cubic meter making it hard to judge just how expensive the final bill will be.

With the additional information on potential m³ we could more or less calculate an actual cost.  In the best case scenario where we only have to dispose of a minimal amount of earth we would come in on budget, in the worst case we would end up 40% over our planned costs. This would be the case if most of what we dig up needs disposing of and new earth bringing in, and it does seem that the soil quality is not good enough to use to fill in the workspace around the cellar once it is complete.

The total costs will remain a mystery until we actually receive the bill though. We'll update you on the final outcome.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Ground Workers

We received the first offer from a ground working company yesterday.  We were expecting to be able to work out the total cost from this but as things were listed by cubic meter or per hour it was impossible.  We think we will need to spend about 10% to 20% more than we expected but we can't really be sure.  Today we called up some other companies to ask for quotes and have some meetings and site viewings lined up over the coming days.

The benefit of the first company we already have the quote from is that they are also the company that prepared the site and they have permission to spread the earth they dig up from our plot on to other plots where earth is missing.  This should save us money on the earth disposal costs that can add up quickly.

Ing-DiBa paid the land costs today so we are now well and truly committed.  It's all starting to feel a bit more real now.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Arrival of the Planning Application

On Tuesday we received a large envelope in the post from the architects office.  We opened it to find three copies of the planning application documents for the planning office, another one for us, and one for the Architect.  There was also a drainage plan (there seems to be an obsession here with drainage).  

We went through the documents and signed where required (at least 40 times... no, really) and on Thursday afternoon we drove to Tiefenbronn to hand them in to the town council planning department directly. Actually we first looked at their opening hours online and saw they were closed on Thursday afternoons but after calling them they agreed we could drop the plans in anyway.  This would probably not have been possible if we were moving to a large town. We're getting to like Tiefenbronn more and more.

We signed the copy for the Architect and put it in the post the same day. He will send this to Allkauf as the final plan so they can work out the total cost of the house.

Now it's a waiting game.

We took some photos of the other houses being built while in Tiefenbronn on Thursday, they are going up fast.

Payment Due

At the start of the week we received a note from the solicitor to let us know payment is now due on the land.  We forwarded this on to our financial advisor who in turn sent it on to the bank.  They will now transfer the money directly to the seller.  Another big step completed!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Post, post, post...

At the end of last week we received seven letters in one day regarding the build.

The first two were from the German tax office, one for myself and one for Steffi.  This was our tax bill for purchasing the land set at 5% but split between us 2.5% each.  It seems they are very quick to request tax payment here -  not a surprise! We paid this on the same day as we needed to clear the bill before we can officially be entered in the land registry.

The next two letters came from the county court in Maulbronn, again one for me and one for Steffi. These were simply to let us know the land registry has entered us as provisional land owners.

The fifth letter came from Tiefenbronn council as Registered post. We assumed this would be another invoice but it turned out to be a notice that one of our neighbours has applied for planning permission and that we have a certain amount of time to review the plans in their office and to submit any complaints.

The sixth letter was from IngDiBa requesting that we send the outstanding documents such as the notice of payment for the land, that the Notary hasn't yet sent us.

The seventh and largest of the envelopes was from the land surveyor containing 20 pages of information the architect and groundworkers need to plan and build the cellar.  They explained how they drilled two holes in opposite corners of where the house will stand to check the substance.  They only managed to get 3.5m down before they hit a solid sandstone layer.  This is good news as we were told there my be limestone under the land which can potentially lead to sink holes, and we only need to dig 3m deep to build the cellar. The rest of the layers were mostly clay and some silt. Unfortunately there is more than average water in the soil so we need to add an additional layer of damp-proofing to the walls which adds around €3,000 and we should plan that we may need to pump out any excess water.  Luckily we planned in some extra costs to cover this.

We were up at the site last weekend to look how things are progressing and were surprised to see that two houses are already half built, amazing how quickly things move once you get started.

You can see one of the new houses in the background on the right.  They have a brick facade, unusual for this part of the world.