Wednesday 29 July 2015

Landscape Gardener & More Digging

Yesterday we arranged to meet with a landscape gardener at the plot in Heimerwegwiesen, Lehningen, to take measurements and discuss our requirements for the main parts of the garden such as driveway, paths and patio.  He will now go away and provide us a quote for the work.

On arrival at the plot there was still ground work going on to expose the utility cables and pipes. They had to dig a good 3 meters down to get to the sewage pipe connector! The remainder of the hole for the cellar was finished and the bottom layer of gravel laid and flattened ready for the foundation slab which will be bade of reinforced concrete.  There are no foundations to this, it simply sits on the gravel layer and the cellar and house are built on top.  

The ground workers also set up the wooden boards in the hole required by the surveyor to mark exactly where the foundation slab should go, plus they have poured gravel on part of the garden where the crane will stand to ensure the ground is stable.

We also saw the plumber had been to fit the tap on the big water pipe that is required for the cellar builders.  All-in-all a lot of progress!

Here are the latest photos of work so far:

Tap fitted

Finished cellar hole with wooden boards set up for the surveyor

Gravel for the crane

3m deep hole to expose pipes

Saturday 25 July 2015

Digging Continues

On our way back from choosing the kitchen we stopped in Lehningen to see that the ground workers have progressed well with the dig.  There is still some earth to remove in one of the back corners but most of the earth is out and the gravel for under the cellar floor is partially down.  We think they will only need one more day to complete this, and then all is set for the cellar in a couple of weeks.

There was not much earth on site so we assume they have taken this away, which adds to the price.  Hopefully there is still enough left to raise the ground level of the rest of the site to road hight.

The board for the electricity is installed, as is a makeshift fence, although this is not what we expected considering we paid extra for a fence so we hope there will be a proper fence set up on Monday.

Here are the latest photos:

Kitchen Planning

As mentioned in a previous post, a basic kitchen is included in the price of the house including an L form of cupboard units plus fridge, hob, dishwasher, extractor fan, and oven. As they are all the very basic units, Impuls, the company providing the kitchen, invited us to their factory showroom to do some customisations.

Today was the big day, we drove for almost 6 hours (with some nappy changing and feeding breaks) up to the Impuls factory in Brilon.

Once in the showroom we had a good 20 minutes to look around. There were around 8 show kitchens in various styles along with some examples of the electrical appliances.  We were then greeted by our Impuls sales person who looked over the plans and quickly began entering the room dimensions in to his computer.  We could watch the room appear live on a big screen behind him.

Once the basic measurements were in the system he asked what our ideas are. We explained we wanted a U form with the hob looking in to the living room and he quickly produced a basic outline of the shape and where items like the fridge and sink would go, which matched our own plans almost exactly. We decided not to have a built in fridge-freezer combination but instead to opt for a free standing fridge. As Impuls don't supply these he removed this and entered a fridge "placeholder" in the plan. We could then use the cost of the fridge towards other parts of the kitchen.

After much planning and swapping of cupboards we finally had it, our kitchen plan.  There were many extras including a built in microwave, upgraded induction hob and better oven than the basic version included. All of which, along with the many additional cupboards, add to the cost. 

It was at this point he gave us the price, which was actually much less than we expected. Despite this we wanted to see what the individual electrical appliances cost as they seem generally to be extremely expensive when bought from a kitchen supplier, and they were! After brief deliberations we sat him to remove the oven and hob as we can buy much better ones for the same price online or even at IKEA. This was no problem and he removed these, reducing the price of the whole kitchen by around 25% on recalculation.

We are very happy with the result and with the Impuls salesman who was extremely helpful, patient, and in no way pushy at all, so many thanks to him.

Below are plans and photos of some of the items we chose.

The colour-scheme, left, and tap, top right

Extractor and (similar) hob combination

Friday 24 July 2015

First Day's Digging

Since we received the dates for the cellar build two weeks ago we've been in touch with all the different companies involved to ensure they are informed that the building will begin shortly and when we require each of their services.

One of these was the electrician providing the site electricity supply box. A few days ago we found out that he is about to go on holiday so we were a bit worried we would end up having to find an alternative. Luckily we found out that he took the box up to the site yesterday night so that's made life easier for us.

Now we just need to install the wooden board they attach the cabling to.  Fortunately our ground worker agreed to provide this.  The electricity company (EnBW) should go out there next week to connect everything up (hopefully). During the discussion with the ground worker we found out his team have started digging!

Obviously this is exciting news so we decided to drive over to Lehningen to see how far they've got and to make sure they are digging in the right spot! Coincidentally our new neighbours (also building with Allkauf) were there to inspect their new cellar so we had a chat, discussed the building process and exchanged some advice.

We took some photos of the first days digging, added below.

Friday 17 July 2015

House Markers in Place

Yesterday evening we drove over to Lehningen to check on the surveyors measurements.  He visited the sight on the 15th July to mark the corners of the house so our ground workers know where to dig the hole for the cellar.

Another house has also appeared just down the road from our plot, just visible in the below image of our plot and markers.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Cellar Schedule

Not much has happened since we chose the interiors, until a couple of days ago.  We worked out that we must now be over the four week period where people can submit complaints about the design of the house meaning the planning permission must now be approved, although we are yet to receive any official correspondence from Tiefenbronn to this effect.

On Friday we received an email from the cellar company with the dates when things are goiing to happen, this is the first time we actually have something in black and white so we were very excited. Here are the plans:
  • 30th July: The ground work needs to be complete (the hole for the cellar)
  • 31st July: Measuring and marking of the cellar floor
  • 3rd August: Laying the cellar floor 
  • 7th August: Poring concrete for cellar floor
  • 10th - 11th August: Building the cellar
  • 12th August: Waterproofing
  • 17th August: Placing insulation around the cellar
  • 18th August: Planned for any additional work
  • 25th August: Laying garage foundations
On the 10th and 11th we have to arrange for the road to be closed outside the house as they need to build a crane on the street.  We also have to arrange the signage for this so hopefully the ground workers will have some we can use.

Other things we need to have on site are electricity and water, and a portaloo for the workers. We have already arranged these with local companies.

We drove up to Lehningen today to see how the other builds are coming along, there are now more or less three and a half housed standing with foundations for another two and a hole for a cellar for one more.  You can view it here: Heimerwegwiesen 12.07.2015

On Monday we will call around to the various providers to make sure everyone is aware of the time plan.

Wednesday 8 July 2015


At the beginning of the week we received the confirmation from ING-DiBa bank that they will cover the extra costs and pay these directly to Allkauf.  This means Allkauf can now commission the house. The same information was sent to the cellar company and this has now been ordered. We were told y phone that the cellar will be delivered in the first week of August.

Another big step towards finally getting the build underway.

Friday 3 July 2015

Planning Permission and Consent

As private developers we could choose between full planning permission or planning consent to have our building plans approved. Generally speaking the difference is that consent doesn't need to go through the complete planning permission process and is based on publishing the plans and waiting four weeks.  If there are no objections, and the plans adhere to the general rules set down in the planning guide for the area, the plans are approved.

Today the four weeks are up and there were no objections so we are officially approved.  Now we just need to await the final price for the house (after the latest changes), send this to the bank for approval, then send the approval to Allkauf. Once received, they should commission the build.