Friday 25 September 2015

Utilities in the House

The utilities are now all in the cellar and the hole sealed.  The electricity has to be cabled out of the window to our temporary site electricity box until the house is built and the electrician has finished the installation.  The gas is capped with a very heavy duty looking metal stopper, the water has a single tap directly off the mains pipe, and the telephone and fibre optic cable is ready to be connected up.

Sludge Free Cellar

Our cellar is now sludge free! On Tuesday a company came to pump out all the sludge and water left. This was a mammoth task and took three men 7 hours. The sludge was too thick to pump so had to be shovelled out first, then the remaining water and sludge mix was pumped out. Yesterday evening we went up to have a look after work. It was dark when we arrived but took some photos anyway:

There is no sludge at all left and very little water but we will need to power wash the floor and walls to remove the remaining dirt. We're planning to do this at the weekend but have to buy a pressure washer and pump first.

Landscaping and Garage Foundations

We can finally relax, the hole around the cellar is now filled so no more danger of flooding. Our ground workers have used all the earth that was piled on the land to fill the non-load-bearing areas and gravel for the rest (250 tons of gravel!).  The garden has also been levelled, although it will need a bit more work before we put on the topsoil.

Here's how things are looking on site:

After speaking to the ground workers we discovered the reason why the pre-cast hole for the utilities was not used and the new hole drilled.  It turns out that the utilities have to be at least 1.20 deep so it won't freeze in winter. The pre-cast hole from the cellar company was only 40cm deep so unusable. It looks like they made a mistake in the factory while casting the wall.

The ground workers have also dug the holes for the garage foundations. They did this after being in contact with the cellar company as the foundations need to be poured soon after the holes are dug in case of bad weather (filling with water and the sides collapsing). Unfortunately after saying they would come last week, the foundations still have not been poured.

This was the final straw for us and we have put in a complaint to Allkauf about the cellar company for 3 reasons:

  1. Not capping the drainage holes leading to the flooding in the cellar and the sludge and the associated additional costs.
  2. Putting the utility hole in the wrong place leading to extra costs for drilling the new hole and for filling the hole cast by them
  3. The delayed foundations for the garage

We first called our Allkauf customer service representative who asked us to send the issues in an email. We will do this once we know the final extra costs for the above points.

Here's how the garage foundations look at the moment:

Thursday 3 September 2015

Mains Connections

This evening we could park the car on our land for the first time!

The ground work is coming along nicely, there is a layer of gravel where the driveway will be and the hole around almost the whole cellar is now filled.

The Gas, water and telephone companies have also been and connected up the mains in to the cellar.  Strangely they didn't use the pre-cast hole at the side of the house but drilled a completely new hole. They might have done this as it will save us the cost of longer pipes and cables around the house (about 5m saved). The other reason could be because the protective foil covered the existing hole and they simply didn't see it. If the ground workers were on a break when the electrician arrived he may well have just got on with drilling a hole from the outside and only noticed the existing hole once in the cellar (I hope he brought wellies with him because it's still full of sludge!).

Whatever the reason, we now have a 20x20cm hole in the cellar wall to fill. It will be interesting to see if the savings on the cables and pipes covers the cost of the new hole and filling in the existing one.

Here you can see the utilities in the cellar and the hole they were supposed to come through.

And the sludge is still there, due to be pumped out on Saturday.

Here are the utilities all connected up.

And the area for the garage.

Part of the driveway.

Still some more to do, hopefully with mud rather than gravel.

And at the back not much left to fill.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Filling In Part 1

The ground workers have been today filled in the the gap around the cellar on two sides where the drainage was already laid.  The protective foil is also now on around the whole cellar.  Where they have used gravel it's packed so hard it's like concrete, no chance of the ground sinking.

The lid is also now on the rain water cistern.

Where the garage will be they have used earth to fill the hole, this should save us the cost of gravel and transporting that earth away.

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Let it Rain

Progress.  Today our ground workers built a dam to keep out the water. Right on cue it started to rain... and it worked!

When we arrived this evening they were still hard at work. Along with laying the dam they had dug and installed the second control shaft we can use to see the ground water level around the house (and pump it out if required) and were in the process of putting in the rain water cistern, which is huge!


The drainage was also laid on one side of the cellar and the protective foil was stuck on the wall on two sides.

Tomorrow they should complete the drainage and hopefully start filling in the hole.