The Big Build Blog

Look at the holes I dug Uncle Peter

Welcome to the second instalment of the Big Build Blog, we have had a couple of quiet weeks since we got started with the project, mainly due to inevitable delays. However we are still making progress. I find the ground works and foundations stage of a build slightly boring to tell the truth but they are some of the most important too, you need a good base to build a building otherwise you can run into all sorts of problems later on.

Week 2 saw us get started with the diggers, Mark from Chris McCann Builders got going stripping the whole site of top soil and sub soil. The engineers designs that have been completed are as you might expect slight overkill. We must be on some of the best ground for building here, I know this because the main Farmhouse was built without any foundations in the late 1700’s and it is still standing, I don’t think we have too much to worry about with the new venue.

Alas, the engineer did originally want us to have some ground investigation works done in order to calculate the volume change potential in the ground (whatever that might be?) this was due to concerns of the tree roots and the nearby hedge. It wasn’t until slightly further down the line, it transpired that the concerns were if the ground conditions were made up of clay. Hooorah, well we definitely aren’t on clay here, we are on a bed of prime sand and gravel, so thankfully the building inspector was happy, and the engineer stopped talking about expensive piled foundations or raft foundations and we got going.

The site is particularly tight to manoeuvre on so we have had to dispose of the spoil as it has been getting dug out, luckily this means the site stays nice and clear. What was quite surprising is how far down you have to go to then build back up again.

The new venue is going in parallel to the swimming pool and so we wanted to have the same finished floor level as the pool, so digging out over a 100m3 of soil took a little bit of time. Once the top soil and sub soil are off, we laid 150mm of sub base or hardcore (stony stuff for those who don’t know what that is). Once this is in you can set about digging out where the strip foundations are to go.

Once these are dug it gets marginally more exciting as you get a big cement mixer in to fill the holes back up again ready for your block walls to be built. The builders have completed the block walls and we are now waiting for the steel to be erected. Once that is up I think we will be able to get an idea of the scale of the building which will be exciting.

Its been nice to have lots of people talking to me and taking an interest in the building but what it has made me realise is that we haven’t explained the use of the building very well yet so hopefully below will give people a little bit more insight into the day to day workings of the building.

We are a self-catering holiday cottage provider and in the main would like to keep to our roots and continue to provide the same service that we have been over the last 25 years. However over those 25 years the industry has inevitably changed and become more and more competitive and it is up to us to continue to provide something new to our customers and broaden our offering.

So, therefore, came the idea to build a building which could be utilised for a number of different services. Primarily the building will be for the use of the existing holiday makers the first floor will house three B&B rooms to provide alternative accommodation for shorter stays. The function area downstairs will begin life providing drinking and eating facilities during the day and in the evening, it will not happen all at once but will be rolled out over a longer period.

We hope to provide a luxurious communal space that people and unwind and relax in without having to get in the car. We hope to start providing more exercise classes to help guests switch off and sister Kathryn who is now a qualified Pilates instructor is excited to have a bigger usable space for her clients.

We are also hoping to allow people to hold small scale functions in the room, we already get families who take a number of cottages looking for a communal space where they can celebrate special occasions. Also, we hope to move into the wedding market and allow people to get married onsite. I think importantly we must stress to our existing guests that for a function such as a wedding to take place, it would be a long time in advance of the event. Also the wedding party would be obliged to take all of the accommodation during their stay and so would not impinge on any holiday makers already holidaying with us.

As always we like to hear from our returning customers as it is you guys that keep a family business like ours ticking, so any ideas or suggestions will always be gratefully received.

Look out for the next instalment of the Blog which will hopefully have some pictures of a structure….