Friday, September 07, 2007

Building Excitement

We met with our architect last night, going over the final building plans on the extension. I’m starting to get excited again. We’ve been at this so long, more than six years. Its been this weird mix of excitement, disappointment, then long stretches of deliberately not thinking about it.

Now though, its very close. The plans are getting a final treatment, then we put the pitch to tender, and the market is such we should hopefully start work in November. It seems it’s a good time to build. There is less going on, which means we should get keen bids, and hopefully a competent builder.

Last night was fun as we started going over the details. He came with a number of options for doing a green roof. Do you know, there are now systems that will allow you to put up to a metre of soil on a flat roof? You can even grow trees! We’re not going that far, but we will do an expanse of ceedum and herbs. It should be quite pretty.

We’re getting in a sewage engineer to discuss what to do. Our aged septic tanks just aren’t coping any more. It hasn’t been a huge problem as they’re currently under a dense set of trees and bushes (and why might that be…), so the risk of contamination is low. However, the kids are at a stage when forts in dense bushes are attractive and I’ve had to shoo them out a few times. We’re going to go for a fairly advanced system of both grey water and sewage treatment. The grey water will be re-used in the toilets, and then allow LL to water her precious garden. The newer sewage treatment systems get you to close to potable, though we won’t go the final stage to take it to that. It just means it will filter safely down into the water table.

The geothermal heating unit will be a bit of a palaver to put in, a large stretch of garden will need to be dug up, but it will reduce our energy usage on heating by 5 times or more. Plus, because it’s a continuous system, the house stays minimally heated 24 hours a day. It can even be reversed to cool some of the main rooms. We’re going for underfloor heating in all the new rooms. We already have that in the conservatory, and it very very nice. Nothing like having your feet gently warmed as you walk about.

I got to talk about how I wanted the house wired. We’re going high tech, a full gigabit Ethernet lan with a small network cupboard. If we’re going to be here another 40 years I want the place as future proofed as possible. I’m sure I’ll have to change it all at some point, but it will last us long enough. Part of the extension is a large family room. That will be extensively cabled so each kid can have a small workstation for homework. By the time they’re in senior school I imagine computer access will be compulsory, so best to plan for it now.

Its all quite exciting again and is actually going to happen. I’d been keeping my emotions in check until it was certain to happen. Too many false starts in the past. Sure, it will be months of home hell with builders crawling all over the place. I’m definitely not looking forward to that bit, but I think the result will be worth it.


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