Our Barny Winter

Our Barny Winter

Trenching

A video for my Auntie D who’s asked to see the Thunderbirds trencher in action…

… quite a machine, isn’t it? Although it was at this point that it suffered a setback tussle with the farm’s buried history.

Maybe it tumbled across the brick and flint of an old farm building, or the remains of a WWII runway.

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No matter, it was soon repaired and back in action.

Just-in-time windows, insulation… and snow!

A huge sigh of relief that the windows fitted and, we think, look great.

We’ve got doors AND keys to get in now!

 

So we’re snug and watertight, just ahead of the snow which fell prettily, hiding the mud and rubble of our building site. A perfect photo opportunity.

Time to get indoors

There’s a mountain of rock wool to be squeezed in the walls. Not the nicest of jobs (sorry team). This stuff is ITCHY!

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Insulating sheets to hold that in place…

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… and, finally, plasterboard – we’ve got a room!

 

Those pesky stairs

Caught between eye-watering quotes and rein-it-in compromise, we may, at last, have found a solution to our staircase dilemma…

The Farmer and The Engineer are building them!

I have been warned that they might be more, how can I put it, agricultural than I’d pictured. Maybe we’ll set a new trend in interior design 🙂

Work in progress – watch this space and have yourselves a wonderful Christmas!

 

Barny Update – Weatherproof by Winter?

Barny Update – Weatherproof by Winter?

With the days drawing in the push is on to wrap our barn up snug before winter arrives. Waterproof, windproof and hopefully a bit more comfortable for the builders who will be working away in there through whatever the dark months throw at us.

I got up close and personal with our beautiful corrugated-steel roof this morning.

That meant scaling this ladder…

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… and taking lots of photographs because that climb was only happening once.

Except I forgot to take my camera up.

So I had to do it again, to gather proof that I’d braved the scary ascent.

Here’s me scampering about like I was born to be off the ground.

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I wasn’t and thankfully they didn’t photograph me trying to get back on the ladder. Coming down is the worst. I’ve promised the builders they won’t have to nurse-maid me up there a third time.

BIG TICK – roof finished and conquered. (NOTE TO SELF – chase guttering order while the scaffold is still in place.)

The gutters are going to be galvanised steel as well, and we’re slightly concerned that we might have gone a bit too cheap rustic with them…

 

… but, hey,  this is meant to look like a barn, right? (And have you seen the price of cast iron or aluminium gutters??) At £5 per meter for steel versus £27 per meter for ali or iron, they’ve got to be worth a shot.

Next BIG TICK, the gorgeous, feather-edge cedar has been delivered to clad the external walls. Our most expensive single purchase so far, but just take a gander at this:

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The barn is stacked to the rafters and it smells like an evergreen forest but the builder’s aren’t getting much chance to appreciate that. They’re masked up and spraying all 1118 linear meters of it with a weather protection oil. And it’s all got to be done twice… front and back. I feel like I should be apologising.

By the next barny update I should be able to show you some on the walls. 🙂

But it’s a BIG (angry) CROSS for the windows. After six weeks of chasing with no encouraging response from the suppliers (they were “very busy” and it was “mad there”) I finally got my order confirmation with a delivery date 7 weeks later than originally promised. Which takes us to the end of November. They’ve allowed me a generous 4 days to confirm the nitty-gritty or risk losing that slot…

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… measurements, colours, handles, trickle vents, fire escapes, transom and mullion alignments (no, I don’t know either).

So that’s probably what I ought to be doing right now, instead of writing a blog post. I do hope that winter holds off. (NOTE TO SELF: order scarves and gloves for the builders.)

 

 

 

Barny Update

Barny Update

I realise it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted progress on our barn conversion and I’m not sure why, given that it’s steaming ahead and I’m rarely thinking about/talking about/looking at anything else!

I was hoping to do a ‘poll’ on here to ask readers opinions on a few of the crucial design decisions I’ve been grappling with, but the technicality of WordPress plug-ins beat me so I made the decisions myself (which is probably what I would have done anyway.)

So… we’ve opted for black for the interiors of the window frames (which still feels nerve-wrackingly brave!) Windows ordered, so no going back now.

black windows

… and black metal stairs (if I can source some we can afford).

steel stairs

After veering away from a tin roof in fear of noise and heat a last-minute U-turn returned us to traditional corrugated steel (also ordered).

corrugated tin roof

And those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will know that we’ve chosen gorgeous Western Red Cedar for our exterior cladding.

Wester red cedar

(Only ours will be horizontal feather-edge. God, doesn’t cedar smell gorgeous!)

Our house won’t be as trendy as those in the pictures, we don’t have the flair or the budget, but I’m still collecting ideas-above-my-station and pictures of stuff I can’t afford over on Pinterest.

I’m trying to design the kitchen now, ahead of electrical wires and plumbing pipes being laid through floors and walls, and I thought I’d settled my bathroom but I’m in a dilemma over whether to place a freestanding bath in front of the window or offset to the side (first world problems, I know):

(Yes, the glass will be clear but there are only fields out there. I might provide a blind for the coy). Your opinions are welcome (but please know that I’ll probably ignore them).

Back in the real world, the builders are hard at it creating partition walls, inserting noggins for plasterboard and crafting beautiful lead-work…

They’re about to start wrapping the whole package in a breathable membrane and scaffold for the roof work arrives in a fortnight.

Our little Chaff House is forming (and hasn’t the dog got big!)

 

 

Plain Barny – Project (mis)management

Plain Barny – Project (mis)management

I’ll admit I’ve snorted at the fees demanded by architects to project manage a build.

I’m not snorting now.

I’ve just spent 30 minutes providing a detailed explanation of our roof cladding requirements to a bloke who, it turns out, I’d asked to quote for our stairs. He must think I’m barking. He asked for a picture of where it was going.

Bemused, I sent him a photo. DSC_1196

He tried to explain the coarse, sharp-edged character of galvanised steel… did I not want a powder coating?

I robustly rejected that option.

When I finally twigged and confessed with horror that while he’d been talking stairs I’d been talking roofs, he admitted to wondering why I’d been going on about an overhang and a 30° pitch.

I nearly ordered a corrugated steel staircase.

And then there’s the ongoing saga of those bloody windows. Supplier selected, deposit paid, FULL AND FINAL DETAILS to be submitted by the end of the month to secure our October production date(!!) for these beauties from Velfac:

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That isn’t our barn by the way

Decisions and questions and details which are sorely exposing my limited knowledge. Stir in half a pound of building regs and a cupful of *SAP requirements and combine to create the perfect soup of confusion.

*The Standard Assessment Procedure for the Energy Rating of Dwellings (SAP) was developed by BRE based on the BRE Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM) and was published by BRE and the Department of the Environment in 1992. In 1994 it was first cited in Part L of the building regulations and it has now been adopted by the UK Government as the methodology for calculating the energy performance of dwellings.

The most recent version, SAP 2012, came into force for building regulations compliance on 6 April 2014. The 2009 version SAP 2009 may still be used on projects for which transitional arrangements apply, see 2013 changes to the approved documents for part L of the building regulations for more information.

You stopped reading that definition after five words, didn’t you? So did I.

I asked the window suppliers to make sure I’d met the building reg requirements for fire escapes. Their emailed reply was somewhat cryptic:

  • Study 1  can be used as means of fire escape

  • Study 2 cannot be used as means of fire escape

  • Bedroom 2 west elevation cannot be used as means of fire escape

  • Bedroom 2 west elevation can be used as a means of fire escape

Given that Study 1 and study 2 have exactly the same windows… and that bullet points 3 and 4 are actually the same window, and bedroom 2 faces south-east… um, does anyone think that makes sense?

Here’s a flowchart to illustrate my current confusion:

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My project management has become as disordered as my thoughts.

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So, here I am, looking for answers.

 

How much did that architect want? Trust me, it’s a steal.