Evolving design (another change)
It's been some time since our last post here, so we just wanted to give a general update on where we're up to our latest plans...
Firstly, after a long delay to arrange the 'car-free' legal agreement, the amendment that we submitted in August was officially approved last month.
Whilst waiting for that amendment to go through, we've been developing the detailed design with our structural engineers. We've also continued monitoring groundwater levels since the borehole was dug a year ago. Although our engineers are confident that the basement will not have any adverse impact on the hydro-geology of the surrounding land, we've realised that building it at the current levels will require a pretty heavy-duty, costly, and potentially quite disruptive construction method (called secant piling).
For the sake of our own budget, but also in order to noise and other disturbances to our neighbours, we'd like to make the build as quick, simple, and straightforward as possible. In this case that will mean raising the basement by 70cm. This relatively small change will mean no drilling into the ground for concrete piles, less digging, less disturbance to the soil, and fewer big vehicles on site.
The knock-on effect is that the rest of the building will also rise by a similar amount - but it will remain well below the height of the surrounding houses. We will also be sure that the height of the roof where it meets the side boundary (adjoining 103 and 105 Vicarage Road) will be unchanged. We also hope to move the house slightly away from the rear boundary and so closer to Farmer Road by 80cm. This will allow a bit of working room around the back of the house, as well as forming a fire escape route once it's finished.
These changes will require another planning amendment, which we are currently in discussions with the planners about. We'd welcome any comments or questions, either directly or via the council's consultation procedure. We hope to submit the application soon, which if all goes to plan would allow us to start building towards the end of this year - but we'll provide more updates before then!
Alex & Amy