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Best laid plans

Once excavations begin on a site there’s no knowing what you’ll find. In the process of lowering the ground level to create a space for the “blue beast” of a piling machine, our groundworks contractor found a wartime bomb shelter under the driveway.

There are hundreds of these still around London but it took a while to excavate it as it was understandably very strong having been reinforced with concrete to protect its temporary inhabitants 70 years ago.

A 50 tonne crane has also arrived on site so after a few quiet weeks, when surveys and monitoring was being carried out for the party wall agreements, we are all set for action this autumn. The hard core piling matt has been laid, the building set out and the piling has started.

When Anya has visited the site she has been surprisingly pleased to see the muddy hole appearing as it means work is progressing. “It’s amazing what‘s been happening,” she says. “The massive 11 metre piles have been pushed into the ground, it’s fascinating.” The couple’s eldest sons have been disappointed that they are missing out on the action now they are back at school during the day but they still like to walk by when they can to check out their new home.

Initially Anya and Robin thought they would be able to preserve some of their garden, however, seeing the size of the machinery and the remodelling that’s taking place they’ve realised that it’s just not going to be possible. So they will start from scratch and appoint someone to carry out external landscaping to tie in with the house when the work is finished.

The Nuttalls have also agreed the basement design and have appointed a pool company. The preparation for the basement wasn’t straight forward as every hole for the piling had to be pre-drilled due to the hard ground. However, whatever comes along we know how to deal with it, that’s the essence of custom-build.

Anya and family have settled into their temporary home nearby very well. It’s a classic Victorian home with six flights of stairs! While there are four floors in the new house the basement won’t be in daily use and the living space will all be on the ground floor and the master bedroom is just upstairs so perhaps they’ll be getting a little less exercise!

Thinking of the new house reminds the family just how spectacular it’s going to be.


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