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New Old Farmhouse - A Self-Build Journey by Tanya Adair

21 June, 2019

Why we're self-building

My husband and I have always wanted to build our own home and last year, after three years in the planning, we were finally granted permission to replace my grandparents’ old farmhouse. I love traditional old Irish farmhouses and outbuildings, so we wanted to design our house with this very much in mind. We decided to build a New Old Farmhouse and document our journey through Instagram.

Putting the plans in place

Although obtaining planning permission was a great relief, it really was only the first of a list of things we needed to have in place before we could even think about starting the build. We needed to; sell our current home, find temporary accommodation (we decided to live in a mobile home), get construction drawings done, apply for Building Control approval, do the percolation tests for the Consent to Discharge approval (basically making sure our sewage pipes were filtering out properly), go to tender for a contractor and lastly, secure finance. While in the planning process we had already spoken with a financial advisor and got a mortgage in principle with Progressive Building Society, so this helped us set our budget for the house design.

Finding a contractor

As we both work full time and have two kids, we knew there was no way, that we were going to be able to truly self-build, so we needed to have a contractor to take care of everything for us. The tender process allowed us to choose a contractor who would be able to work within our budget. Once they were appointed, we could submit our mortgage application - we had our mortgage offer from Progressive in place within 2 weeks! We then sat back and enjoyed Christmas looking forward to our build getting started in the Spring

Work begins!

Work started on the 11 February 2019, and to be honest it really has been fairly smooth sailing since then. The ground was good for building on so there was nothing unexpected there and the contractor and team of bricklayers worked through some cold, but thankfully mostly dry, weather. We had the foundations and subfloor completed by the 1st March and reached first floor level at the start of April.  Once the floor slabs where put in place, work started on the second floor and we were wall plate level, ready for the roof trusses to be put in place at the beginning of May.

First mortgage drawdown

We were finally at the stage where we could start the process of making our first draw down of our mortgage. Self-Build mortgages differ from traditional mortgage in that funds are released in stages as the build progresses, the stages can vary depending on each product and mortgage provider. We had four, the first being wall plate level, so I contacted our solicitor to get things moving. Evidence of the various approvals being in place and the contractor’s insurance had to be provided and Progressive had a valuation completed on the build. Again, things with Progressive went very smoothly and our first draw down was issued without any hold ups.

On to the next stage...

So, it’s on now to the next stage - getting the building watertight and with it being one of the wettest Junes on record this hasn’t been easy! In a self-build project, you have to keep looking forward though and we already have the slates, corrugated roofing and windows ordered. Things are happened thick and fast now and it’s going to be an exciting few months ahead!

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