Blenheim Grove
Construction Progress
Video site diary

House 56 has been cleared out, and we see how the cladding is put on the stair core

The roof terraces are being finished off – see how brick slips work and check out the new railings.

Gus takes us around the apartments, and shows you how he would lay it out!

The entrance and courtyard are being built out, and we’re in the final stages!

This is the first time we’ve seen the scaffolding finally down, and the windows are in!

Some bricks walls are complete, and we have sloping roofs and felt on some of the houses!

The bricks that we spent hours agonising over are finally going up on the outside of the house!

This is the first time that we’ve actually been able to walk into the house itself and take a look around.

The houses have actually gone up to roof level, we have windows, and some rooms are beginning to take shape!

The timber frames have gone in and the houses are taking shape.

The houses are actually starting to come out of the ground and take shape!

We’re starting to see some walls taking shape on site.

The builders have done a lot since our last video – check out all the exciting developments!

Meet Luke, who has purchased House 56 at Blenheim Grove, and hear his thoughts about why self build and custom build are so attractive.

This video is our first one on site, and you’ll get a first glimpse of the plot and see the first steps towards building the foundation: the piling!

We are starting on site at Blenheim Grove and are producing a series of videos, taking us all the way from the beginning to the end of our custom build journey. This video is part 1 – how we got to this point and what’s coming next!

Construction Timeline

Keep checking back for more updates as the homes start to take shape!

May 2020 - Services and gates

The services are being connected, the gates are being manufactured, and House 56 has the void cut out so you can enjoy the feeling of space the split level design creates. Check out Video 16 to tour the house!

The bricks and brick slips are going up on the terraces, and the coping is looking good!

We’re working on the roof on the stair core, and working on the brick slips on the terraces.

We got planning permission to build House 62 into 2 apartments, so that anyone who wants to custom build but only needs a 2 bedroom home can do so. We’re also getting a really good look at what the finished shells will look like!

The shells are starting to look more like finished shells and less like a full on construction site! We were able to start doing viewings around the site to show off the space and what the split level design looks like.

This month work was started on the courtyard and front gardens of the houses. This is also where the bike store and bin store will be when it’s all finished.

A very exciting day as the scaffolding has come down on the site and we got a first glimpse of what the finished houses will look like! The windows also went in and our MD Gus and Project Manager Martin were on site to test them out.

This month the windows started going in! They’re all triple glazed to not only keep the heat in your home and keep your bills down, but also to keep the noise from outside out!

We’ve got all the windows on site as you can see by the piles of pallets in our houses. The ceilings are looking great as are the walls!

Houses 62 and 64 are now up, and we’ve completed brickwork up to the front of all the houses, and looking at options for external floor tiles!

The builders got a lot done this month. The exterior brick walls are being completed, the roofs got a layer of felt, and the stairs are in!

The insides of the shell are getting built up as we add insulation and put on an airtightness membrane. Bricks will be going on the building soon!

The houses have gone up to roof level on Houses 56, 58, and 60. And we also had amazing street art on our hoarding in May from five local street artists, all based on what ‘home’ means to them. Check out all their art here.

A very exciting month as the timber frames went in and the houses actually started coming out of the ground.

Timmmmberrr! In our case it’s being lifted up, not falling down!

In March we finished digging up the biggest home, House 64, and also poured the concrete slab.

pile of bricks digging out 64

The houses are starting to come out of the ground, with the retaining walls and partition walls going up. The beam and block floors have also gone in, creating the undercroft of the house.

The boys on site have been experimenting with the type of mortar joints to be used on the brickwork (top).

On the second picture you can see that right after the reinforcing bar was installed the temperature dropped to less than 3 degrees, so they had to delay the concrete pour by 2 days.

Better luck next time boys!!

The boys are installing the steel reinforcing bars for the concrete retaining walls for nos 62 – 64 Blenheim Grove. This structure once complete will form the lower ground and undercroft level areas.

Can you believe that some people don’t know what we’ve been up to at Blenheim Grove – we have had to stick up a sign – “left a bit Colin!”

Laying down clayboard  Digging ourselves into a hole

After the pilings are done, the last stage before the slab is poured is to make sure the drainage is in place. Lots of holes needed!

Having installed 117 piles, the boys have started the hard work of cutting to them down to the correct level for the slab to sit on top. It’s noisy work, but they should be finished in a week or so.

On Wednesday, 22nd we visited the Cambridgeshire factory of our timber frame manufacturer, WhiteHaus. On the left you can see the thermally insulated panels created in the factory ready for delivery to site and on the right, you can see an example of a building that the panels have been used to create. The guys can build the frame on onsite for a building like this in less than a week – magic!

This particular house is a type of holiday home that WhiteHaus supply to a luxury holiday provider in the UK – time for a mini break!

To mark the official launch of Blenheim Grove, Richard Bacon MP was our guest of honour at a traditional ribbon cutting ceremony on 25th July 2018.

Richard Bacon MP, Chairman of the all party group parliamentary group on self-build, custom and community housebuilding and place-making said:

“Unboxed Homes are part of a revolution now taking place across the country that will give more people the chance to create their own homes according to their own design. This approach offers higher quality and better value for money, as well as being much better for the environment. Unboxed Homes’ new development is a great example of how the housing market is set to change for the better.”

Check out the video of the day!

Join Gus on site as he shows us around the progress on site as the pilling work gets underway.

Things are really happening now at Blenheim Grove. This was the piling contractor in action last week. Don’t mess with these guys, one of them was in the Fijian national rugby team!

Over the past month, we have been monitoring vibration on the railway viaduct to help us determine a safe level of vibration whilst we are pilinig the foundations at Blenheim Grove.

Boffins quanitfy vibration in buildings as Peak Particle Velocity (PPV) and it is measured with a very expensive senson in millimetres per second (mm/s).

Interestingly(!) passenger trains were the source of pretty low level of vibration, but when a freight train crossed the viaduct the sensor measured a PPV of 8mm/s.

Shaky!

At least we know that our piling work will not make the railway collapse..

Railway

Our main contractor MARA BUILD has found their new base during the construction. This is in a disused railway arch next to the site. Below is a picture of the space before they start moving in and it even has a toilet!

If you ever wanted to know what the foundations of a railway viaduct look like we have good news for you! Last week our contractors had to expose the viaduct foundations to verify their depth and composition to ensure that our works would not damage the railway.

What did we learn?

That the Victorians used much shallower foundations for their railway viaducts than we are using for our 5 little houses!

We’ve just started on site at Blenheim Grove – hooray!

The excavator arrives on site.

Clearing the site.

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