• Nicky Frost

We’ll be in by Christmas!

That old chestnut? With just six weeks until the big ho ho ho, there will be lots of self builds and home extensions hanging precariously in the balance as the infamous Christmas deadline looms.


This time of the year always puts pressure on schedules for completion, especially home renovations that include kitchens and entertaining spaces. We caught up with a Self-build Zone customer who was in by Christmas but only by the skin of their teeth.


The Old Blacksmiths in a Cambridgeshire village dates back to the 17th Century. The main part of the cottage still boasts many of the original features and rooms, but over the years the owners added a two-storey extension to the side of the property and always wanted to expand the ground floor footprint even further to create additional living and kitchen space. Planning was approved in December 2019.


Works didn’t begin on the ground floor 40m2 barn-style SIP build extension until August 2020, during the pandemic when restrictions were relaxed for construction projects to carry on. The initial project start date was March 2020. So, already trying to claw back time, the customer and builder agreed it was achievable to be ‘in by Christmas’ but like many projects, there were a few unforeseen hiccups along the way. These were mainly around groundworks when neighbouring trees prompted building control to force another 0.5 meter depth to the foundations, and then they discovered the existing chimney stack, which was being retained, had absolutely no foundations at all.


Using a SIPS system, the overall structure, windows, and roof lanterns were complete by mid-November, with the floors being pumped with concrete soon after. The kitchen was usable and the oven was working, but the race was on for their Christmas deadline.


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