Hmmm… as much as it pains me to tell you this – we have done so much work since I last wrote, but are no closer to breaking ground – let alone moving in!
So what have we been up to?
– We have been busy with the heritage process (taken us some 2 months so far). The heritage committee have met twice to discuss the changes that we would like to make to our home, and visited our home once with our architect and landscaper present for them to explain the heritage report, the changes that we would like to make, and answer any questions.
What has been interesting is to learn that the heritage committee are not overly keen on an indigenous garden (as has been proposed by the landscaper, an idea which Graham is quite keen on) because they would like to see the exotic nature of the gardens in our area preserved for historical value. I’m thrilled (because I love roses, hydrangeas, camellia’s and most other flowers that are not indigenous) – but what we will seek to do is to maintain and build on our current garden making decisions with water usage and the avoidance of alien species in mind.
We understand that the committee is very happy with how we propose to preserve the integrity of the old building, and hope to hear early this week whether or not our plans are approved. We need this in order to receive our municipal approval!….
– We have been working hard on the plans together with our architect and my fabulous interior-designer sister (who can translate and interpret ‘architect language’ (thank goodness)) to come to a point where we can say with relative certainty that we can allow ourselves to be excited about the fact that the plans are broadly reflective of our vision (set out in my last post). Getting to this point has not been easy. Our architect tells us that we have now ‘tamed the beast’, I’m thinking that the devil is in the detail – and we have lots more work to do in this regard before getting contractors to tender to limit cost overruns…
Graham and I need to sign the latest plans off this weekend so that we can go ahead and get quotes from an electrical engineer and lighting expert. We need input and detailed drawings from these experts for our municipal submission. In order to get municipal approval, one of the things that we need to do is include in our submission calculations on what we believe our energy usage and energy savings (as a result of efficiencies that we intend to implement) will be once our renovations are completed, and we are living in our home. We would also like these experts to bring to life the plans we have for energy efficiency and alternative energy generation (glazing, insulation, window screen for cooling the front of the house, heat pump and cooling room, solar panels on the flat portion of our roof and vents in the roof to allow excess to escape).
Given the unusually heavy storms that we have been having in Jozi, as well as the water scarcity issues that we face – we are trying to design a low impact building – that will allow water to be carried away from our roof to spread and soak into the garden. We understand that the roof has been designed in a manner that will allow this to effectively happen. We are also about to start exploring rain water storage, and whether this is an option that will be worth investing in for us.
Well, that’s it for now!
We plan to finalise the plans for municipal approval within the next 6 weeks, so that we can then get a firm idea of what this is all going to cost us – and whether we will be able to afford to do put in place all the energy and water saving measures that we would like to. And then we need to go out to tender and find some contractors who can do the work for us!…
Will keep you posted…A