A cautionary tale

Anyone who’s built their own home loves to tell war stories, it’s a route we’re keen to avoid, but every now and again one tale is so cautionary, it has to be shared for the common good: ours concerns concrete.

In an ideal world you should be able to work out exactly how much concrete you’re going to need for trenches from your architect’s drawing. Only problem is, flat drawings don’t take into account the topographical corrections associated with even the tiniest on-site slope. And Louis Croft’s slopes and dips were anything but tiny. We started of with an estimate for 50 cube, and ended up at the 100 cube mark by the time we were finished: a standard, square house uses about 12 cube for foundations.

The locals had never seen such profligate concrete consumption: a few funsters even asked if we were reinstating the massive, concrete gun emplacements which stood sentinel on Loch Ewe during WWII. “No fellas, we just need 200-400 x 2100mm concrete foundations to support Louis Croft’s rock-mass walls. Don’t worry it’ll look great when it’s done, honest.”

It sounds like a Highland saga, but it would have been so much worse if we hadn’t been on-site throughout to instantly approve endless concrete runs from Gairloch Quarry to feed our seemingly insatiable foundations. And we really couldn’t have done it without our team of heroic brickies who made short work of everything from the first lift of block work to fabricating the concrete cubes which would eventually support the croft’s steel portal frame core.

One bright note in our concrete story came from an unexpected source: the weather stayed dry, not a given for summer in Torridon. And all the work was finished just in time for our tireless team to hit the Tiree Music Festival, and nobody deserved a party more than Craig, Callum and Fred.

Whats up next: 10 top Louis Croft recycling secrets