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Digging foundations by hand
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OneArepa · 23/09/2022 18:30

Looking at buying a semi-d with the intention to extend at the back - would be double storey for two thirds of the width and single storey for the remaining third. Problem is the house has no side access at all and neither do either of the neighbours so can’t consider whether they might be bribed to help. For the sake of argument, say 3m projection from existing building and 7m width total (4m/2.5m split for the double/single).

DH is grim about the additional cost aspect of the foundations being hand dug. What sort of absolutely ballpark figures are we looking at, or even just rough % increase on using a digger? We’re in the midlands (just south of west mids).

Obviously everything else would also have to barrow through the house, which would be fine in itself as we’d do those bits up afterwards.

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CleopatrasBeautifulNose · 23/09/2022 18:38

Digging literally by hand would be epic. Can you measure the doors and see if you can get a micro digger in? Then at least you have machinery assistance when if you gave to barrow everything.
But if you gave to barrow the earth out you'll also have to carry all materials through the house. RSJ through the lounge? Building materials usually come in bulky packages, having to handball everything is oof not to mention if you get a pallet delivery in the afternoon and you don't want it standing in the street all night you'll need to whisk it through the house.
It's doable but you'll need to have serious energy and be really on the ball, no exception.

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greenhousegal · 23/09/2022 18:41

Can you explain how it is demi D but has no way to the rear except through the house please?

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greenhousegal · 23/09/2022 18:41

semi

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Stripedbag101 · 23/09/2022 19:09

This would be very very expensive. I am having an extension built at the moment and even with a mini digger the foundations took a week - and about four skips full of earth and mud. It was very messy.

no one can tell you what it would cost becoase it depends how deep you have to go and that will depend on your soil type. Local building control will tell you.

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MaybeMaybeNotJ · 23/09/2022 19:18

We had a mini digger brought In through the house through standard doorways. It can be done but it was very tight!

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OneArepa · 23/09/2022 20:00

Thanks, all. We’ve done extensions twice previously but have always been able to get a mini digger through the side accesses, so just the hand digging that’s the great unknown.

@greenhousegal They are semis - but each has been extended in brick just about to the boundary.

@Stripedbag101 accept we can’t know how much it would actually cost, but ideas of % increase over digger use - or anyone’s figures from previous jobs with hand dug, as an idea - is a starting point.

@MaybeMaybeNotJ now that’s interesting…

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Loveholidaystoomuch · 23/09/2022 20:05

Have you looked at a micro digger?

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Definitelymabel · 23/09/2022 20:07

Look at the cost of an hours crane hire and lift the diggger in. Probably cheaper. You'll still have to hand barrow all the waste out though, through your house! Nightmare.

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OneArepa · 23/09/2022 20:18

Micro diggers will definitely be looked at, thanks - and crane hire - one way to make an entrance as new neighbours…! Not too precious about barrowing out as it won’t be me doing it (so easy for me to say) and we’d leave doing anything on the downstairs until the build is completed.

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greenhousegal · 23/09/2022 21:51

I see what you mean now. Several houses around here have knocked their garages on the side and built two stories up to the boundary.

I live in a terrace on the other side of the road, but there is a wide (residents only) lane at the back, and double gates into the back garden. Ahem... much handier than the bigger houses across the road!

Anyway I hope you get sorted. You are brave and determined. I can't even get motivated to knock through the kitchen to dining room and I'm here over 20 years! On my own always so who cares, I don't!

All the best. I'd love to see some pics of your work if and when you get started. I love looking at before and afters of projects like this, because I am too lazy to do something similar myself!

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ARoyalSubject · 23/09/2022 21:55

Surely this can't be unusual?
I live in London, where most houses are terraced, and no one has back alleys here - but I see plenty of people having extensions.

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Rollercoaster1920 · 23/09/2022 22:53

Really common in London. 1 polish guy with a shovel and a week later the foundations are dug. Builders should price that into their estimates. It's not that much more when you factor in time to arrange, get the digger, pay for it. Few small building firms own that equipment, they hire it.

Do you have space in the front garden for skip and material deliveries?

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Diyextension · 23/09/2022 22:58

Currently doing exactly the same thing, digging out by hand . I too would have had to crane a digger in/ out due to steps up and down, so made the decision to dig it out myself ( and also level the area around it ) .

digging out to a depth of a meter which is normally how far you have to go down now isn’t to bad, unfortunately because we are on a slope I’m not sure yet how far I’ll be going down ? That’s a decision for he building inspector.

Its hard graft but I suppose it depends on how fit you are and how much time you have ? Think I stated about the end of may and been working on it on and off in between other things. I don’t have a fixed timescale , so it will be done when it’s done. I’m the wrong side of 50 now so there’s only so much digging the body can manage now in 1 day .

luckily the barrowing is very easy. I’ve filled 3 8 yard skips so far and the labour cost is £0. It’s 5m x 4m extension

Digging foundations by hand
Digging foundations by hand
Digging foundations by hand
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Diyextension · 23/09/2022 23:02

.

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Diyextension · 23/09/2022 23:03

.

Digging foundations by hand
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Stripedbag101 · Yesterday 08:43

DIYextension that is amazing that you are doing to yourself!

my founds has to go down around 8 feet because of the soil. The sides all had to be reinforced incase of cave ins - it rained and the place was a swamp! The builder did a brilliant job - but it was epic!

Your founds are incredibly neat.

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Diyextension · Yesterday 09:42

Keeping it tidy is one of the plus points of digging by hand, keeps all the mess / mud to a minimum. It would have been easier to dump it all on the drive and get a grab wagon to pick it up but digging by hand is slow and would take along time to dig enough out each time. It would also block access to the drive / house and like you say turn everything into a swamp when it rains .

skips cost more than a grab wagon but in this case it suits me better.

there are plus and minus points to anyway you choose to do it.

I try not to think about how much there is to do and just plod along with it when I have time 🙂.

the building part will be the easy bit once the groundwork is finished.

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Loveholidaystoomuch · Yesterday 11:31

@Diyextension wow you’re an inspiration!! Do you do this type of thing for work? My OH is in a related industry, on a digger every day and we are too scared to commit to him doing our founds!! But maybe I should be rethinking?!

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CleopatrasBeautifulNose · Today 07:30

@Diyextension your workwomanship is gorgeous! Love how accurate your digging is. Your trench walls are so straight! I love your step to get in and out. Fantastic work, a woman after my own heart. 😁 I'm building my own house (myself) but I was able to get a digger in to do the groundwork so didn't have to contemplate doing this task by hand. Impressed.

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ColinRobinsonsfamiliar · Today 07:42

We did our by hand. A wheelbarrow & spade each and several fill skips.

It was absolute graft due to stones, hardcore and very little soil. Really hard work digging this up.

As we did it over about 3 weekends, it did of course fill with water from the water table and rain so needed pumping out which delayed us a lot.
Skip companies were a fucking nightmare too as they never ever picked up on pre arranged days/times which meant that deliveries of materials on pallets was always messed up.

Cut the cost down massively though.

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Geminio · Today 07:58

When I was a kid my parents hand dug the foundations for a double length garage and rear extension to save money. So may be worth considering if you are able.

Is there anywhere out front you would be able to pile up the soil? If you are going to need multiple skips it would be worth looking at getting a grab lorry to collect it in one go as it will probably be cheaper.

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gogohmm · Today 08:01

I extended and they dug by hand, they said it's really common

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gogohmm · Today 08:05

Ps builders chose to - had side access. They said the digger wasn't as good as humans and caused problems, they are not cheap to hire, his labourer took 4 days to dig huge extension (8x5 metre)

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Loveholidaystoomuch · Today 09:42

These posts are reassuring!

Can me and OH do this? Do our founds completely on our own?

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Diyextension · Today 10:31

@Loveholidaystoomuch thx. I’m not in the trade I deliver stuff for a living , I’m just a keen diy’er. What I lack in money and time, I make up for with patience and determination 🙂

@CleopatrasBeautifulNose I’m male, but my wife will give me a hand shovelling and carrying from time to time , but she won’t dig out clay it’s too much for her 😤

but to be fair op it’s definitely doable ,you’ve ( husband ) just got to be 100% committed to it as it’s hard work and can be more work than you think.

last time I priced up a micro digger for the week it all came to about£400 with the insurance and fuel. But they are not as quick to use as you think and like someone above said come with there own limitations.

your probably looking at about £150 a day for labour ( digging barrowing ) I’d come and help you for that 🙂. So it depends on how many people you pay ,as to how fast it gets done ?

skips around here are £294 for an 8 yard, £354 for an 12 yard and it’s about £260 for a grab wagon 17 ton. Obviously grab wagon is the best value but it all depends on which way you want to do it . Beware skips can take up to a week to be removed/replaced when full ☹️

For anyone thinking of doing it themselves it’s not technically difficult once it’s marked/ measured out , it’s just hard hard work ( harder if it’s wet all the time ).

Its not the first time I’ve dug foundations out by hand, but I’m hoping it’s the last .😀

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