One of the first stages of the build is to complete the footings and arrange for utilities to be supplied to the site.
Contact the gas, electricity, water, telephone and cable companies and make them aware that a house is to be built on your plot of land.
Some services will be required immediately in order to progress with the build. Water can be supplied to a standpipe so that you can mix cement and have water for drinking and toilet facilities. At a later date the water will be brought into the home and connected to the home water system. Electricity will be needed in order to operate machinery and to supply light. It may be possible to come to an arrangement with a neighbour to purchase electric or water from them until your supply has been fitted.
Mark the site where the trenches have to be dug before a single spade of earth is turned over. If the trenches are not dug in the correct places it will be difficult to re do them and will involve a lot of shuttering and spade work plus time wasted. Some people use string to mark where the footings should be, others use spray paint. Whatever system you use ensure that the digger driver knows whether it is the central line or the outside line of the trench he is to follow..
Hopefully your footings will be sited where a mechanical digger can be used making light work of the job. However, this is not always so and you will have to work hard to hand dig the footings that the machinery cannot reach or are a strange shape for the digger. It may also be advisable to shore up the sides of trenches that are in danger of caving in due to their position or from people climbing over them.
While you have the digger on site make good use of it by digging out drains and soak away trenches as well.
Ensure that the footings are well covered and not hazardous to passing people. Also check that wildlife has not fallen in each morning, you would be amazed at the amount of frogs and hedgehogs that can appear in the trench over night.
Your architect will have shown the depth that the trenches should be dug on the plans that he has designed for the house.
Before the cement can be poured the building control officer from the planning department will have to check the footing trenches and agree for the cement to be poured.
It may be that the land is unsettled or of poor quality. In these instances metal poles will be inserted into the ground for support or even deeper footings will have to be dug.
On the day that the cement lorry is due to arrive to pour the cement into the footings make sure that you have enough help on site. Every worker should have protective clothing, a hardhat and boots. A rake is ideal for each worker to level out the cement as it flows into the trenches. Do not let workers stand in the cement as it will suck them down and they will have problems climbing out.
The good news is that once past the footing level you will be receiving a stage payment and be able to progress to the next part of the build.