‘I know it will be good because it is made in Germany’ said our client on a fine summer morning as we eagerly awaited the arrival on site of the first truck from Hamlin, Germany. The six trucks had been carefully loaded, in perfect order, at the Meisterstueck Factory where the component parts of my client’s house had been immaculately prepared. The first truck arrived at 7.30 am. The three Meisterstueck carpenters were already on site as was the crane driver and site manager. They were ready, prepared, the site was tidy and perfectly organised. By 12 noon the first of the two buildings was up and the second truck had arrived exactly on time.
The procedure was fascinating to watch as external walls, with doors and windows already in place, were picked up by the crane and carefully lowered into position. Gable walls, parts of elevations and internal walls were systematically unloaded and lowered into position on the slab and fixed in place. Finally the roof ‘cassettes’ were put in place. Everything fitted perfectly.
It reminded me of watching my mother putting together the Christmas gingerbread house. First the dough was made, then rolled into flat squares. Then the walls, gables and roof pieces were cut out and baked. Once they had cooled down, the pieces were put together and glued in place with a syrup solution, then decorated with icing sugar and sweets.
Like a gingerbread house, a Meisterstueck house can be made from pretty much any design. This is what sets them apart from most other factory made houses which tend to be chosen from a number of ‘standard’ designs. Our client’s design is unique. It had to be very carefully designed in order to get planning consent in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in a conservation area, at the edge of the village envelope, on the beautiful north Norfolk coast. The split level house follows the contours of the site, with living room at first floor offering fantastic views in all directions. There is also a two bedroomed guest cottage with a large sound- proof basement (our client is a musician).
None of this was any trouble for Meisterstueck who’s construction drawings hardly deviated from the planning drawings at all. Once these drawings were approved, our client was given a detailed price for the fabrication and construction, which was then fixed. No surprises, variations, extension of time or unknown costs.
We are very excited about this way of working, so far it seems to offer everything that our client wants: great design, precision build and certainty of cost.
An electrician on one of our other sites recently said to me ‘If you want something reliable that works, buy German’. All my kitchen appliances are made in Germany, my car is German, oh – and I was born in Germany!
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