Finding a ground worker was somewhat frustrating with only a few replying at all, and even fewer replying with quotes. However I got an immediate response from Petzold who was just about within my budget. He was very helpful and started coordinating with Partnerbau. Unfortunately they moved more quickly than the architects who didn't send me the necessary forms until it was too late to make the first appointment.
There was also an unexpected surprise of further costs to the basement. Some of these were described as inevitable by Allkauf but that they did not have to warn me about them in advance as it was not in the Ts&Cs. This type of unscrupulous behaviour seems to be common-place. These extras they keep adding have had a bad effect on my budget which is now pretty thin.
In the mean time I had been organising the water, electricity and toilet. I was able to get a standpipe from the local water supplier and a portaloo was delivered to site with minimal fuss. The electricity was a bit more hard work but after a week or so a local company, Wüsten, gave me access to a box on site.
Petzold began work on Wednesday. I went down to the site to see if anything was happening, honestly expecting nothing (after all everything else had been massively late), but there he was with a digger and several large trucks. There was good progress already and by the end of Friday he had completed the excavation.
Unfortunately the second part of this work is the earthwork for the sewer connection with a cistern for rainwater. I had taken up an offer by Vewoplan to create the plans for this but when I asked them about it they said it was not in the contract. I pointed out that I had actually taken up their offer and they have ignored me since. They have let me down yet again and I am beginning to suspect them of pure incompetence.
Depending on the whether the base plate for the basement should be poured this week. Unfortunately my contact person at Partnerbau went on holiday without passing on any information. Having received an out-of-office reply I sent a rather angry email and got another contact. We may be able to build the rest of the basement from the prefabricated sections in the following weeks but time will tell.
Following that I have to thermally insulate the exterior and sort out the sewer connections before the earth (well gravel mainly) can go back, anchoring the basement in place. There's such a long way to go but at least we've started!