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Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I've been renovating my house top to bottom for some time now. It's much easier to list the things NOT being replaced, namely:
- Most of the external walls
- Two of the internal walls
- Two rooms worth of floor joists
- Two ground floor concrete slabs
- The roof

That's it. Everything else is being redone, with 3 extensions added to boot.

Bits of this have cropped up in other threads and I'll fill in the events up to this point with lots of photos eventually, but you join me now at a crucial time where I've had a big falling out with the builder and a phone call in an hour or so will determine whether he finishes the project or I can his rear end on the spot.

I've come to the conclusion that this guy is a pathological liar. He's no Molyneux, he won't invent stuff for no reason, but when confronted with even the slightest error that I really don't give a poo poo about other than to get it right he will dig in and lie at full force rather than admit it. He's not averse to using his wife's chronic illness as an excuse.

The current issue centers around the events of this weekend. I've been living in the house the whole time (that's a fun experience, by the way), and he'd requested that I properly get out of the place for 2 weeks so he and the electricians can really go to town on the entire property at once.

I gave him the two weeks, and on Tuesday last week talked to him on the phone about which room I should move back into on Saturday when I got back, we agreed to talk about it later in the week when work was further along. On Thursday we spoke again and agreed that the room I'd been using before was the best bet, but he had to plasterboard the ceiling because the fibreglass insulation wasn't safe to sleep under.

We then have this text conversation:


So I show up on Saturday evening after a 9 hour drive and no plasterboard. No sheeting. No doors inside the house. In fact now there's no rooms left at all that can be fully closed off. Washing machine and dishwasher disconnected from the water (I'm otherwise living out of a tiny sink with no hot water so this is important).

I confront the guy over text, and suddenly this was always the plan, of course the place is uninhabitable, in fact the work they're doing for the next week or so needs me out of the house. He invents a phone conversation from whole cloth where we supposedly discussed and agreed this. I'm loving furious but of course I'm the bad guy for getting angry.

We agree to defer to today, where either we're going to move on but with some much stricter process around communication so he can't pull this poo poo again, or if he digs in deeper trying to gaslight me some more he can get the gently caress out. I'm not looking forward to that if he kicks up a fuss about money.

I'll update later on.

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Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Phone call has been had. We both agreed to put the "misunderstanding" behind us because it's too much hassle to do otherwise. You can bet everything's going to be confirmed in writing from now on.

Apropos of nothing he also told me that this weekend his van broke down and someone drove into an electricity pylon (???) taking down the electricity to his area. Why? Why lie about something irrelevant and easily verifiable?

Anyway, that drama out of the way I'll get on to posting progress pictures.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




In September of 2015 I had an offer accepted on a house. It was a 4-bed detached house in a quiet residential street in Kent, England, and the negotiated offer was a little over 300k. Built in 1908 or thereabouts by the builder who then lived in it.

This being a predominantly north american forum I should mention that making and offer and having it accepted has absolutely zero legal weight on either side. It's not until you "exchange" signed contracts that you're each bound to the deal. This leads to the building of "chains" where a sequence of offers to buy and sell are constructed, with people relying on selling their house as a prerequisite to buying the next one. When everyone's happy all the lawyers exchange on the same day and everyone's locked in. It's an absolute shitshow, and typically takes around 3 months to complete at best.

Since it's my first house I didn't have a house to sell, so I was the start of the chain. Around mid December it looked like everyone was in a position to exchange when the other end of the chain, the guy selling but not buying, pulled out. Cue 5 months of chaos as the half-dozen-properties-long chain has to reorganise in order not to throw all the work in the bin.

Finally around May 2016 we're ready to exchange, only it's been 6 months since I got my mortgage offer and it expires one week before exchange. Hurried phone calls to banks ensue and we're at last good to go. The lawyers take their pound of flesh and the house is mine.

I'd always planned on renovating this place, but perhaps not quite as much as I've wound up doing. I remember walking around the property during the viewing and saying out loud the words "nothing a redecoration won't fix". Those words haunt me to this day.

Here's what the house looked like at that time:














After taking ownership and checking the place out more thoroughly it quickly became clear that the PO (for the last 60 years) had done the bare minimum of tidying up the decoration before selling on, and that the answer to every question regarding the house was "how can we do it cheapest?". Nothing seemed disastrous but nothing seemed good either.

TTerrible
Jul 15, 2005


Fallen Rib

Awesome, a horror house renovation (hopefully not too much horror? ) based in the UK.

SoundMonkey
Apr 22, 2006

I just push buttons.


my reactions as i scrolled down those images:

"well i mean considering how many renos it's had..."

"i've seen worse i guess but it's not great."

"wait"

"what the gently caress"

"why would you-"

"rest in peace OP"

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



Fire your builder OP. While you still have a house. Or you might come back to a pile of rubble that you apparently agreed to.

Molten Llama
Sep 20, 2006


cakesmith handyman posted:

Fire your builder OP. While you still have a house. Or you might come back to a pile of rubble that you apparently agreed to.

Having binge watched Grand Designs, I'm under the impression that's the case for all UK builders.

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



I know 1 really good builder, he's done work for my in-laws for years and only does word of mouth. Watch diy SOS for a more typical view of the average UK builder.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




SoundMonkey posted:

"rest in peace OP"

Yeah. Nothing summarises the approach the PO took better than this photo:


I was laughing hysterically by the time I hit tile.

Many things were slipshod and half-arsed in that house, sadly without detailed photos, but my conclusion was it all needed ripping out.

- The wall plaster was lovely and bubbling and showing signs of damp (I negotiated the price down to remedy that).
- The ceilings had about 7 different coverings ranging from polystyrene tiles to paint on bare plasterboard.
- Doors: poo poo
- Windows: not that bad, turned out kinda poo poo
- Kitchen: mediocre to poo poo
- Electrics: gently caress me, I think the only reason the place hadn't burned down is the lillywhite weakass power supply wasn't up to the task
- Gas: who put that loving meter there
- Plumbing: run along walls in the open, rusted out stopcocks, get tae gently caress
- Rear extension (pictured above) vented heat like it was its job
- Stairs real fuckin' steep. Like 65.

So my initial plan was fairly basic, open up some walls downstairs because it was hella cramped. Replace all the plaster. Replace all the electrics. Replace all the plumbing. Try to remove all the piers and headers left around the place by the side extension (the long hallway with the bike in). Maybe see about the quality of the rear extension.

I started talking to builders. First builder gave me a 30k estimate but told me my "removing walls" plan needed a structural engineer to weigh in. Second builder gave me a 30k estimate but told me my "removing walls" plan needed a structural engineer to weigh in. Third builder.. well you get the idea, I talked to a structural engineer.

The SE was helpful but many of the questions I had for him were outside his area of expertise. Like what the heck do I do with new stairs if these walls are removed. He suggested maybe I should talk to an architect.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




So by this point it's July 2016 and I went to an architect. First cost on the project, 1,434.00.

They came round and measured a lot, took many a photo. They put together this drawing of the current property:


Then they went away for a couple of months with this very long email from me about what I wanted:

Some rear end in a top hat with too much time on his hands posted:

What's wrong with the current layout

Unlike the large family it was presumably intended for I don't need to escape from anyone's noise in the house, so I don't need all the walls. Despite some attempts to carry rooms through into one another, navigating the ground floor is a series of stops, starts and turns with no flow to them, and some drat weird arches where they've cheaped out when knocking walls through.

The stairs are too narrow and too steep, whilst also taking up too much space. They reach almost right up to the front door and force you to awkwardly navigate around the open door if you want to head to the right or back of the house. Most of the understair space is wasted.

Upstairs is reasonably well proportioned but still has odd doglegs and elevation changes, and the access to the attic space is positively suicidal in that you're required to climb a ladder over the vast open space of the stairwell.

The back extension is of low quality and takes up a lot of space for what it is, though half of it does serve a useful purpose. Based on the look on your face when examining the side extension I'm guessing that's not particularly high quality either, though it looks fairly normal to my untrained eyes. That said I don't much like chipboard as a flooring substrate so I'm wary of the rest of the construction too.

What do I want from the new layout

Room use

I'd like any room which does not form part of the main space (i.e. is enclosed and out of the way) to
1. have a strong, specific use
2. be proportional in size to that use
3. not have that use duplicated elsewhere in a space which is more easily accessed

For an example of this done wrong, here's a rough layout of the last place I lived:


First off you may notice that it was laid out by M.C. Escher while high; every flat space is on a slightly (or very) different elevation to every other.

Secondly, you never have to walk through any room to reach any other room, which means you need to have a specific purpose to visit each room. For the kitchen, toilets, bedroom and cinema room (originally a second bedroom) that's OK, but the function of the living room (relaxing, dining, socialising, office work) were mostly duplicated by the kitchen and cinema room which were being visited regularly already, so it almost never got used.

Central services

There's a number of things that I'd like to store / access centrally for the house, which we'll need an appropriate space / environment for.
1. Networking / patch equipment. This doesn't generate much heat but will have a lot of wires running to it.
2. A small server and some data storage. These will generate heat and noise, need to be kept fairly cool and closed away from the main living area.
3. Underfloor heating manifold, as I'm planning on having that. The manifold has to be "as close to the center of the house as possible", will generate heat.
4. 12V transformer. I'm planning on running 12V along with the usual 240V because it's not 1968 anymore and lots of stuff needs lower voltage, including things I plan to add to the walls / ceilings and I don't want a hundred plug-in transformers all over the place. Will likely want to be near the rest of the electrics.
5. When I say "centrally" I don't necessarily mean "in the middle of the house", with the exception of the underfloor heating manifold.

Wiring

There'll be a bunch of it of various kinds. Any option we go for will need to not obstruct wiring, ideally facilitating it by providing ways to route wires from any given room to the aforementioned central patch bays and/or electrics panels.

Cinema Room

Don't care where this lives, though it will need to be isolated from the main living area. Any windows will be (reversibly) blocked up, so aspect is unimportant. I mentioned in person that it needs to be 4x4m, but that's not strictly true. It needs to be at least 4m across the "screen" wall (which must be flat, no chimney), and I need at least 4m throw from the screen wall to the front of the projector (which is about 30cm deep). It's quite possible to put the projector in the next room and have it project through a small window, which might actually be preferable as it would lower noise in the cinema room. This could reduce the required depth of the cinema room.

Bedroom

I don't have a massive ego and I don't while away my hours writing novels at the bureau, so I don't need a huge bedroom. Proportional is fine. En suite is a nice-to-have, more on that later.

Guest bedroom

I'm torn on the existence of this. I hand-made my cinema furniture to convert into guest beds because of the space limitations of the previous house, so that's still a possibility, and I'm concerned about "wasting" a room as a guest bedroom which won't fulfil the "room use" requirements mentioned earlier. Thoughts?

Office

I work from home a reasonable amount. The current back bedroom is an appropriate size, I don't need much.

Kitchen

I consider cooking to be a social activity so being closely associated with the main living area and especially the expected dining area is important to me. If this were done in the current layout I'd knock through the top half of the kitchen wall by the cooker/hob and have that open into a dining area. That solution isn't required, but something that fits the bill is. I assume you're not laying the actual kitchen out, but the current size is about the minimum I'd want (though the actual layout would change.

Downstairs toilet / utility room

If we were to remove the current back extension we would lose these. The space they occupy isn't very well utilised but it would be a shame to lose them as functions if we're not able to put them back elsewhere. It would not be the end of the world, though.

Boundaries

This one is a little more abstract, but something quite important to me is the transition between one environment / purpose and another. Examples of possible transitions to keep in mind:
- Between the outside-front and the inside-front. This is a transition between a hectic and mildly messy outdoors and the calm, clean indoors. I'd like space for removing shoes etc and not worrying about messing up the flooring, and while that's largely a decoration concern if we could make use of spare storage / flat surfaces for storage of outdoorwear that would be nice. The current layout wrecks this by having the door/stairs intrude on the entryway as you're entering, and the nearest storage space is behind the stairs. Also external doors should open outwards!
- Between the outside-back/side and the inside-back/side. This is a transition between a very messy outdoors and the clean indoors. Think gardening, mucky dogs, walks across muddy fields. Needs to be a space that can get dirty and be made clean again without wrecking the Good Space.
- Between the garden and the living area. This one's less of a transition and more of a gradient, as a summer garden can be made to meld into the indoors via judicious use of hard surfaces outside and large entryways. Bifold doors are in vogue and I'm all for it, provided the inside isn't delicate enough at that point to take a hit from summer shoes.

Bathroom

The current bathroom is an OK size for me alone but it's used terribly. I can lay that out myself but I was considering converting it into an..

.. En suite

The bathroom sits next to the bedroom and could have an entrance knocked through. That would mean there'd be no family bathroom for resale, so I was considering later on converting the office into a family bathroom, the guest bedroom into an office, the bedroom into a guest bedroom and installing a..

.. Loft conversion

Unfortunately the roof is very low so this is a non-starter, unless we replace the roof, which is not out of the question (though it may be out of my budget).

tldr: I didn't want any rooms off the beaten path unless they had a strong purpose, I was going to put Many Wires in the place and needed somewhere to nexus them, and I wanted fewer walls or at least fewer right angles since the sightlines were awful and you're constantly juking to get anywhere.

We discussed things back and forth and eventually I went out to their offices to pick from three options. Bearing in mind my target build cost at this point was still 30k, they came up with three shufflings about of space, one of which involved knocking down the lovely back extension and not building new ones, the second involved replacing the back extension. I don't have any images of those unfortunately as they were discussed in person, but there just wasn't enough room for the rooms I wanted. No builder-grade layouts for this guy, oh no.

The third option was this, and is approximately what I wound up going for (dark grey = existing walls, white = new walls, dotted = removed walls):


Once I was happy enough with it it was time to get some new builder quotes.

Leng
May 13, 2006



Oooh, an non-US renovation thread! Bookmarked and will be watching your thread from down under, as we just purchased a house with the intent to renovate. Please keep posting - especially on costs if you're comfortable - because it has been hell trying to find good ballpark figures for how much anything costs in order to set a realistic budget and contingency.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Will do. My posts are a little far apart because it can take some digging to bring together the details from back then, but worth doing anyway.

So we're into January and February of 2017 and I'd had lengthy chats with some builders, mostly the ones I'd spoken to previously.

There's a couple of builder stereotypes in the UK, one is the fat gruff cockney builder who shows his butt crack whenever he bends down, another is the "oi oi football lads that chick last night phwoar" type of guy. I had one each of those and a third who was more quiet and thoughtful and I could see his brain working the same way mine did. Unfortunately he wasn't really kitted out in terms of crew for the larger scope of the job so I wound up going with the banter lad who at least had the same attention to detail as I do.

I don't have the contract in front of me to pull the list of things in phase 1 but based on emails and memory it was something like this:
- Gut and redo walls, ceilings, throughout, back to brick/stud.
- Check/remedy damp proofing throughout.
- Remove and replace rear extension
- Build side extension
- Relocate attic entry
- Raise lintel / remove empty door frame between landing and rear of house upstairs
- Raise void above entryway
- Replacing doors & frames
- Remove gas fire from east fireplace
- Check & clear both chimneys
- Open both fireplaces up in prep for future use
- Gut and replace wiring throughout
- Gut and replace plumbing throughout
- Supply underfloor heating throughout
- Relocate gas service pipe if needed due to location of side extension
- Floorboards to be replaced with tongue and groove plywood flooring
- Concrete floor in kitchen/diner to be installed appropriately for a polished concrete finish at a later date
- Render rear and side walls (northeast and northwest) in white kRend material
- Vault master bedroom

The rendering was supposed to get bumped to phase 2 but he forgot that part and didn't add on the extra cost. It hasn't been done yet but if he doesn't notice then that's 2700+VAT saved.

Phase 1 build price: 102,804.40 inc VAT (~30k deposit, 24 weekly payments, and 5k finishing payment).
Total cost so far: 104,238.40

Next up, obtaining planning permission.

(Edited to add correct figures)

Jaded Burnout fucked around with this message at 14:19 on Jul 3, 2017

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I see a lot of mention to contractors "pulling permits" in US threads and I sort of get it from context but here's the deal for the UK.

Permissions come in two forms, first is "planning permission" which is all about the visuals and historical guff. Things like whether your side-neighbour-facing windows are frosted or your house is some kind of precious artefact. There's an arcane set of rules about what does or doesn't need planning permission, and another arcane set you're not really privy to about whether you're granted it when requested.

The second is the safety aspect and is a collection of rules grouped under the banner of "building regulations". This is about fire egress, smoke alarms, load-bearing teakettles and minimum insulation R-values.

Planning permission is the important one* and often the hardest to get, so it's almost always sorted out in advance. They check it when you're done but otherwise you don't hear from them unless you need to change something. Building regs are in theory sent off in advance but in reality you notify them a week before you start work and keep an open dialogue with your local building regs guy who comes round periodically to make sure your foundations are deep enough etc. With planning it's your architect who keeps the open dialogue during the application process to smooth things along.

The architect had already started the planning process in late November of 2016 so it could happen in parallel to my negotiations with builders. Some decisions precipitated at this point as they covered items which, once they were in the plan, couldn't be changed without redoing the approval. Namely: cladding choices and windows/skylights & doors on extensions. I quickly researched these and we went for hardwood cladding on the rear and side extension, same at the front.

Actually now I'm thinking about it we're changing the front cladding to render and that might need a change to planning. BRB.

OK builder informed. Where was I? Right, planning permission. The architect and I got the finer details sorted and it was submitted to planning early December of 2016. It was granted mid-January 2017.

Cost: 172.00
Total cost so far: 104,410.40

Next: structural engineer.

*in the sense that building regs problems are engineering problems and can usually be solved to keep whatever it is you wanted, whereas planning problems are often intractable because they're rejecting your aesthetic or the broad thrust of your structural changes on the basis of legislated decorum and etiquette

Jaded Burnout fucked around with this message at 15:06 on Jul 3, 2017

Bibendum
Sep 5, 2003
nunc est Bibendum

Yeah, in America pulling permits is just to ensure the absolute minimum code is followed and the construction is done where the plans show and not over an easement or on a dangerous slope. While some areas here have historical registers protecting a few buildings its pretty unfortunate that almost all of our historically significant buildings are those held by institutions, trusts or non- profits. In my city, all of the interesting buildings that once were landmarks have either been torn down or can now only be seen from across the street because they've been surrounded by 5 story commercial/condo blocks. Even the university is doing the same thing on their campus, crowding lovely old architecture designed to last forever with disposable office blocks that are already looking worn and ugly after 7 years. I guess what I'm saying is I wish we could find a better balance.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




Fun Shoe

A lot of that in the US is also a result of many of those 'charming old buildings' being full of nightmarish levels of safety hazards due to the day and age they were built in, and being cheaper to tear down wholesale and replace than remodel up to code.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I guess that's why we don't have to do that. You're not allowed to put in something new against regulations but you can leave as-is or even replace like for like without having to fix it, and that's not even in listed buildings. That pair of steps at the top of the stairs in the photo is against regulations because doors need to be set back from the top of staircases now, but I don't have to fix it even though the house is basically being ripped to pieces.

The idea of "oh you're doing enough work that now you need to bring everything up to standards" is literally a foreign one here.

In listed buildings I'm told it actually goes the other way sometimes, with the law forcing the owner to downgrade the materials to match the original heritage during repairs. That may be apocryphal though.

SoundMonkey
Apr 22, 2006

I just push buttons.


Liquid Communism posted:

A lot of that in the US is also a result of many of those 'charming old buildings' being full of nightmarish levels of safety hazards due to the day and age they were built in, and being cheaper to tear down wholesale and replace than remodel up to code.

A house on a main street here just sold for approx $80k less than what it should have. I presume it's full of asbestos and built on a spider nest or something.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Work order: replaced the asbestos with woven megaspider silk plates
Charges: $60 plus $1.3m in hospital bills

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



Your new layout is really confusing to me, I know you've explained your thinking and reasons but:

Only an ensuite upstairs for 2 bedrooms, cinema room and an office, downstairs shower room as small "main" and 3rd bedroom.

How about:
Cinema room downstairs with space for a WC, swap office and back bedroom - if it's only for guests give them the smaller room and have a massive office.
Are you committed to a void over the stairwell? Is there space there for a compact shower room as an ensuite to the master, leaving a main bathroom as convention?

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




cakesmith handyman posted:

Only an ensuite upstairs for 2 bedrooms, cinema room and an office, downstairs shower room as small "main" and 3rd bedroom.

This has changed in a way that isn't shown on any diagram due to getting drafting changes done being like pulling teeth.

The dogleg that the new MBR wall performs in the drawing is no longer there, it's now a straight wall aligned with the wall below, with a landing linking the top of the stairs to the new set-back bedroom door. The bathroom door has been moved out so it also opens onto the new landing. This means that the upstairs bathroom is now open to all and no longer an en suite.

cakesmith handyman posted:

How about :
Cinema room downstairs with space for a WC, swap office and back bedroom - if it's only for guests give them the smaller room and have a massive office.

The front rooms (up and down) aren't big enough for a cinema room if you put in any kind of bathroom. The back bedroom won't actually be a bedroom, you can pretty much ignore any labels and fixtures on the diagrams, they're just whatever the architect plonked down. The long back room upstairs will be for music instruments, non-work PC etc. The small back room is just fine as an office, I really don't need much space.

cakesmith handyman posted:

Are you committed to a void over the stairwell? Is there space there for a compact shower room as an ensuite to the master, leaving a main bathroom as convention?

Very committed at this point, as you'll see shortly.

The best option for an en suite would be to double up the height of the side return extension and hook it in there, though you'd lose space for cupboards in the MBR due to the door. I didn't do this because the cost (10k) wasn't worth it for me at this stage. The foundations have been dug deep enough for two floors on both extensions, though.

Edit: to answer your question more specifically about space for a compact shower room if I kept the structure there; it was previously a small closet, I'd say there would be room for a shower cubicle and nothing else. The benefit to the entrance to losing that space is very worth it in my opinion, especially having seen it in person all torn out.

Jaded Burnout fucked around with this message at 09:38 on Jul 4, 2017

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



Cool okay. I guess that means you're always filling skips?

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I think we went through 3 skips and two crane-loaded trucks of hardcore.



Not including the wood which I believe the builders are going to bonfire any day now.

There's not really much left in the house so I think that'll be it once the front extension is dug out and the new entrance put in. And maybe the old windows.

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



I re-read your first few posts and yes I see you may be slightly committed now

Fascinated by the previous Escher house, I've lived in student houses that seem to grow steps with every modification so I think I know what you're talking about.

Good luck.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




The previous one was a big ol' victorian thing sliced up into 4 flats and placed on a slope, so it was a bit all over the place. I don't think there were two rooms in the whole place that could be traversed without using a stair.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




OK so I had the architect's drawings, I had a builder quote, need a structural engineer. Not only can he tell us the implementation details of my dumb architectural decisions but his additions to the architect's drawings are needed before they can be submitted to building control. Can't break wall until then.

Found a place on the internet not too far away, got a quote, booked him in, donezo*.

Eventually the drawings arrived and they looked something like this:



Fee: 780.00
Total spent so far: 105,190.40

*not quite donezo as we'll see later. Take a look at this photo of the "dining" room and see if you can figure out why.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Okay so we're at early March 2017 and work actually starts, almost a year after I took ownership. The words "done by christmas" rang loudly in my ears. That was supposed to be christmas of 2015.

The garden looks like this:




First off they ripped out the kitchen:



I still don't have a kitchen, and I don't expect to have one before November.

Next they started on this lovely extension. Here's a shot with the roof off:



Also that bush is on fire. They set fire to that thing 3 times before finally ripping it out.

Back extension gone:



It was so badly made they ripped it down by hand.

This tree is a problem:



It's close enough to the new footings that the building inspector is a touch concerned. I don't really want it anyway not least because it looks like a giant veiny cock. Out.




If you ever do find yourself getting serious work done I can vouch for these dust doors. They really worked, until so much of the house was torn apart that it was pointless trying to seal it anymore:



I'll leave you with a bit of a mystery, this was found behind the plasterboard in the kitchen:

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004


Out here, everything hurts.




Fun Shoe

Time for a rousing game of 'Hearth or Window'?

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I've seen it completely uncovered and I'm still not entirely sure.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




I've just had to give the builder an ultimatum after he no-showed a meeting I had to book a hotel for, with no notice and no communication.

I've sent him a 3 page email detailing the build up of issues and a number of conditions for continuing the work, otherwise he's out.

Indolent Bastard
Oct 26, 2007

I WON THIS AMAZING AVATAR! I'M A WINNER! WOOOOO!


Jaded Burnout posted:

I've just had to give the builder an ultimatum after he no-showed a meeting I had to book a hotel for, with no notice and no communication.

I've sent him a 3 page email detailing the build up of issues and a number of conditions for continuing the work, otherwise he's out.

Just skip to the inevitable end and sack him now.

SoundMonkey
Apr 22, 2006

I just push buttons.


Indolent Bastard posted:

Just skip to the inevitable end and sack him now.

this. it's not like he's going to read over those 3 pages and go "hmm yes it's true i am a loving imbecile" and double-down on work ethic

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Well, I got his response and he's agreed to the terms. We've agreed a process to ensure any verbal changes are put on paper and he's agreed that whether he agrees or not about the issues they are at the very least serious breakdowns in communication. His work ethic is good when it comes to actual building, but poo poo when it comes to big picture communication. I've known lots of software developers like him.

It's easy to say fire him and lord knows it's the option which provides the easy out, but only for about five minutes. It's a fixed price contract so we'd then have to deal with money, getting him out of the property with all his gear when I'm not nearby, and then sourcing new builders willing to complete (and warranty) someone else's work for the same amount of money remaining on the project.

On a build this size if I can patch up the working relationship enough to get to the finish line it'll be far less hassle than trying to make a change at this point.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Wow so this thread got away from me. I left my laptop on site for several months and so on and so forth.

Where were we. Late March? Something like that.

Internal demolition begins!








The pond becomes considerably less pond-like:


We found this shoe in the ceiling of one of the rooms, apparently a thing. Wound up donating it to a museum which has a special collection of these things.


Woops, found a hole in the roofing felt. Will fix that eventually.


Apparently building built-in cupboards and THEN plastering the wall was A Thing back then.


No money spent here but the tree removal from the last post was 220+VAT so we're at 105,454.40 all-in so far.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Late March and excavations begin on the new rear extension foundations!




I think the trench and the tread marks really give it that WW1 feel, complete with anti-tank barricades:



First of MANY bulk material deliveries arrive:



Plus a new inspection chamber for the waste route, which I'm told is called a "bin" in the sewage trade:


Concrete pour went in, visited by cats and foxes in the night. The builder reckons it's a badger, but it's a goddamn fox alright:


Also found this little hand made castle toy:


Concrete path removal in garden 360+VAT. Total cost so far 105,886.40.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




A few days pass and I'm working on a circuit board for a lighting control circuit that I never used.


The builder and I start having a chat about this orphaned chimney breast and perhaps getting rid of it. The gap to the right had a cupboard built in which the architect drew as a continuation of the wall, which nearly cost me a bunch of money later.


The first dirt floor under the house is uncovered. No bodies, sorry.


This toilet is sealed. Why?


To avoid me accidentally making GBS threads into my new foundations.


(it's the trench for the side extension)


Slab insulation shows up, and there's a whole lot of it.


The temporary bathroom/kitchen/utility is less than salubrious


Dumps.


Interior demo continues.


The apprentice very kindly works around my distance markings, how sweet.


Found some old stamps!


Remember these tiles?

After dragging out the 5 layers of lino we uncover the pattern:



Notice that hole on the right? That's the old kitchen fireplace, the flue is above it.
Still not sure what all this business on the rest of that wall is though:


Blocks go in to prep for the rear extension slab:


Rest of the blocks are lined up ready for the build:


Ever wondered what the inside of a wall looks like?


This is what it looks like when you slice through a shoddily made brick wall (the two-storey side extension was done cheaply by the PO)


Temporary water supply looped in and the ground cleared for the side extension


More bulk mats



Some DALI boards arrive for the LED project I didn't do:


I don't know if any of you have ever registered a company but in the UK it goes into a public directory and you start getting business-related spam through the door. Turns out when your successful planning application goes public you get kitchen brochures instead:


Rear slab prep and pour!



The builders constructed this defence to, I swear to god, "keep the badger out".


It didn't work.


Side extension blocked and prepped for slab pour:


More wartime set dressing


As per engineer instructions the blockwork on the rear extension had to be stitched into the inner skin of the brickwork, which necessitates slicing a big slit in the wall:



By now the inside of the house is starting to do this:


And the outside looks like this:


No additional expenses, cost still 105,886.40.

Suspect Bucket
Jan 14, 2012

SHRIMPDOR WAS A MAN
I mean, HE WAS A SHRIMP MAN
er, maybe also A DRAGON
or possibly
A MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
BUT HE WAS STILL
SHRIMPDOR


Those are very much mostly kitty paw prints. A fox would have toenail marks, and badger would look like tiny bear paws with five toes, and also have toenail marks.



It's coming along nicely! Good luck on the build!

Suspect Bucket fucked around with this message at 23:03 on Sep 3, 2017

Leng
May 13, 2006



Yay for updates! I was afraid that the thread had died but glad to see that's not the case.

Out of interest, exactly how much of the construction detail did your architect handle and how much was left up to your builder to figure out as the build went? One common theme that I'm coming across in my research is the more detailed the construction drawings are, the more expensive the design phase, but it has the benefit of minimizing cost blow outs and errors during the construction phase.

Being a bit of a control freak, I'm really liking the idea of working it all out in advance but I'm also getting a lot of "oh you can just get a good draftsman to translate the architectural design into construction drawings, you don't need an expensive architect for that"...

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Suspect Bucket posted:

Those are very much mostly kitty paw prints. A fox would have toenail marks, and badger would look like tiny bear paws with five toes, and also have toenail marks.



Oh the majority of them are the local bastard cats for sure, but here's a close up on what (based on your handy chart) looks a lot like fox prints to me:


I was previously going off the fact that I've seen a fox about the place and not badgers, but your chart confirms it

The prints were not the major issue as far as the builders were concerned so much as the intruder kept digging in their sand, which, again, fox.

Jaded Burnout
Jul 10, 2004




Leng posted:

Yay for updates! I was afraid that the thread had died but glad to see that's not the case.

Out of interest, exactly how much of the construction detail did your architect handle and how much was left up to your builder to figure out as the build went? One common theme that I'm coming across in my research is the more detailed the construction drawings are, the more expensive the design phase, but it has the benefit of minimizing cost blow outs and errors during the construction phase.

Being a bit of a control freak, I'm really liking the idea of working it all out in advance but I'm also getting a lot of "oh you can just get a good draftsman to translate the architectural design into construction drawings, you don't need an expensive architect for that"...

Hm. I'd say it was an even split between architect (and their drafter), structural engineer, and builder.

The architect produced drawings that looked like this:


The SE then took the AutoCAD files and produced drawings that looked like this:


The architect (and/or their drafter) then took those and made these, which became both the submission to building control and the final scale drawings the builder worked to:


I don't know what the division of labour was inside the architect firm so I can't help as to whether an independent drafter could do what you want.

I say the builder was a third involved too; he was lightly involved in the planning phase mostly in terms of reality (and price) checking the structural changes before they went to the SE, but the majority of his input was the two of us dealing with emergent issues as they came. For example I mention in the post us discussing removing the disconnected chimney breast. In fact we wound up removing and rebuilding that whole wall because as a previously external brick wall it was 300mm thick (not counting the chimney breast). Replacing it with stud took it down to 100mm and gave me some room back.

A lot of these on-site changes were of the form "hey we have a problem, here's a proposed solution are you OK with that" or both of us working towards a solution.

Example, here's the final drawings for the profile of the rear extension:


Firstly, didn't want that beam exposed if we could avoid it, so the builder managed to hide it in the ceiling. Secondly, what's missing in this image? Drainage.

Now that extension is to be clad in larch and having some great ruddy drainpipes in the front corners would look poo poo. So we both went away and independently came up with the same solution (after my less practical ones were shot down), which is to slope the roof back towards the house instead and collect the rain in one back corner where the pipe can go next to the join between the cladding and the render, reducing its visual impact.

If I hadn't really given too much of a poo poo about the details I could've set this builder going with those drawings and just said yes a few times when a solution to some problem was suggested, and I probably would've been a lot less stressed, but that's not the type of person I am, sounds like you aren't either. As such expect to have to figure things out on the fly and hope you have a builder who can get creative.

One of the problems I had with the builder as detailed further up in the thread is that he has a habit of plowing on with work without checking with me first. As a fellow control freak I would recommend documenting ideally in drawing form stapled up in the house any changes you discuss so that if your builder does the same at least they're doing what you want them to.

Edit: Oh, and no fancy architectural touches will survive contact with the fire regulations, so expect some negotiation to figure out how to get it done. For example I didn't want any doors between the kitchen/diner and the front hallway, which means fire can spread from the kitchen to the front door under the mandated 30 minutes, cutting off the way out. The solution (negotiated with the builder and the window fitter) was to make all upstairs bedroom windows fully opening egress windows, and the roof of the extension your exit route. Really looking forward to hopping out of a window onto glass while a fire rages underneath it.

I also wanted exposed beams in the vaulted bedroom but that's another fire regs violation unless you get them coated and the builder wanted a specialist to do that and certify it, so I didn't bother. He offered to fit some fake beams where you can't tell the difference but man that is not my style.

Jaded Burnout fucked around with this message at 06:29 on Sep 4, 2017

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SoundMonkey
Apr 22, 2006

I just push buttons.


i will legit never get sick of seeing huge amounts of nested measurements

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