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divorcingjack last won the day on June 28 2019

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  1. We are in this exact position now and having an absolute nightmare. Our building control officer/locality requires ALL bathrooms fully fitted, exterior access both to the entrance and from the STREET complete. No temporary solutions are acceptable, which is particularly difficult for us as we are approx 40m from the street, and up quite a hill. We weren't planning to landscape for quite some time as it will cost an absolute fortune. Our site insurance runs out tomorrow and they have refused to extend. I really don't know what to do, tbh. The officer said it was because it is no longer under his control and has to be signed off by a superior. Absolute madness.
  2. Think we might be thinking of different companies. No details but we weren’t treated well.
  3. Thanks! I think I blush too easily for standup, but I do enjoy writing and have freelanced in my past. My my username isn’t a bitter hangover from a relationship-gone-wrong, but the name of a rather excellent book and film by a chap from my hometown called Colin Bateman. Very dark humour, but hilarious, if that’s your thing. Northern Irish humour can be very black.
  4. So, I know I promised tales of cladding and roofing in the last instalment, but I have reviewed my photo stream and in fact realised that the window install was the next thing. At the end of November (as we all know, winter is prime building time), we finally retrieved our bargain basement windows from storage and brought them to site. Ah, the bargain basement windows, a tale of joy, horror, stress, fury, confusion and eventual revenge all in one. I should explain. When we had secured the plot and had initial drawings from the architect and were waiting for engineering/calcs/building control drawings/services/everything else, we passed the time by getting hilariously large quotes for every aspect of the design. It kept us amused. So, after reading a lot on fabric first design and passive homes, off we trotted to our local Internorm dealer. Lovely showroom, excellent coffee, charming, if slightly oily salesperson. There was much discussion about our options - I asked about passive standard 3G timber aluclad. After a while, a large figure was mentioned. A very large figure. So large, in fact, that I actually was convinced that the salesperson was having a little joke with me. He wasn't. No further coffee was offered. We gathered our coats, emptied the complimentary biscuits into my handbag and prepared to leave shamefacedly, and preferably without admitting that we were FAR TOO POOR to afford these lovely windows. On the way out, the salesman commented off handedly and rather insincerely "Sorry we couldn't help you today. Unless you want to buy the ones in the basement, ha ha ha." Reader, I have little-to-no shame when it comes to sniffing out a bargain. I cannot be humiliated. So, I was accompanied to the basement of the showroom, whereupon I was greeted with a £100,000 wonderland of window-related (expletive deleted)-ups. Results of inaccurate measuring, bankruptcy of developers, incorrect specifying, just general inefficiency. Of absolutely (expletive deleted)-all use to anyone, of course. Apart from someone who had not fully finalised their house plans. And a salesperson who is uncommonly keen on crystallising some value from said (expletive deleted)-ups. It was a partnership written in the stars. Details of hard-nosed negotiating aside (and there was someone in the room close to tears, and it wasn't me), we came away with 15 brand new windows (including 3 large sliders), a fully biometric ex display front door with side lights, a utility door, and a large panel of glass. All pretty much passive standard, some with built in blinds, some alu-clad timber, some Alu clad UPVC. For not much money. At all. A very satisfyingly small amount of money. The architect was somewhat perturbed by this moderately unconventional approach of designing the house around already purchased windows, to say the least. For a while, I had a Quooker tap and approx £80,000 of windows as my only purchases for the house. However, he came up trumps and designed the house in such a way as you would never know that he had any design restrictions at all. The man is a quiet genius. We had cherry picked the best stuff - so all our sliders for the bedrooms are approximately (but not quite) the same size, they vary by about 30mm here and there, but they are all on different elevations of the house so you never see them right next to each other. We wanted to use one particular window in the bathroom as it had built in blinds, but it was a little too big, so we sank the bath into the floor to allow the window to have opening clearance. It looks amazing and like an intended "design feature". So, we purchased the bargain basement windows, and following our cynical, but realistic architects advice - we got a trailer and got them the hell out of that warehouse. They stayed wrapped up and palletised for approx 2 years until that fateful day in November. Now, what we should have done was quit while we were ahead, taken note of the surpassingly large number of (expletive deleted)-ups and run like the wind away from that warehouse. You will not be surprised to learn that this did not happen. We still needed our large feature window - a 5m wide, 2.7m high alu clad timber lift and slide window and matching fixed panels above. This was not cheap. Very very not cheap. But it was lovely. We decided that as we'd saved so much money with the rest of the windows, we could justify this lovely thing. We got a good, although still bloody expensive price on it, paid a 50% deposit, and were instructed to let them know when we were ready to have the window produced - as we hadn't been through building control fully yet, so didn't want to press "Go" just then. So, all well. We got on with what we needed to do, engineering, building control, life etc and gave no more thought to it. We get our building warrant. We phone up the showroom to say "yay! please make our very highly priced window!". Only, there's a disconnected tone. Odd, we think - must have misdialled. We try again, same thing. We google. Website down, emails bounce. A light sweat breaks out. The insufferable shits went bust. No one told us. It may or may not be directly related to the basement of (expletive deleted)-ups. Internorm had never heard of our order and had not received our deposit, so couldn't help. Now, thank christ that I am naturally untrusting of salespeople and INSISTED on paying £101 of the VERY LARGE deposit on a credit card. Section 75, how I love thee. We got the whole lot back. Eventually. After a lot of paperwork and phonecalls. But now we have a load of second hand windows, some with bits missing and no-one to fit them. And no-one to order our lovely slider from Help was on the way from an unexpected quarter though. Our house build is being filmed for TV, and we happened to have a filming day a couple of weeks later. Someone on the crew gave us the details of a helpful person within Internorm, who passed us on to another dealer who honoured the original price for the sliders, came up from England to fit the windows, supplied all our missing bits and were generally wonderful. So, we come to November. There are two access points to our site - one at the rear, which we can just about fit an articulated lorry up, and one at the front, on the extremely busy main street, that is cobbled and 2cm narrower than a transit with the wing mirrors folded, and only just as tall. The Internorm dealer had already made a site visit to review the access and made many sucky-teeth noises, but said "it's ok, we'll get a robot handler up from Leeds that can hold the window at 45 degrees while we drive it up." "Ooooh", we think, "A robot! Technology will save this whole scenario". The day started relatively badly when it transpired that the artic driver, instead of turning right when he should have, so he could drive straight down the street and have the windows on the correct side for unloading, had in fact, turned left and was now in the middle of fully reversing down a medieval street so long that it takes approx 8 minutes to walk from one end to the other. At 9am. Also, he was (I think) Romanian, with no English, and there were no Romanian speakers amongst the installation crew. So, when he finally arrived, after monumentally pissing off approximately 14 million local residents, the windows were on the wrong side and no room to turn. So we had to unload the rest of his lorry, stack it up on the street, taking up virtually every parking space in the place and drive the telehandler across the street, blocking all the traffic to get the window off. It is massive. Securing it on the tele handler is not a quick process. There was a lot of shouting. Also, did I mention I'm 6 months pregnant at this point? So, once unloaded, we look around eagerly for the promised technology laden robot. Looking a bit sheepish, the install crew confessed that it hadn't been available, but "don't worry, we brought something else". Great, I think! No problemo. The "something else" appeared, to my untrained eye, to be a couple of skateboards. So, we ended up with our massive window being rolled up the close on a couple of skateboards, being held at 45 degrees by a telehandler and 10 or so guys not all of whom shared a common language. To be honest, it went better than it should have done. The only hairy moment was when the tyre of the telehandler hit a drainpipe and it cracked with a noise EXACTLY like breaking glass. I was at the street end and couldn't see the window, just heard the cracking noise and a lot of a shouting. I was pretty convinced I was about to HAVE the baby. Terrifying. But, all in all ... TADAHHH! Over the next couple of days, all the windows were fitted and we were (nearly) watertight. Exciting progress.
  5. So, I just remembered that I actually had this blog. I'm killing time waiting for a phonecall, so, updates! Over a year later! Stuff has happened. Lots of stuff. Lots of money. Many tears. Some moments of "FFS, what?!", many moments of "HOW MUCH?" and "how the feck does this bloody shower fit together?" and a few, rare, beautiful moments of "woah, that looks awesome". The last entry ended on a lovely "woah" moment of the successful pouring of our beautiful concrete floor throughout the ground floor plan. It pissed down the next day, obviously. Then MBC went away, laden with cakes, pies and phone numbers of eligible single ladies from the area. A week later, they came back. My new job is a long commute away, and I had to work that day. On my way to the station (hideously early), I saw a truck drive past, laden with bits of house. "That's our house", I thought to myself, I just knew it. I text my husband to share the momentous culmination of our wonderful joint enterprise and was mercilessly mocked that it probably wasn't our house, as it was far too early. Ha! How I laughed when the driver called him approximately 10 minutes later to say he was stuck in the narrow road outside our site, couldn't turn the lorry sharp enough to get into the access point and was blocking every single (extremely angry) person in our medieval town from getting to work. That was a brisk drive to site for him. There were many people in hi-viz, a lot of shouting and gesturing, a lot of sharp intakes of breath, a few calls to the police to track down owners of badly parked cars and a huge amount of car horn tooting. Oh, and a LOT of apologising. But, the truck made it into the site. Just. To the never-ending delight of my small son, there was also an absolutely ENORMOUS crane. I was later informed this in fact this is an embarrassingly tiny crane, the smallest one that you can possibly hire and really hardly worth the bother. I feel like the driver may have had some adequacy issues with his crane size. So, whilst I was in a meeting, they just wacked the house together. At lunchtime, I called for a catchup FaceTime and the ground floor was pretty much finished! I mean, WHAT? The speed was insane. By the time I got to site later that evening (about 7.30pm), all the ground floor panels and internal partitions were in. My husband and I just walked around rooms, giggling insanely to ourselves at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. The next day, second storey on. Unbelievable. By the end of the week (in fact, I don't even think it was full week) the whole frame was up. We were a little shellshocked, to be honest. There was a lot of head scratching about how to run the falls on the roof. This had been discussed and obviously designed in, but our roofer had some input whilst MBC were on site. They were very good and spent a lot of time working out the best way to make it work for what we needed (singly ply membrane roof, adequate falls, hidden box gutters) and did a lot of extra work in conjunction with the other trades. Our roofer also risked the wrath of his wife by coming to a site meeting on a saturday and was subsequently late for a family BBQ oops. Oddly, once the frame was up and see could feel the room sizes in 3D, they suddenly felt absolutely massive again. Such a convincing illusion - it's very hard to visualise 3D space from a 2D footprint. Next up? The joys of roofing and zinc cladding And winter
  6. We have fabricated stainless steel, looks good against the zinc and contrasts nicely against the brick sections.
  7. I know the discussion has moved on a bit, but I managed to get some pics - unfortunately the worktop install has been pushed back till thursday - they forgot to cut one of the holes, and now are saying that they can't put it back on the water cutting table as it's 50/50 whether it will snap. Some negotiating to be done, unfortunately. However, here it is so far We turned the top drawer fronts upside down as it's not a true handleless kitchen and the j groove would have made the shadow gap too large. We are replacing the drawer runners with push to open/soft close but it's not at the top of the list just now. The red tape is to protect the edges - it's not a design choice!T
  8. Lol, sorry! Blame my joiner The thing I like the best about them (apart from the embarrassingly small fossils) is that they are much more of a grey colour than the really creamy/browny limestone. Everything else in our house is much more on the grey end of things, so they fit really well. They are also much harder than regular limestone, so hopefully should stand up to a bit more abuse. The price of the sealer is the worst bit! £175 for a tin!! Nearly fainted. They worked out at £36.90/sqm but you can get them cheaper than that if you can deal with random lengths? We wanted the 600x400 so it was bit more. They are incredibly varied in colour though - some are very pale and others are nearly black with mineral deposits. We like that look, but not everyone does.
  9. super cool @Onoff! Where did you find that?!
  10. No advice, but sympathy. Tile setting out is the one thing that has caused way more headaches than expected in the build. It's so flipping complicated! Thankfully, we have a fantastic tiler and he's unbelievably managed to line up the grout lines between walls and floor, so it looks really slick. His advice was that you are better to have two 500 cuts (our tiles are 600x400), than two full tiles and one smaller cut, although it's more work. The eye doesn't notice the smaller difference, but one small tile really sticks out between full ones. It's taken an age, but honestly, you wouldn't know that most of the tiles in our bathroom are cuts.
  11. So, after seeing another job that our joiner had done (with a much larger budget than us....), we fell in love with Jura grey limestone and decided to use it for all our bathroom walls and floors. They were pricey (although not crazy money) and have been an absolute bugger to seal, cut and fix, but they are absolutely riddled with 150 million year old fossils. They are STUNNING and the tiler has done them proud. The one that looks like a dinosaur is my son's favourite (he is dino mad) and was placed specifically in front of the toilet for admiring. The other special ones are on shower walls, windowsills and bath surrounds. My son also found one that looks like a poo, which is the best thing that has happened in the whole of his 6 year old life. It's in the shower at his height for him to show off to his friends.
  12. I'll get some when I go down to site after school pickup. In the meantime, here is the inspiration pic from the kitchen that we couldn't afford! We have had curved custom end panels and flush kick boards with a shadow gap made and the work surface will have that very slight radius on it as well. In fact, the well in the ceiling that houses the hidden extraction has the same curved edges.
  13. Soo, this gets a bit complicated. The worktop guy is not at all involved in the MDF/steel elements. The steel is my husbands idea because we’d read some stories of difficult-to-repair chips above dishwashers whilst taking stuff out, people were banging the edge, so he thought the steel would protect it pretty well. The edge of the steel will show but we have other steel elements in the house (a staircase) so we don’t mind that. It’s basically like one giant tile, so we went with the “full tiling bed” approach that you use when laying fragile natural stone tiles. The MDF is part of the bespoke detail to the island that makes the worktop look like it’s floating - we bring the MDF above the level of the units, but set back a little and the edge painted black, so it creates a shadow gap. I don’t think I have a photo of it at the minute but hopefully the worktop is being installed tomorrow or Monday so I can get pics then. It should look really cool with the ultra thin slab.
  14. It is brittle, needing to be fully supported and prone to chipping at the edges, so we’re installing ours over a sheet of MDF and a 2mm steel sheet which is the exact same dimensions as the Dekton, so hopefully that should protect the vulnerable edge from chipping.
  15. @ultramods I’ve got 8mm Dekton - a sintered porcelain surface like Neolith. Love it - never get tired of attacking it with any old screw that’s lying around and just wearing the screw down with no scratching to the surface! We needed something indestructible.
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