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I Got 59 Problems (And Counting) And My Wife Ain’T One

Posted by daiking , 11 February 2016 · 1,499 views

Bring out your dead.

So what progress has been made? There is a large extension standing, part finished, some parts more than others. Mutual indifference has led to the builder looking like he’s sacked us off. Not a great loss but leaves us with a not inconsiderable amount of work to do with a very inconsiderable amount of money to do it.

I’ll try to list it by area and see how things go. This is by no means complete but just a brain dump to get me started.

Playroom, 3x3m – French doors installed, window bricked up, replastered and new internal door fitted.
  • Flooring, skirting and decoration remain

Open Plan Kitchen Living Area, 6 x 7m – Kitchen installed, doors and windows installed, plastered, floor tiles and most walls/ceilings painted white
  • Remedial plaster patching/filling after 2nd fix services,
  • window board,
  • skirting/tile border,
  • more decorating, board inside closet,
  • fit water filter

Utility Room, approx. 3m x 2m with external door. – Stud walls erected, electrical and plumbing first fixes in place, boiler cotner plastered and boiler installed.
  • Strengthen stud walls with studs, noggin and ply sheet,
  • batten brick wall and ceiling joists ready for plaster boarding,
  • box in first floor plumbing below ceiling level,
  • Gas pipe incorrectly installed, to be redone.
  • Plasterboard and skim.
  • Tile floor,
  • second fix electrics,
  • second fix plumbing dependent on utility unit designs,
  • Commission under floor heating.
  • Back door (composite half glazed) to be adjusted/fitted properly.

Downstairs WC – door opening into house created and door fitted. Stud wall erected, first fix electric and plumbing in place, window installed.
  • Insulate all exposed pipework,
  • box in piping and soil pipe,
  • Insulate cold roof void above ceiling.
  • Plasterboard and skim.
  • Tile floor,
  • fit window board and decorate.
  • Second fix plumbing and electrics.

Hallway – Openings to extension made.
  • Requires plastering around WC doorway and other patching.
  • Several floor finishing door thresholds

Front Door – Composite door in upvc frame with sidelight and toplight installed, badly into built up door opening.
  • Significant gap below the sill, door catching on carpet when opened does not hang level. Adjust/refit?

Bedroom – Roof on, loft hatch made, first fix electrics in place, plastered and skimmed, door fitted.
  • Flooring,
  • decoration, window board required

En-suite shower room – First fix plumbing and part way through wall and floor tiling.
  • Complete tiling,
  • decoration and
  • 2nd fix electrics and plumbing

Closet - Plastered, skimmed and 1st fix electrics completed.
  • Door to be fitted
  • Decorating and
  • second fix electrics

Loft – Roof built,
  • loft insulation and boarding
  • loft hatch to complete.

Existing House Structure
  • Lift floor in bedroom 3 to fix floor joist connections to steel joists.
  • Make good all cracked plaster.
  • Lift floor on landing to fix central heating plumbing
  • Remove toilet to completely replace bathroom floor vinyl tiles.

External building works
  • Rear lean to roof, 7m x 4m requires ventilation features top and bottom (would like a definitive word on that)
  • Front lean to roof needs amending for the soil pipe to exit through this roof correctly.
  • Soil Pipe up the side of the house
  • Missing external leaf bricks on top course in WC
  • Fill the holes where waste pipes exit the existing bathroom
  • Replace the existing bathroom waste pipe hopper with correct sized unit.
  • Fill the holes in the brickwork around the base of the front door.
  • Fill holes in front elevation brickwork
  • Fit all air brick grates
  • Build a step for the front door
  • Fit a canopy over the front door.
  • Fit missing gutters
  • Fix all snagging on fascia and soffits.

External Ground Works
  • 2 big @!## piles to clear
  • 2/3 of concrete sectional garage remaining standing
  • 1/3 of driveway dug up and needs basic covering until driveway replaced in the future.
  • Drains deep in the ground with unknown cover/protection – dig out to reveal and confirm
  • The close curtilage of the house is a right mess of old bricks, old roof tiles and other mess to sort.
  • General grading/levelling of garden needed to even start landscaping, 250-300 m2

Not much to do is there? And I have a similarly long list of more things to do that aren’t in the extension scope or lead on from it.


I don't envy your task - i'm not quite first fixed and if I were to write my sheet it would probably be ten times the length of that, and seriously depressing! I now deliberately avoid thinking about everything I still have to do because it just seems to grow and grow and dwarf the efforts so far so I feel like I don't really make any progress ;)

"Don't fight! Run away today so you can live to run away again another day!" - Rincewind
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But most of it should have been done and I've no idea how to do much of it, never mind pay for it.
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12 Feb 2016 08:31 AM
I can only cope if the list of to dos is short, so I have lots of short lists but only look at one at a time.
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You know, even though I know I'm capable of pretty much anything on my build (not wishing to sound big headed) it genuinely is the case that every single job I start I have this moment of "I've got no idea how to do this; what if I screw it up"?

I remind myself that for the most part, a screw up usually means spending a bit on replacement materials after I rip out the stuff I screwed up, and then I'm back to square one and have the benefit of some wisdom/learning.

I then find, as I start the job that it's not as difficult as I first feared and pretty much anything succumbs to a bit of logical thought and trial and error. Come the end of the job I'm either thinking I could do it for a living, or I'm so bored with it that I want to get on with the next thing.

True, there are little things that you might not know and may never realise when doing a job yourself, and if you were working with a tradesman then he'd say "you know, the easy way to do that is.." but he probably didn't work it out - it was probably something he learned as an apprentice, or down the pub. One thing to remember about the building industry is (and I don't wish to be rude to the stars of the building industry): None of it is rocket surgery - if it was, most the people in the building industry wouldn't have a job.
The very fact that you can think straight enough to make this list, and it be well spelt, gives me the confidence that you can do most of the stuff on it.

Scan through and pick on the items you can do right now, without any tools, having been to Wickes and picked up the relevant materials (OK, there are better places to shop, but it's an example) and do those. Things like insulating the pipes, the loft etc

This gets you in the mood

Then scan through for all the simple construction - battening and nogging. Go to screwfix and buy a decent cordless drill, boxes of screws, rawlplugs and pick up some timber on the way back if you haven't already. You can hand saw it if you're desperate, or buy a table saw from screwfix too. The right tools make the job so much easier and for what you were paying your builder every day, you could buy another power tool a day

Once that simple stuff (that's going to get covered up so don't worry if you make a hash of it, just leave it and do another batten correctly) is done, you'll be getting a feel for the work, a measure of how accurately you are capable of working, and thus whether you're ready to tackle the more fine jobs.. Make that loft hatch - do a sketch, build it

The flooring, boxing in, window boards and other woodwork that is visible will then be the "next rung on the learning ladder" and it will seem reachable

When it warms up a bit, look at the external works. Patching in brickwork is mostly in the quality of the mortar and the rest of it is like decorating a cake - easy enough skill to learn

Stuff like second fix plumbing and electrics - well, for some aspects of those you'll have to use a tradesman because they have certifications that the law requires. Doesnt mean you can't be his mate though, and thread pipes, wires and generally reduce your bill. The little one man bands may prefer this because it means they dont have to bill you so much, which means theyre more likely to stay under the VAT threshold. My sparky said he wanted to avoid registering for VAT because he'd then have to charge 20% more to take the same money home. I buy the materials, he does the work. Plastering, it's a bit of a mug's game but it's also one of those things that takes a while to get the hang of. You might be able to just watch a spread come and do a few walls and then have a go yourself - it depends how easy you can life with the finished result. If youre the sort who will walk in the room an d every time notice the motocross course you made of the wall, get a time served spread to do it. If you've got a million other things filling your life up and the kids are only going to wreck the place anyway then why not give it a go - you'll get it pretty flat, you'll decorate, and then you won't notice it. Noone else will either..
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Thanks and this is the approach I took at the weekend. I started on something and realising I was going to make a mess of it stopped and did something else.

The inside of a short stud partition forming one side of a cupboard had not been boarded, leaving the very basic open studwork. It was only 3x2 CLS (much thinner in practice) so I added high and low level noggins in addition to the middle ones and as the wall be a hanging wall, I cut some 12mm ply to fit rather than use plaster board.

Used the same 3x2 CLS as battens on each side to mount some hanging rails across the cupboard, approx. 750mm using some rail brackets I had lying around and trying a variety of fixing methods into the ply wall on one side and a brick wall on the other. Rails up, reasonably level, reasonably square. Experience gained for next job on real walls.

As you mention timber, I’ve just bought a load of the previously mentioned 3x2 CLS form Wickes as its only 83p a metre. And its size is quite forgiving although I’ll probably regret that when trying to do some boxing in of plumbing.
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