Retaining Wall

We had to put up the retaining wall ASAP. There was real concern that rain would cause a mini mudslide. I personally think it was a small chance as there was only a thin layer of soil and the rest of the ground was made up of rubble. We’re guessing it was either the previous house if there was one or rubble from another property close by. There are broken tiles, bricks and all sorts creating the high banking for the lawn.

The retaining wall is not to the specification provided by the Architect as the cost of removing the dirt was much higher than expected. The Architects plan was to use sleepers. It would have meant removing dirt furthermore dirt and filling it up with concrete. In hindsight, maybe we should have stuck to the original plan. The plan now is to either render the brick or use cedar wood to clad. The later is my first preference.

It does feel like a big chunk of the garden has gone.

 

Loft Opening Boo-Boo

The builder decided to create a loft opening on the side wall in the landing. It was a good idea at the time and in all fairness, the builders meant well. I was never 100% sure about it as I thought it looked like crap and could not imagine how the door opening would look.

We got to a stage where we felt the project was running away from us and called in our architect to cover a few pointers that we found puzzling. I’ll explain that episode in another blog. Anyway, she straight looked at it and said it will not pass building regs (inspection). There is a solution, however, when I received the details and looked into it, the costs were not worth it.

One reason why the builder did it was that he didn’t like the idea of the loft hatch being positioned in a bedroom. He had no choice to backtrack as there’s no way I’m paying the amount of money it cost to get it passed building regs and the fact that I never asked for it in that position.

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You can see the concern. Anyway, I’ve had to order new ceiling loft openings. I’m sticking to the building regs version of our plan that the architect supplied. She put in amazing detail. I’m a bit concerned that I’ve ordered the wrong item, nevertheless, we won’t know until we receive it and try fitting.  We have two loft openings. One I know I ordered is correct. The other to replace the large side opening, I’m not so sure. The builders have already plastered the bedrooms and the one I’ve bought for the bedroom requires it to be plastered. Before you judge me, let me explain something. The contractors plastered way too early on in the project and it has caused headache after headache. I was quite vocal from the beginning about being unhappy with plastering really early. We have four plaster-in light fittings and plaster-in coving. How the hell can they plaster before fitting these items?

That’s why I’m going ahead with the loft hatch type I’ve ordered. They will have to figure it out as it’s their own doing. The reason I got a plaster in loft hatch is that it’s in a bedroom and I don’t want it to stick out. I’ve actually bought a service hatch. You can stick insulation to the top to make it function as a loft opening. It also has a strong lock.

Plasterboard Door – https://www.accesspanels.co.uk/product/900-x-600-mm-premium-range-plasterboard-door-beaded-frame-rpt-fr60/

Loft hatch

The other ceiling hatch is a standard picture frame.

Speaker Cable quality control

Here’s the difference between a crap speaker cable from eBay and a high-end cable. Look at the thickness and protection. World apart.

Mind you, the price is also a world apart!

We’re wiring one room for 5.1 speakers. We’ve also put an additional four cables in the ceiling to future proof. I don’t think we will ever have ceiling speakers though. You never know.

Check out my wire cutter from Japan.

 

Box it Off

Before asking builders/contractors for a quote, you must have the structural engineering plans complete. The structural engineer has a critical role to play in the build as they will specify what’s needed to accomplish your proposed plans. That includes the beam structure, number of beams, size of beams, foundation depth, etc.

A contractor will be unable to provide an accurate quote without knowing what work the project actually entails.

At the start of the project, I didn’t think I’ll be contacting the engineer much. I was wrong. I’ve contacted the engineer several times to confirm specs of beams and for the bay window structure. I initiate the meeting leaving the builders and engineer to discuss the technical aspect.

Back to the box topic. Our rear extension needs a lot of structural support as were breaking two of the outside wall and one side of the house could collapse if not done properly. To accomplish this, the builders had made a box frame out of steel beams.

Check out the images. You can see what the steel has to support and understand why it’s needed.