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.


Essential Tools

There are three items that I religiously carry with me day-to-day. I wouldn’t be able to cope without them during the renovation. I wish someone had told me to buy them at the start of the renovation as it would have made things a lot easier to understand and figure out. Here they are:

  1.  Tape Measure: what would I do without this. It’s used almost every day. You might not think you’ll need it much as the client, however, it’s turned out to be my most valuable tool. It’s essential.
  2. Scale Ruler: this is a bit of an odd one. I didn’t really know much about it until someone at Howdens showed me how they use it. You can use it to draw out any future floor plans, check the measurements, plan your kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, etc. Keep in mind to print your plans of with no scaling applied by the printer (e.g. print within margins).
  3. Laser Distance Meter: I love this tool. It allows you to measure large distances with good accuracy. It’s good to use to measure any new construction and check against the plan. Once the structure is up, you can get an accurate measurement of the space and start laying out your fittings/furniture using the scale ruler.  There’s plenty of features. You can calculate the m2 of a room and volume. Great tool.


It may seem a bit odd that you go around checking the measurements but trust me, don’t put your trust any builder. If they say they have checked it, you go and double check. Builders do what’s easy for them and could never face being wrong. check it, if it’s good, at least you have peace of mind. If it’s shit, go nuts.

You can also have a mini leveler, however, the builder will always have one onsite. Not essential unless they don’t like you handling their tools.


Sorry 4 the Wait

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. It’s not due to one reason, but a multiple of reasons. Firstly, the WINTER. The winter has made it difficult to visit the house as its dark every time I get there and taking decent photos is impossible. Spending time at the house is not as easy as its cold and you don’t want to hang around too long. Not all the rooms have lights and it’s all boarded up until the Glass is installed. Secondly, the pace of which I’ve had to be involved in the house has significantly increased. The ground floor and extension needs way more time and effort than I expected. I’m finding myself busy deciding on the builder’s questions, kitchen, fittings, the garden, glass, etc.

I’m also moving around frequently compared to start. This has taken a toll on the time and energy I have to update the blog.

Hopefully, things should get better from now on. I have a shit load of material to write about and get off my chest. I’ll try to add as many tips as possible from my good and bad experience so far.

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.

Missing the Architect :-(

We decided a while back to stop the services from the Architect due to costs. That leaves the builder with a lot of power and me needing to get to grip with learning the technical side of the build.

The builders made out it was an easy build and they could handle, however, it clearly has not been as easy as they initially thought. After talking to a few experienced people about the subject they all had the same opinion, “All builders think they know best and they are the dog’s bollocks”. It’s important to keep this in mind when tendering to builders and not be fooled by the builder’s spiel. Stick to the details of the build. This is where the architect is handy. A good architect knows when the contractors know what they are talking about and if the calculations make sense. It’s worth having an architect onboard to help in this process.

I also miss asking the architect for advice. The build would have progressed further to date if the architect was still onboard as they would have checked the build at certain stages and made sure the builder had the materials needed to schedule.

I’m still in touch with the architect for situations where I’m really stuck.

Here’s an example of how the architect can think out of the box. It’s based on the article ‘Panic Button‘.

I messaged the architect asking how we can resolve the depth issue for the kitchen units and counter to fit between the window and wall. We were short of the 60cm needed. Ideally, we really we needed the depth of 65cm.

The architect replied with an easy fix.

‘You bring the plaster in so you don’t see the frames of the windows internally…you only have to do it to the large Windows, you can do the bay if you want’

Make the windows frameless.

scetch sent in what’s app

Frameless window design

Brilliant Idea. One I would never have thought off.

Architect Details

Company Name: Edite

Tel: 0208 133 7446

Website: http://www.edite.co.uk/


Bathroom progress episode 348

Finally. We have placed the order for the bathroom. My builder has been asking for the bathroom supplies for a while now. In return, I’ve been asking them why is the extension has not been built yet?

I’m not keen on the builders installing the bathroom at this moment of time. The reason; the bathrooms are the only section of the house I can run wires if needed from the ground floor to the first floor, loft and vice-versa.

The builders have completed plastering the whole of the first floor. I have no idea why. I told them to leave it as it should be one of the last tasks. At least have the extension shell built before plastering. The issue is that by plastering all walls on the first floor, we can’t make any changes. On a building site, changes are needed all the time. No new wires can be run as you will need to rip off the plaster.

I’ll let them fit some parts of the bathroom. The bathtub and shower tray. Should keep them happy.

Look at the link below. They have completed the first floor up to number 15. Plastering Out/Screed Floors. This schedule applies to the whole house. NOT floor by floor.


Note: Bookmark the site. It’s the best website I’ve come across for information and advice.