Clean & Ready to Move In

Having a four day weekend over Easter in between the ‘pre-delivery inspection’ and final-handover has the disadvantage that there was not (is not) much time for our list of minor points to be worked on, but the huge advantage that we had time to fully clean the house (mainly the floor) and in doing so look for anything we had missed. Only a couple more minor points, mainly with the paintwork on the walls.

Also, we had plenty of time to take some last photos before the furniture moves in!

We did however discover that the heating system has some kind of problem – it is leaking water and keeps going into an alarm condition. It does however keep working so we were warm (despite the sudden return of wintery weather) and had plenty of hot water. We were also able to test out the 24 hour hotline for the heating system and a technician should be there tomorrow. Hopefully it is nothing serious that cannot be sorted out quickly.

The electricians still haven’t been back either which means we still cannot control the shutters (although it seems that they have a mind of their own and open and close at random, which is slightly scary) and the satellite dish is still not pointing where it should.

Hopefully all of this will be resolved tomorrow, as we really would like to pay the final invoice on-time, on Wednesday.

We also had time on Saturday to make another trip to Ikea – a few new pieces of furniture is now waiting to be assembled, and also to plan the walk-in wardrobe (Ikea Elvarli) which we will install in the coming weeks.

Monday was quite dull and wet in the morning, which meant we had the lowest amount of solar energy so far (around 5 kWh), but also meant that another 1000 or so litres of rainwater has gone in the tank!

The House is Effectively Finished!

Friday again, and after further visits by the electricians, the decorators and the interior door guy over the past couple of days, we can now say that all work has effectively been completed.

Over this weekend, we are hoping get all of the skirting boards done on the first floor, and to install some temporary light bulbs in the rooms where the electricians haven’t already done so.

There are still a couple of very minor things to be done. Silicone is not yet done in a couple of places, there is a little bit of painting to be finished here and there and the electricians still have not managed to correctly align the satellite dish, but that should all hopefully be done in the next few days, ahead of our ‘pre-delivery inspection meeting’ on Wednesday.

Also during that meeting, the blower-door test will be carried out for our energy efficiency certificate, and the heating will be switched to heat-pump mode.

Solar Power: We still haven’t had a really sunny day, but already the solar panels seem to be performing well compared to the assumptions we made some months back based on another installation in the area.

  • Wednesday – 13.78 kWh
  • Thursday – 7.04 kWh (Would have been higher, but was switched off from 10:15am to 1:45pm due to the electrician work)
  • Friday – 9.68 kWh

We have now started a snag list of all the things that need to be finished / improved, but really up to now are impressed with the quality of most the work that Viebrockhaus and their contractors have done. We are also very impressed that they have pretty much kept on time throughout – as many things have been early as have been done late (which was anyway mostly due to icy weather).

The dust sheets that were covering most of the floor tiles downstairs have been removed today and on Monday or Tuesday a cleaning company (paid for by Viebrockhaus) is coming to do an initial cleaning. We will take some more photos after that, but for now here are some pre-cleaning photos…

We now have an appointment for our kitchen to be installed on 27th and 28th April (although they are apparently still waiting for some doors which might not arrive until slightly later).

Since we are eager to move in (and because we don’t want to extend our holiday into the next week), we have changed the van hire to 25th and 26th April, and will probably now move in before the kitchen arrives. We can survive with a microwave and a kettle for a couple of days and we do also have a portable kitchen we could park outside the house if we really want to!

Solar Inverter & Battery Installed

This morning we had an appointment with a man from the electricity company who came and installed our electric meter, so now we are connected to the mains electricity supply. The temporary supply should be gone tomorrow.

At the same time, the electricians and the solar installer were there to install the battery and connect the solar panels and to switch everything over to the mains supply.

The black bracket on the wall is for the battery. Since there wasn’t quite enough room to fit in the battery without it blocking access to the light switch, we have moved the light switch outside the room (exactly where it was, but the other side of the wall).

The battery standing in the hallway, waiting to be brought downstairs to the cellar.

Four people were needed to take the battery down to the cellar – it weights something like 100kg!

Now it is in it’s place, and by mid afternoon was charging itself from the solar panels.

The electricians will be back tomorrow, as they still have some relatively minor things to do.


Laminate Floor Completed

After three long days, we have now finished installing the laminate floor in all five rooms.

Our knees are sore and we ache all over, but we have saved a few thousand Euro compared to Viebrockhaus’ offer to lay it.

Since our telephone/internet connection will still be a few weeks before it is working, we’ve also now installed an LTE (4G) router so that we can connect to the internet via the mobile network.

Hopefully when the solar panels are connected up on Tuesday, the system can also be connected to the Internet, so that we can access the SolarEdge Monitoring Portal.

Plumbing, Heating & Electrics

Another midweek spurt today as the plumbers and electricians were all back.

The electricians have now fitted nearly all of the plastic covers on the power sockets, network and TV sockets. Here are the ones that will be hidden behind the TV in the lounge (so it doesn’t really matter that they are not in a straight line!)

The plumbers meanwhile have installed the toilets, sinks, taps and shower,  connected up the ventilation system for the heating so that is now running in heat pump mode (rather than in immersion heater mode).

The front cover has now been put on the heat pump for the first time and looks much neater.

They even fitted the outside tap (this one is connected to the main water supply, the water from the rainwater tank comes out somewhere else!

The plumbers are more or less finished, other than that the shower tap they have installed is not the right one). Hopefully they will come back and change it soon.

The electricians have still got to fit a few more socket covers, complete the satellite TV cabling and install the cables that run outside.

In this picture, the main electricity supply (left), water (bottom) and fibre-optic telephone cables (right) can be seen. The empty holes at the top are for the outside cables (for the shed and the water pump in the rainwater tank)

Interior doors should be coming in the next couple of days…

Utility Connection – Day 1

Since it rained a lot on at the weekend (about 14mm) we estimate that the rainwater tank should have about 1000 litres of water in it now, ready for watering the garden in the summer. Better still, since the downpipes are now connected to something, we don’t have a moat this time.

No work happened on Monday, which meant that the windows were not opened at all during the day, and by the time we got there in the evening, the upstairs was a tropical 29° Celsius.

Like every Tuesday, today we met the Construction Manager first thing. As we arrived at the house, we saw that two grooves had already been cut into the road in front of our house by the energy companies’ groundwork company and they were working on a neighbouring plot.

The Construction Manager had taken the polythene off all of the windows where it hadn’t already been taken off, so the first time we can see out of all of the windows properly.

By this afternoon, the groundwork company had dug out the channel all the way across the road and were in the process of laying ducts for the water, electricity and telephone companies. Each of the companies should be on-site in the next few days to make the connections, and then the road will be closed up again.

The yellow duct is for gas, which is being laid even though we are not having a gas connection (presumably not connected at either end) in case we want to install gas in future.


Tiling Complete, Rainwater Tank Installed, Garden Levelled

Another week is over and looking back, a lot has been achieved.

The tilers finished grouting and set off for home at around 1pm on Thursday, having done all of the tiling in three and a half days. Someone else then showed up to start the silicon joints. The painters should be back again next week to finish off.

The electricians have now finished connecting up all of the wires, and the LNBs are now on the satellite dish, although the cables are not yet connected to the LNBs. The distribution cupboard is ready for the electric meter to be installed, once we have our mains electric connection.

Outside, a 3m x 3m x 2.3m deep whole has been dug out and the rain water tank installed. The downpipes for the water coming off the roof are now connected and as it is likely to rain in the next few days, the tank should start to fill up.

The road was dug up on Thursday to connect the waste-water and rainwater pipes to the mains, and new tarmac was laid today.

We also had the garden levelled at the back and side (where we are not laying driveways) so the original heap of soil that was dug out for the cellar and the new heap that was dug out for the rain water tank are gone!

Tiling Day 3

Although the tilers were planned for the whole week, they have already finished laying all of the floor tiles and the wall tiles.

Even though it is only Wednesday, they have already started grouting, and told us that they will be finished and heading home around lunchtime on Thursday.

The electrician is making excellent progress in the cellar, and seems to have remembered which cable is which and where they all should go..

Next to the electrical distribution board, but not in the picture, the satellite multi-switch has already been installed as well as the network patch panel.

Outside, the groundwork continues. Today the road was dug up and our waste water and rainwater connections to the mains were made. The rainwater tank should be coming tomorrow. By the time I got there this evening, the digger and bulldozer were parked up for the night on our front parking space.

Floor Tiles

Today we met the subcontractor who is tiling the floors and bathroom walls for the first time.

The first thing we wanted to discuss with them was some minor changes to where the bathroom wall tiles are going (not tiling one wall at all in favour of tiling to the ceiling in another place.

Secondly, we wanted to look at the options for tile edge trim and to get a price for this (originally we did not order any). We have decided on a brushed metal trim.

While there, one of the tilers took a look at the bath, and commented that the distance between the bath and the wall was too much (about 5mm too much) and that he would arrange for it to be taken out and put in nearer the wall. At the same time, he noticed that the sockets by the sink were at a height where they would be on the join between tiled and not tiles, and that the electrician would need to move them down about 7.5cm.

By this evening, the sockets had been moved down, and the plumber was there moving the bath 5mm nearer the wall.

Since the tilers were not able to start in the bathroom until these things had been changed, they have done half of the ground floor floor tiles instead today. By tomorrow they will be set, and the electrician will be able to come back and continue installing the electrics.


Sockets, Light Switches and Diggers

We visited the house this afternoon to ventilate it, but no need as lots of work was going on and most of the windows were already open.

Inside, the electricians are back and have been installing sockets and light switches.

Outside, more work was going on. The diggers were at work burying the neighbours rainwater tank which has been installed today. We talked quickly to one of the digger drivers who told us that they will be starting with our groundwork on Monday (connection to waste water, rain water and installation of the rainwater tank).