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!

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…

Paintwork Completed

The painters were at the house this morning to finish off and clear up. The paintwork is now complete. Other than that, no work at the house today.

We did, however, have two deliveries today:

    • Our laminate flooring was delivered ready for us to start installing it next weekend.

    • The plumbers dropped off two toilets, two sinks and shower fittings. They will be back on Wednesday to install them.

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.


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.


The Heating is Running

Despite being cold outside, the house now has a warm feel to it. The heating system was started up for the first time on Wednesday.

Arriving in the morning, the plumbers were already filling up the system with water and getting the air out of the system.

The special program for drying the screed is running, and the system will automatically get progressively warmer over the next days.

While the system was filling up, the shower tray was being installed.

By Wednesday evening, we had received a delivery of lots of buckets of water. These were apparently for the plasterboarding for the ground floor (or at least for the skimming).

On Thursday morning, a delivery of plasterboard was just being offloaded from a small truck with a crane. By the evening, half of the ground floor has been plasterboarded…

Interior Construction is Completed

Our construction manager told us on Tuesday that despite the team building the dry wall being slightly behind schedule, that the screed would be done by the end of this week.

At the time it was hard to see how, as there was still so much work to be done.

By Tuesday evening, work was well underway with laying the two layers of polystyrene on the concrete floor.

On Wednesday, work started around 7am and finished around 7pm. The result, was that the bath was in place, and the sheeting that sits on top of the polystyrene had been laid.

Now it is Thursday evening, and the underfloor heating pipes are laid. In the first picture (taken from the side, on the stairs), it is possible to see all layers of the construction.

  • Concrete
  • Polystyrene
  • More polystyrene
  • Damp proof sheeting
  • Water pipe

In the cellar, the warm pump has now been installed in its final location (and as far as we know, the connections are all made).

The heating is scheduled to be turned on next week, to start drying out the screed.

Talking of the screed, it should be started tomorrow, and finished by Saturday. The sand has already been delivered…

Interior Construction Week 2

Today we had our weekly meeting with our construction manager, so it was a good opportunity to take some photos in daylight.

The electricians are now finished with the installation of cables, ducts, satellite cables and network cables, and  the plumbers have now finished installing all the water pipes for the WCs, sinks, shower and bath.

None of the cables are connected up in the cellar yet though.

Due to our water tank being in the cellar, it was recommended back in October, that we install a circulation management system for the hot water. This consists of additional pipes so that the hot water can be circulated when not in use. This meaning that we don’t waste 10 litres of water each time, waiting for the hot water from the tank in the cellar to reach the tap. Our understanding is that this can be timer-controlled so that it is not running 24 x 7. This should mean that it is not too expensive to run (maybe even saving money by reducing the water consumption).

The plasterboard walls are now almost complete (for some reason there are still a small number of panels which haven’t yet been done – they certainly seem to be taking longer than it was written in the plan, but doesn’t seem to be holding up the overall progress.

The screed should be coming on Friday / Saturday, so the plumbers will still be busy over the next few days.

First of all, two layers of polystyrene have to be laid over the concrete floor and all the cables & ducts, and then a plastic sheet.

Once this has been done, the water pipe spirals for the under-floor heating will laid, and then the screed can be delivered!

Interior Construction Day 5

It’s Friday already, but not quite the end of the busy two weeks, as the builders will be working tomorrow.

I went to the house early this morning as we wanted to make sure that holes for the bathroom sockets (and light switch) above the sink, that were originally marked in the wrong place got drilled in the right place. The best way was to directly talk to the electrician.

Fortunately the three electricians arrived about ten minutes after me. Meanwhile the holes are drilled in the right place and the cables are run.

We also went on the way home from work (because it was Friday we got away early so for a change it was still daylight!). Since the builders were busy moving big sheets of plasterboard around, and we didn’t want to get in their way. For this reason not too many new photos today.Most of the walls are now plasterboarded on at least one side and the first floor has now fully taken shape!

Bathroom Panorama…

Guest Bedroom…

The plumbers seem to be well on top of things, and earned themselves a day off today (there is no point trying to install pipes on walls that haven’t been built yet!).

The bath will go into the space to the left of this box, and the WC to the right…