Blower Door Test & Pre-Delivery Inspection

Today was a long day, as we set off from home just after 7 a.m. to be at the house with time to spare before the blower door test technician arrived at 8 a.m. We wanted to have another look at everything, to see if we had missed any points off of our list for the pre-delivery inspection meeting.

The blower door test, which tests how airtight the house is under pressure, was easily passed, with a result of n50=0.69 (maximum 1.5 to pass the test for being a KfW40 house).

The n50 value is the air-tightness and is a measure of how many times air volume of the building is exchanged in an hour, with a pressure difference of 50 Pa.

Our construction manager and his assistant were also there (and seemed quite happy with the result) as today was also the ‘Vorabnahme’ meeting, effectively a pre-delivery inspection where we went through the house in detail together, looking for things which still need doing, or need doing better.

Even though we had quite a long list of things prepared in advance, almost all of them were very minor points (e.g. scratched window handle in the cellar, a small dent in the wall which needs filling, the silicone around the downstairs WC and sink is not done yet, light switches that are upside down, the shower tap is the wrong one and so on).

All of these points have now been noted and photographed by the construction manager and marked with yellow tape. Ideally, these will all be resolved by next Wednesday when we have the final handover meeting, but because of Easter, it could be that some of these will take longer (time will tell how much longer) as there are only two more working days until then!

Some of these have already been addressed during the day – the interior door installer turned up for a few minutes to fix a small broken off corner of one of the doors and the staircase installer turned up to touch up the paintwork.

Only two slightly more serious points remain open –

  • the electric shutters are not in-service yet and are currently half closed
  • the satellite dish is not correctly aligned.

We made it very clear that we will pay the final invoice in full, only when these points have been addressed, which the construction manager seemed to accept. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days. Hopefully, the thought of not getting paid for what has not been delivered yet will help with ensuring the correct priority!

On the whole, we are extremely happy with the house at this point, almost all of the contractors have been really great and Viebrockhaus have kept to their commitment with the timeline. Reading some other peoples’ blogs, we can be happy that we built with Viebrockhaus and that nothing really went wrong along the way.

The initial cleaning, which was done yesterday, surpassed our expectations and the windows are really sparkling, there is no more dust everywhere (nor pieces of plaster, cement etc.), but over the (long) weekend, we will clean the house some more (and we still have a lot of packing to do, ahead of moving in about 12 days time!)

A Sunny Day

On Saturday and Sunday we were busy with the skirting board upstairs. The Stanley 1-20-800 Dynagrip Adjustable Mechanical Mitre Saw that we bought last week is really good, and all of the angles were easy to cut.

We’re pleased with how it looks.

 

Since we were cutting outside to have enough space, we enjoyed the warm sunshine, especially on Sunday which was completely free of clouds from dawn until dusk.

The solar panels exceeded their previous record, with a total of 20.45 kWh produced on Sunday.

It’s not yet been a week since the solar panels were connected up, and already (as of Monday evening), the system has generated 78 kWh.

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 Power – Day 1

Today was the first full day of solar power production. Unfortunately, it was not as sunny as most of the days in the past two weeks, but none the less reasonably bright and partly sunny.

Since we have installed an LTE(4G) Router, we have been able to connect the solar inverter to the Internet and can already log into the monitoring portal, and we can see that the roof has produced 13.79 kWh of electricity and that the battery is fully charged.

We’re looking forward to a sunny day to see how much more can be achieved…

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.

Interior Doors, Skirting Boards and Laminate Floor

Our interior doors and skirting boards on the ground-floor and the cellar are installed. One man arrived (completely on his own) on Thursday and installed 6 door frames (complete with hinges), then came back again on Friday and installed the skirting boards.

The doors are not hanging yet, as the adhesive that holds the door frames in place needs a day or two to completely set first. All we need to do is to lift the doors onto the lugs, in a few days time.

The first-floor doors and frames have not been installed yet (although it was originally planned that these would also be done).  It is simpler when this is done after the laminate floor is laid, so he will come back and do them another time.

On Friday, we started laying the laminate floor. The first room (bedroom) is now finished. Four rooms to go!

We will install the first-floor skirting boards, after the door frames are done.

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 Completed & Stairs Installed

After several days of not much happening inside the house, the painters were back at 8 a.m. this morning, and by this evening had painted the lounge, the bathroom and the guest WC.

Outside, the electricity, water and telephone connections are now installed, so now we have mains electricity running to a junction box in the cellar, a water supply (including meter) ready to be connected up and an FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) telephone connection.

We are not sure exactly who Osman is, but he seems to have been proud of his work, and has written his name on the cellar wall (right-hand side of the photo)!

When we arrived at the house this evening, we saw that the two flights of temporary stairs that were installed when the construction started (see “Stairway to Nowhere” from 6th December) are now laying outside.

Inside work was underway to install the stairs. The cellar stairs were already installed and we were able to try them out, and the first few of the stairs to the first floor were installed. An hour or so later when we left, they were almost done and were already working on the bannisters. We assume they by the time we are home and writing this, that the guys are finished and gone.

We are really pleased with the way they look (even though they are still wrapped in polyethene) and because they are no as steep as the temporary ones (because they turn the corner) they are much easier to use!

There’s really not much more to be done now:

  • Painters still have to come back
  • Internal doors and skirting boards
  • Laying the laminate flooring upstairs (will be delivered on Monday for installation by us)
  • Installation of the electricity meter
  • Connection of the water to the boiler
  • Installation of the bathroom suites
  • Installation of the solar inverter and battery
  • Attaching the plastic surrounds on the sockets
  • Installation of the air vents
  • The bricks will be cleaned
  • (Hopefully we didn’t forget anything on this list!)