November at Scatterbrook Cottage
Weeks 5-8 of the build. The one where everything happens at once
If October was a month where we were underwhelmed by the lack of action, most of November was the opposite.
At the beginning of November the concrete oversite was poured but the rest of the walls happened very slowly. Bricklayers are definitely a law unto themselves and we had several frustrating days where once more nothing much happened.
Flogas came out and moved the entry point for our gas on the Monday but the plumber couldn’t do the temporary linkup until the Thursday so we decamped to a local Air BnB for a few nights. It was a lovely place just 5 minutes down the road and we popped home during the day to keep an eye on things. We also now have somewhere to recommend friends stay if they visit in the future.
Eventually we had a site meeting where we pointed out how disappointed we were with progress, which seemed to ignite a rocket under a few bums because the next thing we knew they were trying to make up the two weeks we were already behind. The order of things was reversed slightly because the steels that would be holding up the existing house needed to be fitted before anything else, especially before the steel over the bifold doors caused access problems.
So it was all systems go with moving the boiler, blocking up all the relevant open parts of the back of the house, and knocking out the walls that needed to go. They also had to set up a temporary kitchen in the existing dining room. We went to London for a long weekend and when we returned the boiler was moved and so was the kitchen!
Rather frustratingly, having engaged him back in July, the DampMan finally rocked up just at the wrong time and needed to work on the wall that the temporary kitchen was standing against.
The damp was on our survey and we wanted to get it done this side of winter. He has been less than impressive with his admin for sure and I think I rang him every two weeks to find out when he was coming, but he always had some excuse as to why it would be a “few more weeks’, despite me telling him repeatedly about all the other work that was happening.
The internal walls across the whole of the front of the house (the lounge, hallway and dining room/temp kitchen) had to have the plaster and render removed and be taken back to the brick up to a meter high. The house was gradually shrinking around us as we had less and less space to sit - we spent three nights sitting in our bedroom while everything downstairs was covered, Dexter-Style in plastic.
It was a miserable couple of weeks for us, despite the fact that thing seemed to be happening at last. We were both ill, and noise and dust were our constant companion.
The walls that needed to come down were scheduled to take about two days, but in fact due to the previous building work on the chapel, when it was originally converted to a house, it took two days just to get one wall down. Fortunately the other walls that needed to come down were a later addition so they weren’t so much trouble. However the time we had managed to make up was slowly being whittled away again. Especially when, on the day the steel supporting the back of the house was due to go in it was discovered that there were yet more pipes in the way. It took two days to get a plumber to agree to come out and move them so there was another cold night huddled round the woodburner while the heating system was drained yet again.
The damp man took a good two weeks to undertake the work that should have taken about three days. He still hasn’t finished outside but at least the plastic sheeting has been dispatched and we have a lounge again. Considering he hasn’t been paid yet you’d think he’d be keen to get it finished. Tradespeople are a mystery to me.
As we move into December the pressure is on to have the roof finished at least, so that even if the bifolds don’t arrive until January the internal work can start. However, as I finish this blog the roof lanterns which should have arrived on this week are now not coming until the 16th because *drum roll* they were broken whilst being loaded onto the lorry at the factory.
On we go…