October at Scatterbrook Cottage
Updated: Dec 5, 2021
Week 1-4 of the build: Gas pipe pains, cut power cables and rain… we were ready to get started but so far it’s all been a bit of a damp squib.
We began October with the demolition of the conservatory, which unfortunately seemed to take a lot longer than anyone had anticipated, so from the very beginning we were a couple of days behind schedule. This was partly due to having to wait three days for an electrician as it was discovered that the conservatory wasn’t on its own fuse so the electricity couldn’t be isolated. It also turned out to be surprisingly well built!
A week in and it was finally demolished and we’d already filled two skips.
Footings were dug, a power cable was dug up (but fixed within two hours fortunately, thanks to UK Power Network), drainage was explored (we have a septic tank) but a chance conversation with the plumber revealed that he is not (nor is any plumber) allowed to move the gas entry pipes to the house, only the gas company could do that (we are not on mains gas, so we have a large tank in the garden). This resulted in some fraught phone calls with Flogas (when they eventually picked up the phone) to arrange for them to come and do a survey and arrange to have the gas entry point moved to the new location of the boiler.
The issue is that the existing pipe is right where the new extension is going, so we didn’t think we could even go any further with the footings. However a work-around was found - the pipe was flexible, so we were able to lift it out of the way while the footings were filled with concrete, annoyingly this step forward was then followed by several days of heavy rain and no work. The first few rows of block and brick were finally laid with a small hole to allow the gas to continue to the house.
When Flogas did come out they were quite happy to arrange to move the pipe and fittings, and even replace it with updated equipment, so the footings have continued apace and on Monday the concrete oversite is being poured. Hopefully it will then be a home run to get the walls up next week. Our Project Manager has been on holiday this week and I feel we would be further on if he hadn’t been (everyone deserves a holiday though of course).
Oh, and the DampMan(©) still has not made an appearance BUT we are promised he is coming on Monday.
We have achieved a couple of things though - we’ve had a fence put up along the boundary of our front garden, because we were unamused to find people cutting across our driveway to use it as a cut through to the neighbouring garden centre! At the same time we also had the fence replaced around the aforementioned gas tank, the previous one was rotten and falling down. The Flogas engineer wasn't entirely sure about it but we pointed out that it was in the exact footprint of the previous fence which no one had ever complained about and I think Ian's pained expression as he imagined tearing down a brand new fence meant the engineer let it go. Next spring I’m going to plant something up it so it will be even less obtrusive, but for now it’s definitely better than what was there.
The best part of everything so far has been going and choosing the new kitchen. As with everything else we already had a pretty firm idea of what we wanted, we have found over the years that we’re usually on the same page with decor. I sometimes have to persuade Ian of things but he’s never been unhappy so far (I don’t think!)
We settled on Wren for the kitchen, although our builders will be fitting it for us, and had a great couple of hours with their designer deciding on the layout and finishes. I’m very excited to see it but sadly that’s some months away right now. In the meantime I’ll just be glad to see some height in the walls next week.
Renovations are not for the faint hearted. Or the impatient. We are now two full weeks behind schedule. I keep telling myself that we don’t have a major deadline, it’s only us two and we’re not living in a caravan, but I’ve been frustrated by the slow progress we have made this month.
Hopefully November will prove more fruitful.