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Day 150 Friday 22nd August. Nothing and nobody. Karl had told me but I cant remember why.
Day 151 Monday 25th August. Nobody here all day again. At the moment I feel disappointed with who is responsible for this project. There is so little being done at the moment, just when I was beginning to think a big effort was going to be made.
Day 152 to 155 Friday 29th August. Nobody all week until Friday and then a good bit of work was done. The manhole for the outside geothermal pipe manifold was partially built. The plasterers did a bit more. The area around the house was prepared for the apron but that won't be done until the walls are rendered. I am trying to get someone to help me put in the kitchens I have collected. I have a plumber who will come some day to see what needs plumbing inside. I have tiles bought, I just have to find someone to lay them. As regards to tiles, I am using ceramic tiles throughout the house. I find that they are ideal with under floor heating. Wood can be used but it must be attached directly to the floor when using this heating method. But Tiles will transmit the heat most efficiently. Because of this I wanted some wood 'look alike' tiles. Mostly, I found them to be in the expensive bracket, Infact, I found all tiles to be expensive. Firstly, I found Erne Tiles in Belturbet to give great value, but after waiting since the end of May of this year for a tile the suited me, I could wait no longer. Tile Warehouse in Athlone was the answer. Last week we called in and we were able to order all our tile needs at the best price imaginable. I found that we had to pay a lot for the tile adhesive, as I was to learn, flexible adhesive is needed when tiling on heated floors. So in the end, about €3,800 turned to €6,095. Still I feel we got what we wanted and were more 'the wiser'.
Aerial picture showing the whole site (circle walker due North) 17th August.
Day 156 Monday 1st September. Two of the builders turned up and did some more work on the outside manhole. The plasterers came and did a bit more in the house but the downstairs is still not finished. As I have not got someone to help put in the kitchens yet, it is not a problem.
Day 157 Tuesday, Manhole and the apron around the house partly set up for the concrete, Paul. Oliver and Karl. Karl also started to make holes in the walls for the extractor from one kitchen but we have to find out from the electrician before we do the other incase we hit wires. We also realized that we need an extractor fan fitted for one of the downstairs bathrooms as it has no windows. So easy to forget these things. I also found out that the most economical way to wash is by using a shower that heats its own water. The heat pump is able to reach a temperature of 48º but to achieve this the pump uses more electricity. It is more economical to run the heat pump at 35ºc to 4oºc which is ideal for the under-floor heating, plus it can be used to bring the domestic hot water from cold to this temperature (the most costly stage). The water can then be heated by whatever additional method you use; oil, gas etc. for your hot water needs. We will be using electricity for this but we still have to sort out the system here. I just hope that we can get it all done before the plastering is finished over the relevant areas.
Day 158 Wednesday. Arena sand is starting to arrive, so early morning membrane laying. Hope it is not windy. The weather was perfect and four loads of about 30ton each arrived. Using a mini digger we have about a third of the arena done. The rest of the sand is arriving tomorrow. When the lorry delivering the sand moved over the membrane, it had a tendency to shift the membrane and brake the tape we had joining these strips. A bit of fixing was done and tomorrow they will just have to unload it in a big heap just inside the gate, we will just have to level it from there. The plasterers came again and hope to finish by the week end, but there is still a lot to do. Brendan called in for a while. Karl, Paul and Oliver got the area leveled behind the house and around the manhole, ready for Powerteck to come and install the heat system. It was Oliver who stayed back to help us level out the arena which was great. They all seem to think the house will be ready in a month, Karl even thought it could be two weeks so I better get the tiler organized and someone to do the kitchens. We still have to get the stairs in, the internal doors, all the plumbing, second fix electrics, skirting-bord, architrave etc. The final decision on the house colour had to be made today. We had narrowed it down to two common choices and still made a last minute change of mind, so I hope we have chosen the right one! Its Buttermilk.
Day 159 Thursday 4th September. More sand arrived. Having second thoughts on the colour!!!
Day 160 Friday. And more sand arrived. We are going to need another two loads. Paul was just here doing bits and bobs. We really can't change any colours now.
Day 161 Monday 8th September. Brendan arrived with the stairs, and as no plasterers came to get finished, the stairs just went up regardless. Brendan then started to do the bathroom below. Paul said he would help doing the kitchen in the evenings, so that is sorted at last. Then another friend called and he is going to do the tiling, which is great. John Grant started his guy off on the outside wall today. Firstly, the stale surface of the polystyrene is removed by sanding it off. This brings it back white again and it also levels the surface.
Tuesday, Paul and Oliver did a good bit of tidying up around the house of the
remaining polystyrene and pieces of wood, tin etc. Brendan put an
arch above one of the hall doors inplace of a door which was on the plans and Paul started on the big kitchen in the
evening but we are going to have to organize some lighting for the next night. I
collected a worktop at B&Q in
Day 163 Wednesday 10th. Tidying being done. No plasterers. All ground floor level house and yard walls cleaned now.
Day 164 Thursday. So much done today. The house and yard walls are all cleaned off now. The last of the silica sand arrived from Roadstone. Richard hired a 5 ton mini digger to level it, which costs €140 for the day. Oliver jumped in again to help, he cant help himself, he certainly is good at getting it done. Gareth Wilson arrived early and got the mats all in order so that all the drainage holes work and the last wrinkles are out. Plasterers are back and did a full days work so we are back on track there. Francis Martin called to re-organize the piping system for the heating. I am adamant that I don't want to have a heating element in the same tank as the water which flows out for the under floor heating. He said he will send a schematic drawing (which is a regular request of ours!) of the intended plan for the whole house so that we can discuss what we want. Paul started to put in the middle doors for the hall. In the evening Paul and myself set about getting the smaller kitchen in but it was not fitting as I had hoped. Buying a kitchen in the Buy and Sell is great when you are sure of your kitchen size. Buying one when you are not, is not so good. I think if I can match the sides, and we make a few improvisations it should still look OK. It was a great day. Oh, and a plumber called in from Delvin, too.
Day 165 Friday. Progress continued. The plasterers did more. The 'K-Rend' (which is the outside finish from this company) arrived with the mesh that gets put on first. My own plumber, Francis Gorman, arrived and fixed drinkers and the leaks. The house was not ready to plumb in yet so he said he would come back again. Paul and Oliver did more filling in on the house, under windows etc. They also did a bit more to the outside sewage.
Day 166 Monday 15th September. On Saturday the External plastering guys did a mornings work which did the render first coal of one gable end of the house. they have a machine which pumps the render onto the wall and then they skim it across but the machine was being faulty so it was done be hand. K-Rend's representative called to check all was going well and said that these guys were the best, that was nice to hear. Today no inside plasterers again, but Paul started putting in the doors that arrived from Chadwicks.
Day 167 Tuesday saw most of the outside of the house skimmed, the machine had been fixed which speeded things up. The evening kitchens are being very slow so I hope they will be done by the coming week end. We are slightly hampered by water pipes not connected which have to go under the main kitchen, but we may just have to go ahead otherwise it will never get done.
Day 168 and 169 Wednesday and Thursday 17th and 18th. House skimming finished and quarter of the yard done. The machine went off to be fixed so the reveals around the windows of the house has started. This is done to the finished coat and looks nice. Inside Paul has all the doors hung and some architraves placed around the doors.
Day 170 Friday19th September. Brendan is back doing the stairs, left early. A bill came in for loads of gravel we had for the back drive. Always keep a note of everything that goes on in your build as you never know when you may need to know things, then no mistakes are made. I will just have to go back and check. The pictures here shows how the reveals are done around the window (left) and finished (right) while the polystyrene is used to step the plaster along the bottom and rendered over. Note how well the windows are masked. Sadly, all the things that I was promised would happen today, didn't. But at least the outside walls are still progressing.
Day 171 Monday 22nd September. The usual Monday late start, but work did progress with the inside of the house being cleaned out. I asked Karl if it was possible to put the down-pipe for the rainwater on either end of the house and not beside the front door, so he is going to see what he can do.
Day 172 Tuesday. The weather is ideal for the work on the outside of the house. The slow bits are still being done like the reveals around the windows and doors. More cleaning inside.
Day 173 Wednesday. Everybody here today. Working at the skirting boards, reveals, stairs and tacking board bits around the stairs etc. This will take a few more days yet
Day 174 Thursday 25th Sept. We have door knobs ( I bought) in the upstairs doors, looks great. I spent the day arguing about the heat system which I am not happy with. I feel that it will not work as efficiently or economically as it could. I feel that more research could be done to be sure that the system that is put in is suitable for what we need. But I gather it is going in.
Day 175 Friday 26th, Today I talked to Shay, he said he will do his best on the heat system as have PowerTeck. Here is the schematic of the main tank (pictured below) that I received from PowerTeck on the 22nd. Shay said that they will make it possible to have a domestic tank looped off this tank (below) with an element, if the water from the heat pump alone does not reach hot enough for showers and baths. Then this can then be added in afterwards. Shay is doing a great move on to get this project finished and gave us a date; 10th of October. This is the date we can move in. We can't wait. It is going to be fantastic to spent the winter in the warmest house we have ever had, with horses in stables more comfortable than they ever had.
Day 176 and 177 Monday and Tuesday. The outside plastering has come to a shuddering halt due to a generator not on site. There is a problem with burst water pipes in the house, found during testing. This is just a teething problem with the building method which has since been corrected. The new method of a channel designed for the electrical wires will avoid any problems like this, in future builds. But for us, most of these two days have been spent drilling out around the leaks and putting in joiners. As it is in internal walls it will not matter too much, it just takes time. The team is a bit sketchy at the moment so progress is slow, sick etc.. Unfortunately, due to the leaks, the plasters had to be put off on Tuesday. At least when they do come, they can finish all they have to do, in one day . They annoyed me so much on Tuesday as they left by the front avenue at the speed of knots, which we said is not to be used for the site (and they know it!) So my advise is; don't have any good entrance near your site until all work is over, unless it has sleeping policemen firmly in the way or you can afford to replace it. On Monday I collected from PDM some extra kick boards and rails just to finish around the arena. While I was there I saw some very suitable front wooden gated and fancy carved posts. At a total cost of around €600 I could do a nice entrance, but not now. The galvanized gated arrived for the arena locally from Paddy Cahill, who has a great stock of competitively priced....just about anything, farm or building related, in our local Clonmellon. Now all we have to do is dig the last gate post hole, set it in cement , get the hangers, hang the gates, nail the boards and the arena is all finished. The walker was finished ages ago, but Monarch still have to put in extensions for the control box so that it can be placed differently. I must ring them to remind them.
Wednesday 1st October. The builders are still sorting 'what water
pipe goes where’, using air pressure to get the picture. A few more doors hung
and in the afternoon, David the electrician, arrived to start second fix.
The floor tiles arrived from
Day 179 and 180 Thursday and Friday, No outside renderers due to no generator. We were away for the two days and arrived back Friday night. I walked through the dark house guessing my way through the rooms. It was so quiet and warm. This warmth really assured me that this house was the best thing we ever did.
Day 181 and 182 Monday and Tuesday. The work to the outside of the house is flying now, with a gable and the front finished. Inside, all the door handles are on. All the pipes are ready for Powerteck (who said they would be here early this week) and the door saddleboards have been fitted. The builders are keeping them numbered and put to one side so they don't get messed up. Paul has most of the kitchens in and on Tuesday, I collected the Rangemaster from Currys in Newry, along with a fridge freezer. They appear to be so much better priced up there. Because we got all our three kitchens through the Buy and Sell second hand, we can afford to get a few really nice things like this and not feel bad, its great.
Day 183 Wednesday 8th October. I have learnt something more today. All cookers are not the same and some need a greater electrical supply than others, so always check first. mine was one of them! Then also make sure 'what water supply' or system you will have in your house before you get a shower. There are so many types and they all require something different, so just check before you go out and buy one one. I half did. Then don't 'under budget' it can be too painful, I'm in pain!!!
Day 184 and 185 Thursday and Friday. The whole house is now pebble-dashed and they are working on the yard now. Windows are cleaned off on the inside, The feed room is being roofed. Paul finished the kitchens really nicely. David is doing a great job with nearly all the electrics in place. Powerteck is now coming on Monday so that will be a major step when the heating is working.
YARD; to finish plaster, road to surface in along the shed and soak holes to drain rainwater a way, drainage from the yards wash room, anti chew strips around stable windows, get and put in the missing 20 tie rings, drainage holes with wavin inserts, Last drinkers to get water supply,
HOUSE; , Chimney outlet for stove, quarter of the roof to tile, float and level upstairs, apron around the house, water to the shower, pressure system and water pipes connected, finish shower partition (nearly done), dig a trench to bring the ESB to the house ( for some reason, they went and filled in the original one to do the foundations) and then connect us up to the septic tank and give us a electrical certificate so we can get off this 'high costing' temporary ESB supply. Then, maybe celebration time.
Day 186, 187 & 188 Monday to Wednesday. Cleaning up, the attic ladder was put in and the the remaining door handles and last skirting boards.
Day 189 Thursday 16th. The Climatemaster heat pump arrived, Micheal and his team (along with Karl) started to put the pipes in order. Francis is temporally putting a tall tank in which he will be replacing with 250 gallon insulated storage tank for the under-floor heating later on, and a separate tank for the domestic water. We got a great garage 'fold-up door' for the feed room from S.A.S., it is easy to slide up and down, locks too and it worked out better value than for us to get an ordinary door made.
Day 190 Friday, The outside plastering is finished completely; it is a first class job. The rainwater drains were dug and finished. One side of the remaining house was slated when Brendan's men arrived.
Day 191 and 192 Monday and Tuesday 20th and 21st October. The wood-burning stove they are putting in caused all sorts of problems. Unfortunately Carl had been given all the wrong parts by the suppliers and had to go all the way back to Dublin to get them replaced, it then took a while to put it altogether.
Day 193 Wednesday. Building project from hell today. To start with we have noticed that the baths upstairs have the toilet outlet below the basin water pipes- below the light for the basin. This may not sound strange until you think about it. The toilet connects directly to the wall outlet, otherwise you have to make a big box section to cover the waste pipe and then travel it around the room. The water inlet comes in where the basin goes, now it has to be boxed in around on the wall, as they cant be put 'in' the wall. The electric light is not easily moved either; without work, time, effort and mess. Time we ran out of a long time ago.
David the electrician, was here doing work and has it basically ready to go.
Powerteck came and found more problems with the geothermal loops. The first testing did not detect this problem. Oh no, not again. It appears to be leaking water in the test and by Tuesday I was told we had three of the eight loops working OK! The worst part of the day was to find that when the ESB arrived in the morning to change our temporary supply to a permanent supply. They found that the trench for the cable to the front of the house had not been dug as was required for regulations. This was doubly bad for me because I had told Karl that it was necessary to do this and so had my Mum, but Brendan had assured Karl that is was fine where he had said to put the cable . The ESB men were kind enough to say they would return in the afternoon, but again, when they did, the trench was no further on. By this time I was pulling my hair out worrying that we would be put back onto the end of a long list. Then, just to make me feel even more upset after asking Paul to finish the last few bits of fixings in the Kitchens he had gone, he probably thought another day would be fine.
Day 194 Thursday 23rd October 2003. We actually moved in. Not the way most people move in, but rather more like camping without toilets, water or heating, and its cold. Powertec is working hard, struggling to find the cause of the leaks of the geothermal pipes. The ESB arrived again, so not to lose them this time, I shouted everybody to help me get the pipes into the trench to have them ready. So 'by the skin of our teeth' they waited for this and then they proceeded to connect us. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control, we have to still wait a while before all our electrics are working properly, but David the electrician, was great in supporting us this far. You see, our project is a contract we have with Eurozonethermoforms. Eurozonethermoforms in turn contracted Brendan Kelly as the builder. As Brendan was not appearing to be here in the latter stages as foreman, Karl took over as foreman. The whole situation has been rather unfortunate, rather like a headless chicken.
Day 195 Friday. 11 till 4 was the working day, to day. No electrician, leaving us with some lights and sockets not working and the horse-walker tripping all the time. Oliver cemented the stove flue where it went through the ceiling, nobody is really discussing these things with us at the moment.
Day 196 Tuesday 28th October. Monday was Bank holiday. Powerteck were still working hard yesterday too. Just Oliver doing insulation in the attic today and he got all above the ceiling and most of around the high-ceiling room done. Dad lit the stove and as soon as it got hot the pipe had no where to expand at the back. It went back against the wall cracking it and forced the stove to tip over quite a bit until thankfully Oliver kicked it out of the way temporarily.
Day 197 Wednesday. Oliver here and Karl for a while. Powerteck are still at the outside loops and Richard went to a show. Oliver spent a while knocking out the cement from around the stove flue in the ceiling which must have been a rather difficult job to do and still manage not to damage the flue.
Day 198 Thursday 30th. Powerteck were good enough to ring and say that they would not be here today. But it is 11am and NOBODY else is here!!!
Day 199 Friday 31st. (Halloween) Karl and Oliver drilled some of the holes in the wall of the house for the plumbing. The concrete is very hard after being cured in this polystyrene so it takes a bit of drilling. Again I have to say that if it had been done correctly in the first instance by the Builder, it would not have to be done now. The TV man came to install the aerial but was very apprehensive as to the fixing method to use on the wall. I asked Karl to explain and they had a falling out so neither now, are offering to put the brackets on the wall to hold the aerial !.
Day 200 Monday 3rd November. Who would have thought I would be still writing this in November. I have to say I feel a bit low tonight as the task ahead is all becoming too difficult to achieve (three families coming to stay before Christmas). Added to that, I have managed to get a spasm in my neck, which I think could be due to the cold draught from the window over our bed at night, so I feel I can't even move things today. We can't get anything done as the under-floor heating could not be turned on today as planned, due to the big problems they are having with the outside geothermal loops. Of the 12 loops, seven are working and five are not. Possibly the wrong loops were discarded when the first tests were done, also the loops that the builders dug into with the mini digger could have further damage to them as they don't work (turned out Karl had mentioned to Powerteck that the new joints needed tightening!!). I think that more trenches will just have to be dug and more loops laid. Karl and Oliver said they could not be here today. I have asked Brendan to come tomorrow to level the floors. I have got the window people to come tomorrow to do the last fixing on the windows and doors. Richard talked to Shay King on the phone about the problems we are facing so lets hope there is some improvement. Could not get the aerial man today. I really feel down.
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