I recently moved house, having to buy and sell a house at about the same time is truly one of the most stressful things I’ve ever experienced.
The new bungalow needs adjusting to my needs so have been having work done to it since last December and that has had my head in a mess.
Bathroom converted to a shower room with a heck of a lot of awkward problems thanks to concrete flooring and old pipework.
It had no back door (both front and side doors pretty much came from the kitchen so in event of fire it was plain dangerous) so I wanted one knocked through from one of the bedrooms. While I was having it done I decided to have a conservatory built to add a bit of inside space.
There’s not many sockets in some of the rooms so I need to get some added,
The Kitchen needs a full refit which will probably include bricking off the door and bringing in gas for the hobs.
The garden needs landscaping and the huge trees behind my house really need a bit of trimming back though apparently no one takes responsibility for them.
So…what is it I’ve learned?
Well first of all when trying to move house with MS, packing and sorting has to be done in small increments whether you want to or not because trying to blitz the place is just not possible. Also a box is not just a box, different sizes, different strengths, different levels of usefulness and it’s all about the parcel tape!
Freecycle will always have someone who can use things you can’t and aren’t able to/ don’t want to sell and charity bags will always be welcomed by charity shops.
Having family and friends who can store things, move things, help clean, help decorate and be a sounding board for all the stress are the best thing you can have during the process!
Estate agents must be chased, constantly and without mercy if you want things to move.
Solicitors are either friendly and helpful or rude and uncaring, either way again you must be willing to chase them at every opportunity. Also make sure you have a fixed price for the sale in case things go a bit tits up.
Paper work is everything during the sale, if you don’t have it you’ll hold things up and/or have to pay for insurance. For example; I didn’t realise windows that have been replaced now need a FENSA certificate even if it’s a like for like replacement.
Once the sale goes through, the house is yours and the real work begins.
Try and get flooring and decorating sorted before moving in if at all possible, clearing a room is no easy task.
Concrete floors are awkward buggers when it comes to changing plumbing especially ifyou want a wet room.
Always think about how easy it is to get in and out of showers when your mobility is a problem, small gaps may be fine for your average person but if you need hand rails those off the shelf kits don’t always work.
When deciding how big and where you want windows, remember about the size of the plastic frame and the depth of the wall. If you don’t you’ll be reaching higher and further than you think to open and shut a window that has less of a glass aperture than you expect in your head.
Now the reason I started writing this post. The conservatory.
Should be simple yes? “I want a conservatory here, about this size, with double doors.”
But then come the choices and the sales people and the facts they leave out of their sales pitches. I had 4 quotes, each time gaining a little bit more information that the others left out.
Conservatories are no longer just glass, you can have orangeries, conservatories, sun rooms, to name just a few and each comes with slightly different regulations/problems.
So a conservatory we all know, glass walls and ceiling, yes it will get hot because it lets in a lot of sunlight. You can choose different roofs from plastic, to glass, to polycarbonate (with silver embedded) that let in different amounts of light/heat. But don’t be fooled by the salesmen obsessed with the new Supalite tiled roof, that is not a conservatory it’s classed as an extension.
You can have a conservatory without having to faff about with planning regulations etc if…..to quote www.planningportal.co.uk
- They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area.
- The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
- There should be an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls.
- Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements
So the door that has been knocked through from the spare room has to adhere to planning regulations as an external door complete with a lintel (which haven’t been put in on any others in this house) and I made very sure the company doing it knew that I knew the regulations.
- Two lintels (made of steel or concrete), one supporting each leaf of a cavity wall construction. Separate thermal insulation and a cavity tray are likely to be required.
Sad really that it made me quite giddy when the lintels were put in properly!
The electrics were relatively simple but it turns out that the Consumer unit (the new name for a fuse box) is relatively modern but the breakers/RCD’s (residual current devices) aren’t as up to date as they need to be for the electrician to sign off. Luckily he only needs to replace the one he’s messing with to give me a certificate that says it’s all good.
This week I’ve discovered how awkward a ceiling fan light can be. I found one that was just what I wanted at B&Q, simple you’d think yes? But how could I expect that. With the pitched roof of the conservatory I need something that lowers it a little so the fan can spin, it’s called a “Drop rod” or “Downrod” and comes in different sizes. The reason I’m calling it awkward? No one at B&Q have heard of it!! The website, the store, none of them knew what the heck it was so Amazon have come to the rescue and I’ve ordered one online. Fingers crossed it’s the right length after a discussion between myself and 4 workmen this week as to how long it needed to be to not take someones head off.
But through all this I will say “so far so good” the builder was brilliant and put up with all my awkward questions and pestering in return for cups of tea while working like a trooper.
The shell is now up (though the guys doing it were making so many phone calls it could have been finished hours earlier) and the door in place so I can let my dog out of the back door into the garden and I feel a bit safer knowing there’s another exit.
The first fix electrics have been put in, now just the plastering, electrical and final finishing bits from the conservatory itself then I’ll be able to paint and get flooring in.
I can’t wait to see what I learn for the rest of the year!