Planning the building work

by Chris Newson on June 25, 2009

OK, so there’s a million jobs to do which will cost a King’s ransom to get done. If we do them all at once we’ll be buried in builder’s dust for a year, bankrupt and probably divorced…a plan is required…

There’s the inevitable weighing up of things that really need doing…fixing that leaking roof for instance, and things that make you smile…reinstating cornices, decorating, that kind of thing. Heart vs head..that old struggle…head never seems to win with me…

So here was our initial conclusion:

Phase 1 (Spring 2009):

  • Kitchen Extension
  • Sort out leaky roof in dining room
  • Ground floor decorations
  • Replace rotten cellar window
  • Split cellar into rooms and dig wine cellar
  • Merge loo and bathroom on first floor

Phase 2 (Spring 2010/2011)

  • Replace concrete roof tiles with slate
  • New dormer windows
  • Decorate exterior of house
  • En suite bathroom
  • Decorate the rest of the inside of house

It begins to dawn on us that Phase 1 is going to get held up with changing our mind over the design of the kitchen extension, and getting planning permission. If we want to live in a house that doesn’t resemble a squat, then we’re going to need to break phase 1 up a bit….hark the sound of the heart beginning to edge a lead over the head!

So Phase Zero is born (January 2009), the kitchen extension and cellar can wait a year…

  • Ground floor decorations
  • Cellar window replaced
  • Dining room leaky roof fixed
  • Proper steps put in between kitchen and diner
  • Cast iron radiators to replace horrid white ones (how did that sneak in there!)

So everything was set for a January 2009 start, all decisions made, no need for further prevarication or change… when on New Year’s eve the cooker decided to blow up…damnation, Pandora opened her box once again…

De Dietrich Range - A thing of great beauty!

De Dietrich Range - A thing of great beauty!

There seemed no point in getting a temporary cooker, so we undertook a quick but extensive bout of research (and agonising) to decide what would fit in the future kitchen extension. It had to be Pyrolytic, it had to have 2 ovens, it had to be gas on top….well that limited us to a De Dietrich range as they are apparently the only people in the world who make such a thing.

Nice and easy you might think, but typically the beast, although a thing of beauty, was 20cm bigger than the chimney opening it had to fit into, so suddenly a bunch more building work was added to the job…oh yes and then there was the stripping of the bay windows and the replacement of the 2 fireplaces, and the sudden change of mind from doing a doing a temporary repair on the dining room roof to a full blown lead roof.

The lessons learned…give the plan time to mulch before locking it down, and keep flexible. Have a mechanism for revising the project plan once you’ve got going – in other words have a good Project Manager. No matter how much you plan not to, you will change your mind.

Enough for now. Until next time.

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