Our first week on the job was spent investigating what we couldn’t find out before; exactly what lay under the carpets, where the drains run, getting the water and gas turned off so we could start removing the existing bathroom and kitchen, having the electrician set up a site RCD (for safety), and discuss the electrical layout.
With the help of our excellent plumber we have been able to develop the plan for layouts and drainage (a fundamental part of any build – top tip!) and it means we can start to Freegle all the units that were left by the previous owners which while old were perfectly serviceable. If you haven’t heard of Freegle – www.ilovefreegle.org – it is a great community of people run by the ‘Human Womble’ Cat, who like Bright Green Homes feel that we throw too many things away just because it is more convenient, so we are trying to work with her to help freecycle.
(from their website: Freegle is a network of local groups where you can give stuff away when you want to get rid of it – but don’t want to throw it away because it still has some useful life left in it).
So in the first week we have freegled; a washing machine, a tumble dryer, a dishwasher, a cooker, a hob, a cooker hood, radiators, mirrored cupboard doors, curtains, lampshades, light fittings, a bath and taps, a sink, bits of carpet and underlay, carpet gripper, window blinds, kitchen carcasses, sets of drawers, a desktop, old water storage tanks… phew… i think that’s the lot… I’m sure Cat when she reads this will remind me of others.
All in all I think this has been hugely successful, saved at least one skips worth of waste which would usually end up being either dumped or recycled by companies for a profit. This way ordinary local people can benefit from things that others may not want anymore but are far from the end of their useful life. Makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.
Ok – so back to the building work – by the beginning of the second week on site we have removed the old kitchen, and bathroom, knocked down a couple of walls (on purpose, not just for laughs!).
Removed the fireplace (and had the chimney swept), lifted some of the floors, stripped the walls, removed and recycled the boiler, been visited by the engineer, submitted the building regulations (remember if you are doing work to your home you need to inform the Building control officer at the council and you may have to submit full building regulations).
We havent been there very long at all, but we have managed to move long at a steady pace (despite car trouble and a little snow) and even though we are cold and I (Alex) have pulled a muscle (oh diddums I hear you cry!).
Everything seems to be going to plan – now, from experience we mustn’t get to pleased with ourselves, as that is when things begin to go wrong!
Not pessimistic, just pragmatic, professional and as I have been frequently reminded by colleagues in the past, its not the rip out that causes problems, but the putting it back in!