Thursday, 24 November 2011

19th December

We have a completion date, and the good news is that it's before Christmas. Also, looking on the bright side, as it's a few pay days later than expected, and all being well I'll be getting a bonus this year, I can reduce the amount I need to borrow from the bank. I won't dwell on the fact that we were expecting to be in the new house last Christmas, and I'll try not to worry too much if this date slips a bit. 

I got a copy of the building schedule, and it's very exciting. As of 23rd November, the tiler has started tiling away, planned to finish at the end of the month. The kitchen is going in on the last two days of November. The wallpapering is finished, and the door frames all have at least undercoats on, but the wall painting will start from 1st December, until 8th. Not every room has tiles, so I'm sure the painters and tilers would have been able to work simultaneously. Perhaps they don't get on with each other.

Also, it seems the building trade in Matsumoto is incredibly busy at the moment and it's been difficult to get all the subcontractors lined up. This is probably a combination of projects delayed when the earthquake hit up north back in March, that are now all going ahead, and rebuilding work from the earthquake that hit Matsumoto in June and dislodged a lot of tiles. This is what it did to a wall in our house, although I don't think the landlord has added it to anybody's list of things to do.

When the paint is up on 8th December, the electricians and plumbers come in. Actually, the schedule says it's possible for the electricians and plumbers to work any time from 24th November, but they better be careful not to upset the tiler as he doesn't seem to like people walking around on his tiles.

They take down the inside scaffolding on 10th December. They put it up a couple of weeks ago for no obvious reason, then took it down a couple of days ago so the tilers can tile the ground floor. The heating engineers are coming to fix up the heat pump and the underfloor heating.

The bannister rail is going on the stairs on 15th December, then they can start cleaning inside the house. The tatami mats are going down in our Japanese room on 19th December.

This is the plan inside the house. 

Simultaneously to the tiles going down and the paint going up inside, the external wall is being clad. When we were planning the house, the options for the external finish were ready-made sidings, or a constructed and mortared wall. Apparently sidings can be much cheaper, however quality and durability are issues. I'm amused every time I see a house with red-brick imitation sidings, coming as I do from an area where brick houses are liable to be stone clad. I was assured that by the time you find sidings that look nice, the cost is about the same as building the wall, although it seems to be a very involved process. First there are gara ita, strips of wood on top of the ventilation gap. Then goes a waterproof sheet of asphalt, on top of this goes chicken mesh, then the wall finish is pasted onto that, undercoat, middle coat and then overcoat. The gara ita have been up for a month or two in most places, although the problem areas have just been fixed and fitted. The rest of it has been given until 10th December.  They could have it all finished in a couple of days, or they could be working right up to the end. If it were ready-made sidings, I imagine the whole process could have have taken a couple of days. There may also be advantages with ready-made sidings, for example in insulation performance. I imagine if they are weathered and worn, it's easy to replace them.

When I talk about the choice having been between sidings or a constructed wall, the choice wasn't really ours. As usual, the architect told us what he thought we should do, which was what he wanted to do, and he poured disdain and mistrust upon the sidings.

Next on the schedule, on 12th, the ventilation and insulation engineers come back to fix the vents on the outside. They may fix the inside vents too, which are currently holes in the wall, and there are a couple of places where the ducts run through a painted room, so they need fixing in place. Hopefully they'll be insulated the exhaust duct inside the house too.

Not sure when the final airtightness test is going to be, but that's the same people.

The shutters are to be fitted on 12th December, which should be interesting. These are for the upstairs south facing windows, to keep some of that summer sun out. They're electric. The shutters have a wire coming out of the back, which should go through the wall into the house, where the switches are. The walls need to be airtight, and the wires need to be sealed from the outside, which of course will be covered by the shutters when they are installed. This is another one of those riddles that builders must answer.

They're going to rearrange the outside scaffolding on 14th December, as most of the external work will have finished. The balcony will start going up on 15th, at least if we have decided how it is going to be made. It'll be painted and railing added to it on 17th, then the scaffolding for that will come down 19th. The screen doors will also be fitted on that last day, although to be honest I don't think we're going to be needing them until next summer. They're doing the drainpipes then, too.

The prospect of moving, a spectre that has haunted us for a while, is rapidly moving in. We have over a decade of crap in the house to sort through, and conflicting interests of not buying anything new that we don't need, and getting rid of what we can rather than bringing it into the new house.