Friday, 12 April 2013

Ichinen Kenshin - One-year evaluation

They came for the one year evaluation the other day. Actually three months late as it was April and we'd moved in December. If they'd had the process their way, it probably would have been April by the time we'd moved in.

The architect, the heating engineer and the boss's son from the builders came at 9 am.

The main issues we had are dirty beams on the balcony, flimsy internal doors, hairline cracks in the tiles, cracks on the internal walls, plumbing the dishwasher so that it uses piped hot water rather than electrically heating it, the positioning of the sensor light in the pantry, and the sound closing the front door. We also mentioned issues with the ventilation system and solar power conditioners. Also I told the heating engineers about the vagaries of the eco cute, and asked if he had the COP performance against temperature, which he said he did and would send to me.

We'd shown the architect the stains on the beams a month after we moved in, and his response was something like, what do you expect if you have white beams?

The boss's son took it much more seriously, and came to the conclusion that the metal plate protecting the top of the balcony beams was too flat, so was collecting rain water, which it was then leaking steadily down the side of the beams, leaving dark marks. There were also bits of rust on some of the supports for pillars and the bannister on the balcony. Although stainless steel does not rust, it's not always stainless, and even if it is, it's cut with a steel saw. A tiny bit of steel can produce a long trail of rust.

We complained about the doors which don't seem to give any protection of the sound inside. This is inevitable in an airtight house that shuts out sounds from the outside, making those inside more obvious, and is helped by the tile floor and open plan. They knew all this, and it's amazing that after all the hundreds of square metres of insulation they charged us for putting around the house, they didn't put a little bit in the doors. At first the boss's son suggested we play music, but we didn't really think that was a solution. 

Several hairline cracks have appeared in the tiles on the ground floor, where the tile has been cut into a corner, for example where it has to go around a beam or protruding wall. This is the kind of thing we only notice because we know it is there, or when we're cleaning the floor, but in searching we found another five places, and it would mainly be nice to know what the cause of the problem with. It seems most likely something in the tilers' procedure. 

One thing the boss's son said at the end was that he would find the cause of all the problems before coming to  fix them.

The front door doesn't really bother me, but when it closes it sends a bolt of air into the house which gets many of the doors inside rattling. This is one symptom of a highly airtight house. This doesn't really happen in Europe since front doors open inwards, so the air bolt is sent ouwards when they are closed. Traditional Japanese houses are not only as airtight as an old sock, but also have sliding doors, so there would be no air movement anyway. 

The main problems stemming from this are that guests are shocked by the sound of the door, and sometimes when they leave they are so careful that they don't shut the front door properly. They turn the handle and pull it to gently, when really it just needs to be firmly shut, with the handle in its normal place. The next morning the genkan's a bit chilly and we realise the door has been ajar all night.

One suggestion was a door-closer on the hinge, which would pull the door to. The architect said the door makers probably didn't sell them. I echoed his "probably" with a critical question mark. The boss's son said it would be a good idea to use the manufacturers products if possible. 

So it looks like there may be some more building work going on in the house. Hopefully this will all be covered by the builders since they are fixing their problems, but I won't be surprised if they slap a bill on us in a couple of months.