Posted by: Moon | July 1, 2011

Our first Mistake

When an Project leader and a Development Manager decide to buy an old, 100yr old Slovak house and redevelop it, it’s a tall order to get it all right.

We had two choices how to do this, get a company in to do everything, and hand us the key to the new house when it is finished, or, to find the workmen ourselves, buy all the supplies required and just pay the individual workmen for their time. The latter obviously being cheaper……. but what did we know about workmen… who to trust, who to use ?

So, our ‘builder’, I put this is quotes because he is not just a builder, he is our site foreman, organiser of the labourers, looks after the dogs etc ….. so, he has been brilliant. His work is 100%, and he works like a dog. He also has a huge care over his work, and also the work of the other men working there. 110% happy

The next two trades are key to the house, the plumber and the Sparks… again, we chose carefully from recommendations, and they have both proved to be excellent.

The roof, another key part, and again, we spoke to many roofers (very common here in Slovakia), and we chose an experienced local fella and his son, we provided the workers, and that has also proved to be an excellent choice.

Finally, the windows, used recommendations from others, and he has proved to be brilliant….

so, 5 key areas, we have chosen well. Never the cheapest, but reliable good workers …..

but, always a but huh… we have made a mistake with the final part. Luckily it is not key to the whole house, but it is very important to me. The centre of the house, and the main feature of the living room is an open fireplace. Having now learnt, building the fireplace and the chimney is a skills job, with rules you have to follow. The man we chose was an amiable fella, said he could do what we wanted, and from our point of view, finished and all looked ok ….. until … We had a closer look at the brickwork.. not good, not straight, not even, and well, shite really. This is only for the eye, important to us, but we cold easily redo this, our builder is fantastic with the old bricks… however, more seriously, we were concerted with the 8 meter chimney, and the structure of the actual fireplace. The heights, the space of the fire, the shape of the chimney, the draw required, and all the technical details that make the fire safe, useable and efficient. So, we had a local expert over to the house last night, and after much shaking of heads, sucking air over teeth, you know the way tradesmen do…. it all has to come down … bollocks.

The worse side of this is the meeting we have got planned with the fireplace man on Saturday morning to explain that he will be getting paid, never an easy thing to do, but that’s tough… I am just glad we found out now, and not when I lit the fire for the first time !

You live and learn huh !

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Responses

  1. Things have gone remarkably well for you so far, so a little setback is not a complete disaster. As you say, good that you discovered the problem before it became a danger, but it is fixable, and it is not as bad as having an incompetent roofer! So, you have to start over on the chimney, but it shouldn’t affect the project that much, eh?

    • No, we caught it before we completed things, I will pull it down on Saturday after we have confronted the fool, then the new one can built while we are away


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