7 Aug 2022

And Then, Over To Ripper...

   Here’s the last comment from the good Ripper regards the post featuring problems with homes called new builds. I had to pause awhile thinking how best to explain  common sense and critical thinking to any younger readers but gave up after a sleepless night
   Anyhoo, happy, cool, overcast high summer Sunday and over to Ripper and who knew fixing a staircase banister had become so complicated and regulation reliant these days, eh? Got me thinking wot paperwork, that I’m not aware of, should be completer prior to changing a light bulb. Or do you just call an amp-tramp to do it for you these daze?
   Shocking indeed, but not to me. Your video makes my problems with the renovation pale into insignificance, but the reason I don't find it shocking or surprising is that I've been on a steep learning curve since this began, I've consulted many tradesmen, looked in on DIY forums, watched YouTube self help videos, and I've come across all these things along the way. I count my blessings that I'm an engineer by trade, so capable of common sense and critical thinking.
   Before taking on any particular task I've consulted building regs to make sure I'm getting it right, and learned a lot in the process - for example, you might consider screwing a new stair handrail to the wall to be a simple task - and it is, except that there are regulations. The rail has to be between 34 and 38 inches up from the nose of each step, and return to the wall at both ends. The rail must be one continuous run on each wall. A staircase is defined as having 3 steps or more and any staircase over 1m wide has to have a rail. Bet you didn't know that - and none of the tradesmen who work on these new builds will either.
   Like any trade, my own included, there will always be the bodgers who lied their way into a job for money. Their antics can be really entertaining and there's a series on YouTube called 'On The Tools - Not MY Job'. These are videos from the tradesmen themselves and I've passed many an hour rolling with laughter watching this. So to give you a 10min laugh rather than just a smile, here's an example (caution, many naughty words).

   Its also handy, if you do ever employ tradesmen, to know who you are talking to. Although this video is also meant to be humorous, it is also true to life, if any of those who I spoke to before deciding to tackle the job myself are anything to go by. There were a couple of the chancer type who's work I had to rectify after, but this is not necessarily a bad thing - I got the main job, that I didn't have the skills for done and the cost was cheap. The rectification is nothing really. Just don't let these guys anywhere near a critical job.

I see Nourishing Obscurity featured music out o’ Africa yesterday so no further excuse required as a way to end with this bit o’ movement to music again. As before, don’t try this at home unless there’s a proficient first aider and a chiropodist close by, okay?

Quote;  John Gotti.

"If you think your boss is stupid, remember; you wouldn't have a job if he was any smarter."


Ripper said...

I knew you'd be impressed.. I've managed to find a video explaining them. Its American but these are international regs, so the same in every country. It's only common sense to see why these regs exist in the first place but people never think about them, I mean, from all the rooms in your house, which is the least considered when it comes to home improvements? The stairwell - yet it is up there with the kitchen in terms of safety considerations. This video is just the bare bones which cover the handrail, there are other specifications not mentioned covering stairs such as minimum spacing between balustrades (pretty obvious if you have small children), and the size/shape of rail itself (must be 'grippable'). I've played safe and gone for pig's ear - a bugger to mark out and cut but the best type for practical purpose - fits directly to the wall so no returns and I can use heavy duty m6 anchor bolts rather than the feeble screws/rawlplugs, so its there to stay (I'm betting it would take a nuclear holocaust to shift it).

In some states of the USA you can't sell your home until you've had it inspected, and these regs (International Residential Codes) are part of the inspection. They cover other aspects too, besides stairs.


Another common sense tip is that, if the room you are working on has any safety considerations (wet room floors, electrics near water, zones for electrical layouts etc), then there are going to be building regs on it somewhere. Look them up, especially if it involves structural work such as joists (there are rules on those too, down to the classification of timber you can use and where they can be drilled or notched for pipes/cables).

Mac said...

Hard to believe, but after posting your post yesterday, I went into the kitchen and heard a very low ticking. It was the water meter and a little investigation took me to a leak below the kitchen sink and, sadly, below the concrete floor... fixing in progress and it's turning into a beauty and owing to access all kinds of stripping out. I'll be back in a week and be assured, no more bloody DIY posts from me.

Ripper said...

Oh dear. I take it (hope) that its not a bad leak. Will you get away with just removing the sink unit, or will they need to use a kango in there? Costly either way I suppose.

Mac said...

Located the leak coming up from below the cement floor below the kitchen sink.
Spent an awful lot of time trying to remove the base shelf from the sink unit but obviously secured from the adjoining units.
My newish neighbour works for a big outfit specialising in, according to his big van, gas installations, inspections and repairs so, unthinking, I knocked his door and asked if he knew of a good plumber. He just smiled and pointed to his wagon... Of course it’s just pipe work regardless of what goes through it isn’t it?
He offered to take a look, and then said, should I wish, he’d pop in after work, off the books, and fix it.
He came round about 16:30, jig-sawed the unit base out - when I fix that, I plan to make it removable - hand kango hammered cement up, then after advancing to locate the leak, and lifting two tiles, and cement below, found the leak. Leaking length cut out, and next generation plastic hose coupled up.
All fixed and all-up in about 2 hours on his knees.
“How much do I owe you?” I enquired. Expecting the worse as by now I’d had a phone quote of 200.
You ready for this? “Twenty quid please.”
“You are joking, right?” Said I. And his face dropped but lifter immediately in gratitude as I handed him a more realistic, to my mind, off the books fifty dabs.
So, me happy, fitter happy, me with cement work, tile laying - okay, only two - and unit ‘modification, to do. I could be a while. Think I’ll leave it for a couple of days to let the immediate sub surface dry out a tad...

Ripper said...

Yes that's right, nowadays a plumber won't get very far without being gas registered. The guy I use for plumbing/gas is a mate of the son in laws. When I was doing the bathroom/toilet I found that the main stop tap wouldn't turn off, the water had to be turned off in the street. I can't change a stop tap as its soldered into lead pipework, so I had him fitting a full bore lever valve a bit further downstream. These don't stick and are easier/quicker in an emergency. He also services the combi boiler every year and has just capped off the old gas pipe which goes to the living room chimney breast.

I have all this yet to come when I start downstairs, the kitchen has to be completely gutted, the concrete floor is dipping almost 2 inches over 4 feet, the dryer stands like the leaning tower of Piza so I suppose I'll be needing a kango and a big skip. Plumbing and electrics have to be accessed by bringing down the ceiling - can't get at it under the bathroom/toilet floorboards because I've ceramic tiled the floor up there - floorboards sheeted out in 6mm ply, then tiled using latex adhesive. Perhaps in your case, when/if you replace the sink unit, a Belfast sink might be worth considering as they have no unit as such below them and they're back in vogue right now.

Its good to work with people you know off the books. The kids mother remarried in 2003 and he does MOT's I always get a great price on car repairs/MOT and services. A couple of weeks ago I went for MOT and also wanted a rattle checked out which had been there for 3 years, and none of the other places I go could find it. He got the keys to the place and did the advisories on the old MOT certificate on the Sunday, then I was to go back on the Monday for the MOT. He found one tyre down to the canvas on the inside, two completely shot front disks and the rattle - a broken front spring. The parts (new discs/pads, tyre and spring) he got for £112 (receipts presented) and charged me £150. That means he only made £38 for all that work. He then booked my MOT for £30.

Now, this guy is what I call a 'functioning alcoholic' and when I called at their house to arrange the job, the kids mother got to complaining about the state of the house, and I don't blame her. They have 2 toilets, neither of them flushes. In the bathroom she has to flush the loo with buckets of water, The wash basin is 'balanced' on top of the pedestal and the only thing holding it in place is the waste pipe. There is a large leak in the kitchen roof where it joins to the main house, due to the flashing being installed completely wrong. His answer to that is gaffer tape, painted over with the latex paint used under car floors. The back wall has plaster missing and mould due to damp. She wants the wall rendered on the outside but I spotted hole plugs from cavity wall insulation, so I told her to consult a damp specialist before she does anything, as I suspect a bridged damp course. Besides, if any moisture gets behind the render, it will be held there and fetch the render off.

I feel really sorry for both of them. I've been to B&Q and picked up a bottom fill float valve and a flush valve for the loo (that will save a porcelain cistern), and I'll take my drill/rawlplugs when one of them has a day to spare and get the loo fixed and the wash basin secured to the wall. No charge, just a thank you for his work on my car.

So, Mac, both of us has problems, but we should both thank our lucky stars that we don't live in THAT house..

Mac said...

A tad busy but I can relate, as ever, to all you say.
When things seem to be bad there's always others who're having it so much worse. And the best quote to put things into perspective is this;
“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
― Helen Keller