Monthly Archives: January 2014
Until August last year, there used to be an old barn attached to the cottages here. With the kitchen due to be installed in about 3 weeks time, we are getting ready for the decorators to start on Monday – once the kitchen is installed, it will be very difficult to get tower scaffold into the kitchen to paint the ceiling. With the plaster on the walls, it is starting to resemble something habitable.
We have pushed ahead with the fire place in the lounge and, by the end of the day, we are ready to fit the plasterboards on the metal framework. Even without the plasterboards on, the fireplace is usable. I can’t wait to see it in action. We even had a fresh delivery of kiln dried logs yesterday!
…is how much time they invest in making sure that you are happy with their service/product after the product/service has been bought.
I am getting increasingly fed up of companies who invest huge (often disproportionate) amounts of time in getting your order. And then, once you have placed the order, are hardly ever to be seen again. It is not unusual to get bombarded with phone calls from sales folks in the run up to a sale, however, once the order is placed, they are then difficult to get hold of, or in some cases, never return your calls! And certainly, never when there is an issue. That now appears to be someone else’s problem (usually someone you have never heard of in the “delivery team”).
Once they have your money, it seems to be about delivering the service/product at the cheapest cost possible, and any interet in your as a customer, or your satisification with their product or organisaton, goes out the window.
This is hugely disappointing, and IMHO, no way to run a business. We shouldn’t be treating the sales process as purely a transaction, but should be looking at it in terms of building a realtionship. In this day and age, as products and services become more similar, it is often only the way that we deal with customers that separates the different companies. Surely, this is well understood these days. But alas, it would appear not.
I would love to be able to spot these “sales heavy/ delivery light” organisations upfront. Then, I could avoid them! But like many things in life, you don’t find out until it is too late!
Bar a couple of small areas, the work on plastering the kitchen is complete. This is just as well since the decorators start in here next week!
Our attention has turned to finishing off the plastering in the older part of the property, including the double height hallway. The two largest walls were completed today.
Despite the fact that we had no water on site. There appears to have been a burst water main locally and our water stopped just before lunch. We managed by filling up some 5 gallon drums in the village and transporting them back to site on the pickup.
Each of the large walls needs to be completed in one go. Due to their size, this means having one plasterer work upstairs while the other is working on the lower part of the wall. This can be tricky at times!
We have made some more progress with the fireplace today. With the wet weather, we have been looking for indoor activities and finishing off the fireplace was one of our top priorities.
All of the pieces of ashlar that form the fireplace are now in position. We need to build the chimney breast around the fireplace. This will be done using the metal framework that we have used elsehwere during dri-lining. We will then board this with fireboard – a sort of plasterboard that has increased heat resistance.
At the moment, this still ins’t looking like the finished product.
The missing part for the Spartherm unit turned up yesterday and the installation was finished today.
The good news is that the unit looks great. The bad news is that the flue on the outside looks like something that belongs on a fast food takeaway!
This is hugely disappointing. After all the time and effort that went in to ensure the view of the building from the sunken garden looked great, we now have a large stainless steel flue protruding over the ridge line of the building. This is not what we had intended.
Apparently, the flue needs to be 3m higher than the top of the fire box. Otherwise, we would have lowered it below the ridge line. In terms of colour, we could have got a powder coated flue (we only needed the top that sticks out of the roof), but no one told me this when we were sorting this out. And it is big, the flue is 7 inches across with a large stainless steel “hat” on the top.
We will be looking into alternatives here as this doesn’t look great. Ho hum!
We are just starting on the second fix woodwork. This means the door linings, doors, skirting boards and architraves (around the windows and door frames) are starting to go in.
As per usual, it is amazing how much material gets swallowed up into the building – there is over 500M of skirting and architrave to be installed.
Originally, we were going to have custom made skirting boards and architrave. This involves having a metal cutter made so that the wood can be shaped using a spindle moulder. It costs around £150 for a metal cut for soft wood, however, a tungsten cutter is required for MDF. MDF is harder and the cutter needs to withstand the heat when cutting. A cutter for MDF is around £750. The cost of the timber was only £750 in the first place, so this effectively doubled the cost. So in the end we opted for a standard chamfered pattern. In reality, this standard chamfered pattern was not that different to the custom one that the architect had designed. I daresay no one will notice the difference.
Although we are still missing a crucial part for the Spartherm unit, we have taken the time to get the Firebelly stove that we bought a few months ago installed. It is a FB1 stove in pewter with a matching stove pipe. Other colours are available.
These stoves are made in Elland (just outside Halifax), so are very local to us. You will find more information here.
The stove is exceptionally well made and we are really pleased with it. The glass front provides a great view onto the logs inside. It burns very cleanly and the glass stays clean while in use, even when the air supply is turned down to slow the burn rate. It is easy to light and the combustion seems super efficient leaving the minimum of ash.
The firebox for the lounge arrived yesterday. We have a slight problem in that the baffle (butterfly) for the flue seems to be missing. However, we should be able to get the unit into position and build the stone fireplace around it. There will be some “fine tuning” required, but nothing that the builder can’t deal with. The design of the fireplace is covered here. However, re-looking at the pictures, we have significantly changed the design – we are now using a firebox with 3 sides of glass rather than 2. We have also gone for a design that is a little more symmetrical.
We are going to have to wait for the missing flue part before using it, however, we can get on with the job of installing it into the fireplace.
The installers are also going to install the Firebelly stove that we bought a few months ago. So although the Spartherm unit might not be operational this weekend, the Firebelly should be!