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06 July 2005 @ 10:44 am
So after 19 months we have the kitchen in a state where we can paint it! Finally, all the builders have been, done their stuff, been paid and gone.

It all started just before Christmas 2003 when part of the ceiling came down while we were away (Thanks mcurtains for clearing it up!) - the plumber we called in said it was a slow leak from the loo cistern in the bathroom, and fixed that, but we subsequently found a somewhat larger leak from a joint in the bath drain ... funny how having no ceiling shows up where the water is coming from ;)

Rang insurance who said 'Oh, just get our builders to do it, it'll be quicker, we'll send the guy round in the next day or so'. So we did, guy came, saw, put up a temporary bit of plywood, went away ... insurance company sent a letter saying 'the loss adjuster will have to come out, that quote was too high'. Which started a 14 month fight about how much it was going to cost. They accepted they would cover the cost of repair, they just didn't accept that it was going to cost as much as several different builders said it would. We eventually didn't use the insurance company's builder as they wouldn't quote low enough for the loss adjuster to accept ... the one we did use initially scraped in just below the cut-off of ~£1550 (yes, that much - there was apparently trace amounts of asbestos in one of the layers of artex on the ceiling, needing specialist contractors to remove the whole ceiling, but not sufficient quantities that it was an issue for us to be living with a hole in it).

So in February 2005 we got the go ahead from the loss adjuster on one of the quotes, and got the builder in - remains of ceiling removed in March 2005. Builder takes one look at what was hiding above the ceiling and says we have to get the electrics fixed (it was a mess, but actually most was dead, it was well worth testing though) and a joist needs fixing as it is rotting! So back to the loss adjuster for more money for more work ... thankfully quicker than the last time so we only ended up about a month with no ceiling at all (that's weird, by the way, and you wouldn't believe how much rubble can fall from seemingly nowhere). New ceiling happened in late April 2005.

While the old ceiling was being ripped out it damaged the walls slightly - so we were going to have to repaint them, anyway. So we thought as we'd got plasterers in, we'd get them to quote us for the walls too, and get rid of the nasty textured stuff the previous occupants of the house had put on the walls. They did, and duely came and did most of the job in mid-May. But it subsequently turned out that the cost they quoted didn't cover little things like finishing off the job properly - I guess that's why they were cheap :/ - so I spent most of a month trying to ring either of the builders who'd done the work to get them to come back and finish it, like they'd said they would (and we spent one Saturday waiting in for a builder that never showed). Two weeks ago we got fed up - after all we'd paid them for what they'd done, if they didn't want the extra money for the rest of the job then that's their tough luck. So in the last two weeks we've had an electrician come and put the lights back up and turn the sockets back on that they disconnected while plastering and we've had a builder come and finish plastering round the radiator and put the curtain rails back up.

And today the guy came and put the coving up (we'd got him to quote a month ago when it looked nearly done, just had to arrange him to come by and actually do it). So it's ALL DONE!

Just gotta paint. Wonder how long it'll take before we get round to doing that ;)
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: "Talkin' About a Revolution" Tracy Chapman
Veewaldhornist on July 6th, 2005 11:45 am (UTC)
Wow, sounds like you've had a real battle! Aren't insurance companies just grand? ;) I'm always afraid of making a claim, so I haven't done yet -- but I'm glad they covered that main expense. I only wish they'd have done it sooner!
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, in the end they did what we pay them for (ie gave us the damn money), but I'm still going to be looking into changing insurance company.
kierangiant on July 6th, 2005 01:00 pm (UTC)
who are you with just now?
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 01:05 pm (UTC)
Countrywide Assured. We got the insurance when we organised our mortgage, so we knew it was unlikely to be perfect, but about the same point we were starting to think about changing it the ceiling fell in and I didn't really want to stop being a customer of theirs while we were sorting things out.
kierangiant on July 6th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC)
if you're happy with whoever insures your car, you should see if they do house/contents insurance, and if you'll get a Deal because you're already a customer.
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 01:43 pm (UTC)
Good point. I may look into getting both from the same place, but we may want to change the car insurance anyway when it's up for renewal (it was cheapest with no no-claims, but I'm not sure it'll stay cheapest once we have a year of no-claims). Something for me to think about anyway.
A faint shadow in the voidsoruk on July 6th, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
The one time I've had to deal with insurance companies was with the car in 2003. I have to say I can't fault Direct Line - everything dealt with promptly, and the repairers did a good job.

(and yes, it was my fault :( )
Torea: sharkscamp on July 6th, 2005 12:18 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear it, at long long last! So you'll get the painting done, and then you'll hate the textured stuff in the lounge cos your kitchen will look so nice....when will it all end!
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 12:24 pm (UTC)
Given the costs of re-plastering we may just ignore the artex in the living room ... it's nicer than the crappy stuff in the kitchen, anyway - it's proper swirls, rather than someone just dragging their fingers through it to make 'patterns'.

Next on the agenda will probably be dealing with the bathroom - not sure how much will be needed, but we want a floor that's somewhat more waterproof ;)
magidmagid on July 6th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC)
What a saga. Congrats on having the kitchen with out the surprise rubble feature.

(And why is it that both house woes I've heard of in metro-London were plumbing based?)
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
(We're not in London.) I think our bathroom plumbing was an amateur job at somepoint ... actually, I think quite a lot of the interior house was an amateur job at some point. And while some people can do DIY some people (like a previous owner of this place) need to realise their limits ;)
magidmagid on July 6th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC)
I think I still have it in my head that because you're in reasonably driving distance, you're obviously in London. Oops.

I lived in an apartment that the owner had done lots of DIY stuff poorly; everything that could break that year, did. Even the front door locks. And a lighting fixture came out of the ceiling over the stove (luckily no one was cooking at the time). And utility and appliance woes, and so on.

I hope the rest of the amateur stuff is more easily dealt with!
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 02:10 pm (UTC)
Heh. A large part of England is in 'reasonable driving distance' from London ;)

Except the bathroom I think the rest of the DIY is just the sort of thing you look at and think 'hmm, amateur', so we can ignore it. The bathroom floor needs something done though - it's decorative floorboards over the real floor boards and it doesn't even make a token effort to be watertight.
magidmagid on July 6th, 2005 02:15 pm (UTC)
I wonder what they were thinking when they did the floor?

(I was horrified when I found that my parents' house (one I didn't grow up in) not only had a carpeted dining room, but a carpeted bathroom as well. Why? Who knows.)
Margaretpling on July 6th, 2005 02:21 pm (UTC)
Oh ick! I hate carpeted bathrooms - though a startlingly large number of houses in the UK seem to have them, it might've been fashionable at a particular point when lots of places were done up or something. The flat we rented before we bought this house had carpet in the bathroom and it was getting really quite unpleasant by the time we moved out (after 5 years) as you can't entirely keep from getting water on the floor when you shower or get out of the bath.
contents under pressure / handle with care: sillygraphxgrrl on July 6th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
So sad, no more lovely fingers drug through artex finish on the walls! ;)
Margaret: Eek! So scary!pling on July 6th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
How will we cope ;)