Sunday, 13 November 2016

Sunday Morning

2nd pot of coffee on the go already.

Obviously - it's been a rough week. I had a quiet day at home yesterday watching old films - seemed like the sensible thing to do. I may decide to go into the studio later and do some work.

The last part of my week was mostly taken up with the house - which was a useful distraction. I have had several conversations with the insurance company and I am scheduled to talk to a loss adjustor tomorrow afternoon. I've also met with builder and been investigating my options, and have prepared some paperwork and drawings for the planers. (I have a friend who has been in conflict with his insurance/loss adjuster/local planning office for 3 years)

Essentially - there will be an argument over who is to blame / responsible. I wasn't informed that there had been a fire at the house (in 1985) - If I had, I wouldn't have bought it - or at least I would have instructed the surveyor to take a careful look. The bay window is failing because of the fire, but any repairs that were done in 1985 have lasted 30 years - so it's reasonable to assume they were 'appropriate' and there is no water or and other damp invading the bay - nor is there any subsidence so I can say it's been well maintained. My solution is to knock down the bay window and replace it with a re-modelled flat frontage - which will be solid, secure and appropriate - using good quality timber framed windows to match houses of the same style. I can't replace the bay exactly and there is no consistency in any of the other houses on my street - with 3 distinct styles and a lot of cosmetic changes on my side alone, and post war houses opposite where the flying bomb landed. The house on the corner has already had the same work done. The builder said that the beam/bessemer retaining the upper floor is sound and that it's a simple job - just adding new footings. It will be a lot cheaper than re-building the bay. Additionally - I refuse to have any attempt to retain the bay - it will make the house unsalable and still leave it wonky. (Obviously - I've been practicing my argument). I doubt that the insurance will cover the costs at all - and I'd have to pay 1000 excess - but some contribution to the work of making the house safe and repairing the brickwork and render might be good. I've already started investigating windows. I'll do the upstairs windows at the same time to match.

The insurance have classed this as 'subsidence' - even though it isn't and have said that it's urgent. The planning process will take about 8 weeks - because I'm making changes to the appearance - but the builder said it won't be a problem - I'm replacing as like-for-like as possible (a single, central sash with two side windows - all the same proportions, just flat).

I'm waiting for the full quotes to come back - it's going to be at least 6k. I have no idea how I'm going to pay for it. Obviously - I'm shitting myself.

This is how it's going to look when I've finished.

Obviously - I just want to get it done now - I'm starting to have nightmares about the house falling down. Like most bad things in life - I didn't deserve this - but I have no legal recourse - it wasn't an obligation to tell me about the fire at that time (I've obviously checked) and if I leave it - the bay window will collapse and I'll be legally responsible. On the plus side - I'll have a much nicer house at the end and it will improve the whole street - and go upon value if I do it properly. I have three neighbours on one side with small children who are desperate to move - they are just waiting for the prices to go up - and the old woman next door is on her last legs - when she goes, a developer will buy that house and hopefully re-render it.

While the builder was here I had a conversation with him about knocking the kitchen down and moving it into the dinning room. I still want to do that. Aside from all the internal work - I just need to have some simple brickwork done and a window fitted - I can do everything myself - including the demolition. Frankly - I'll really enjoy it. It will take about a day.

I'm trying to tell my self that the compensation will be 'progress'.

Another compensation - I'll get rid of that pink colour and it's much easier to paint a house and wash the windows when you can put a ladder against a flat building rather than one with a bay. I'll also be able to use mould and algae retardant paint - having a North facing house at the seaside is a bit of a bugger.

This is what I'm up against. I'm also looking forward to not having PUV windows - they are all starting to fail anyway.


Steerforth said...

What a nightmare. You have my sympathy, for what it's worth.

My house seems to be okay structurally, but due to a lack of money, many problems have been patched up rather than fixed. A blind was held up for three years by a teaspoon, while another fixture was repaired with superglue and Lego. I think we should probably move before it starts to get worse.

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

I have a friend who's entire kitchen depends on the strategic position of a single fork wedged into a cupboard door.

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