Bad news: I still don't have gas. There's now a pipe from the gas main outside into my flat, and a meter connected to the pipe. There's also a pipe running from the boiler to under the floorboards near the meter. So, I just need to get the plumber to extend the internal pipe up to the meter, but that relies on him being arsed to turn up. Which, despite his promises, he has failed to do.
On the plus side, I've got my fireplace up and running (solid fuel), so I'm now sleeping on the futon in the lounge until I get heating elsewhere in the flat. I've also had the washing machine and dishwasher hooked up to the cold water pipes in the kitchen; they can heat their own water, so I can now deal with my backlog of dirty laundry.
I've also been doing some decorating, by painting the lounge (so that I could move furniture around, giving me access to the fireplace), and doing plaster sealing on other walls/ceilings. It did surprise me how much better the lounge looked afterwards - it actually feels like a real room, rather than a building site.
Good news: I've had the second granite worktop fitted in the kitchen. Bad news: It's not quite the right size - one of the tap holes is too small, and there's an exposed surface which hasn't been polished. Also, the splashbacks don't all fit - some are too long, some are too short. This follows on from the other worktop not quite fitting the corner (where the newly built wall isn't straight), leaving a gap. It's not the end of the world, and there are ways to bodge around it, but it's a bit frustrating. I'm not sure whether this is a problem with the measurements that the builders took, or whether the granite company didn't stick to the spec they were given. In theory, it shouldn't matter to me either way - the idea of going through one company is that it's a "black box" approach, so I don't have to be concerned about problems with subcontractors. In practice, it doesn't seem to have turned out that way - I get the worst of both worlds, where I have the inconvenience of a plumber not turning up, but I can't take any direct action because I didn't hire him.
A related issue is with the cupboards. The idea here is that I've gone for fully integrated appliances, so the fridge etc. are disguised as cupboard doors until you open them. A while back, the builders showed me some catalogues, and got me to pick a design that I liked, and the existing (real) cupboards have doors in that design. However, it now turns out that this design isn't available for the appliances, e.g. they only have panels to fit a 50:50 fridge/freezer rather than a 70:30 one. This now means that I have three options:
- Get new panels custom made (expensive)
- Get blank panels - same wood, but the design won't match
- Find a design that is available for my appliances, get rid of my existing doors, and buy a new set in that design. This is also expensive, since it's too late to get a refund on the doors that are already in place.
It's a bit of a grey area about how this happened. Arguably, I should have checked the design list in more detail before I told the builders my choice, to make sure that it was compatible with my appliances. On the other hand, it could also be argued that if I say "here's my appliance list, here's the design I want" then they should check that they could order the whole lot, rather than saying "we'll buy the cupboard doors now, and sort out the appliance panels later". Either way, the lesson I've learnt from this is that I should have been more involved, rather than delegating to other people, and I think that applies to the job as a whole. I wouldn't go as far as to say "if you want something done right, do it yourself", but I'm leaning in that direction.
There are a few other things that still need to get sorted out, e.g. getting plumbing available to the basin in the loo, dealing with a hole in that wall, fixing the shower, etc., but they are relatively minor compared to the other bits.
Any bets for when this will all be finished? I'm currently guessing "by Christmas".