Blogs

Indecent exposure

I had a call-back on a job today. The kitchen unit doors were knocking together. I assumed it would just be a simple matter of adjusting the self-closing Blum hinges and I would be on my way. It turned out that the hinges causing the problem were not Blums but the hinges attached to the washing machine. For those of …

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Under-floor timebomb

Fault finding As the popularity of under-floor heating increases we are inevitably seeing a larger number of faulty installations. This is the way of the building industry but it needn’t be so. Plumbers are often called in to pipe up under floor heating manifolds to the heating systems after the floor loops have been laid by others. Because it is …

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Halls of smoke and mirrors

I don’t know how the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry will affect the behaviour of the British media, but it needs to get a move on before the High Court building falls into rack and ruin. There’s also the possibility that the door is now a computer generated image and the reporter is just standing in front of a green …

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Recycle or cough up

The Government has announced a massive hike in landfill tax and the building industry is up in arms. This is a charter for fly-tipping if ever there was one. Skip companies are saying that this will kill their business and they are planning to disrupt Jubilee celebrations and then the Olympics. They obviously fear for their livelihoods but I wouldn’t …

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Rustic appeal

I came across this building up at Snape Maltings on the Suffolk coast. The original building was almost gone and the new owners could have taken it apart bit by bit and rebuilt it with lime mortar importing used bricks to make up the considerable deficiency. …there’s a touch of Antony Gormley’s Angel of The North in letting the metal …

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Condensation culture

Condensing boilers have undoubtedly become more reliable over the last few years but the last couple of winters saw thousands of householders caught out by frozen condensate. Manufacturers offer clear guidelines for avoiding freezing but not every job offers the opportunity to do things by the book and terminate the condensate inside the building. If the pipe runs to an …

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Building site from hell

I am currently working on the building site from hell. It was a job I took on against my better judgment. When I was pricing it alarm bells were ringing in my head because there was a new spec and drawing almost every day. The job itself isn’t actually that bad; it’s a complete re-plumb on a large central London …

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Fault finding; a plumber’s tale

The golden rule that I have followed through years of fault finding is ‘never assume and never jump to conclusions’. OK that is two golden rules but the basic message is never say you know something until you prove it. This has stood me in good stead where other tradesmen have come and gone from a job missing one small …

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Carbon monoxide poisoning

I have just read that the number of carbon monoxide poisoning incidents has increased over last year. The reason isn’t entirely clear but I will offer two suggestions. Firstly, the exceptionally cold winter. Nearly all carbon monoxide poisoning is from open-flued appliances such as gas fires. These require a through flow of fresh air from outside. Natural ventilation which may …

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Precious metal

Have you noticed any increase in the number of scrap men doing the rounds? I certainly have, not least because the scrap I had set aside recently on one of my jobs walked off after just ten minutes. Two hours later I had another visit from someone who was similarly interested but this time he didn’t particularly care whether the …

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