I'm laying a new patio and have suffered delay after delay due to problems
that I wasn't expecting. Started removing the turf only to find that the
previous owners had turfed over a manhole cover - and as the patio has to
slope away from the house, the manhole cover is too high. I have a total of
four manholes on my property and three of them are simple cast iron covers
over a brick-lined manhole. Not this one. This one has pre-cast concrete
liners with a four inch think slab of concrete on the top. To lower it I've
had to heave the slab to one side, dig down around the liners and remove the
top one before heaving the slab back into place. It's now too low, of course
(even for the inset cover that I will be using, so I'll have to build it up
So that I could lay the patio flags right up to the house I've broken up the
concrete path that ran across the back of the house with a sledge hammer
(not easy as the path was up to five inches thick in places!). Of course
something had to go wrong and in removing the concrete from around a
rain-water gulley I've cracked the clay gulley (down at the bottom so the
water in the trap just drained out!). Spent all morning digging that out
because it was set in concrete itself. Replaced it with a plastic gulley but
I needed 9" of piping to reach from the differently designed gulley to the
drain. Builders merchants tell me that the shortest length of pipe they sell
is 3 bloody metres - so I had to buy 9' 9" of pipe to cut 9" off the end!
(Still I suppose it will come in handy sometime!).
Why are things never simple??!!
I assume that your mainholes will remain accessible after you've laid the
You can often find offcuts thrown away in skips!
On a general note, I usually find that the things which go wrong are the
'simple' bits where you don't expect trouble - whereas the 'difficult' bits
turn out to be simpler than you expected!
There's only one within the actual patio area and I've bought an 'inlay' or
'inset' manhole cover that will be flush with the patio surface but into
which I can lay the patio flags as a disguise. These covers are more often
used with driveway paving blocks - but there's no reason why you cannot use
them with flags. So - yes - the manhole will be accessible afterwards!
Yes - it did occur to me afterwards that I could have used a toilet waste
pipe extender which would have been a lot cheaper. How suitable that would
have been for underground I don't know though.
If humans ever manage to invent a scenario aanlyser good enough to
predict and plan for these things, a new era will dawn for humans.
Meanwhile, things may be a pain, but theyre fixable. People are worse.
How true! I have a kind of mantra that I repeat to my
nearest and dearest when a job takes longer than they
think it should: 'You don't realise that nothing is ever
straightforward'. I try to explain that before I can do this,
I have to do that, and before that... ad nauseam. I've
even tried showing the problem in all its glorious stages.
I don't think I'm believed.
For example. A month ago I bought a new cooker
with a gas hob. We don't have main gas and I have
piped up a bottle for a hob that the new cooker will
replace. I thought I'd get a CORGI mate in to fit this one.
No the 10mm pipe is no good. Damn! To put in a new
15mm pipe a worktop has to come off. To drill the
hole for the 22mm sleeve through the wall I need a
new SDS drill bit and drill. Thank God for Screwfix!
As so it goes on. Ergo, job not even started. Me in
I think one of the problems is that many of the jobs I do
I am doing for the first, and possibly only, time. I don't
have the experience to predict the likely problems, nor
do I know the shortcuts. Yes, we all probably do it at
least as well as a tradesman, but it does take longer.
On the bright side it is truly wonderful when a job goes
exactly to plan.
Very true - and I also gain a great deal of satisfaction when a job is
completed and it looks good. I hate having to use 'professionals' because
nearly every experience I have of them is that all they are interested in is
getting the job finished as quickly as possible. If there is a corner to be
cut - they will cut it. If there is a bodge-up to be done - they will do it.
In living memory there is only one professional job that I have had done
that I have been truly satisfied with. I got a local tradesman to install a
block paving driveway for me. Although he does not advertise, he is
inundated with work because he is painstaking with everything he does. He
will not bodge up and he will not cut corners. As a result he produces
outstanding work and has a terrific reputation as an excellent tradesman.
Great pity there aren't more like him around.
And he probably doesn't have to charge the minimum amount, so gets
a better reward for his work. I know a garage like that. Family firm.
Never try to cheat you with work that doesn't need doing. Sound
work. One of the very few. I always recommend him and don't resent
paying a sensible amount.
I think the reason we do a better job is that we have time to think
about it. Instead of a dash to do in X days, we live with the work
in progress and get to see how it could be improved.
Very true. The patio I am constructing is part of a total garden make-over.
There is one hell of a lot of (hard!) work for one person to do and I did
obtain a quote from a landscaping company - but then decided to plod on
myself. Since starting the job my wife and I have had several changes of
mind in relation to type of patio, layout, walling etc. If I had instructed
the landscaping firm to go ahead then I would probably have been stuck with
my first 'design' - or had to pay extra to have it altered.
I agree, as far as outdoor jobs go.
However, for indoor jobs which involve the temporary loss of any facilities,
there can be quite a lot of pressure from you know who (no, not the OP!) to
get it finished quickly. <g>
My own personal viewpoint is that there are two ways to do any job: the
or the correct way.
Okay okay its not always true, but every time I plan X hours for a job
I have my
over-optimistic hat on and it always takes >X hours to complete.
Maybe its because we give the tricky jobs more respect and hence more
On 6 Jun 2005 10:46:07 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
I find that if I take a long time to start on the internal house
renovations, say 5 years, there's such an appreciative response when I
do start, I can take my time, do it just how I want and enjoy the
Drop the EGG to email me.
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