The "Every-thing-we-do" Project
This started off with an existing extension to a 3 bedroom house. The extension for all intents and purposes was not well thought out and not a practical usage of space.
The request was to convert this extension into a fully function 3 bedroom apartment so that the owner could sublet the original 3 bedroom house portion (not shown).
The original plans were scanned in and then initiated the design concepts. The second image shows the portions that had to be built. This raised a number of issues as light circuits changed, centres of bedroom changed etc. Most of the areas, the ceilings were poorly installed and warped and joints were substandard workmanship. It was decided to replace all the ceilings while we were at it and also install ceiling insulation.
Pretty much everything we came up against required attention, light circuits were done poorly, all of the areas were way out of square and is indicative to the results one may expect when hiring contractors off the street. “Goedkoop is Duurkoop” or cheap is really expensive in the long run.
Fortunately for the client, this project required no other contractors except for rooms requiring carpeting.
The Bathroom en Suite
A Steel window frame was removed (intact) and replaced by a cottage style wooden frame. The entire room was exposed semi-face brick and again very poorly constructed.
Plumbing and electrics were accurately pre-installed together with a rather substantial sewage tie in. Before the door and window frames were installed they were pre treated with Woodoc varnishes.
Tiles were installed directly onto the exposed brickwork negating the need for pre tile plastering.
The ceiling was removed and dropped with a new frame. The existing light switches for this main bedroom only consisted of two ceiling pull switches. A 4 gang light switch was installed that does all the light circuits in this area.
The final results speak for themselves.
Drains and water connections are placed at altitudes where they are well hidden and neat. The bath panels were custom manufactured and are removable for pump maintenance if necessary.
We do try and take into consideration maintenance down the line and ease of access but usually what we install continues to work.
Main Bedroom Patio Door
The client wanted a patio door onto the main bedroom. A steel window frame was removed and this patio door installed. The standard of masonry work in this area was so poor leaving a differential gap over the length of the patio door of 65mm; this was hidden by applying a plaster skirting around the door.
All the ceilings here were replaced. The existing Built in Wardrobes (BIW) Doors were horribly skew and were disassembled to fit the ceilings. When the BIW were refitted, it was noticed that the floor level in this bedroom varied by 80mm over 3m. The BIW were squared up and doors refitted and ceiling filler installed. Half of the BIW units had to be dropped by 80mm in the middle to keep them square.
Had the original builder known how to use a level and properly cast floors, this problem would never have occurred.
Every section in this apartment area was radically out of square and took some creativity on our part to “hide” this poor workmanship. Everything on the original building work was done on the “cheap”.
This is what it looked like before, taken from the bedroom area. The one wall was plastered after the new wall erected to divide this off from the laundry area. A BIW unit was installed similar to the one in the third bedroom.
The 1st image shows the dividing wall to the bedroom, the third the entrance to the second bathroom which we only installed a new shower door plus new door and the passage formed by the dividing wall to the 3rd bedroom.
The centre image shows the drain for the washing machine modified to a P-trap as the sewage system is a closed one. This prevents any unwanted odours from entering the room. Originally it was directly coupled letting in unwanted odours.
Ceilings here were replaced and a new trap door installed for access to a new water heater installed in the loft.
The electrics in this area were a nightmare and the entire area needed to be rewired as far as lighting circuits went. The original wiring was not to SABS specifications and conduit joints in the loft were often exposed. Uninsulated joints were found in wiring amongst other illegal terminations.
These BIW included a masonite back due to the exposed brickwork.
The main gist of the work here was the erection of a wall to form a passage and install a BIW unit. Ceilings were replaced and ceiling insulation installed.
A 50m2 area that originally served as an entertainment area was converted to an open plan, modern country style kitchen, converting a storage space to a pantry. Laminated flooring was also installed.
Our designs are very accurate allowing us the time while waiting for units to be manufactured to conclude all pre-tiling, electrics and plumbing. This room is very dark due to exposed brick and a carport awning in front of the main entrance; walls were “whitewashed” in PVA and the knotty pine ceiling painted white.
An Architrave was installed in the door opening which previously had just a security gate. Two Tall Unit doors in the finish were installed. Units consist of one 750 Grocery/Broom cupboard and two 750 open shelf units.
Unfortunately, the confined space is not conducive for decent pics.
Shelving is usually supplied in a tall cupboard format without the doors. All shelves apart from the top one are adjustable. Masonite backs are included as there is an existing window behind the units.
Electrical Distribution Board Work
The client needed a second prepaid meter installed for the apartment section. We had to tee off from the mains to the existing meter and route via an isolator in the Main DB to the apartment DB. As expected the wiring in the original DB left much to be desired and we had to essentially disconnect everything to get access to install the new cables. The pics show the before and after results of our work. This DB was properly rewired and neatened up.
The apartment DB was a surface mount DB that the previous electrician tried to utilize as a sunken DB. When the second prepaid meter was installed, the entire DB had to be rewired. Our preference would have been to replace it entirely but funds were getting a bit tight at this stage. We were forced to also chase in the prepaid meter which is a surface mount unit.
With the rewiring, a new neutral bar was installed to allow lights, stove and water heater to work independent of the Earth Leakage unit, separate neutral bars are required for this configuration. The whole DB is now enclosed in a shallow kitchen wall unit.
As separate amenities are required, there was also a need for a second entrance to the property. A section of wall was demolished and a new driveway gate installed. The gate was pre installed before the wall was demolished.
The new driveway, showing kerbing and preparation of the driveway level.
Plastic sheeting installed to prevent grass from growing through the paving, a bed of river sand used to provide a bed for the pavers.
The existing motorized gate, we modified to include an integrated small gate. The motor is an old model and does not have a back up battery; if there is a power outage which happens a lot here, there was no way to get in to release the motor mechanism.