Diy "Big Society" - No Brainer, Really
0 comment Wednesday, October 15, 2014 |
I am aware of a new programme which supposedly once again Gives Power to the People (read, absolves government of responsibility). Namely, to pay people who do DIY on their homes rather than landlords doing what, essentially, landlords are supposed to do - care for the property rather than sit back and grab all the profits. Do not even get me started about this, as I could go on and on about the insurance/shoddy and potentially life-threatening DIY performed by people don't know how to DIY; I've seen loads of really poorly done jobs. The point for me however is I am well aware the current house I live in has a lot of shoddy work in it; the oven and extractor fans are so old the parts aren't around, same with most of the lighting. Insulation is laughable, drafts everywhere and I'm the one who has to pay the insurance on the house, not the landlord. When I ask for things to get fixed, I get rather ridiculous solutions (the pipe-heater I can't actually shut off in a completely un-insulated outbuilding being the most boggling). I'm still waiting on the dining room fixture getting sorted or replaced (neither of which has happened), the extractor fan no longer even pretends to do the job now and I always have to have a window open, and the smoke alarm gave up the ghost ages ago. I've had to turn the heat on again with the drop in temp as it's freezing in here and I can feel a draft from the window coming all the way from the other side of the room. This makes working impossible as I can't feel my fingers, and typing this entry has taken considerably longer than it should.
Since I'm going to be here for a while, I may as well make some changes to things if I can manage it, and just step in to sort things out rather than wait for some nebulous time for things to get fixed or tidied up of their own accord.
The boarded up chimney is the first issue for me, really. I've wanted a wood fire for a while now, but the cost has been rather prohibitive. Still, with things easing up a bit on the money front, I think now is the time for me to save up and get it sorted. There is no chance of me doing a DIY with this; I don't have the energy or the know how and there are a lot of regulations so this is when getting a pro is vital. More to the point I think there's a problem with the chimney and it may well need some fixing first. So, everything needs a thorough check, the chimney will probably need lining, and then I think a woodburning stove would need to be placed as I just don't think having an open fire is a good idea with pets and Sprog. I'll need landlord permission but since it won't cost him a pence I can't see him turning down something which would raise the value of the house - he certainly hasn't done in the past.
Little stuff like paint and smoke alarms shouldn't be a big deal but there's a real issue with being a non-driver and wanting to get some DIY or household stuff in; unless you're ordering from Argos or somewhere equally naff you can't get it delivered. B & Q and Homebase, who in theory offer home delivery on things, seem to only offer delivery on a very small amount of their stock. Infinitely frustrating; I've the money, I've the need, but there's no way for me to get the stuff home unless I grab the one friend I know with a car or get a cab (more expensive than what I need to buy, usually). Still, I'm making headway with that although it irks me to have to order something from halfway across the country rather than from somewhere a few miles away via phone. Heigh ho.
That's a short term solution to the light problem; finding a circular light bulb requires internet hunting as it's not easily found. However the problem hasn't entirely been just the bulb (as I was told by the agents who didn't even bother to check it out), or the rather ancient fitting; the wiring itself in the entire lower portion of the house is malfunctioning and I've mentioned it several times, to no avail. I'm afraid that is something I'm going to have to get a specialist in to sort out - more to the point, it probably means having to appeal to ombusman to force the hand a bit to get it seen to. I'm still trying to decide how to handle it, but I think I'll have the environmental health agency people out to give the house a full inspection, quietly for the time being, and if there's something much more fundamentally wrong then it can be sorted.
I've no idea what to do about the extractor fan - the whole thing is ancient and makes a load of noise when I first start it up. The filter hasn't been changed in years and I admit I'm a little worried it will all just fall apart if I try to do it myself as I imagine it's rather rusty and nasty in there. That is probably going to be another issue I'm going to have to bring up if I can't do it myself.
Walls, drapes and so on: I've been here two years and the walls are definitely in need of a lick of paint. Heigh ho, boring magnolia! Son's room needs a repaint as well and some fixing up of holes and therefore I forsee a few weekends when I'm going to be doing some touchups, appealing to Long-Suffering Friend for a lift into the local Homebase to sort it. Draperies I'm trying to figure out how to sort out as the drapery hangings have been oh-so-sensibly screwed into place rather than left loose so you can wash and change them as need be. Minor, but I've never been a fan of these faded velvet things and could do with having a change during the summer; and I've a sewing machine to sort it once I figure out how to take the draperies down. The draft round the window was a long-standing problem due to getting some naff windows put in - they were being redone the day I moved in but there wasn't much improvement. Incredibly draughty, I'm probably going to have to do some insulating round them myself with some sort of insulation tape or something. I'm looking into options.
So I've got some house-tidy to do this year and I certainly don't need Big Society to help me do it - contrary to popular belief, we tend to have to do these sorts of things anyway because the Council/landlords/whomever take too long and ignore our requests to fix things. It's hardly a revolutionary idea; and I shan't be holding my breath on getting any sort of rebate for doing the work, either. If it's anything like trying to sort out insulation or rental assistance through government subsidies it would take up to a year before they got round to it.
So, setting aside a bit of funding in the savings account and doing some calling about through a builder friend who knows the decent stove installers to get a quote. It's going to take some time to put the cash together but hey, when August rolls round and no one is even remotely thinking of heating, I may be able to get a deal!