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Ernie's Achievements


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  1. "Assemble them counter-intuitively; i.e.the collar of the lower section fits outside the upper section. This is because if you do it the other way round then condensing tar runs down the inside of the pipe and leaks out of the next joint, and then continues to run down the outside of the pipe. At best, dripping into the fireplace, at worst catching fire."   Listen carefully to that Gyn geezer. Strange though it may seem, even the most experienced of stove-fitters and suppliers can make this error.    
  2. Yes, let me agree with Charles on this one. Definitely keep on the right side of the system and if there is any way in which you can get some funds up front, it'll help if there's some kind of shortfall. As he says.
  3. Hey, I don't get this Brits-are-better rubbish. We had a highly reputable, respectable Brit builder who had 20,000 sterling up front when he was about two-thirds finished on the job and from that point on, sent unskilled, incompetent Brit workers on to the site who did such things as: attach a gutter so that the rain went off the roof between the roof and the gutter and not into it; fitted a soak away so that the water was supposed to run uphill into the soakaway; slapped paint on the walls so that it sloshed over the new wood ceiling/floor above; fitted windows so that the panes fell out on to the terrace below; plumbed a bathroom so that the sink waste went into the trap at the bottom of the hot-tank, overflowed into the living room; plumbed a kitchen so that the dishwasher and the washing machine can't be run at the same time and there is permanent damp behind and below the kitchen sink; fitted a stove flue upside down so that it poured smoke and condensation into the room; fitted a shutter so that it was plugged into loose mortar and so swung free and was about to fall on the terrace below; buried 'Evrite' sheeting containing asbestos in the back garden, denied it, then said he'd remove it, didn't remove it and an exploratory hole in the garden has revealed it along with heaps of rubble from the works; attached electric rads using insulating tape; did the whole job without insurance; employed people without giving them congé; had to redo a tuiles courbes roof because it was fitted without roofing felt and leaked all over the living room but when you look at the roof now, the 'canals' between the tiles are more wiggly than snakes on a snakes and ladder board and French builders make special trips to our house to come and laugh at it, the floor-tiling was grouted with a grout that turned to powder and when it was redone the tiler shattered the edges of the tiles...shall I go on? I'm sick and tired of hearing Brits sneering at French builders as if somehow we Brits are superior, better, quicker etc etc. I sit in cafes and hear English blokes bragging about how they dodge the regulations, don't pay tax, aren't skilled at this or that but are 'picking it up on the job' and the like. Forget it. Some Brit builders are good, some are crap. Some French builders are good. Some are crap. When Brit builders are crap in the UK, there's almost nothing you can do about it, unless you insure yourself and the job before it starts - at a cost. When builders are crap in France, at least you've got a system of contracts and insurance that you can go through step by step before building starts and as it goes on, which can defend both builder and client. By the way, don't forget to make your client's insurance cover 'ouvrage and dommage' as well, so that you can deal with 'malfacons', bad workmanship as it goes on. We didn't and that's why we've got the mess we've got.
  4. This is old history but legal matters, like good wine, take a while to mature. I think things are just beginning to hot up right now. The local mayor gave me a choice of four routes to take: avocat, mediation with the local magistrates, using 'assurance juridique' (if we had it on our buildings insurance policy) or going straight to the Gendarmerie. I'll leave you to ponder which of those four routes you would take and tell you which one we took when the whole matter blows...
  5. Caribbeans, as you call them, have discovered that their history is tied up with a side of British history that the Brits find very hard to confront unless they can say on the end of it that Wilberforce saved them. To say that Caribbeans are demanding something that isn't 'British' is like saying that egg white has got nothing to do with the yolk.
  6. Good to see that Brits abroad are getting slightly exercised about the need for British history. Something to do with links to the mother country and the like. How odd therefore that so many Brits at home find it objectionable that Jamaicans or Indians - or people with origins in those countries - should want to do the same.
  7. The Villager Stove was bought in France, installed by a Villager Stove dealer. Originally, the flue was installed the wrong way up, but we noticed that and the dealer/installer was kind enough to re-install it. The stove is situated against a wall. The flue leaves from the top of the stove; there is about two metres of flue before it enters the ceiling/roof. However, I should have said that the flue takes a ninety degree turn before it goes through the ceiling and at this point the bend is rippled. Presumably, it then takes another ninety degree turn as it straightens up to go into the stack, but this is all out of sight in the roof space. Then there's a stack above that. At no point is there a little 'door' that I see on some flues. My question, therefore, is if I ask someone to sweep the chimney, will this be possible? Should I be worried? Should I get someone to come along and cut a door in the flue? Where should they cut it? Or is it possible to access the flue from inside the chamber of the stove? There's a plate between the chamber and the entrance to the flue, which is presumably removable with vast amounts of elbow grease, the right tools etc?
  8. My Villager Stove has a flue that's about two metres long before disappearing through the roof. It doesn't have a little door in. As and when I want someone to clean the flue, how will it be done? Will it be necessary to take out the plate that's inside the chamber? Or what?
  9. Have I talked to him?! I've tried pointing them out, I've tried asking him to do something about it, I've tried pricing the job as incomplete so that he doesn't get the full whack, I've tried pointing out that other things that he's done around the site are illegal, unfinished, dangerous, badly done, I've done face-to-face, I've done emails, I've done snailmail, I've hired in a surveyor to write a report, I've used the services of my father-in-law who is a quantity surveyor of some forty years experience. I've alerted him to the fact that he didn't have insurance. He went on got insurance. Who of course inform me that they can't do anything as it's 'malfacons'. For that I would have needed to have taken out 'ouvrage et dommage' insurance. Punters take note.  You must, must, must do this. We didn't.   So thanks for your concern, Catalpa.
  10. OK, if it's 'interdit' and, (yes, I guessed as much), I want explanations please as to why my unbelievably reputable English builder, long established in France, a man of superb credentials, sagacity and good counsel to all who sit at his feet, a man with stern words for the mountebank, fraudster and cheapskate, a chef d'entreprise with a website to die for, should have  allowed his electrician to fit at least four rads with these duff connections (their leads trail on the kitchen floor) and perhaps did the same with four others (whose leads don't trail on the floor and are tucked up inside). Let your minds run wild, set your imaginations free and speculate about this great representative of English building skills abroad. (Hush, perhaps a fairy or small bird will pass on your thoughts to him...might he not perhaps find himself drawn to your words and read them himself?)
  11. My builder/electrician lengthened the cable between the electric rads and the socket by joining cables together (I think, he just wound wires round each other) and wrapping insulation tape round them. Any views on that?
  12. I have two limes next to a house in the UK. The advice given to me by 'arboreoculturalists' (!), architects and tree surgeons was always: don't chope down, don't leave to grow. Prune every other year to take the growth back to where it was. This way you avoid roots dying under a house and causing subsidence, or conversely a tree growing under your house and causing 'heave'. Judicious pruning, as it's called maintains the water concentrations under your property.
  13. I'm afraid I'll have to be mysterious about this for a little while until the matter is resolved. Message boards have ears, as Shakespeare wrote.
  14. Forgot to say that every person hiring a builder should not only ask for the devis and the attestation of insurance but should also take out 'dommage et ouvrage' insurance for themselves. Only then, will you be able to deal with 'malfacons' ie bad workmanship, as the job is going along - assuming of course that your builder, like ours, won't rectify something like plumbing that leaks. The attestation will not cover you for this sort of thing.  
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