Operation RIP OUT!

Mac loves a good rip out.  He can be a bit of a bull in a china shop at home which isn’t great for your delicate glassware or favourite dining set, but it’s ideal for a building you’re looking to demolish or rip out!  For Mac, it’s destruction therapy at its best.   As planning permission isn’t due until January we have the whole month of December to strip the house back to its shell – perfect given we’re doing as much of this as possible ourselves.  That’s the royal “we” of course.  I’ll follow what’s going on, choose all the internals from the kitchen to the staircase, the flooring to the internal doors, the tiles to the lighting.  But I’ll admit I don’t get my hands dirty and actually work on site.  I’ll leave that to those who really know what they’re doing and save my manicured nails.

Given we’re taking this back to shell, our first priority is to clear as much out of the house as possible at minimal cost to see what we’ve got to work with.   Ordinarily we’d therefore look to take photos of all items we’re looking to scrap and post them for collection free of charge on a “first come, first served” basis on local social media platforms.  Kitchen units and appliances, sinks, windows, conservatory, doors, fitted wardrobes, carpets, radiators, baths, towel rails, shower screens etc. may all fetch a price but this is where the balance between speed and greed comes in to play.  We’d rather give pieces away free of charge for hasty emptying of the property.  Items that get taken away by others bring a direct cost saving on clearance – less skips, trips to the dump etc.  Also, if someone wants to take the kitchen or conservatory for example, they’re responsible for dismantling as well as removal, bringing a direct cost saving on labour.  The more we can have removed at no cost to us, the better, which is why we ordinarily choose not to waste time trying to sell items unless we think it is of particular value.  Things will clear from site a lot quicker free of charge!  With this particular property much was cleared out already by the previous owner, and what’s left is so old or in such poor condition it’s unlikely to be of much use to anyone.   Therefore, for the main, everything is being ripped out and skipped.

Our other immediate priority is to get the house taken off the register for paying council tax.  Provided there is no bathroom, kitchen or heating the house is considered uninhabitable.  

Ceilings with their plasterboard and insulation are therefore cut out with a grinder and taken down.  The workmen wear full safety gear when taking ceilings down, particularly with older properties, incase of asbestos.  Thankfully none was found else we’d have had to arrange specialist removal.  There’s no point retaining the old insulation as we’d always upgrade to modern standard to ensure building regulations are met. We’ll be putting in RWA 100mm sound proof insulation throughout when it’s all reconstructed. 

With ceilings down, it’s now easier to see the pipework ready to remove so there’s a plumber on site to cap off the gas at the meter internally.  The boiler and radiators are old and all plumbing is dated, so we’re removing all and replumbing anew.   With the plumbing capped off, the house is drained down to allow for the piping to be removed.    The cold water is cut at the stop clock and we’ve connected a temporary feed to an outside tap so there’s running water on site for workers.  We’ve also left a plumbed toilet in place for the time being until a portaloo is required.  As all this is internal, not affecting links to the main gasline or drainage outside the property, neither gas board nor water board need to be involved at this stage.   Copper and lead piping are taken down and separated in to individual piles for taking to a local scrap yard where they will be weighed in and a payment made to us.

With photos at hand to prove the property is derelict and unliveable, we have now contacted the local council by email to advise change in circumstances at the said address, and request removal from council tax register.  We’ve also made a diary note to follow up by phone with them in a couple of weeks.

For now, we’ve not touched the electrics given we’re in the thick of winter and need lighting to see what we’re doing.   In the near future we’ll get an electrician on site to test the integrity of the existing electrics and cabling so we can determine if there’s anything in the house worth saving and working with, or if best to start afresh with the electrics like we’ll be doing with the plumbing.

With the ceilings taken down there is now clear visibility on the structure of the house and which walls are supporting.   Whilst taking the ceilings down, acrows are put in place to support the roof temporarily.  The roof will be removed to allow for a new truss roof.   Any non-supporting walls are also taken down, along with skirting, architrave, door frames and doors.  These are all placed in the skip.  The floor is concrete and good to work with, so no flooring needs to come up.   Likewise, as an added bonus, the render on the internal walls we’re keeping is fairly solid so we don’t need to strip the walls back to brick – we’ll be able to skim over the existing render.

We’re off to a good start, but with Christmas looming ReVamp is taking a 3 week break, so we’ll pick up and continue this project in the New Year.  On a positive, there’s been no objections to our resubmitted planning application so we’re hoping for planning permission to be granted soon in the New Year.  Fingers Crossed!

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