Having neutralised the dry rot in last week’s blog, I’m onto the first-fix wiring and plumbing. First-fix means everything that goes in before the plasterer, and includes most of the pipework and wires that are hidden in walls and ceilings, but not the final connect up at the outlets. Doors and architraves also have to come off, so the plasterer can get a flush finish to the door linings.
to join the new wastes and soil pipe into the stack.
I could have attempted the wiring myself then got it certified by a third party, but since I’m not fully familiar with the 17th edition building regs for wiring it makes more sense getting a qualified electrician to do the lot. Likewise plastering is something I can do but a plasterer who does it every day is much faster, so attempting it myself is false economy.
Both tradesmen were both nice guys, but having other people on such a small job reminded me why I like working alone. It’s impossible not to get in each other’s way, and you waste time chatting. Two men working together rarely get 2 x as much work done as one man working alone. There are exceptions, such as plasterboarding a ceiling, especially with 8’ x 4’ sheets which I prefer to reduce waste. I have a technique for doing this alone involving wooden props, but it’s always a struggle, especially with very high ceilings like these. I did the lounge on my own, but John the plasterer kindly offered to help me with the bedroom and we did it in a quarter of the time. He’s also been very helpful moving things between rooms, so I’ll round his money up from £360 to £400. He was charging me £120 a day labour only, 3 rooms in 3 days, which is very reasonable for a good plasterer.