August, 2016 – Graham Miln

Measure Everything – Part 8.2

We visit the house to see how it was left during the holiday season. We discover unexpected progress and spend five hours taking measurements and making socket placement decisions.


Good morning. It has been a few weeks since we have seen the land. We are both rather keen to see how it was left before the holiday season started.

When we last saw the house, the plasterer was starting on the internal walls. I do not imagine they have got very far but it will be nice to see all the four external walls, internally, plastered. I think that will make it feel much more like a house.

We are taking the same train as always but the sun has not risen yet. Seems a bit sad for summer to be over.

And we are back in Vichy.

Just had our coffee and we have picked up the keys for the car.

We have arrived at the house and we are about to go upstairs. I have had a quick look but Megan has not.

They have put the walls in!

Not all but some.


What? Oh my god. OK.

That. Oh, the skylight is in.


I was about to say, where is the front door but it is behind a wall.

OK. Wow.

It is a house.

Oh my god.

Oh, the office. The bedroom.

God, it is a proper house.

Quite a lot has changed. I did not expect it. When we last spoke to the builder they had about two or three days before going on holiday. So what we are seeing now should be no more than a week’s worth of work but it feels more substantial. The changes are quite dramatic for us.

Of course, the really big thing is the internal walls are starting to go in. It is the first time we have been able to see the layout of the house. We have got a few of our rooms, we are starting to see the hallway. All the other, sort of, well all the internal walls that are yet to be done have been marked out on the floor so that we can see how it going to be. It is incredible.

The sun tunnel is in. This is getting some natural light into our hallway.

One of the oddities, the floor is about twenty centimetres lower than it will be at the end. So we think there are markings on the wall to help the electrician work out where the one metre point is.

We are going to do some measurements in a moment to test all our theories but, yes, it is fun to see. But it is a bit, doors look really tall and everything looks slightly, slightly odd because you are that much lower.

We can now see the markings on the ground for what they call the tablette but what we will call a little shelve behind the bath. So we have had to have the cut out around the stairs for the stair height at the bottom steps just to make sure we conform with building regulations. But rather than add a kink to the bathroom wall, we have put in a small shelve behind the bath really just to hide that kink.

A concern we have discovered in our design is the location of the log burner. At the time of designing we did not realise that a lot of the log burners have very specific distances from inflammable objects. Inflammable objects include plasterboard walls. So this is where we have the log burner marked out for. We have got an air vent in the ground. We have a chimney installed above it, so its location can not be changed. We have got a one metre high backing wall that is made of concrete and then we have a fifty centimetre wall that is only fifty centimetres away that is made of plasterboard at the moment. Those blue lines mark out where the walls will be.

Our hope is that we can either change the small plasterboard wall to concrete, béton, or some sort of other non-flammable material or we can have it lined with something appropriate and that should make the log burner’s location suitable again.

It is a bit of dull overcast day today, so I do not think we are seeing the house in its best light but it is watertight. Which is great. And those overflow gutters they put in as temporary measures before the downpipes go in are working really well. They are just pouring out water at the moment.

One of the differences between building in Australia and France is that the walls are not made of wood. There is no wooden struts used here instead, in this house, they are using metal beams. Between the metal beams they will putting in, packing in, insulation but otherwise it is plasterboard of different types, layer of insulation, and then another plasterboard.

So this wall happens to be, other side of this is the bathroom. So that is waterproof. Whereas on this wall it does not need to be waterproof, so a different colour, different composition.

Due to electrical regulations in France all the wires in the walls and pretty much around the house have to be within piping. Sort of plastic tubing of sorts and the colours depend on if it high voltage, low voltage. To put them in the walls and to thread those pipes around the struts have holes in them.

So what we are doing is taking a record of where all the internal metal studs are in the walls. That will be useful whenever we have to hang pictures or basically alter or affect the wall in the future.

A three, a one, a two.

OK. So, three one, one two, one three. OK.

And some sticky things.

And some sticky things. Let’s go and do that.

So we are putting up our cardboard switches and sockets.


They are working well. The locations and positions, they are reasonable.

Yes, it is nice to seem them in real life. It is one thing on paper, it is another thing actually in the room.

Yes, I think you can move it over.


Just let you get off the stairs before you have to deal with the power points.

I think also the power socket, if there is anything plugged in you have a chance of knocking against it.

Absolutely. Or if you are trying to carry anything up the stairs.

OK. Light switches, one power point, they are going to need to be moved slightly to the right but that is easy. Nothing has been finalised, nothing has been confirmed with the builder, so all these things we can do on paper for free, without stress.

Yes, doing this. Doing this with cardboard cut outs is absolutely fantastic. If you are ever doing this kind of thing. I highly recommend it.

That was good. Five hours. It flew by. We could have got an earlier train but everything we wanted to do took time and we realised we would not make that train. The next train was three hours later. And it has been worth it. We used that time well.Toos

Yes, we found out a lot of stuff. It has been good.

The use of cardboard cut outs for the power sockets and the light fixtures are great.


That proved the numbers for most of them were OK. It happened to show up problems for others we did not even think about for others. Yes, highly recommended.

They have resurfaced the garden. I say resurfaced, they have distributed all the soil. So I think they have finished landscaping.

It looks like it. Yes.

That is great. That is another nice step in the right direction. So that gives the garden a couple of months to get some greenery on it before the winter comes. There is a lot of top soil that is just exposed at the moment and it would be better not to loose that.

Yes, internal walls.

Good to see. We sort of expected we would see them last time but we did not. This time they are in. Really fun.


Yes, that is good.

That was nice to see.

We got to see the front door colour from the outside. Yes, nice and subdued. The colour, not too garish. It is nice.

It a couple of weeks we have the next builders meeting. I suspect that is going to be a long one with the electrician. I suspect the mason will be there.

Yes maybe.

Just to finish off his bit. Maybe plastered. Maybe other people. September is coming and that is month of a lot of activity in France, typically. Everyone gets back from their holidays and they are. They, they get stuff done. They make up for August when they get nothing done.

Too short.

I am too short.

Too short. Can not see. Oh, you really can not! Oh, let me describe it. It is really nice; oh, it is great.