September, 2016 – Graham Miln

No Exposed Wires – Part 9.0

The French summer holidays are over and work has resumed. All the internal walls are in place. Internal insulation is going in and the electrics are being brought on site.


Good morning. It is the grande rentrée. That means the summer holidays are over and everyone is getting back to work.

Not sure what to expect today. I will be surprised if much has changed but we have been getting used to surprises. So let’s see what today brings.

And we are back in Vichy.

We have just had the meeting. It went well. I for some reason have felt really worried about this meeting this time. I think we have had long enough from the previous meeting where work was going on to build up a good body of questions, doubts, and concerns. Yes, it went well.

Since we were last here they have put in the insulation and the final interior walls. So, while the walls are not finished, they are now ready for the electrician.

This wall is in the office. It is exposed. Is has got the insulation in it. Let’s see the other side.

This is the same wall but this side, and you can tell by the echo, has plasterboard on it. It is this colour because it is waterproof. So with all the concern over not putting a kink in the wall of the bathroom, we can now finally see the tablet or shelf as it is going to be. So this shelf exists to make sure the stairs have enough head height where they turn the corner.

It is nice to see the builder has put in little touches that just for aesthetic purposes. They do not need to but they finished that off really nicely.

We have noticed one mistake. The entrance to the attic is in the wrong place. It is different to the plan and it is different to what we wanted, so that is easy for the builder to say it is wrong and they are going to fix it.

So once again we are measuring everything we can. With new walls having gone up, we have new metal stud work to measure. Taking all these measurements is a bit frustrating but we can only do this once. Once the walls are covered with plasterboard, we will never know where these studs are again without a stud finder and why bother with that when you can just measure them now.

Last time we mentioned that we wanted to talk to the builder about the materials around the burner because there are rules around the flammable and non-flammable material distances and we had learnt they are quite restrictive. If you put a log burner in, you have to put a certain distance between the log burner and anything that is flammable. So that means that the materials around the log burner have to be non-flammable. So that will be concrete, special plasterboard, but it can not just be normal plasterboard and it can not be timber stud walling because the studs within the walls can actually smoulder because the heat from the log burner is just too great.

Given all that, we were worried because our design did not allow for the movement of the log burner. Everything is set in place. Builder has already done it. They just did it because it is the right thing to do and it is in the plan. So that was an amazing revelation to us. To walk in and to see the builder has taken care of it without any question. Really appreciate that.

We spoke about last time that all the electrics needed to go in pipes in France for safety regulations. Well the electrician has come on-site and he has started bringing in all that piping. In a modern house, there are a lot of cables, a lot of tubes, a lot of pipes, a lot of sockets, just a lot of wires running everywhere. So getting that right before they start is really tricky but the plans that I mentioned a couple of visits ago seem to be paying off today. They seem pleased with them. Having exact numbers on a piece of paper that they can just read off seems to be helpful.

We have wondered how the fixed lights are going to be left. Because when we have looked at apartments for rent in France, we have been surprised to see exposed cables dangling from the ceiling. Thankfully that is no longer allowed.

So the solution in France for the RT2012 regulations is to put in something like this. So that is the facing plate that we will see. That comes with a standard fixture which can go in various different ways and that clicks in and then you can put a bulb in it. And that it comes with a smaller adapter which lets you go to a pendent style. Very clever.

All the fixtures and fittings that cut through plasterboard into the exposed attic or into the basement, have to be cover and have to be made as air tight as possible. For the downlighters and fixed lighting they do this with these little hoods. This goes over the top. The hook is optional. It is nice to see all these small details that help keep the heat in.

And we are back in Lyon. We were right about the return to activity. The next meeting is in a couple of weeks and I suspect that will not stop until the house is done.