A short week in France looking at the farm has done wonders to the development. However good builders are, they are more present when you are around!
It has also given me time to deal with electric and telecom connections. The electrical company has been quite smooth (they are coming today to install the metre) but the telecom has been a bit of a drama. Originally, they thought there never had been a telephone connection to the farm; the previous owners couldn't remember as they hadn't lived there. The fact that the house was empty for 30 years probably didn't help. We showed them that there was a telecom duct reaching the house but they didn't seem interested. This led them to a solution of telephone poles coming down the dead end from the main road (1km). They would be taking most of the cost. They didn't seem to consider installing the line underground.
After a week, they changed their mind as they eventually discovered a map showing that there already is one underground. After a bit of further digging, we found it very near the house. This saves the project about €2K.
The difficulty is that no-one knows if it does work so we might be looking at another episode in the is there a telecom line reaching your site yet!
The house is now almost fully rendered.
You can see here the difference between the rough render undercoat on the left and the smooth final coat on the right.
Drama no 2 has been a bit more of a headache. We have a ventilation system which tempers the incoming air through a ground pipe installed 1.5m underground where the soil is almost at constant temperature throughout the year (about 12 degrees). This preheats the air to 10 degrees in winter and cools it down to 14 degrees in summer. You can see the imposing trench below.
This system is not as such new but has only been properly manufactured in the recent years. This is always a source of potential problems as during the early period of manufacturing development, the systems evolve FAST. The consequence for us is that they changed from two 25m pipes of 125mm diameter to a single 35m and 200mm diameter since the project was tendered. Nobody noticed until it was a bit late to order it. After looking at various options, it is obvious that the new system is better (less joints), but it costs €900 more (specially made products as opposed to standard). Lets hope that it does work at the end!