HMO Refurbishment – The Ugly Duckling and the Lead Water Pipe!

HMO Refurbishment – The Ugly Duckling and the Lead Water Pipe!


More good and bad news this week as my ugly duckling makes its way onto the market. It is even more ugly having had 14 skips of waste taken out and it is now back to brick with no electric, ceiling, kitchen or bathrooms.

The water utility company attended site at my request the lead water pipe is dead and I can remove it. The other plastic replacement pipe is 25mm and will be a bit small for use for 8 bathrooms.

Considering that my prospective tenants will all be working – it’s pretty likely that they will all want the use the showers at around the same time – so quite the headache!

Then to make matters worse it is a common supply water pipe I share with at least 5 other houses. So I am going to need to store cold water to augment the flow rate and the obvious place to put it is in the loft void but then I need to add steels as 2 x300 litre tanks one cold pumped and one hot water which as you can imagine weigh quite a lot.

So the additional work on the loft void and made me re-examine use of the loft and I have decided to add a dormer window and a further room upstairs. In the interests of transparency I spoke with the neighbours to gauge their reaction and initially they had thought the dormerĀ  will interfere with sunlight but on further investigation, they have assessed it will have no real impact on them so I have their support.

So the additional room in the loft should pay for itself over time for the additional work involved and I should get an increased re-valuation on the property by the lender and more cash out of the deal to recycle. Of course I will have to re-submit planning but arguing against a 9 when they have approved 8 bedrooms with ample amenity space should fairly straightforward maybe my Blackadder cunning plan approach will work on the planning committee again!

I might still add another supply from the mains as I am fortunate the property adjoin the mains pipe in the street so only a meter away I will find out after the site survey next week.

However, news does not stop there another builder I sort for his opinion has suggested we could raise the floor height in the ground floor and then not need to dig down in the cellar to provide the extra room height for the soundproofing. This has huge impact on costs as the cellar work was the most expensive element of the project. Perhaps this was move visible now that my property is back to brick and all floor joists and boards are visible or maybe the other builders and surveyor missed it.

So every day is a school day. I have never come across common supply pipes before especially the same size as a common home supply. My home pipe is 25mm and that struggles with 3 showers so sharing a supply with 5 or more neighbouring properties is not going to be a great experience.

Next week I’m having flow rate and pressure assess and a hotel grade hot water system designed to accommodate my needs or 8 or 9 bathrooms. Then I have Virgin media installing a 300Mb internet connection which looks like they are going to have to pull fibre into the property as a brand new connection. Of course, they are very flexible and offer you a 5 hour window and it is a bit nippy up here in a property with no heating or anything really.

I might ambush the neighbours for a coffee at some point it has turned quite cold at the end of this week and they have heating!

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