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Zooman seeks water pressure advice. Formula to translate head into pressure?

I live in an old house in a rural situation. I am on tank water. The main water supply to the house is obtained through a Davies pump linked to a pressure tank which fills an unpressurised header tank. This was on the roof of an outhouse, and in the interests of hygiene (and looks) I moved it from the roof and into the roof space of the outhouse. This made it about 1 metre lower, and caused a drop in the water pressure, to a degree that the flow at the taps is very slow. I think that if I were to fit a sealed pressure tank as the header, I might improve the pressure, or I could connect the pump pressure tank directly to the house supply line, lowering the pressure setting first (currently set at 80 (psi I presume) I worry that this might overpressure the old plumbing, and that to set it at a safe level may not in fact achieve any increase in the existing pressure. (I cannot find the formula to translate head into pressure) I would be interested in any comment people may have, particularly in regard to a suitable pressure level to set at the pump, if this is a good idea..I'm conscious that my previous modern home was set up so that the pump served the house supply directly.

Zooman.     11/March/03
DIY ingenuity.

The lads were working away when the main spring in their drop-saw broke. For those of you who do not know, a drop-saw is a circular saw on an arm that can be raised up or down with the help of a spring where the arm pivots.

Anyway... They took the saw to the Service Department, only to be told that a new spring had to come from Australia, which could take up to a week to get in. WHAT TO DO? To hire a saw for a week seemed a bit extravagant and to purchase a new saw seemed even more extravagant.

"I know!" said one, with a smirk spreading across his face. "Let's have a weeks holiday."

"NO!" said the other. "I have an idea how to get it working temporarily." And get it working he did.

How was it fixed? To find out click here
Wants CAD or similar software for garden design

I am in the process of re-designing my back yard to make it look more appealing to the eye But before I go ripping into it i would like to be able to draw up some plans so that I can get a better idea as to what it will look like. Do you no of any sites that you can download graphics or design cad so I may do this on my computer ? Its just that I know there will be a lot of ideas and changes to be made and doing it on the computer will save a lot of time.

BIG Buildeazy fan.     25/Jan/03
Door installation

Hi folks..I have just purchased a weekend holiday place..and want to make a few alterations..first up..how does one cut a hole for a door and install it? (interior)

Ken.     25/Jan/03

Buildeazy.   The only article currently in the site that might be of some help is ranch slider installation.. A smaller door is installed in much the same way and the surrounding framework structure is similar.
Seeking half-round barn house info

A friend of mine is looking to build and has expressed interest in a half-round barn house, I have tried to search the Internet for information for her, does anyone know of any place where she can get the info she needs to make a decision on this type of building.

Chris.     15/Jan/03
Wants retired builder

I have a deck handrail that I need built. I would prefer to use a retired builder who does odd jobs. Does anyone know where I can source someone for the Pakuranga/Howick (Auckland) area?

Rob.     15/Jan/03
Hates cowboys

We recently had a new kitchen installed in our house in Whangarei. We decided to install everything new rather than utilize the existing cupboards and benches. We drew up a plan and asked a very keen kitchen company to make the carcasses, doors, cupboards, etc. We specified that we wanted all surfaces that could be seen to be of solid rimu, shelves and what not could be mdf. We stated this both verbally and wrote it on our plans and the cabinet maker agreed. Everything as usual was made off site and was to be supplied ready to install by our own builders. When all the bits arrived I was horrified to see that there was no solid wood in sight, it was all mdf with a pine (not even rimu) veneer. You know how veneer looks, exactly the same pattern of grain and knots in the exact same places. It wasn't even sealed, I had to spend hours sanding and varnishing. The kick boards weren't fully veneered either, the ends which had high exposure to water weren't even sealed. Since we had to wait and had to put up with no kitchen for months we decided to go ahead and put it in but had big discounts in mind when it came to paying the cabinet maker. We confronted him and he tried to tell us (2 females) that it was most certainly solid wood, until I pointed out the unfinished ends and a sticker on the back of each unit stating 'mdf - pine veneer'. Did he really think we were that silly, or was the 'female' thing to much of a temptation for him to rip us off? We got a $200 discount. Our $10,000 kitchen is still not finished, we have no kick boards and it just doesn't look at all how we imagined it. What do you do? Just like 90% of what everyone does, like it or lump it and pay the bill. Really disappointed - why are so many kitchen suppliers failing everyone with these cheap kitchens they advertise? At the end of the day are you better off paying top dollar and employing the professionals? I think so. For $2,000 more dollars we could of had a top notch job done! by an expensive reputable company and had a completed kitchen. I hate cowboys.

Karyn.     7/Jan/03
Wants garage plans

Hello to all and happy summer renovating I would like to build a new garage for myself and would like to know where I can get some plans ? All I want is a simple single garage style much like a skyline or versatile.

Byron.     7/Jan/03
Floor sanding

Just reading you're letter about floor sanding .( 2nd June 02)
Last week I got a quote for floor sanding. The person I was buying the house off was nice enough to let them in to do the quote. I was told there was glue under the carpet and the job would be very difficult because of the glue. On top of this it would take one day to pull the carpet off.
Tonight I pulled the carpet up myself. It took one hour and fifteen minutes for a women and a butter knife to complete, on top of this the floor boards revealed were beautiful (no glue and in great nic). Cant wait to phone this drip in the morning who thought he would get $1550 out of me.

Lee-Anne.     11/Dec/02
Dean wants small amounts of NZ native timber

I'd like to buy some small amounts of NZ native timber. I don't have a specific project in mind yet, but would like to build some furniture in the near future. Can someone tell me where I might be able to buy some of this wood.

Dean.     26/Oct/02
What's the best insulation?

We are about to undertake some serious renovations and part of this will be insulating the ceiling and walls. "Polyester Green Stuff" has been recommended but I am unhappy with the fire retardant properties. In the documentation I have read to date, Batts seem to figure favorably. Can you comment or point me somewhere I can read further on this.

Alan.     26/Oct/02
Tradesmen Underpaid
(In reply to Disgruntled Builder dated 12/Sept/02)

the bread and butter tradesmen and women in this country, Builders, Electricians and Plumbers are poorly paid, whilst those who choose to specialize into the niche fields are making plenty. The problem has always been around and is caused by two things; The Kiwi do it yourself mentality (sorry Buildeazy)which creates a market of people want things done cheep and the large companies who can afford to buy the smaller jobs at a loss to keep their profile high. This results in the smaller guy having to try and undercut everyone else just to get work, which creates the situation that we have now.

Back yard cowboys also have a large part to play as they pay no tax or ACC and very often steal jobs off honest hard working people with families to feed.

I started out as an electrician, but saw early on that I was never going to get rich that way, I branched into Appliance Servicing which is charged out on average between $50 to $60 per hour, from there I went to Refi! geration at $80 per hour. Now life is good but I feel for the underpaid and undervalued trades people of this country.

What can be done about it?

It is not an easy problem to solve. Education is a big factor, educating the public in general that if they want to pay peanuts they may very well get monkeys would be a good start. Tradesmen uniting and establishing a bottom line for what they will be paid by employers and for jobs would also be good, although I realise that this would be almost impossible to achieve. Turning in every back yard cowboy you come across to the tax department would also be a winner. The back yard economy of New Zealand is far too large and is keeping a huge number of honest people out of work.

Brian     24/Sept/02
Paula wants kitset kitchens in NSW

Where in nsw can you get kitset kitchens

Paula.     22/Sept/02

Buildeazy:   Can any Australian visitors help Paula.
Disgruntled Builder

The hourly rate charged out by most builders and self employed tradesmen in this country is an absolute, laughable joke.
I charge out at $35.00 per hr. Some charge less.(If you charge any more, then you don't get the work).
Out of that you have to pay your taxes, insurances, acc, you have to pay for your tools, and then you can slip around in the mud all day.

There is no sick pay, no holiday pay. There are no golden handshakes.

Half the time you get no pay while you are running around giving free-quotes to demanding ingrates.
Then when you do the job, they think you are overcharging them, they try to cut you down and when it's time for payment. they go into hiding.

I passed a television repair shop the other day. A sign inside the shop said, '$25 per quote, All repairs charged at $90 per hr, Money to be paid when goods picked up'.
Geee, No working in the rain, no free quotes, no-one standing over cracking the whip, money paid immediately.

I'm going to do something else (probably push trolleys around in the supermarket) and let some other mug do the building work in this country.
It's an absolute joke.

Bob the bloody builder.     12/Sept/02

Buildeazy:   It would be interesting to get feedback on this one.
Scaffolding wanted

We recently bought and shifted to a roughcast house and we will need to paint it soon. Problem: The house is on a hill and is one storey high on one side and nearly three storeys on the lower side - having a large basement. Because I want to paint and maybe do repairs at my own pace I don't think it is practical to hire scaffolding as it would be too expensive hiring it for a long period. Is there any light-weight scaffolding (maybe aluminum) on the market? I don't mind assembling scaffolding that only allows a short plank and then having to move and reassemble it again for the next portion to be painted. This way I should not have to buy too much, as long as I can get the height. I am too squeezy about painting from a long ladder.

Dart     12/Sept/02
Who's responsible for un-permited house additions after sale?

forum: Does anyone know who is responsible if a house is on the market and obviously had a major addition done in the pass that would even from my laymans view not pass an inspection ( and looked unsafe - eg had rather flimsy french doors opening on to 5 mtr drop and the floor would have had 500mm bow in middle. I was scared that the real estate agent did not warn us or our kids of these doors ). Also do you know what engineer's reports run too ?

Robert     12/Sept/02

Buildeazy: We shortened and placed (and answered) this question in the question time section.
Colin wants advice on water tanks

forum: I am looking at installing a rainwater collection tank (250-400L)and use this water for the toilet, laundry and garden. In dry spells the tank would be topped up with mains water (via a float valve).
1) Do I need a council permit to do this?.
2) Is there any advice anyone can offer?. Thanks

Colin     14/June/02

Buildeazy: We are starting a 'question time' service commencing approx 1st July. where we will have a panel of tradesmen to answer building related questions. We will submit this question to the panel. Meantime, if anyone else can help, please do.
Floor Sanding Tip

forum: Moving into a 1960s house with old carpet and vinyl I decided the best option was to remove the old vinyl and sand and polish the floors, I obtained quote to uplift the vinyl and sand but the contractors really weren't interested in the vinyl removal and quoted only to and after I had done the hard yakker. The quote for sanding only was around 600-800 dollars I got a spade and removed vinyl which then left the underlayer. I soaked it in Kerosene for an hour then just scraped it up. I bought myself a belt sander for $240 and sanded the lot myself. Good job too. Saved myself heaps and still have the sander for other projects

Dick     2/June/02

Can anyone help Sam?
Had a look through your great Web Site. A very good idea.

My son has a small house which is rented. He wants to shift into it, but because it is too small for his family he wants to build 2 largish rooms OFFsite and have them transported to the section in Meadowbank.
Do you know of anyone/firm that builds in their yards then transports said buildings to the site?


Buildeazy: If anyone can help we will forward the info on to Sam.
Painting Tip

Dear Sir / Madam, this is a great site and very helpful.

I would like to pass on a painting tip I found that may be useful to this site. After doing the rounds of paint and hardware stores looking for advise about textured ceilings, I became very frustrated with the lack of knowledgeable advice on offer. My problem was I have an old (16 yrs) soft textured ceiling coat throughout the house and it was very stained.

The advise all parties gave was to get it removed by a professional as there was some concern about asbestos in the coating. I decided that this expensive option was to be a last resort so I decided to take the "bull by the horns" and purchased a Wagner airless spray gun with the view of painting it. I brushed the loose dirt etc from the ceiling and masked out the walls with drop sheets and off I went. I used two coats of acrylic undercoat - primer and two top coats of white acrylic.

The end result is fantastic and when compared to the cost of removal and what to do after removal the result is great. Even when the cost of the spray gun is included the cost was about 20% of the cost of removal alone. Hope this helps

Rick Splinter     16/May/02

Plans for dolls house?
forum: I'm in desperate need for plans for a dollshouse . Is there anyone that maybe able to help me on this? Please contact me on the following address:

Dean     8/May/02

Buildeazy: If anyone can help we will forward the info on to dean.
forum: I need some clarification on this building consent exclusion:

(e) Any retaining wall that retains not more than 1.5 metres depth of ground and that does not support any surcharge or any load additional to the load of that ground, such as the load of vehicles on a road;

Would a parking area at home count as a "load of vehicles on a road" too? I would like to widen the present area by 2 meters, the existing retaining wall is in a terrible state as is, so I was thinking of widening it while the job has to be done.

If it will require a consent, would repairing an existing be exempted from this?
Reason for asking is that I don't want to spend more on a resource consent than on the materials required, then I might as well stick to what I have.

Chris     2/4/02
Contractor Unreliability

We know of several cases where people have rang up contractors for quoting purposes and the contractors have not turned up, or if they do arrive, have not posted out a quote.

We asked our building contractor about this issue and he said he always tries to keep appointments and if he cannot, he will try to contact the people involved for an alternative time. He tries to get his quotes out to the people involved on the given date, but is sometimes late and has to put up with the wrath of "where's my quote".

The reason for this varies, sometimes quotes involve other parties and sometimes, he might just get too busy, however, he said he is usually pretty good with the time thing.

Free Quotes

Most, if not all building related contractors do free quotes. But how far does a free quote go?

One builder told us that his idea of a free quote was to go to a clients house, when they know what they want, and quote for that job. Although in some cases, people want three of four quotes for different variations of the job. eg: Asking for a price of a deck using kwila, using pine, and the price of a waterproof solid deck along with three or four variations of handrails.

This builder does quote for the above, but feels it a bit over the top. He also said he sometimes spends hours doing free consulting for clients that don't know what they want.

Over the last few years he has quoted dozens of jobs (mainly small alterations, decking etc). When he finishes a quote, he posts one copy out to the client, and keeps a copy for himself, forgetting about it until contacted by that client. Over 30% of all his quotes are accepted. Of the other 70%, he almost never hears back from them. Not even a 'Thank you for the time spent on the quote, but we went with someone else.'

Once he did however receive a letter saying 'thank you for the quote, but we have chose not to go ahead with it' and the letter had a lotto ticket attached to it. The builder was over the moon!

What are your thoughts on quoting?
How much time do you spend quoting?
What percentage of your quotes are accepted?
Good balance
I am a retired builder and I cannot help noticing all the scaffolding that is used for the construction of new homes nowadays. This is a requirement of OSH and I think it is good that the safety of the contractors working on house construction is paramount. In my younger days we used to work on make shift scaffolding hanging out windows and do balancing tricks befitting of a circus act, yet I do not recall ever feeling unsafe or seeing or hearing about too many accidents.
I wonder if people had better balance in the old days, and I wonder if it is to do with the fact that yesteryear, people played physical and developed their balance skills from the time they could walk, where as now days, every one is stuck in front of a TV or computer.
I would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

Red, Glendene     3/Feb/02
Hi Mr Buildeazy,
I can relate to the 'Free Quotes' article at the top. I have been building for more years than I would like to say (probably an old bugger like you) and I have to agree that the majority of people I have quoted for, never get back with as much as a THANK YOU, yet they jump up and down if you are late with the quote.
Do these ingrates know how long it sometimes takes to do a free quote.
A "Thank you for your quote, but we have decided to go with someone else", would be greatly appreciated.

B.B.S. North Shore     6/Jan/02
A Good Builder?
I recently had a small bedroom added on to my house. In the beginning I had the plans drawn up by a draughtsman who advised me to invite a few builders to quote on the job.
I rang up 4 builders from the local newspaper, 3 turned up, but only one submitted a quote. The draughtsman had previously told me an approximate square metre rate, a ball park figure that the job might cost.
The builders quote fell within these perimeters, I had a good feeling about him and I couldn't be bothered getting another quote so I employed him.
Anyway, He was reliable, kept to his quote and I was extremely happy with the workmanship. I would like to publish his name. He is xxxxxxxxxxx and his phone number is xxxxxxxx.
Jill. Auckland     6/Jan/02

Buildeazy:   Sorry Jill, we are unable to publish you builders name, although we're sure he is good, but we have know way of knowing if any of the letters or articles sent to us are fact or fiction. For example, for all we know, the letter could be made up by the builder just to give himself some very, very smart advertising. (We're sure it's not in this case, but you know what we mean). Sorry.

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