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The builders do not work on either Jewish or Muslim festivals – therefore there will be lots of breaks in work over the next few weeks (Rosh Hashona, Sukkot and Eid).
This is the reason for the pause – and nothing else…..but that is life.

On the surface it looks like nothing has happened over the last week, but when we dig a little deeper we can see some big leaps forward. I will start in the basement and then work my way up.

Electrics – All the cables for the light fittings have now been installed in the basement. All holes made in the walls for the cables have also been filled in. Work is starting upstairs in the house but it is not yet obvious.

Plumbing – This is the obvious bombshell. The first bath is installed and the shelf next to the bath has been created. The bath is on a metal trundle (easier than making your own as I used to do in the UK and much better than the standard in Israel where they normally just cement the bath into position. It is very exciting to see such an obvious step forward. I was also discussing with Yaniv (the Kablan / Contractor) about the testing of the water systems. First of all – the testing of waste/soil pipes is not required by Israeli law. Our kablan did this (we would have insisted anyway) by stuffing the pipe ends with rags and plastic bags and then filling it with water. They then confirmed the water was still in the pipe after a set amount of time. They also checked the joints for leaks during this testing. By law, there is a requirement to test the mains water and other water piping in the house. This has not been done yet – but will be done by a testing machine that creates the required pressure testing in the house.

Air conditioning – Kobi Mazganim (Mazganim means Air Conditioning) started – and maybe finished – laying all the pipes for the air conditioning in the basement yesterday. Apart from this, we made the decision to put the outdoor air conditioning unit for the basement on the wall in the basement “balcony”/garden. This decision was made as the roof was too far away from the units for them to work efficiently.

Mamad Door – Last week we were discussing with Tamar the option of swapping the Mamad door. She didn’t have an opinion but wanted to give us the option. I actually spoke in detail about this with the Kablan and although there are improvements in the new style doors – it is not required legally and the main changes will be aesthetic. It will also create more work in the basement as we would need to either lift the basement floor or drop the mamad floor to make it work properly. The final decision was simply to leave the door as it was – and not spend an unnecessary 3,500NIS.

Basement Floor – They have now covered all the floor plumbing with cement and have started putting stones on the floor as the basis upon which to start the tiling. I am not sure if there is another layer between the stones and the tiles – we will see tonight!

Basement Tiling – This is being started tomorrow. We can’t wait to see how this will change the whole look/feel of the basement.

And now on to the rest of the house. As you can imagine, the builders are working their way upwards – so the changes from now on are minimal.

Plumbing – The underfloor heating and hot water tank installation was supposed to be started yesterday. I will check up on this tomorrow.

Ceilings – In the main level they have started to build the dropped ceilings which will be used as a feature as well as for lighting and hiding the air conditioning units.

Photographer – last week a photographer came in and took photos of the house. This was not requested by either us, Tamar (the designer) or by Yaniv. We do not know who did this – or why, but we are assuming that it was done by the Iriah (local council) either for Arnona/Council Tax purposes or for building specification requirements. We hope it is for no other reason.

Money – Contracts with constructors tend to have multiple payments throughout the project. The first is always a fairly large down payment which covers the initial materials and the cost of the workers from the start of the project. My second payment (of 30%!) is due once the walls, plumbing and electricity is completed. This will be probably be done somewhere between Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Now we have also paid for the doors, tiles, plumbing fixtures plus deposits on all almost all the work being done (paid underfloor heating supplier and air conditioning person as well)

Garden – Very little has happened with this lately – on my other blog is a picture of the wood pile if you are interested! – Tamar has spoken to the gardener and they have confirmed a design. The gardener will be sitting with us to tell us the costs involved (I also hope we will see the design as well – but this wasn’t mentioned) and also with Yaniv to finalise the position of both electricity and water points in the garden. Supposedly, the only area that is still open for discussion is the smoker. We will probably build the smoker over the tree stump that we could not move as the roots went too deep.

Shmitta – Obviously due to shmitta, none of the garden work will include any planting (or even any trimming). All the cleaning up work has been done. The garden work will simply be the laying of fancy concreted areas (done by Yaniv), planters for after shmitta and the position of the new trees that will also be planted after shmitta. We are also planning on buying a composter (on way home from work today) as an efficient and “respectful” way of disposing produce with “Kedushat Shvi’it”.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year,

Adam & Joelle

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