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BBC DIY SOS Chessington Project

The Big Build

February 2010

BBC DIY SOS The Big Build Chessington

Disclaimer – This web page tells the story of Perfect Heating And Plumbing and other trade professionals being involved in a BBC DIY SOS Project.  The BBC, any of its presenters or any of its trade professionals, do not endorse any firm, company or any products shown below or within the programme.


diy sos chessington the big build

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Here is my story – Chessington The Big Build

Perfect Heating And Plumbing (PHAP) were contacted in January by a BBC researcher regarding a BBC DIY SOS project that was to be under taken in the Chessington Area.  The BBC contacted PHAP through our membership of The Chartered Institute of Plumbing And Heating Engineering. (CIPHE)  The project outline was a ten day makeover of a house that had been left in a real mess by a building contractor.  PHAP were asked if we could help out with a down stairs shower room, central heating problems, external drainage that backed-up and any work that was required within the kitchen, new sink, cooking range (Gas Safe Registered) and plumbing for a dish washer and washing machine.

This all sounded really interesting, and with the chance to been on TV as well, all sounded like fun.

The house was in need of more than some Tender Loving Care, but a big injection of labour and materials to make it liveable again.  The first couple of photos below gives you some idea of the state the house had been left in by the building contractors.

Mark went through what was required. I advised Mark that it should be no problem and would be happy to supply my labour free of charge to help the project as I felt that Liz diserved her house back in a livable state. Life it not always about making money, but helping people and being part of a community.

The lounge area was a real mess, brick work walls where the plaster had been removed and not replaced, half of the flooring covering had been removed and building materials stacked up in corners.

Up stairs was worst, the middle floors had no ceilings, bare walls again, as can been seen from the photos. This was meant to be James’s bedroom.

The plan for this area was to take part of the dividing wall down to join the front and back bedrooms together to make a really special area from James. This meant removing two panel radiators and installing two vertical column ones, either side of the windows. The walls were to be dry lined and decorated with a theme.

During the works part of a wall was removed to allow James bedroom to join with his play room. You are not allowed to through bricks out from windows so we man handled it down, thankfully it did not take long.

The existing downstairs walk in shower design left by the builders did not work. The drains that they had left were in poor condition.

A new design was planned by Julia to create a 900 x 750 shower tray. This meant building a stud wall below the bulk head of the staircase. This would then also provide some much needed storage space below the rack of the stair case. A new door opening was planned to be cut through roughly were the vertical plywood is shown left.

This was all additional work that was not initially allowed for.

I contacted Versatile of Chessington, a family run tile shop business, and explained about the project to the owner Paul. Paul said that “Versatile would be very happy to donate the Dukka board, washer and tile adhesive to allow the shower room to be completed”.

I have known Paul, and used Versatile for many years, and have always found the service to be first class, and as they are a family business, they offer that extra bit of a special service.

versatile chessington

Local tiler, Justin of Silver also helped with the shower room and some unfinished tiling within James walk-in shower room and within the top floor bathroom. With a great sense of community spirit Justin was also a dab hand with a paint brush and help to decorate one of the other shower rooms.

Another job well done, Andy gives the thumbs up, that the shower room is complete

The towel rail within the down stairs shower room

Julia (Designer) inspects Andy’s handy work. Julia was very pleased with the effect of the shower room. For a tight space it works well.

Note the colour of Julia’s co-ordinated safety shoes and tool belt. Julia also has a matching pink tool box complete with pink tools. Way to go Julia.

Hanna & Christine two of the ladies behind the camera. Two hard working people that keep the trades people productive. Nothing was too much trouble, driving the van, loading and unloading, making tea & coffee, driving off to obtain more building supplies and dressing the rooms on the last day. Thank you Ladies.

Not the use of plaster board packing under the wall hung WC to prevent it from moving

The brackets only required to be tightened.

The downstairs WC finally gets installed. The external soil pipe had to be altered as the original soil pipe connection was felt to high which would have meant the discharge from the WC pan would of flowed up hill which would have meant that the WC would not have cleared correctly. The plastic soil pipe and fittings OSMA, were kindly donated by Wavin UK

NUpstairs bathroom that had been left unfinished

Upstairs bathroom complete. Access to the plumbing under the bath is from a storage cupboard which run the length of the bath.

The existing drainage had a few problems. The photo above shows how it had been left. The hole was dug out further to check the existing drainage connection. The soil stack was amended. A 100mm rodding eye was installed on both the main soil pipe and the connection to the toilet. The WC connection had to be altered as it was not high enough. The shower waste was also renewed and the basin waste regarded. The materials OSMA plastic soil pipe were kindly donated by Wavin UK

Julian checks over the making good around the amended drainage.

Some of the radiators were removed and replaced with vertical column ones. Here we are removing the living radiator. As can been seen its only a single panel with one set of fins. This radiator was replaced with a double panel double convector which was kindly donated by Branch Manager, John Dalal at City Plumbing Epsom.. Tel 01372 743678.

Here we can see the other end of the radiator which we have just removed. The black sludge, by-product of electrolytic corrosion, which can be seen in the bucket is iron oxide. This is here because the radiators have rusted from the inside and the system had no central heating inhibitor, for a seal system, combi boiler, this is very bad. The only way to remove this from all of the radiator is to powerflush. This sludge creates an inefficient heating system and can damage the boiler, heat pump and valves.

Billy with Andy from Hybird Construction a local building contractor enjoying the moments before the final reveal. Hybird Construction provided and installed the ceiling coving around the through lounge at lighting speed and also provided a team of plasters.

After the new flooring had been installed it was cleaned and protected to allow other trades to start decorating..

Julia with Nick on camera.

Danny, Billy and Christine chatting with Julia

Dan on camera catching the action in the kitchen. Julian busy sanding the ceiling wearing a full face mask due to the dust.

Kitchen fitters Richard & Jason from R.C.M Carpentry Chobham Ltd always smiling, installed new units and work surfaces.

The DIY SOS Team looking over the kitchen plans.

All hands to the pump to clean the new floor before covering it with protection.

Danny ,centre, fixing some ceiling lights

Decorators Debi and Tina from ladies-up-ladders put the finishing touches to the lounge.

Even though the front drive way was not going to have a make-over when local lad Gerald of G.A Landscapes saw what was happening to the rest of the house he felt he just had to help. Gerald contacted Chris Vernon the Branch Manager at Deben Buildbase – Chessington (Tel 020 8974 1065. KT9 1SG) and explained the situation. Chris gifted the stones and Gerald did the rest. Gerald quickly obtained a mini digger, removed all of the soft earth, installed some hardcore, and covered it with the stones.

The kitchen getting it’s make over by Debi and Tina.


Danny from BTD Building Contractors making some final adjustments within the kitchen. Although not a local Company BTD have been involved with other similar projects.

With the pressure now off, and the hand over going well I get a chance to chat with Nick Knowles. Nick ripped his shirt to dress a Buda in the colours of the DIY SOS Team, you had to be there, it was fun

Andy will Billy the “Sparks”. A big thank you to the Compressed Air Centre a company which are adjacent to the project. They kindly let the BBC’s catering wagon set up and park within their compound. Which meant one of their staff, Rob had to come back late at night to lock the main gates. They also remained open late on the reveal evening so all of the trades people that had worked on the project could assemble without being seen.

I really enjoyed working with the DIY SOS Team. Here we see half of them, smile lads

Matt (Back Left) Julian (back middle) Me, Andy (back right) Billy (front left) Mark (front middle) Chris (front right)

Its all smiles now that the project is complete. Left to right Julian, Matt, Julia, Andy (Me), Chris and Mark.

The DIY SOS team with some of the other trades people that helped with the project

Many thanks to the Branch Manager, John Dalal at City Plumbing Epsom. Tel 01372 743678. John arranged for radiators, radiator valves and other plumbing items where donated to the project. City Plumbing are located on the Longmead Business Centre Epsom KT19 9QQ.

After 10 days hard graft by all parties involved the project was complete and a great success. It was challenging in places but all problems were over come. I made new friends along the way, and even met up with an old school friend. Everybody involved with the project had bags of community spirit and enjoyed getting involved. I would also like to thank again all of the Companies listed above who either donated their time free of charge or materials.

I hope that you managed to watch the programme and enjoyed it as much as I did taking part in it.

Post comments after the showing of the programme. Since being filmed in February I have watched quite a few other DIY SOS type programme across the other channels. All of the presentation teams are clearly helped by outside trades and without their help and skill would be unable to complete the tasks within the time period. Even on the commercial channels these other trades do not get much “on air time”, which is a shame, especially as most if not all of them donate their time free of charge, the carrot being, appearing on the TV.

If more mention could have been made about how the services (plumbing, heating, electrics etc) were repaired, and how to repair for example, bare brick work with plaster board, what to watch out for when plastering and painting, the show would have been very educational (more like you would expect from the BBC) and the licence fee payers would have got better valve for money.

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