Terra Cotta Roof Installation

One of the most important parts of the project, and one that we gave a significant amount of time and consideration has been completed. Our shophouse now has a completely new roof! The end result is gorgeous red tile on the outside, and beautiful wooden beams supporting it with the tiles visible from the inside. It’s functional, in keeping with heritage building practices and it just looks great. Needless to say, we are pleased with the result.

I’d like to write more about the whole roof process, but until I have time, here are some photos.

The old roof was sheet metal and many of the wooden battens were rotten or had termite damage.

We used new tiles that were delivered on a truck.

Once all of the beams were sanded and re-finished, and new the battens were installed, the tiles were laid down from the top.

The red tiles on the new wooden beams are striking and look great.

Replacing Shophouse Pipes

The project of replacing all of the plumbing in the shophouse is now complete. Initially our plan was to modify the existing plumbing to prepare for the updated bathrooms and kitchen, however, we soon determined that it would be best to simply replace everything at once. We made this decisions for a number of reasons. First of all, if you have old pipes in your house, and you are already replacing the entire floor and re-plastering all the walls, you might as well take the opportunity to replace the pipes. Second, after purchasing the home we had the water turned off to prevent anyone from using it when the house was vacant. Just before starting on the demolition project, we had the water turned back on and quickly discovered a leak. We didn’t know of the leak until receiving the first water bill, which was MUCH larger than expected. Since there was really no way to find the leak without tearing out the entire supply line, it just made sense to replace it.

The entire projet took about 2 weeks. It required a trench stretching the entire length of the house to lay down a new supply line and a new outflow (drain) pipe. In the back of the house where the bathrooms and kitchen will be, there was additional excavation to lay the pipes in the floor and the walls. During the excavation we even discovered the outline of the old granite airwell, which we had previously assumed was torn out.

Now that the plumbing is complete, we look forward to cleaner water, better pressure, a nicely cleaned out sump, and several more strategically placed faucets. Good stuff.

Taken from the first peak of the roof towards the back of the house.

The parapet wall that separates each house from the next had to be built from scratch.

Shophouse Demolition Stage Begins!

After over a year of planning, this week we finally started physical progress on the building. We have started the process of demolition, which includes:

  • The removal of several interior rooms that do not conform to the traditional design.
  • The removal of the modern bathroom and kitchen that was built in the rear courtyard.
  • The removal of the concrete patio that was built on top of the rear airwell.
  • Hacking into the concrete floor to discover what remains of the original granite airwells at the center and rear.

This is an important stage because it will help us find out what additional secrets may lurk behind or below all these items. Here are some photos of the progress.

Two rooms were removed from her.e

Clear from Front to Back

First Hall From Airwell

Second Hall From Stairs

Rear Airwell From Second Hall

There used to be a tree here.

Old Squat Toilet

Rear Airwell is now exposed to light

Penang Council Submission Complete – Approved!

We have passed a significant milestone in our project. Today we learned that our plans have been approved by the Penang council and we have been granted the Commencement of Work Certificate.

The process required the submission of the following documents:

  1. Two copies of the land title – proof we own it
  2. Two copies of the survey plan – what we own
  3. Copies of the architectural drawings – what we are doing
  4. Copies land tax slip – that we don’t owe them anything
  5. Copies of up to date quit rent receipt – that we don’t owe them anything
  6. A signed letter of authorization that our arkitect is representing us on the project

After submitting these documents, our architect met with the council and explained the project. The council meets every 2 weeks to review applications for buildings within the heritage zone. We received approval roughly 2 weeks after the meeting, so the whole process took about 1 month.

We feel that this process was rather smooth for us because our plans do not deviate from the heritage guidelines in any meaningful way. In that sense it was all quite straightforward.