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Old Nov 14th 2017, 4:17 pm   #1
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Default Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

When we bought our current house just over 4 years ago we were told that it was connected to the mains sewage system. Shortly afterwards we found out it wasn't. Since then we have received a 'fine' of around 70,000ft p.a. for not being connected.
August 2016 my wife spoke to the waterboard and they gave us 12 months to get connected. Due to the age and layout of the house and the fact that we wanted to move the 'bathroom', along with various other factors, the job kept getting put off. Finally, in August of this year my friend (who is a civil engineer) and I set about digging and laying pipes. The new bathroom floor is about 1 metre above ground level due to the slope of the land so this has meant that the first 8 metres of sewage pipe runs above ground. It will get well insulated and boxed in before winter so we'll see how we get on with that. It also meant that the trench along the front of the house to the main sewage connection didn't have to be ridiculously deep. It was a real rush job to get the wc and wash basin removed from the old bathroom and reconnected before everything was inspected and signed off. This was arranged for 1pm on a Friday afternoon. The last job before the weekend. The guy from the waterboard arrived, opened the 2 inspection covers that we'd fitted and signed the paperwork! Never checked inside to see if it was connected to anything. Never checked to see if the waste water flowed in the correct direction. Maybe that's the norm or maybe he just wanted to start his weekend.
The next job was to fit a door to our chimney. The house is more than 100 years old and we had no easy way of emptying to soot that collected at the bottom of the chimney. We were told a couple of years ago that legally we must have a door. One builder told us that due to the age and construction of the house we must also have our chimney lined which would cost us about 150,000ft. My wife has a contact at the katastrófavédelem and he informed her that we only need the chimney lined if the internals are not in good condition. An appointment was made for the chimney sweep from the katastrófavédelem to inspect the chimney and clean it if need be (free of charge) last Friday at 1pm (we both work until 12 on Fridays). This of course was his last job for the week. He had a quick look at the wood burner, climbed into the loft and checked the chimney internals, quickly swept it and signed the paperwork
All good so far. The only issue I had was with the height of the new chimney door. The builder said 30cm from the floor, the chimney sweep said 40 cm. I decided to fit this myself after consulting another builder who said it was literally a case of cutting a hole in the wall and fitting the door. I first cut a hole 50cm from the floor to play it safe but there was no chimney. I then cut another hole more than 60cm but still no chimney. In the end I got out the long drill bit and drilled a series of holes up the wall until I hit soot. The bottom of the new door is now about 140cm!! from the floor but at least we are safe and legal.
Sorry for the long winded post and well done to you if you managed to read it to the end
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Old Nov 14th 2017, 5:06 pm   #2
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Default Re: Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

Congratulations!
Another small victory in the never ending Hungarian paper war ...

With all these things there are two dimensions (at least):
1) paper - it has to be formally right
2) safety - You have to be sure that nothing can happen (carbon monoxide, freezing etc)
Seems you did it right

A bit OT:
A few days ago the local "chimney sweep" came by (announced a month ago) for an inspection (nothing to pay - just some chocolate as a tip) with a really modern handheld aplliance to check for carbon monoxide and other gases ...
When I showed him the Honeywell detector that we had bought he complimented us ...
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Old Nov 14th 2017, 5:11 pm   #3
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Default Re: Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

I didn't know you had to get any inspections done. I also did the connection to the mains sewer myself because I was also being fined. When the job was complete I wrote to the water company (in English) I never heard anything back but perhaps I am still paying extra? It is hard enough to understand utility bills in English, let alone Hungarian!
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Old Nov 14th 2017, 6:06 pm   #4
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Default Re: Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

Fidobsa, maybe you should have an expert look at your bill(s)?

Luckily for me (and friends who also use her services ...) my wife used to work in some state office many years ago and she says nothing much has changed on some levels sind´ce those Kádár times ...
Because she refused to become a member of the Socialist party she stayed a lowly secretary, couldn't have a career - but knew more than many of her bosses ...

Re sewage:
This might be different from one locationto the next. I remember that around 15 years ago they built a ring canal around the Balaton and asked everybody to connect their sewage to it - of course we did it immediately and paid immediately too which gave us a 50% rebate compared to those neighbours who paid in yearly installments.
But I know that in some villages further away from the Balaton they still have these "septic tanks" which are emptied - don't know how often.
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Old Nov 14th 2017, 8:03 pm   #5
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Default Re: Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

The 'fine' for not connecting to the mains drains is called an environmental loading charge and was introduced as a way of forcing people to connect to the main drains when such were installed into the villages. The theory being that it would be cheaper to pay for the connection and the sewage charge that is levied with the measured water than to continue with the old cess pits. The fine will come once a year (as far as I know) and the sewage charge comes with the water bill

From a water bill I had to hand (not mine 'cos I don't get one) there are some lines for
'Ivóviz szolgáltatás alapdij = drinking water base service fee (standing charge)
then

számu vizmérőn mért ivóviz fogyasztással arányos dij = the price for the drinking water as measured by the meter, then the number of m3 and the price /m3 then the total
then

számu vizmérőn mért elvezetett menniséggel arányos szennyviz dij = the price for the sewage taken away as measured by the water meter then the number of m3 and the price /m3 then the total. (assumes water in = sewage out)

Typically the cost of sewage is twice the cost of water and you pay this sewage charge for water even if you use the water for watering the garden. Most places have either an option for getting an allowance for watering the garden but you have to ask for it, or some places let you have a garden tap on a separate meter which is not charged the sewage fee.
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Old Nov 14th 2017, 9:30 pm   #6
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Default Re: Getting inspections done on a Friday afternoon

My house was connected just a couple of weeks before I bought it, so the work as done but I got the bill for 280 000 fts

Now 4 years later the inevitable Hungarian bureaucracy has ground along and surprise surprise I (and a few hundred other households) were overcharged, and they are going to give back 98 000fts.
Perhaps they have made enough interest on my 'loan' now and decided it was time to give the over payment back.
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