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Q&A with Handy Mac: Buying the plot and then having to plan

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Dayne sent Don MacAlister a question on which he could not offer much advice.

Dayne sent me a question on which I could not offer much advice.

Q: I would like to buy a plot but require planning permission, as per the agent in charge of the sale.

Please see the idea I have for the plot. My concern is what am I able to do and not do as I wouldn’t want to buy and then be told I cannot proceed. The title deed is attached. I have tried to get information from the government, but they are taking their time.

A: This type of question is way above my pay grade, but I would like to warn anyone buying into a new estate or a plot-and-plan project to ensure you get the right advice. You need to have your own lawyer and any other necessary professionals batting for you.

Chatting with Jutta

A few weeks ago, Jutta asked me about switching her geyser on and off. She has sent this as a follow up:

Thanks for your answer. I have turned off the power to the geyser and was hoping to let you know about the savings, but we will have to wait and see because I finally received an actual bill after four months of estimates.

It will be great to hear the result. You were prepared to make the sacrifice of showering less frequently to save water, and hopefully you will be rewarded with a drop in your electricity bill.

Now the geyser location. Nowhere else where I have lived was it outside. In Germany and the US it was in the basement/cellar or a “broom closet”. In Singapore, it was in a little room accessed from outside – not so good because the thunderstorms often tripped the switch on the electricity.

I have still not come up with a definitive answer about where a geyser is best situated. I would appreciate more reader feedback on this.

In reference to the plastering, I love this texture, so I had something similar done in the cottage. There is not much traffic in there and the geckos have taken over. Their deposits on the walls are nearly impossible to get off this rough surface. Do you have a tip?

This is one of the reasons I do not like any form of stippled or textured plaster. To me walls are meant to be smooth. I do not have much experience with gecko droppings but a quick check on the internet reveals the following from a blogger in Hawaii: Geckos are like cats in that they tend to go in the same place every time. Their droppings, which are in the form of a small missile, is about the size of a grain of rice. If it strikes the wall or the floor moulding on its way down, things become more difficult.

An ingredient in gecko droppings seems to allow it to bond strongly to house paint. This produces dark streaks on walls that are difficult to remove. The longer you wait, the worse it becomes in terms of both quantity and the tenacity of the bond. Besides a daily clean-up of the missiles, we go on regular “poo patrols” around the house to wash the walls. If you wait too long, the only remedy is another coat of paint. We’ve learnt that it helps to repaint with a glossier finish.

On Sunday roasts and electricity use, we bought a toaster oven, not a microwave, so it bakes and toasts only. It has settings for temperature and time and is the same size as the microwave. I use it for cakes, pizza and casseroles. The only thing to watch out for is the height of the item as it may burn on top. It works really well and now I rarely use the big oven.

For anyone who uses their oven a lot, this is a great idea, but I admit I would be lost without my gas hob and oven.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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