Friday, 27 June 2008

Day 5 - more steps forward, more steps back!

Kev throws bricks at Ging through the newly finished window opening

It's been a great day for building - blue skies and sun (ok, and the odd shower!). Above you can see the finished first floor gable end window opening - compare it to the photos below for the change (from original, through the mess to finished opening). Shoot, it sure looks pretty don't it. Eventually there'll be another deeper window opening mirroring it on the ground floor.

Progress included replacing the existing supporting end brick pillar that the cowboys had done with this new, tied-in pillar. Looks good to me!

Whilst worked cracked on, 'Big Al', our structural engineer brought in to look at the work from the cowboys which started the job, reported back with some bad news. They say bad news comes in threes, well, here's ours!

1) roof to the new first floor extension
Well, the cowboys who erected it have managed to make the slope well below the tolerance for natural slate! Matt and Kev had already begun stripping the slates for relaying, but now the whole bloody lot has to come off! Also, the window opening the cowboys put in are too high so they need to be lowered. So, this first floor extension is going to be pretty much redone one way or another!

2) floor joists to first floor extension

A double-whammy here! See the large piece of steel on the left, well, that shouldn't be there! And the floor joists running up to it, well, they're the wrong size. Yes, you've guessed it, they're too small! Removing the steel and replacing all the joists now would be a nightmare (and a disaster). So Big Al has calculated that doubling up all the existing joists will over-compensate for the weight of the steel hanging unsupported cantalever-style over the back ground floor wall.

3) new supporting pillar in our new open plan living room

Here you can see our nice new steel pillar which is the midway support for the new steel that runs the full width of the cottage supporting the floor above. Problem is, that from photos I took during the excavation for the new concrete floor the cowboys laid, we can see that they didn't reinforce below the pillar to the spec on the plans, and it was never inspected by the building inspector (he loves us!). So, its dig a bloody big hole through the new floor around it and retro reinforce the thing.

Oh, bloody, hum. We'll find out on Monday how much more this little lot will cost us.

More progress when we went from this . . .
. . . to this.

We were going to have a false door here, but we might not be able to get that paint off, and with brick damage either side of the two windows, it might be best if we rebuild this wall between the two windows.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

One step forward, two steps back

Its our 'new' day three (date reset on Monday!), and things just keeping cracking on apace!

The gaping hole left in our first floor gable end (left by the last lot open and insufficiently supported!) gets attention at last! Jon is rebuilding the end pillars ready for the steel to go in. It will be boarded whilst the interior gets done before being filled with a lovely oak frame window.

Meanwhile, out of view on the new firstfloor extension dormer roof, Matt and Kev are stripping the slate off the new roof ready for repair and re-slating! Oh hum.

Order! Order! For Jon Avory & Sons begin work

Well, they've only been on site two days and Jon Avory & Sons have restored order and calm. We now have a building site, not a bomb site!

In the two days, Jon, Matt and Kevin have taken the site from this . . .

. . . to this!

Around 80 tonnes of soil and rubble left over from the last builders, plus another 10+ tonnes of soil have been removed from site and 32 tonnes of hardcore down as well as a complete site tidy, inside and out, meetings with local building inspector and structural engineer, and we're ready to get rolling! It's nice to be smiling again about the renovation!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Hello John, we've got a new builder (and he's called Jon)

Well, at last we've found a new builder and work recommences on site on Monday! Hoorraayy!

The hardest part of this, apart from living with the mess the previous builder left behind, is simply regaining the confidence and trust in another builder to get the job done without leaving us high and dry and ripping us off like the last one. So, knowing you can't tar everyone with the same brush, we're really pleased with the new builders. Jon Avory & Sons are a small family firm well established in Peterborough. So, hears to cracking on as from Monday!