Friday 29 November 2019

End of week six

The weeks have really flown by and we have been building for six weeks. Today had been the first sunny day for ages, and a great chance to take some photos showing our progress.
View from the front and you can just catch a glimpse of Darren's hoist, although it is covered with a black plastic bag to keep the rain off.

The hoist is very popular with Trevor and he uses it to lift buckets of mortar up onto the scaffolding and the first floor.

Next is the back view with the huge first floor window just beginning to take shape.

Finally, a side view.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Four bedrooms

It might be a bit difficult to work it out, but we now have the outline of four bedrooms on the first floor.
They look pretty similar at the moment, but here we are :-

Bedroom one

Bedroom two

Bedroom three

Bedroom four

All a bit wet and muddy at the moment, but just wait until we get a roof.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Cable spool repurposed

A few weeks ago I noticed what I initially called a giant bobbin that had been dumped by the side of the road behind us. I now know that it's actually called a cable spool.
It had a small amount of very thick electrical cable wrapped around it, and we think that it had been used to wire up the lamp posts.
More time went by and it was still sitting there, so one Sunday I unwrapped the remaining wire and then took it back to my greenhouse.

I left it to dry and then spent a happy few hours repairing it, wallpapering and then varnishing it.
It is now our new coffee table and I am very pleased with it, although for some reason I haven't managed to smile for the photo.

Ps, in other news it was another wet and windy day on site, but good progress made by Trevor on the house. Update tomorrow.

Monday 25 November 2019

Soaked but still smiling

There has been a few days of rain, again, and it is spoiling our building plans. Hardly surprising as it's the end of November I hear you thinking.

My new job on site every morning is to get our new super duper squeegee and sweep the rain water off the floor boards.
It is amazing how much there is and it is a huge hazard for Darren and Trevor as they have to avoid the tidal waves of water that randomly shoot off the roof.
Trevor cannot get on with building the bricks so he is instead building the block internal walls.
These are going up really quickly but are giving a false impression of our progress.

I am currently having a mini panic about our next set of joist plans, although the top floor plans look good.
Hopefully I can sort it out tomorrow.

Friday 22 November 2019

Up and up

It was a showery day today and Trevor worked on the blocks because he prefers dry weather to lay bricks.
As the blocks are six times as big as bricks, then the progress looks much more spectacular.
By the end of the day the first floor, in parts at least, was at least five feet higher than yesterday.

We also have a temporary ladder to get up to the first floor, and will very soon have an internal wall to the left of it and although you can't see it, Darren has built a safety rail to the right.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Large deliveries

It seems that all deliveries to the site are fraught with potential problems, and new ones appear daily.
Today I had another order for ten tons of sand, and I was casually eating my breakfast at 7.45 when the phone rang.
The lady delivery driver was only a couple of minutes away and just needed the final half mile of directions. I jumped around in a panic, got in the car and arrived to find her already there.
I opened up the gates and belatedly realised that Trevor's concrete mixer was in the way, but no matter how hard I pushed it, it wouldn't budge.

In the end I told her to drop the sand nearer to the road, so now I have a couple of tons of it on the pavement. I hope that Trevor manages to use it before the Health and Safety Guy puts in a complaint, but at least it didn't bury the mixer.
A couple of hours later two pallets of blocks arrived that I wanted putting up on the loading bay.
Yesterday the scaffolders had returned to give us a gate on the loading bay because the Health and Safety Guy had complained that the existing scaffold pole wasn't good enough.
Unfortunately the first time I tried to open the gate I found out that it wasn't a gate at all, but instead was a sort of huge see saw that rose up into the air. This then blocked the crane on the lorry from dropping off my blocks.
Darren was out shopping and the delivery guy was going to put them on the ground, but fortunately my hero Trevor came flying to the rescue and took part of the gate apart so that the pallets could land.

Just got to move them onto the first floor now to make way for the next drop off.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Four days in on a one day job

Trevor is not very impressed with our progress on putting the floor on to the the joists.
We started work on it on Sunday and got off to a very slow start. The glue has a mind of its own and has managed to stick our fingers to our gloves and jeans to the floor.
It has also expanded under the floorboards and raised some of  them up so that once it dried the next board didn't fit.
We also got confused about where the supporting walls came through, amongst other things.
Anyway, it is all over now, although it took all day today and we finished tidying up as it got dark.
Very pleased though and we will be a lot quicker on the next floor.

Monday 18 November 2019

A murder of crows

A couple of days ago we were just getting ready to head home because it was already getting dark.
Suddenly I heard lots of squawking and looked up to see hundreds of crowd circling around directly above.
Today there was a lovely sunset.....

..... and then a few minutes later the crows started to appear again.

It reminded me of the huge numbers of starlings that we used to see in Brighton that was called a murmuration.
I have looked online and a group of crows is called a 'murder'.
In the olden days it was a small step from seeing them as scavengers to thinking of them as a huge gang that actually hunted down and killed their foes.
I think that just to be on the safe side I will keep the greenhouse door closed in future.

Sunday 17 November 2019

Almost all noggined out

We have had a busy weekend, and I feel that I have got to know the noggins very well.
Here I am with a couple of the cute little things.

Unfortunately we haven't been able to finish the job because we are short of a few of the metal fixing clips, and they will be delivered tomorrow.
We have started on the the flooring though, and we nearly have a waterproof garage.

The view is getting very nice, and this is what we will see from the front bedroom window.

Friday 15 November 2019

Noggin hell

We spent the day today making and fixing noggins. I wasn't too aware of these little things before, but they hold the whole floor together, along with their friends the strongbacks and metal straps.
There is quite a lot of nailing involved too.
I was so engrossed in the task that I almost forgot to take any photos, but in case you ever need to know, these little bits of wood at the back are noggins.

The long piece of wood is a strongback that goes the whole length of the room,

and this is an example of the many nails that I hammered in today.

It will all be worth it when we move in and the floor doesn't creak, fingers crossed.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Putting in the joists

Torrential rain all night and we arrived at the plot to find nearly an inch of water in all of the rooms. I brushed a lot out but we still paddled around for the whole day.

We hoped that the rain would hold off for a while so that we could make a start on putting up the joists.
While I went shopping (no, not for shoes or handbags), Darren started to set up his equipment.

Trevor also arrived and between the two of them they started to lay out the joists using the noggin spacers that Darren had cut.
When I returned I took charge of the instructions that the manufacturer sent us and mostly stayed at ground level directing the operation.
Trevor was a great help as he had done this many times before, and just as it was starting to get dark we had the whole lot up.

How neat does that all look?
PGTips box, builders own.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Crane hire

8am and our crane turned up, escorted by our hero Trevor who found it and it's two drivers lost at the entrance to the estate.
As soon as they parked they had a big moan because we didn't own a scaffold mat, although we didn't know that we needed one.
I walked away for a few minutes as there was a danger that I would get a bit shouty, but miraculously when I returned they had set up in the road on four square blocks that they had brought with them.
I don't know why they changed their minds, but I didn't really care, at least we could get going.

We had exactly three hours of their time and we had to get the steels for our back window and balcony in place, plus a big steel across the front of the house over the door and garage.
They quickly got the first piece in place and Darren and Trevor bolted it to the floor post.

The next piece didn't want to fit and the crane drivers started moaning again, but eventually it all came together with a bit of thumping by Trevor using a heavy hammer.
Time was ticking on, but the grid pattern took shape and we still had an hour to spare.

The front door steel was very scary as it has a big lip on it that makes it unstable until all of the brickwork around it is in place.
It is currently held up with three accros, and hopefully is staying put.
Then we got the longest seven joists that arrived yesterday on to the top and our to do list was complete.

There was 23 minutes left of our allowance, and as the morning wore on the crane drivers got much more friendly and helpful. They spent the whole of the remaining time drinking tea and chatting and as the clock struck exactly 11am they rolled off to their next job.
We almost collapsed with relief and then got on with the rest of the day.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Joist delivery

We have now had lots of things delivered to the plot, so I was quite calm about the joist delivery.
It was only the ceiling of the ground floor and the flooring for the first floor, so some heavy things, but not too bad.
The large arctic arrived and the problem became clear - no lifting gear. We thought he had it, and he thought that we did.
There was no way that I was going to let him leave before we had our stuff, as I told him in no uncertain terms.
I left Darren and Trevor to start to manually lift off the joists while I set off around the site to try to find a man, any man, with a forklift.
After a few minutes searching I phoned the manager of the on site builders and told him about our emergency.
He wasn't happy about it, but within ten minutes he turned up with a workman on a forklift. By this time Darren and Trevor had unloaded most of the joists but the big issue was the heavy floor boards.
The forklift guy took them off in one manoeuvre and lifted them up on to our loading bay.
Disaster averted and I gratefully handed him a £20 tip. All's well that ends well, but I don't know yet what I am going to do when the next storey arrives. At least I have a couple of weeks to think about it.

Monday 11 November 2019

Throwing breeze blocks

Today a lot of triple and even quadruple handling took place! Slightly dodgy sounding, but Trevor is very much against it.
Basically the idea is that things should arrive on site and then go straight to their final building place.
It is a bit of a failure if they then have to be moved again, and even worse if they are moved again and again.
Unfortunately the breeze blocks have been on a huge tour of the site and have ended up on the scaffolding.
This morning we ran out of breeze blocks and I put in an order for some more, but in the meantime the blocks needed to be moved to the garage to be used in the wall.
I was up on the scaffolding and after passing a couple to Trevor, he said to speed it up I should throw them down and he would catch them!
It was all a bit scary and they were heavy so I couldn't throw them far, but I have now got a new skill.
Sorry, no photos of it so you will just have to imagine the scene.
Instead I have a couple of photos from the back of the site, and we are still the smallest house on the street.

Saturday 9 November 2019

The next level

We spent the morning loading bricks on to the scaffolding at the back of the house.

Once all of those bricks are on then we can start using the loading bay at the front of the house.

One of my first tasks for next week is to try and find a friendly fork lift driver who will collect a couple of brick pallets from our storage area and drop them straight on to the loading bay. This will save us having to lift them up manually.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Scaffolding day

The scaffolder and his two helpers arrived just after 8am today. He was a bit grumpy and tried to get out of doing some of the fiddly bits, but in the end he did a good job. We have a nice wide, flat walkway, a big loading bay and Darren has bought a hoist to make the lifting a bit easier.
As soon as he left we got up on the top to check out the view.

Trevor had a good day and managed to get loads of the internal blockwork done from trestles inside the house.

Wednesday 6 November 2019

Kitchen corner post

Our next big test will be putting up the steels to support the windows in the kitchen and the floors above.
Yesterday we stood the main post up in the kitchen and think that we have it level and roughly in the right place.

Today we decided that it needed to be raised slightly and the internal walls are also now taking shape. They are so high that we lose each other in the different rooms.

By the end of the day Trevor got up to ceiling level in a couple of places, and we have the first steel supporting padstone in place.