A lot has been happening since we last blogged. We can’t believe that everything has moved on so much in such a short space of time. We seem to be permanently busy doing things for the house – either on site or at home in the evenings going through quotes, plans and paperwork. The weekends are taken up with shopping for bathrooms, soft furnishings, building materials, paints etc.
One of the things that we are really seeing the value of is Will being on site every day. Each day there are decisions to be made and issues to resolve all of which he needs to be consulted on. What would happen if he wasn’t there? We guess that the trade’s guys would be trying to reach us by phone – and trying to explain some of the complex issues with positioning of steels or pad stones over the phone which would be really difficult. Otherwise the job would either grind to a halt or they’d just be making a decision and cracking on with things – right or wrong.
Every morning Will arrives early – before the rest of the trade’s guys – and spends some time going over the technical drawings and the plans for the day including checking that any materials needed are available on site. Once the guys arrive on site Will has a brief meeting with them to talk through the progress on the job, what materials they will need over the coming days and when they will be needed so that he can make sure they arrive on time. He’s also looking ahead to think when we will need the next trades on site and he’ll be talking to them regularly by phone to update them on where the project is and getting them to pop into site to assess when they think they need to start their bit of the job.
By doing this we have managed to ensure that the job keeps moving and that no time has been lost. Will keeps his “Blue Book” – his notebook and site diary – at hand at all times. This is his way of keeping track of everything and everyone. It’s simple but it really works.
Some of the things that Will has picked up on whilst on site have included –
• The kitchen windows being set too high (being under 5 foot I would never have been able to see out of them!)
• A pad stone being put in the wrong place in relation to the lintel. Will happened to be walking past as the brickie was placing it and thought it looked wrong in relation to the technical drawings. After some debate neither Will nor the brickie could be quite sure what was the right way to place it so Will rang the Structural engineer and he was able to clarify this over the phone. It meant taking the pad stone out and doing it differently however at this stage that was relatively easy. If the problem had been spotted later it would have been a different story.
• The steel which will support our Gable turned up and was 27mm too long…..our brickie is sure he can work around this.
• The window sill height in the ground floor was too low on the technical drawings which would have meant being able to see the backs of all the furniture from outside. Because Will spotted this early on we were able to get the brickies to bring the sill heights up.
• When we ordered the windows we discovered that the sizes specified on the drawings didn’t meet fire regulations so we had to make them taller.
• The sizes of 2 of the upstairs bedrooms had to change because of the positioning of the roof valleys….one room had to be larger and one smaller.
Will has found that these sorts of issues come up regularly and the guys come to him with the problems expecting him to tell them what he wants done. Will is well aware that he is not a builder and has little experience so he asks the guys to explain the possible options to him and the pros and cons as they see it. He will then make a decision based of the options presented. So far this seems to be working well and any issues have been overcome to everyone’s satisfaction.
So what else has been happening…? Both the chimneys are now down – what a mess that was – soot and brick dust everywhere. The lads looked like chimney sweeps every day for a week.
All the new walls have been built and are ready for the steels to go in before the roof structure can be built. The carpenters are in and starting work on reinforcing the old ceiling joists.
Meanwhile, we noticed that a roll of plastic sheeting went missing last weekend. A small thing but Will had meant to lock it in the storage container and then forgot. It just goes to prove that people are coming on site when we aren’t there and that makes us both feel uncomfortable. We are looking forward to getting the windows and doors in so that the building can be properly secured again. We’re very glad that we decided to invest in a secure storage container for the site to lock away tools every night.
Next job – we are meeting with our electrician tonight to go through our plans – where to place sockets and light fittings etc. We have marked up a set of plans with our ideas and we want to talk this through with him so that we are all on the same page. It really is a full time job running this project!!