Tuesday, 15 July 2008

New workroom build - day 2

Everything went well on the second day. The bricks (Staffordshire Blues - engineering bricks), cement, sand & blocks etc. arrived at 7.45a.m. The house is trimmed with Staffordshire Blues so we have decided to use these as a feature panel rather than a third brick type/colour - the original house bricks are now out of production and unavailable, despite a country-wide search via every brick matching service I could find. HO HUM - I've had a similar experience with fabrics. I think there's a quilt theme and title in that brick name too. Luckily Guy was out and about when it arrived, as I was typing the first blog post re this project!

We had a glitch with the hired stelsaw yesterday. After stopping the saw to change the blade after cutting the brick channels, no one could start it again. One of our neighbours deals with stelsaws at work, had a quick look and reckoned there was a fault with it. Of course, this was after 5p.m., so couldn't return it yesterday. But the helpful staff at HSS Wrexham sorted out another saw asap this morning. I collected it while Bernard continued digging out for the foundations. The upright board on the left provided a bit of shade in the pit.

All the backfill has been barrowed round to the back, to go under the new patio at the far end of the garden.

The trench ended up over 2ft deep. The foundations are stepped - up higher at one side, with 3 courses of blockwork below the three courses of engineering brick (Staffordshire Blues) at the bottom of each side. It took a lot of work to get down to that level. Norman at Mount Zion Farm helped out with the loan of a pickaxe. Here's the trench - the garage floor, unusually, is made of the same concrete block and beam construction as the house floor. The floor construction and the double plastic membrane deal with the radon gas problem we have around here.

To stop the concrete foundation simply slopping under the block & beam floor, we made a shutter from 6mm MDF - super accurate shaping for the electricity cable and sewage pipe not necessary.

We had a wait for the building inspector to arrive and check the trench, to see that we had got right down to the foundations. That's the last inspection at this building stage, so we managed to beat the start of tomorrow's strike. There is no need to go under the existing foundations, as they will be under the new foundation - if you can follow that! It all seems like a huge foundation for only 13 courses of bricks. But without it, there would be serious problems a few years in the future. The inspector didn't require any more digging - luckily. He recommended boxing around the drainage with some of the poly block insulation sheet, to protect it (rest of sheet will be used in the wall cavity). Here's the shutter & poly in place.

Bernard mixing concrete by hand - expert at work.

Lunch break! Ham & cheese rolls - again. Takenoko has been sleeping on my hat, so its a bit squashed. I tried to keep my hair covered today, with a bandana and hat, because last night there was so much grit in it, I couldn't comb it before washing - it was just stuck together.

Dad helped Bernard chisel out the brick on either side where the new wall will go. Meanwhile, we set up a production line for the concrete - I shoveled and barrowed the sand & gravel (reminds me of making sand castles), Dad did water & some shoveling, Bernard made the concrete and filled the foundation trench. Guy helped with tap control and more tea.

Yes, there IS insulation in that wall (also in the roof) -

We are on schedule, despite the scary depth of the foundation trench. It felt like Bernard was never going to get to the original foundations, while the patio foundation could get higher and higher!

So far, there have been some interesting parallels with quilting. Apart from the obvious one of blockwork, the use of a larger petrol-powered rotary cutter (stelsaw) , plus accurate measuring, marking, cutting (inc. a bit of freehand cutting for the drain pipe) and using up leftovers from one project for another (patio) spring to mind. And all that foundation stuff too. Now I'm off to bed....zzzzzz.... more tomorrow.

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