Well 3 weeks on and the steel frame is up. It has been a little tortuous and not as quick as I had hoped. Some of that is down to inexperience and some is down to manufacturing and design errors. Firstly let me say I think the frame is fantastic in terms of what it gives me. The engineering is excellent but some of the little things that Timber Frame manufacturers have got sussed are missing.
Support from Chris at U-Roof has been excellent and they have been up to modify some of the panels. The loss of half a day at the beginning was critical I think, as they did not quite get on as far as they could have.
Still we are there now. The whole frame looks great, I’m very happy with the space in the eaves and in the hip ends will prove very useful and make it much easier to maintain things. The key problem I have yet to fully bottom out is fixing the windows – but I’m working on it!
I have uploaded some photos to my Google+ account and also some Video files to YouTube from my Time Lapse camera. The latter has been quite good but I have had some teething troubles in that firstly the USB stick was formatted as FAT so had a max file size of 256Mb and then the batteries seemed to go flat really quickly so I missed some of the best bits of the roof going up. I have put in some lithium batteries so when the Oak goes up next week it should all work properly. Still, it is quite interesting! These links are to albums or playlists so will be added to over time.
So the day arrived – but the frame didn’t – well not when it was supposed to anyway.
The frame was supplied by u-roof based in Yorkshire. There had been a huge amount of discussion as to how to deliver it. The issue was that the total frame was 7 ‘stillages’ or carrying frames which a) did not fit on an artic, and b) would need a degree of crane or HIAB to unload them. I had hedged against such a situation so the full additional cost would not come to me as it was well over the agreed haulage price. However, the result was that there would be a single load of the heavy panels and joists (3 stillages) and 2 deliveries of 2 stillages each of the lighter panels.
The plan was that the heavy delivery would be up first thing on Tuesday with a light load later in the day. I had agreed with U-Roof for some site assistance as this was a new system for Brian Edwards, with Mark arriving Tuesday lunchtime giving a max of 3 1/2 days assistance. To cut a long story short, the haulage company had collected the frame and then cross-loaded it. However, instead of loading it the same way, they simply lifted off and loaded. The end result was that the heavy gear was now on the top (you can see where this is going) and also failed to strap it properly. Well the guy got about 30 miles before one of the stillages broke under the strain! End result the light stuff arriveb, but the main delivery did not until Wednesday morning. That lost time has been critical.
The Frame Arrives Eventually
However, once it has arrived, the intial frame simply shot up!
End of Day 1
Well it has taken 2 weeks from blockwork complete to getting the slab poured. The rain has been relentless and really slowed us down. We got to last Friday Morning and Eddie suggested he would have to cancel the concrete on Monday as we would not be ready. As the Frame was coming on Tuesday that was simply not an option. So Karen and I spent most of the weekend laying insulation. Thankfully it was largely dry so we managed it.
So Ready for concrete! Thankfully the weather was kind to us, the pump worked and the concrete came as required.
Concrete and Pump for the Slab
Well we have started on the plot at last and between rain of Noah’s Ark proportions we have managed to get the Foundations complete. I bought a time lapse camera a Brino Garden Watch which is good but played up on me for the first few days. new batteries anad a reading of the instructions have helped. I have uploaded some files to YouTube. they are quite good fun but it is difficult to ensure the camera faces exactly the right way! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klF_0rtAPss
The groundworkers Eddie and Graham (Expert Excavations) rang on the morning of Wed 11th July “By the way, we are starting today”. Now normally this would not be an issue but as we were just about to go away ourselves for 3 days there was a arrrrgh moment. At least I had cleared away all of the junk that was lying about, the wall was down, BT duct in and line moved and had moved the container so it was out of the way (so I thought).
The first days were devoted to clearing off the topsoil, levelling the back of the garden and putting in some hardcore for a roadway on and off. Billy Walker came out on Sunday to mark out the site ready for the dig.
Unfortunately they did not get quite as far as they might have so that the mesh was delivered on Monday and digging started on Tuesday and 8M3 concrete poured. I was insistent that the foundations were dug and filled on the same day and that proved a wise move as on Wednesday (18th July) we had a massive amount of rain all day completely flooding the foundations.
Thursday was therefore spent pumping out although they did get some more dug and filled with another 6M3 even though they got the dumper stuck which David found most amusing. Overall the ground conditions were very mixed with some areas needing only a minimum dig while others went down quite a way and needed additional depth of concrete to make them secure.
Friday – more concrete (6 M3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g_7_uYPdek
Sat 21st July – clear some of the muck away.
Another 2 days (more rain) and the concrete was complete. Cue the Brickies! George & co started at the end of the week and continued into the next. We of course had gone off to the Olympics but they seemed to manage OK without me and by the time I came back, Eddie was well underway with the drains.