May 30, 2005

House Goes Up - Part 3

Day 3 -
Day 3 involved setting out the studding upstairs and finishing off the dormers, putting on the gable ladders and tying it all in.

I discussed with Mark a price for felting and he said he would do it for me if I got him some nails for his nail gun, got the spec off him and off I set.

Fkn things cost me 130 euros for the 75mm nails. nearly died with the price of them

Told him I would get them to him the following morning.

The guys who I was to get the windows off Mahons called to me to measure the windows and doors, spent an hour measuring and settling on a small details.

Told me to expect delivery for the 21st of June, expected them to probably sometime that weeks

May 26, 2005

Timber Framers on Holidays!

Arrived on site Thursday morning, no sign of lads, rang them and they said they were gone into town for rain gear, it was hammering it down!

Came back after work, no sign of the lads, one car there but no sign, still pissing it down, so I took no heed.

Friday - We had a wedding so I called after it with pasode (spelling!!) nails for the lads, Still no sign of lads, again raining!

Saturday - Car still there, no work done - phone call "Hello Mark, remember me the house I am paying you to erect and felt......... Yes sorry we got caught on another job, will be down to finish it off on Monday!

May 25, 2005

House Goes Up - Part 2

DAY 2:
On my way to work at 8.30am I said I would call by the site to have a look, bit like a kid with a new toy!!.
As I approached I noticed a lorry parked up, it was the trusses!

I rang Clarkes and asked what the story was, they informed me that they managed to get them on the road earlier that expected and that they were there,
I told them that my lads would not be on site until 11am and that the crane would be sitting.

I rang the boys and they were in the cot, said they would be there in 1.5 hours.

That evening but was pleasantly suprised when I arrived on site to see the roof in place and the dormer shaped.

The weather was absolutely bucketing it down, it was mad but fair play to the lads they kept at it.

I left them to it and they managed to get rid of the crane and it's unhappy Polish driver at 9.30pm!!

May 24, 2005

The House Goes Up!! - Part 1

Was up this morning at 7am, out of need/excitement/worry. The excitement because we had waited so so long for this day and so much planning had gone into it, now it was here it was good.
The worry was in relation to the scaffolding, was it setup correctly for the lads and was it secure enough, I was told by the lads later that it was spot on and I should have seen what some people classified as scaffolding.
The other worry was in relation to the sole plates layout. As I said before this has to be +/- 5mm, now we had our level and we checked, rechecked and double checked every lenght of timber before they were nailed.

About 1 mile before the turn off to the site I meet an artic with a TF kit on the back, I spotted it and said to myself someone else must be getting a TF kit delivered.
I arrived on site and the crane was there, a Polish lad driving it, no English at all, he asked me if I was "you manager" and nodded and he said "I drive crane", was going to say to him well I hardly thought you were there to do my tan now!! A great worker from what I heard from the lads. The crane was supplied by Moran Cranes in Castlebar @ 55 Euro per hour EX VAT. This was a 30 Ton crane.

I then received a call from the artic driver, he was near Westport, about 9 miles the wrong side of the site and the lads who were erecting the kit were behind him, so it was a case of shooting back the road to direct them.

I also had to find a place further down the road for the artic to turn.

I walked the raft with Mark Jackson the lad who was going to put the kit up. He was happy out with the sole plate and they were almost 100% level, gave out though that there was one sole plate, a non supporting wall, which had a piece of timber under it to level, I ran out of slate at about 9pm the night before so I could not find any more, I used one piece of timber, cannot please them!!!

I left them to it and headed for work.............

I got a call about 12 from Mark wondering where the roof trusses were, he said they should have arrived at that stage but there was no sign.

I rang Clarkes and they informed me that they would be late and not due until 11am the following morning, so I informed the lads of this and told them there was no point in turning up until this time.

I visited the site after work and got a great buzz to see the work done.

Mark also rang me to tell me that the scaffolding boards on the front and back were too high and to drop them down one level, so out came the hammers and we moved down the 4fts and boards down one level

Pics below....

May 23, 2005

Sole Plate

I had Monday off and at 8am I was ready to roll, my neighbour Sean kindly said he would lend me his SDS drill and power.
We setup the power, he also gave me a laser level which going to save us some time.
We got the SDS drill only to discover that the 8mm bit I had was miles to small to use for the large SDS drill so I tripped off into town and rented one (20 euro).

I had got 90mm Express nails and when we started off these were fine but the lowest point one the raft was 1/4 an inch lower than the highest so it was taking 3 slates to level it and we decided to get a box of 120mm express nails and these did the trick.
What you have to install a sole plate is so that the when the timber frame arrives you can leave it on the sole plate and nail into it. The sole plate has to be level within +/- 5mm.
The way you get level is you find the highest point on the raft or soap bar in our case and you take your levels off this. With the "pro" level we had it beeped when we were level.
To get the sole plate level you have to put slate underneath, it cannot be timber as it compresses.
you then drill your soleplate at 600mm centres and express nail into the soleplater and soap bar, believe me you will not move this!!

With the help of my da and our mate John slowly but surely we made progress. We had to head off to a building site to get more scrap slate.
Also we had to get more scaffolding and some 1 & 2 board extenders for the scaffolding.

We finally finished the sole plates about 9pm in terrible conditions with was now about 2 inches of water in the raft and drown like rats but it had to be done.,

The final task was to secure the scaffolding with some 22fts on the gables and tie it all together with 8fts and clets. I also had to put up some more 9fts on the outside of the back and front and handrails on the same.
These were also done and then we had to erect the safety sign. We were absolutely buckled after a long weekend and a 14 hour day but everything was ready to rock.
A nice shower and good feed we well welcomed.

Another early morning awaited me but it was going to be well worth it.

May 22, 2005

Scaffolding Details

Said I would add in a quick note on scaffolding.
I was decided about a year ago that we would purchase the scaffolding between my mate and myself.
The point to note here is that he actually bought it and I gave him a donation towards it, he saved me a small fortune without a doubt.
I also had to buy extra scaffolding before the TF arrived as we did not have enough handrails to keep the lads safe.
So this will mean that I will have one whole tower for the house left for use when ever I need it.

The erect scaffolding you need a number of things.
Legs or timber to rest the 9 fts on.
A hammer.
A level to level the scaffolding.
A monkey wrench to tighten the bolts on the clets.
A head for heights
3 men, you can work with 2 but it is way slower!

You put the 9fts down either on the timber which is left on the ground or on the legs that fit into the 9fts. The legs are better as you can using a spin lock level the scaffolding better than with pieces of timber!!

When you have 2 9fts you then tie them together using a 4ft on the to tie them on the insides and an 8ft on the outside.

Next step is to make sure the scaffolding is level so you get your level and using the spin locks on the legs of the 9fts you level the whole tower.

Then you get another 2 9fts and you connect these to the 8ft attached to the first & 2nd 9fts you put up so that when you have them all put in place you will have one tower.
You get your 8ft planks and you put them on the edge of the four foots and you can then walk on the scaffolding.

Then to get up another level you put in two more 4fts at the top of the 9fts, then connect another 2 8fts, fire up more boards and then you can walk on the top level.

If you have to go up another level you then repeat what we did about, 9fts go on top on the first set of 9fts, then you tie all the 9fts togeher with 8fts.
If the tower is not going to be connected to another tower you put a four foot at the end of the tower to stop people falling off!!!

When you have achieved your required height all the outside of the scaffolding have to have handrails.
What you need to do here is put the 8fts on the outside of the scaffolding tower and also you need to put handrails on the corners of scaffolding if your towers say on the front and back of your house meet up at the corner.
You can tie 8fts to the two towers using clets, this will also tie the whole scaffolding structure together and make it very secure.

On the higher towers, when it goes about 2 towers you need to secure the towers using 12ft diagonals, these are attached to the bottom and top of the scaffolding, tying together 2 towers.

You also need to get a long pole/prop (22ft I think!) and tie it to the scaffolding tower using a clet and ram it into the ground to prevent the towers from failling outwards.

When you are building a timber frame you need to keep the scaffolding out at a minimum 600mm from the frame to allow for over hangs.

When you are back that far you need to get some 1 or 2 board extenders, these are clipped onto the inside of the 9ft and it allows you to place 1 or 2 scaffolding boards on the inside.

I think that is that, if I think of anything else I will update

May 21, 2005

Soap Bars + Scaffolding

So the raft as I said was in, the next job was to get the soap bars installed. This was going to be done by my blocklayer and mate Eamon.
I meet him on site and showed him what had to be done, all external walls need to have a 6" soap bar laid level and the internal support walls needed also be brough up so that the tanalised sole plate could be installed.

I made a decision of leaving out 2 of the walls in the house so that we would have a full lenght of the house to screed from gable to gable without any walls in the way.
I also got him to lay the 6" soap bars for the non supporting walls bar the 2 I left out. These walls would be put in when the final floor was put in.

We noted that there was no sign of the radon barrier and I made this comment to Sean and Michael. They said the raft engineer had left it out of the drawing and that we would put it in with the soapbars, we then decided that since the radon barrier was going to be like an ice rink we would only install the strips on the external and internal walls with an over hang of about 3 foot internally and 4 foot externally.
I did a bit of research and found that some people suggested that the actual raft was sufficent, I made the decision we were not going to go this way and that they radon sump and barrier were to be installed.
Cost about 500 euro for the 2 rolls of barrier and the tape.

I got him 5 ton of sand, couple of bags on cement and he set off on the Tuesday and laid them in a couple of hours.

I then ordered the sole plates. They are 6" * 2" tanalised for the external and support walls and un treated for the non support walls, they came in at 14 euro per 16ft lenght for tanalised and 6 euro per 16ft lenght for the non treated. Even though the internal walls are only 4" I decided to go with 6" inside also.

The scaffolding was beginning to sort itself out in the mean time and it looked like we were on course to take down the scaffolding on my mates house, load it up, take it down to our house (an hour & 1/2 away) and put it up.

On the Friday after work I went to his house, we discovered that the plasters had not fully finished but that we could take down the back only. We did this and were then told that the plasterers had to come back on Sunday and finish off, we were not too happy but they agreed that they would take it down for us.

So we filled the 1st trailer and pickup and headed off, we arrived about 6pm and 2 hours later (with the help of 3 more lads) we had the front of and gable scaffolded and secured.
On the Sunday I had a match in the morning (11am) and when I rang Vinny at 2pm he had loaded up and was on his way down, with the help of another 4 lads we completed the scaffolding and securing about 8pm. A large sigh of relief was breathed, timber was also on site for me to work with the next morning.

May 14, 2005

Raft Foundations - Part 2

So on the 10th the steel was delivered and the work began. A team of about 6 lads set to at 8am and progress was excellent.
I could not do a site visit on the 10th but on the 11th was delighted to see the outline of the house, in steel, but it was great to see.
The lads tied steel and put in the shuttering on the 10th, 11th and 12th.

On the 11th I was in talks with Clarke Homes about the delivery of the kit, this issue I accept was all of my own fault!, when my mate Paul got his kit from Riverview it was delivered on one trailer after midnight and left on site until they were finished.
I contacted Clarkes and told them to deliver on the 17th or early on the 18th and to leave the trailer, I got a bit of a suprise when I was informed that the way that Clarkes do their work is that they deliver on site on the morning 18th and that the crane and lads would have to be there to lift of the panels, then the 2nd trailer would arrive around midday and they would lift off them panels!
The issue here was that the private company I got to erect the kit (saved me 1200 Euro!) were scheduled to arrive on the 19th, the crane was booked for same!!
I asked Clarkes could they deliver on the 19th and they said no lorry was available until the 21st.
I then contacted Mark Jackson (the kit erector) and asked him could he move his dates to the 21st, he said not a hope and that in actual fact he could not make it until the 24th! I was not a happy camper at all.
This had another impact, my mate Tommy was due to felt, batten and slate the house for us, but he was due to leave for the US on the 3rd of June, with these new dates it meant he would not be able to do it and I was down a roofer! Great, not!!!

I told Mark the situation and after some polite words he agreed to also felt and batten the house. So not so bad. I went back to Clarkes and told them that they would have to deliver on the 24th of May and they agreed, so we were off once again.
I got my mate Vinny (works for Clarkes) to give the crane company a ring (Moran Crane Hire) and haggle a price since he used them before and he got me a rate of 55 euro per hour, down from 60.

So then the really panic set in........

Sean commented that he had never seen so much steel in a house as in ours, that the engineer "fairly covered his arse" but with the railway line near it was probably no harm and would save me hours with polyfill over the next 10 years!!
The concrete (35N which was specified by the engineer) was due to be delivered to pour on the Friday but Roadstone could not get a lorry free to deliver to us, not impressed.
Roadstone said the delivery would be made for 8am on Saturday morning, so we agreed that since we now had more time on my hands that this would do.

I visited the site on Saturday morning at 11am and they were finished, was suprised at the speed of their work. So then it was down to me to get the soap bars, sole plates and scaffolding in place for the 24th May.

Raft pics below:

May 07, 2005

Raft Foundations - Part 1

Initially when we started planning the house we intended (as in myself and my dad) to do the foundations ourselves. We had experience (cough cough) of "footings" as we call them from doing a large shed at home and my dad helping out others.
It was going to take careful planning and measuring and remeasuring etc but we were willing to do that. We have 4.5k set aside for the footings.

That was until we cleared the site and myself, Sean and Michael our engineer meet on site and saw the stones and rock that covered the area where the footings were going to be dug. Also with the date of delivery of the kit, May 18th coming closer and closer it was decided that due to time constraints, our proximity to the railway line and more importantly the site conditions that we would go down the line of a raft.

Little did I know the costs involved and that we needed another engineer to do the raft drawings and steel specification. After a few phone calls we managed to get a hold of a lad who said he would do it ASAP and delivered to me in 4 days.
One thing I have learned from this build is that ASAP in my terms and ASAP in the terms of some people is not quite the same, after 3 more calls, a missed site meeting and a visit to his office the drawings arrived. It was May 4th.

I gave the drawings to my neighbour Sean (the digger owner) who also does rafts and he told me that work would start on the 10th May, I was concerned as 8 days later the TF kit was to be delivered, this gave us only 8 days to fix the steel, pour the raft, give it time to dry, lay the soap bars and put on the sole plate, the sweat began to roll!!

Also my mate and myself decided that we would buy scaffolding between us (still owe him the money for it ;)!!!! ) which would save us a small fortune, he was building his own hut and possibly another so it was definately worth his while.
The issue here was that his plasterer let him down big time and he needed the scaffolding and it looked that I would not have scaffolding for the kit! More stress..........