September 22, 2008

Some advertising :)

Said I had better give our own company a push on here especially with the downturn, who knows someone might be interested in some Estimating or Financial software for their construction company. We are specific currently to the UK and Ireland markets but this will broaden over time so if anyone outside of this area want to look at it no problems.

We have had enquiries from Sweden and Greece also which we will look into. Also Canada and the USA have expressed an interest.

The links are below:

Thanks :)

August 23, 2008

A little stone picking

Spent 2 hours picking stones. Weather is unreal bad at the moment. I manged to get out to cut the new (er) lawn last night, took a good 40 minutes and that was without collection of the lawn grass.
I am thinking that to get a full cut of 2 two lawns as they stand I will be looking at the guts of over an hour and that is still without almost the same amount of area to be stoned yet.

I managed to get another area, about 30ft sq stone gathered and the grass seed down. Still a good few hours to be done to close off that section, especially when you only have a wheel barrow and rake.

The lad John who did he deck with me is going to now do his daughters, she saw ours and loved it! So had to go a calling to Fergal again!!!!

August 01, 2008

All done!

Well its done, great job!
Dad and John were over and installed the handrail and spindle frames they made up last night. And also installed the timber seat.

It looks very well I have to say. Now its my job to sand the handrail and varnish!!

Have to go tomorrow and buy the kit to install the outdoor lights.

Pics are taken at dusk, so not the best!!!!!

July 31, 2008

Getting there

The lads came over and completed the rest of the deck and put down the skirt around the sides of the deck.
They measured up the sides now for the spindles and handrails.

I installed the rest of the lights so all that is done, need to get an external box now, 2 four gang sockets and and external socket for under the seat! Just in case!!!!

The lights look well now when on!!

July 30, 2008

Day 4 - All decking down

The lads were over again today.
They did very well completing another section of the deck boards.

AS you can see the rain drove them home today, at the end of the day they are doing me a massive favour so I was not going to argue!!!!!

You can get a better idea of the pattern now and the lights from the pictures below.

Problem with the washing machine, not sure what, its outside now for some "operation" :)

Could be the brushes!!!!

July 29, 2008

Day 3 - In the deck brother house hold

John and Dad were over again, finished off the final noggings and started the decking of section 1.
I called back to them at lunch and they were making great progress. Made the lads their soup and headed back.
When I came back they had all section 1 done. I was delighted. Then my job was, on crutches, to get the lights in section 1 installed. I decided that the transformers were going to be installed in the corner. I over the period of about 3 hours I installed the cabling for all 5 transformers, you can see the black cables below in the picture.

Each transformer has 4 lights in it. Each light has a 3m cable run to the "housing" on the end of the cable which returns to the transformer, these cables are 12m in lenght.

So by the end of today I had some of the lights installed also.

July 27, 2008

Decking Day 2

Was out for a bit of food last night with my sister and brother-in-law. Went to The Plaza,top notch food and the wine was not bad either ;)

So did not rise until 10am. Bit late I know!!! :)

So the idea today was to tighten down the deck, put the legs and nogging in place and the posts up.
My ankle was playing up today so it slowed me down big time. I decided that I would cover each of the feet with a dpc, stapled onto it. I had some left over. You can see what I did in the photos below.

With all the legs in and the noggings cut out we progressed to also nailing these in, while we had the nail gun.

The seat also went in today. The idea was to have a little table in the corner. The seat is 14ft long.

The posts are all bolted in, and noggings to the side of each, to totally secure them

I had to retire early so John and Dad worked away until 5pm

July 26, 2008

Decking day 1

Dad and John were due at 10am. I was at this stage meant to have got the nails, wood protector, nail gun, nails, brackets etc! But on crutches I was meant to be off! No chance.

Into the car, dumped the crutches and hobbles around NCF and Heiton buckleys for the stuff.

Paslode nails 48 euro. Deck screws, 60mm, were 21 euro for 500.
100mm wire nails were a tenner. 12" bolts were 30 cents each.

Nail gun to rent per day, 40 euro in Castlebar, 25 in Westport (Duffy plant hire), figure that out!

Anyway the lads got there and we started.

Supplies wise.

I got 37 joists, 88 deck boards, 8 lenghts of handrails, 88 spinds and 8 posts. Dad and John had taken the spinds and post and routed them witha pattern for effect and they looked well.

So we decided on 3 sections, about 8ft * 14ft each. Middle section running the opposite way, this mean that the centre joists were 2400mm long, meaning that out of joists 4800mm long we got 2 centres.
Joists onto the walls were express nailed in, with a drop of 1" fall outwards. Then the lads started cutting like hell with the chop saw while I measured and hobbled around, Dad given out every few minutes!!!!

Anyway as you can see we progress very well on day one, no supports or noggings. Thats tomorrow!!!
Off for me to get the ice!! and work out the lights.

I bought 20 LED deck lights off ebay for 142 euro. Not bad :)
It wil be a setup of 4 lights on each transformer.

More on that later

A close view from the door

3 separate frames, as you can the middle one will be the opposite direction

The corner was cut off to take the edge off it. Note the lawn growing in the back ground :)

View from the sun room door. Noggings and legs to go in yet.

July 24, 2008

Bit of a disaster

After about 2 months in the planning and help in place I decided to do the ligaments in my ankle tonite.
Very easy done, I pushed off after giving a bad pass and as I did my ankle went down into a hole in the ground and cracked. I knew straight away that things were not good as the tingling it in was weird and I had no feeling.

I had also bought a bike from my mate Adrian, he was to leave it to me tonite and I was to cycle it home. Idea is to cycle to work, 5.5 miles each way. It would help to reduce the weight, as 4 months out with a groin injury was no help.

So up to A&E and out in 30 mins with crutches, "keep it up for a few days, on crutches for 2 weeks and out for 6-8" , great!!!!

SO I rang the lads to cancel but they were adamant that they were going to work!!!!

July 17, 2008

Another day of stones

After about 4 attempts today we managed to get the machine and rake another section of the site, the area is about 100ft long by about 30/50 ft wide at its widest.
Myself and Michael got stuck in and Dad arrived about 10.30am, fair play to him after doing the papers.
Gerry was due to arrive also but did not manage it due to drink commitments the previous, but he arrived at 2pm and that helped push on the job.
We actually got through it fairly fast, unfortunatley my cracked rib was killing me but had to bear it to get the work done.
So Michael or his Dad Sean raked with the machine and then we pulled back the small stones.
The lads had to go at 4pm and I managed to rid of Dad then also as I could see he was struggling and he had a days work done before he ever arrived.
So what was done today about 1/2 of what was orginally left. Sean called over about 7pm and we seeded what was done.
I then watered it and put up the "Bird protectors" :) Also known as strips of plastic on a stick!!!!
While I was outside I also measured up for the deck, after a year of promising the funds were there to do the work and I started to price around.
For 24 sqm of deck, I was getting quotes of about 1000 euro, thats for standard posts, spindles etc.
I was away with a friend of mine in Rome at a wedding and we got talking about what I was doing, he is is involved with timber processing and he needed me to do some website work for him so we "bartered" :)
Anyway, when he got back he got me a quote of 540!!!! I near died!
So when I heard that I decided to "grow the deck a little!! So now its gone to near 33 sqm.
Deck is 14ft wide, 24ft long and the creeps around the back of the house.
Dad and John are going to be involved again.
I tiled Johns daughters house as payback for all the work he did here.
I will throw up a few pics of it below.

Pretty poor pic of the lawn but you get the idea :)

Simple tiling here, but she liked the idea of the brick effect. Instead of individual borders we just cut large mosaic tiles into strips. Cheaper option

Just another different view.
This was one of 2 bathrooms and then 24 sq yards of kitchen floor.

May 10, 2008

Stone Picking the day away!!!!

I am sitting here and can barely stay awake, its been a long long day but I decided to end it with a nice can of cold draught Guiness :)

Started the morning working for my Dad at 5.30am, he delivered papers and for some reason the setup was poor this morning with papers and bundles missing so I was out until 9.45am, luckily my sister Marian was with me in her motor otherwise I would not have finished until 11am.

Georgeous morning, very sunny, so got a quick breakfast and was out and ready to start stone picking at 11am.
I bought a "Landscapers Rake" yesterday in NCF, its about 3ft wide with a long handle, also bought a fork, the two cost me 70 notes, so bit pricey. Also I enquired about the grass seed there and was told it was going to cost me 100 euro to cover the whole 3/4 acre.

The area I was to start with is 60ft by 20ft, roughly. I found that there was serious amount of stones, but I got stuck in and did my "molly Malone" and wheeled my wheel barrow etc.

Sean the next door neighbour and plant owner came over to investigate and suggested I get out a mini digger with rake.
He had one out so he got hold of it for me and with the rake buckets he started to tear into the area, I had at this stage probably 20 odd barrows of stone removed.
But once he got stuck in he took out in or about 30 mini digger buckets of "Skutch grass" and stones.
But it still needed to be covered by me also. So I also raked it for another 3 hours with him.

Then he came back with it and levelled it with the bucket of the digger. Again we took off another 5 buckets of stone, then he returned the machine.
To hire a machine like that is 140 euro but it costs 40 euro to transport!!!! Pricey for the day.

So I had to re-rake and re-level it again with my "super rake". I went in for a bit to eat at 6pm. Out again for 6.30pm and started the re-rake. Sean, fair play to him came out about 7.30pm again and between us spent another 1.5 hours raking and levelling.
I told him to head off home as we had 90% of it done and we also had the side section done, about 4ft wide by 40ft.
So at 9.30pm I finally finished so we are ready to seed this section. Considering that this section is 111 sq m , what remains is over 900 sq m then we are a LONG way off :)

I will try and take a pic of this tomorrow, that if I can walk. Working a 5.30am so I will be gimped!!!
Over and out

May 06, 2008

Kerbing,leveling and finishing

So once the lads had a done the wall I had to gather up all the timber and try and tidy up the site, it was a mess but still lacking shape and it was hard to motivate ourselves to get ready for seeding.

I had done a little research on hedges, tress etc and then decided it was time to try and get the hedging done, it was decided that Escolonia was a very good option. I borrowed Seans tracktor and started to shovel loads of soil into the transport box and make a 10" 2ft wide bank for the hedging all along the railway line, 92m to be precise, but once I had 18 loads done my dodgey groin was killing me, been out of soccer for 9 weeks now getting physio but with little joy, doing the basic work is now killing me so picking stones will be some challenge!! :)

Anyway, Sean approached me and told me that if I wanted to get the kerbing done that he could have a machine and men to me for the last week of April, they would also soil up the whole site and get outside the wall done with gravel and also the drive in the house with maintanence.

He said to also save me a lot of work he could get the machine driver to build bank 2 ft high and 3ft wide for me to hedge on, this was going to be great.

So they kept to their word and myself and Sean set out the kerbing on the Sunday for the lads to start on the Tuesday. They had all kerbing done in 2 days and then spent the next 4 days drawing soil and fill to to the site to try and level and soil the whole site. As you can see from the pictures below it made some changes.

The container was going to be a problem, it was planked right in the way of the work, so the decision was made to move it. Dad came over on the Bank Holiday Monday and we set up a base for it.

The Micheal used their 30 ton machine and chains and we moved it to its new home :) Nothing fell out of it!!!!

Then I spent the next couple of hours moving block, timber and other crap to the new site. It left a full run for the lads to fill it up. Luckily for me Sean donated about another 12 loads of soil, black bog soil to the back of the house. Hard to see it from the pictures but it is black!!!!

So I now have a gap of 70 ft odd to fill between the stone wall and the railway line. I did some pricing today.

Chain link, 70 euro for a 35m roll of wire.

12 concrete stakes, 10 euro each.

Then the other options was the panels, I have 9 panels already and 12 stakes. So I need to sit down and work out the budget :)

The plan now is also to price the decking, Siobhan would love a place to be able to sit and chat with our families, at the minute we have nothing so I will price that and again check our budget. Since January we have pumped about 12k into the site, a lot of money.

I have now to spend many days now working the rest of the site, about .7 acres!!!!! It will be fun!

View along the side of the house, all along this side is 92m!!! Side is in or about 30ft wide at the narrowest point.

Front of the site, with the kerbing down and panelsKerbing at front.
A good view of the panels

Images of the back of the house, container moved as you can see.

Picture from 1/2 way down the back. That on the right is a raised bank which I will plant hedging on.

Down the back, side panels also as you can see:

May 01, 2008

Its been a while

Been a quite few months to a year :) Cannot say we had done a lot with our patch but after much huff and puff we finally got ourselves back on track.

We started initially back in the middle of last year with a chat to girl called Paula Halpin in Westport re doing a landscape plan for us.
She sat us down asked what we wanted, we told her our thoughts and she came back a week later with a full drawn, taken off our CAD drawns outline drives, lawns, garden patches, hegding, flower beds, decking, paving, kerbing etc. Cost us 150 notes but to be honest it is well worth it as we have a goal now to aim for.

Back then at the beginning of the year I finally got Sean and his lads to come in and level the place off.
There was a load of fill to go in to pull up the back of the house to the near required level before soiling.
Over the next 3 weeks they left in 30 loads of fill to rise up the back and sides of the house.

Then the decision was also made to put a boundary between myself and Sean.
The options were hedge, fence, post and rail, blocks or concrete panels.

The panels in the end were the best and quickest option, with Seans lads able to do the lot of the work we would split the costs on the 50m run.
The panel are 6ft long and 1ft high, we used min of 4 and max of 5 panels high per run. Each panel cost 13 euro each ex vat and also 13 euro per each of the concrete posts which house the panels. The panels are stone effect on one side and plain on the other.
The work itself took about 8 days to do but it was an A1 job which really changed the whole face of the site.

Next up was the front wall. We have a run of 192ft from side to side along the front of the wall. Planning had it noted that we need to have 60ft of stone frontage. I weighed it up and decided that we would use up 125ft of the side with stone faced wall.
I got Sean to put the foundations in and then we were going to block it ourselves, well we did until I was told that a lad would block the lot of it for 290 euro, which was spot on, working out about 70 cent per block.
This changed the whole frontage big time.

The next job was to find someone to do the stone. The original stone masons were no longer working so I had to search about. I got a lad who said he was a good stone mason, brought to work he did and sure enough it looked spot on. Put a price of 3900 euro on it.
So I told him to match the house, got him his bags of cement (4.35 per bag) and 10 ton of sand.
So I left him to it, was working late so it was difficult to see progress, that was until my next door neighbour asked me “Did you spot the stonework”, my answer was “Ya, it looks spot on” but when he asked me did I “really see it” I was worried.
So next day I headed out after lunch to see “the stone work”. I nearly collapsed, how should I put it, if you were to give the work to a 1 handed blind man then you may get better. So to summarise, I got shot of him and spent all one Saturday pulling the lot down with a sledge hammer. So it had to start again.

I got a number then of a lad who I gave UFH advice to for Lithuian lads, Mindy. He arrived with a portfolio of maybe 50 photos and had his tape and measured and priced. He quote me initially 4800 for the stone work and 5400 to also cap the wall.
After a little discussion we arrived at a price of 4500 to do the whole lot, including capping.
So I then got delivery of 45 bags of cement and I already had the sand. It would be 6 weeks before they were able to start.

Then one morning about 2 weeks later I got a call from Mindy to ask me if he could start tomorrow as he had been let down on the delivery of stone!!!!! I near had panic attack J I had no cement delivered and no pallets of stone, which I agreed with Mindy I would get.
So I rang Sweeneys down the Newport road to see if they could deliver and sure enough within 2 hours they had the cement landed. The lads had enough sand and stone to work away with.

So off they set. The worked from about 7am to 5pm most days, Saturdays and Sundays 1/2 days.
To watch these guys work was a joy to say the least, they would spend hours chipping and shaping, no angle grinders or con saws.
They lads were eating up the stone, I had intended to buy 2 pallets of stone at 150 euro per 2 ton pallet.
Mindy wanted 4 pallets! So I was looking at 600 spots for 8 ton of stone!

I rang and chatted to them there. They said they could deliver to me no bother but then asked me would I have any use for a full load? A full load is 20 tons at 950 euro cash so I decided that for 350 euro more I would get 12 ton, so no real decision. They delivered, made a drop at either side of the gate and the rest of the back.

The lads wrapped up the whole job in 2 weeks, 4 of them. The returned a week later, took down all the casing they used for the caps.
They also then proceed to chip away all waste mortar and clean down the whole wall with a mortar clearer!! Now that’s a service!!
Below is pictures I took during the site fill, the wall build and you can just spot the panels.