It’s been a busy one, this week, and a pretty monumental one to boot. Not least because we now have the structure of a roof – and never have I seen a finer one.
I’m just trying to work out how long ago the lattice beams were put in place, it seems like an age ago (‘A week’s a long time in project managing’, says Rich, sagely) but actually, it was ten o’clock, Monday morning. Stu, Paul and Julian have really cracked on this week. The size of the lattice beams caused a bit of a headache last week – especially with the extra space the thatcher asked for – working out where the beams needed to go caused a bit of head scratching and really, the answer was to ‘wait til they’re up there’. I think Stu was a bit concerned about swinging eleven metres of steel around those gable ends. Still, if they came down, they came down. As it happened, putting the beams in was one of the easiest jobs so far.
Gary and Justin from Ratcliffes rocked up, got their crane ready, listened to where they needed to go and how they got there (in slightly more simple terms – over the top of the gables, in from the other side, one end then the other, positioned, then let down gently). Fortunately, there wasn’t even a whisper of a breeze. Justin (in the crane) and Gary (giving him direction) made the whole job look easy. Like, what’s to worry about. They chained up the beams, picked them up, put them in place. Simple as that. Much as I’m sure people want some drama, there wasn’t any. They even fitted!
After a nice cup of tea, we said adios to the crane – they’ll be back when we put up the SIPS panels, and the boys started properly working out where the beams should go. Stu had put some long concrete bearers in so we could slide the beams back and forward to fit. But they weren’t quite long enough. Bummer. They needed to be moved further towards the centre of the house – which meant jacking up the beams, thumping the bearer with a hammer to break the seal and moving it along to fit. Bit of a pain, but finally Stu got it all sorted, levelled the beams and, ta da, we had some structure back in the house!
From then on, there was no stopping them. Within two days, all the timbers had been cut, put in the roof, secured into place and bolted down. I also got to have a go with the nail gun – excellent. It really is quite something – Stu reckons it’s probably the finest roof his built, it may well be a little over-engineered but what the hell, if you’re going to do something…
Standing on the first floor and the whole place has changed its dynamic. Although it hasn’t been boarded out, if you stand in a certain place, the rafters run together and give the illusion of being a solid line. Although we haven’t changed the configuration of the original rooms, it gives us an idea of what they’ll be like as finished spaces. Thoroughly lovely 😉
Next week, all the fireboarding is going on and it’ll be felted, battened and counter-battened. Although it doesn’t actually need the felt, until the thatcher is able to come, it’ll keep it weatherproof and protected from the elements. After that, the interior floor will come out, the chimneys are being rebuilt, the lintels are going in and stonework being continued (including that dodgy corner that needs taking out). Still plenty to do!
The groundworkers are starting next Monday – which’ll be a project changer. Things are going to start really motoring again. I haven’t got a date for the SIPS panels yet – we’re still batting preliminaries back and forward, but if they can deliver early to mid-October, then the Christmas target is still a goer.
Anyway, must dash, I’ve got to go brick-hunting – nothing better than spending a Friday afternoon wandering round building yards, looking for the perfect brick! Living the dream at the Fenbilly 😉