Conservatory Re-Build – Day 11


Here we are, Thursday and Day 11 of the re-build. The guys turned up and unloaded their van.

The first of the new frames were installed ….

Conservatory - Utility Room door and window frames are in
Conservatory – Utility Room door and window frames are in
Conservatory - windoww sills in place awaiting the windo frames
Conservatory – window sills in place awaiting the window frames

Unfortunately, the weather was against us and rain stopped play, or rather, build.

So the guys finished unloading their van and departed for a job where they could work under cover. They’ll be back tomorrow to try to turn this pile of miscellaneous metal plastic parts into a conservatory…….

Conservatory - The kit (puzzle) lays ready for assembly
Conservatory – The kit (puzzle) lays ready for assembly

Drismal


Here we are and it’s Day 8 of our conservatory re-build and we have been really lucky with the weather since the works started. The only rain, so far, has had the decency to hold off until the end of the working day. Sprinkling while the guys have been packing up. Seems our luck has run out and this morning is starting out dull, with a light drizzle, a condition I like to describe as drismal. So it’s on with the jackets for Bob and Simon, the brickies, suitably fortified with a hot cup of tea.

So I have been pondering the economics of home construction work and have come to realise that an essential item has been missed from our costing.

Tea !!!

Or rather I should say Tea, Milk and Sugar. It seems the great british workman is fuelled by sweet tea.

During a normal week we consume perhaps 30 – 40 tea bags, 1 – 1.5 pints of milk and no sugar assuming no sweet toothed visitors.

However, consumption has ramped up significantly and seems to be running at around 64 tea bags, 3 pints of  milk and around 500 grams of sugar. This is just a rough guesstimate as the number of bods on site fluctuates. There is just the two of us but the workers vary from two to four and all but one drink their tea in the “white with two sugars” mix hence the sugar explosion.

And so I issue a word or two of advice to those considering a significant construction project on their own back door…..

If you want to keep them sweet, don’t forget to factor in the costs of providing regular teas to your workers.

Conservatory Re-Build – Day 7


What a difference a day makes……

Conservatory - View down the side access. We need taller brickies to finish this wall.
Conservatory – View down the side access. We need taller brickies to finish this wall.
Conservatory - close up of the meshing of old and new bricks. Not a bad match for the bricks compared to the original build.
Conservatory – close up of the meshing of old and new bricks. Not a bad match for the bricks compared to the original build.
Conservatory - view showing the window pillars starting to grow. You can also see that the wall repair has been completed.
Conservatory – view showing the window pillars starting to grow. You can also see that the wall repair has been completed.
Conservatory - view  across "siskin henge". You can see just how wide the bi-fold door aperture is going to be.
Conservatory – view across “siskin henge”. You can see just how wide the bi-fold door aperture is going to be.
Conservatory - looking a little less like a builders yard. Once the base is completed I guess all the pallets will go. Then it will be time for glass and plastic to be delivered.
Conservatory – looking a little less like a builders yard. Once the base is completed I guess all the pallets will go. Then it will be time for glass and plastic to be delivered.

Conservatory Re-Build – Day 6


Not much to report for yesterdays progress. The brickwork at the utility room end is up to the level where the new back door will be fitted.

Conservatory - End wall viewed from the side passage.
Conservatory – End wall viewed from the side passage.
Conservatory - End wall viewed from the kitchen door, looking out.
Conservatory – End wall viewed from the kitchen door, looking out.

At the opposite end, adjacent to the back door where the old conservatory had pulled the bungalow brickwork out of the vertical, repair work is almost complete.

Conservatory - Bungalow wall repair.
Conservatory – Bungalow wall repair.

The repairs would have been completed, were it not for the super hard screws used to secure the bedroom window. There were two and they seemed impervious to both of my hack saws, even with new blades fitted. Craig arrived early this morning and made short work of the screws using a mini disc cutter.

In the picture you can see that two different types of bricks are being used. Those nearest the door will not be seen when work is finished as the interior walls are being plastered. For those nearest the window frame and down they are reusing the original bricks as they are exterior to the conservatory and will be visible.

Conservatory - Kitchen Door Fixing. This explains why the door stayed vertical while the wall was pulled out when the old conservatory shifted.
Conservatory – Kitchen Door Fixing. This explains why the door stayed vertical while the wall was pulled out when the old conservatory shifted.

This picture shows how Barratt Homes fit doors in timber frame houses. Obviously it is robust enough but to my untrained eye it seems a little flimsy. After all it is plastic, not metal.

Bob and Anton are back this morning and are now, much to everyone’s surprise, to be assisted by Simon, another bricky. So the brickwork should progress quite nicely.

Conservatory Re-Build – Day 5


Here are just a few pictures to show progress so far. Nothing much to say as the day was event free. The guys just got on and laid bricks and blocks.

Conservatory - The beginnings of the end wall. The garage side wall has been prepared for the building of a support pillar.
Conservatory – The beginnings of the end wall. The garage side wall has been prepared for the building of a support pillar.
Conservatory - Opposite end, where you can see the beginnings of the pillars which will separate the three full height windows.
Conservatory – Opposite end, where you can see the beginnings of the pillars which will separate the three full height windows.
Conservatory - The long wall, here you can see where the utility room window and door will be.
Conservatory – The long wall, here you can see where the utility room window and door will be.

We had a sprinkling of rain towards the end of the day, thankfully not enough to stop work. By close of play yesterday they were up to the DPC.

Apparently, todays main task is the end wall which is full height cavity with no doors or windows to break up the brick runs.

More later.

The New Conservatory Begins


After a well-earned weekend break the team from Executive are back on site and working. Gone are Anton and Angus, replaced by Bob and Connor. Still under the watchful eye of Craig.

I’ll say one thing for these guys, they arrive early and get underway pretty soon after, allowing for the time obviously. No machines until 08:00.

Starting today is the base brickwork, so compressor and pneumatic drill were picked up around 07:00 and shortly after cement mixer and barrows were delivered.

I’ll post pictures later today when there is something to see.

First Footings


Day four and the guys have worked really hard. A little bit of hand digging to finish off the footings trench then it was on to preparing the steel reinforcements.

Conservatory - Steel re-inforcement for the footings
Conservatory – Steel reinforcement for the footings

The picture above also shows the first barrow load of concrete poured into the trench.

Conservatory - Concrete delivery
Conservatory – Concrete delivery

The guys had to barrow all the concrete round from the front of the house to the back.

Conservatory - Barrowing concrete
Conservatory – Barrowing concrete

Two deliveries later and the footings were complete…

Conservatory - We have footings
Conservatory – We have footings

In between concrete deliveries the grab truck returned to remove the last of the spoil and the mini digger was collected and taken away. We have also had a delivery of bricks.

The guys now have a the weekend off. Back on Monday morning to start laying the brick base.

“Where’s yer stop-cock Bob?”


The ground preparation for the conservatory build carries on apace. The digger arrived early yesterday morning and, along with a pneumatic drill, was soon put to work digging out the old footings.

Conservatory - The mini digger
Conservatory – The mini digger

However, proceedings came to an abrupt halt when the kitchen drain was discovered and the pipe cracked.

Conservatory - One cracked and repaired drain pipe.
Conservatory – One cracked and repaired drain pipe.

This was duly repaired and the work continued.

Continued, that is, until lunch-time when I was asked … “where’s yer stop-cock Bob ?” Apparently the guy with the pneumatic drill had managed to crack both of the water pipes which supplied the old utility room.

Work once again stopped while parts were obtained from the local hardware store and repairs made. With the water supply made secure and cold water feed once more live my wife and I headed off out to lunch.

The Pavillion, Stansted House
The Pavillion, Stansted House

After a very pleasant, leisurely, lunch with my granddaughter and great-granddaughter at The Pavillion Tearoom, Stansted House we returned home.

What a difference a couple of hours can make. The guys were pretty much finished for the day, just tidying up. The digger had been put to good use and apart from some hand digging the footings were dug.

Conservatory - Digging of footings almost complete
Conservatory – Digging of footings almost complete

The picture doesn’t really show the actual depth but the trench is around four feet deep.

During the afternoon, while we were out, a grab truck had arrived and taken away a load of the spoil from the trench. A second visit is scheduled for later today.

What the picture also doesn’t show is that the guys managed to break up another drain pipe during the excavations. This one being the drain for the washing machine and sink in the old utility room. This one will be made good once the new build and plumbing begins.

Apparently, this last drain was not the only casualty of the day as while using the digger the step under the garage door was caught and the brickwork knocked back. A piece of brick was dislodged and landed on the head of one of the guys. He is fine but does have a mark on his head.

The great British workman is a tough breed. I would have had to go lie down in a darkened room.

And so work continues. The steel reinforcing mesh was delivered yesterday and the guys are going get that in place ready for concrete to be poured. Let’s see how they get on.

Further Adventures In Conservatory Land


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Huh !! These footings were supposed to be at lease a meter deep. They are barely the depth of the spade. The tip of the spade is just under the concrete footings.

The longer we delve into the construction of our old conservatory, the more we find out just how crap a job was carried out by the previous contractor all those years ago.

I guess we are lucky that it stood for twenty-five years.

Conservatory - The final wall is down.
Conservatory – The final wall is down.

Based on this mornings investigations it has been decided that the old footings will have to be dug out completely. I’m guessing that is probably the best course of action.

So, to keep up the momentum a mechanical digger is being brought in to dig out the new footings. Also a “grab truck” has been booked to take away the spoils.

To get the mechanical digger round to our back garden we have had to remove my neighbours fence. Thankfully we have good neighbours.

Conservatory - Neighbours fence removed. Large holes in garage wall.
Conservatory – Neighbours fence removed. Large holes in garage wall.

The holes in the garage wall are as a result of the original builders keying the conservatory wall into the existing garage wall. When the conservatory shifted over the last twenty-five years it snapped quite a few bricks. They will have to be replaced as part of the new build.

Tomorrow will be another fun day in Conservatory Land.

Resurrection – A Tale Of Two Conservatories


Over the last couple of years I have been posting under the banner “View From The Conservatory”.

I thought it was probably time I showed you where my observations originated from. My main reason for this is the fact that we are knocking it down. To be replaced with a new bright shiny one.

Here is a picture to give you some idea……

Conservatory
Conservatory

This structure was built around twenty-five years ago. The company that built it had not, so we found out later, done a very good job. Unfortunately, they also went bust before it was completed. The build was completed under the supervision of the “Official Receiver” and needless to say the “10 year warranty” never materialised.

Over the following twenty-five years the conservatory has been slowly falling down, due to the poor preparation of the ground and subsidence of the footings. The conservatory has been slowly trying to pull away from our house and worse, one corner in particular, has been dropping presumably due to the clay base of the soil. Needless to say we also suffered leaks, sometimes emulating waterfalls, and draughts.

Conservatory
Conservatory

The photo above is the last view of the inside with all the carpets and most of the furniture removed. The patchwork on the floor is as a result of my trying to level the floor. You can just see that the two doors are out of alignment if you look at the handles and to the left you can just see the ivy which is constantly trying to invade.

The doors haven’t, until a couple of weeks ago, been opened for something like three years. Primarily because they were such a job to close again. Also, I had stuck gaffer tape all round the frames to cut down the draughts coming through the gaps. The seals were so out of alignment I could get my fingers through to the outside world.

Anyway, that is all in the past, as the next photos show.

Conservatory - No Glass
Conservatory – No Glass
Conservatory - No Roof
Conservatory – No Roof
Conservatory - No Frames, Just the partition wall.
Conservatory – No Frames, Just the partition wall.
Conservatory - No Frames,  partition wall has gone. Apparrently, halfway through the build, the original bricklayers decided to lay the bricks upside down i.e. frog side down !!!
Conservatory – No Frames, partition wall has gone. Apparrently, halfway through the build, the original bricklayers decided to lay the bricks upside down i.e. frog side down !!!
Conservatory - All gone barring the end cavity wall.
Conservatory – End of Day 1 – All gone barring the end cavity wall.

Tasks for day two – knock down the remaining end wall, start exploring existing footings to see if they can stay or if the whole existing base has to come up. Either way new strengthening and stabilising footings have to be created before any new build can be started.

Stay tuned for the next steps.