Now well and truly out of the ground, the project continues to be a potent reminder of just how many variables need to be considered when undertaking a refurbishment project. A trusting relationship with the contractor and client are important when events beyond anyone's control require us to devise alternative solutions. Some problems go right back to when the building was first erected in the 1800s.
Excavating the ground floor of the building to improve ceiling heights, we start to see the architectural benefits that the building will ultimately enjoy. The delivery of this has required us to make allowances for connections to a shared drain at the rear of the property, whose location was not confirmed until we opened everything up. While we had roughly located it using trial pits, and worked to this parameter in designing the scope of the new volume, getting drainage from the house to link up with our existing connection was going to be tight.In the end we were closer than we thought, and the setting out of the building came in 150mm to maintain a 100mm corridor between our concrete footings and the shared drain.
They don't tell you about this stuff at school!
Above ground, all the steelwork, roof timber and warm roof build up is in place allowing for the rooflight supplier to come to site and template the upstands on the garden room and side extension. Before this the fibreglass roofing system was laid by Polyroof, having used them on larger comercial jobs such as the Mayfair Hotels, I'd found it favourable as it is a jointless rigid membrane that is fitted on site. This adaptability made it favourable on a job where there are plenty of tight corners and timber upstands.
At the very beginning of the job, Japanese knotweed was removed along the party wall, which gave us a front row seat as to just how lucrative the field is for specialist contractors! In the process a well was discovered straddling the boundary, Due to the location and the amount of work involved in removing it, the client has opted to incorporate it into the design of the outdoor terrace which will afford a focal point along the boundary.
Works in the main house continue in earnest. It has been a challenge at times to keep up with the contractor who is very skilled at moving different aspects of the project forward at any time. This mitigates his risk of delays but also means we are covering things like drainage in the same morning as paint colours or joinery details. I would be lying if I said it was easy to keep up! But what a great start.