We are IN THE DRY
27th September 2011
In the Dry. This is a key point in the scheme, an architectural and building term just like “out of the ground” or “topping out”. The three storeys are structurally near-as-damnit complete. Steelwork, trusses, joists, wall framing: all there and now being clad in damp proof membranes, insulation, vapour barriers and bricks. And windows. My word, the windows have proven to be tricky. We must have amended the schedule at least four times. When I say we, I mean the builders, who have been excellent as usual. The window suppliers themselves seem to be very good at the “computer says no” routine – which is odd because their competitors have invariably said yes – nothing has been asked for that doesn’t exist. Of course, the competition are a lot more expensive.
Compromises have been made, but not ones that are detrimental to the overall. One of the secrets of good design is always to leave some”wiggle room”. Fundamentally this means an understanding of construction and build-ability. Gaining this knowledge and employing it well stops one from:
a) Designing stupid things, particularly items such as bolt ends in a closed space that can’t be reached by the human hand (I have seen this error on paper – ask me in the pub and I might tell you by whom it was committed)
b) Designing without a plan-B. It can’t be committed to paper, that’s the point, but I try to always have a fall back method should something prove to be unobtainable. I like to think this is because I understand how things are physically put together. The site foreman might disagree.
This week we also got the first solid price back for the hydraulically powered trap door to the wine cellar, which is pretty close to the provisional sum. I will try my very hardest to make it the same or less than the provisional sum, but they can catch you out. I post the pricing drawing for your amusement!
The most pleasing aspect of today, apart from seeing the brickwork going up precisely as intended, was the generous space formed by the roof trusses in the third-storey office – this is also precisely as designed. It ain’t no “room in the roof”, it is a tower.