Big Build – Week 2 Dust, Unhappy Neighbours and More Dust

My goodness. Whatever you prepare for, nothing can prepare you for the dust you get during a demolition phase of a build. We had grand plans of still being able to use the sheeted-off section of our living room each night but it very quickly became clear that the entire living space we are knocking through is off limits until all the demolition and steel installation is done – probably 3 weeks. It doesn’t help our only washing machine is in the kitchen you can see in the photos… Think of everything in your planning!!!

Downstairs Walls Down 2

So this week saw more work upstairs, stripping away what was needed to make a ‘clean’ base for the new joists to go in. This meant rerouting plumbing and electrics as newer work had just been laid over the top of existing joists, removal of insulation and any debris left. This was done just at the point of the weather getting much colder and we now have probably 10 days or so with a very cold living space as there is nothing insulating above.

We discovered that all the joists upstairs were just the original ceiling joists which aren’t really meant to have any load put on them from above, but previous occupants had completely boarded the attic and it was full of stuff. Thankfully the walls downstairs are solid enough to have supported it, but we have had some bowing ceilings as workmen have walked across the top and some superficial damage to ceilings downstairs as the whole thing has flexed back with no loading above.

Stripping for joists

The main work this week has been the demolition of two large brick walls, a ‘false’ internal wall and a brick pillar to completely open up downstairs. The dust was more than I ever imagined, honestly. It didn’t help that the plaster on both the brick walls was very traditional and thick, virtually like a one inch concrete sheet on both sides. It took 2 days just to get this off. The chimney is also coming down slowly, again as it’s part of the original house, it’s very well put together!

The final fun we’ve had this week was more unhappy campers on our street dealing with our deliveries. Until now, we’ve only had skips delivered (I think we’re about to have our 12th one delivered) but either side of the weekend we’ve had blocks and joists delivered, and we have more blocks and sand to come during Week 3.

Even our builder was getting nervous over storage space, as the materials have to go down the drive to get anywhere and it’s the entrance to the drive that takes the skip. Logistics are really key – we’ve had to have a few days without a skip so the joists and blocks could be delivered, and we have had to sacrifice our lawn to take the sand and second blocks delivery. The builders brought in an extra couple of men today to move more of the blocks up to the scaffolding platform as they will start going on as soon as the joists and brick layer are in, which will only be a few days away.

But prepare yourself to be immensely unpopular. However much we warned our neighbours, we’ve still had some issues. A builder two doors down complained about us reserving a space in the road for an early morning delivery, which surprised me as I thought he’d understand more than anyone. Our biggest problem was the first blocks delivery, which (no pun intended) blocked the road for 30 minutes as it has to crane the delivery in and this requires stabilisers out the side of the lorry, making it twice the size. This arrived at 8.30am on Monday, during the school run and the morning commute. In hindsight, it wasn’t the best time and we had a furious local lady (not from our street) who nearly turned violent towards the builders and kicked over two plant pots by our door. The next major delivery will be scheduled for 10am. Always good to try and reduce your impact on the local residents…

Blocks Delivery

We still have a very dusty activity to come, digging three ‘pads’ for the steel piers to rest on, these need to be 1m cubed and filled with concrete. Once the steels are in after that, most of the dusty work will be done. We can’t wait!

Please check out the rest of our Big Build blog here.

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