Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Take One House - Part 6

Just in time for Christmas - We've been able to take the wrapping off!

Ta-Da!  Unwrapped for Christmas
This is week 5 for this property, and the work is several days ahead of schedule.  We've not finished yet (we still have electrical fixing, gates, fences and final ground works to do) but the day the scaffold comes down is always our favourite...

The view from the back

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Take One House - Part 5

We did loads of work on the house last week, but unfortunately most of it isn't as visible as the work that took place the week before. Applying the mortar between the brick slips may not be the most exciting job in the world, but we hope you agree that the results are more than worth the effort.

Unlike traditional brick-laying, the mortar is applied after the bricks are in place.  This forms a weatherproof seal which also encases the windows, doors and other fixtures.

The edge of a gas pipe channel provides a great cross-section

Now you see it

...Now you don't

All the tiles are individually hand pointed to produce the right look

Finished result - We're very proud of our walls.

A piece of cake - the mortar is applied using a traditional icing bag.

Only 8,642 left to do today...
Work has also finished on the roof, and the gutters are in place.  One of the best ways to tell a newly refurbished area is to look up.  When you see neat and tidy roof tiles, you know you're in an area that's being well looked after. Natural slate is about fifty million years old, so we only throw it away if it's damaged.  The good pieces are salvaged and moved to the backs of the houses, where they will be secure for many years to follow.

The old tiles which have weathered without damage are salvaged and placed on the backs of the houses...
The new tiles go to the front, providing a clean, fresh look for the neighbourhood.

Looking flash - the lead work on the chimneys is a work of art.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Take One House - Part 4

Week two is always a busy week, in which the majority of insulation is applied.  The pictures below were all taken between Monday and Friday, and are presented here in the same order we took them in.

Take a last look at the old house...

Securing the insulation

Adding new roofing felt

Sorting out the good old slate from the bad

Where the bad old slate goes - off to recycling

Insulation - access is gained to the loft via the roof, to minimise disturbance to the customer

The first of the brick cladding goes on

The mesh which holds the brick cladding

Grab rails on secure pattresses fitted straight away

The front of the roof is taken off after the back is securely covered

Making great progress on the brick cladding

The whole of the roof - securely nailed down by Friday

Front of the house almost done - including the decorative panel

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

News From the Front (Garden)

"It's all about showing respect for the estate."  Brian Birch said, as we dug out the borders for winter pansies.  "If we're proud of who we are, and we're proud of what we're doing here, why shouldn't we take care of the front garden as well?"

Enough said.

Just in case you thought gardening was a summer pastime, here are some photos to demonstrate otherwise...

Thank you to our volunteers who joined us to plant daffodils and tulips.  See you in the spring!

Monday, 28 November 2011

He's Making a List, and Checking it Twice...

Father Christmas made a surprise appearance at Old Moat Primary School this Saturday, to help make sure the elves got the right choice of presents and to make sure everyone remembered to be good in the build up to the new year.

Thanks to everyone who helped make Santa feel so welcome.  We're told Rudolph and the other reindeer really enjoyed their visit to Ladybarn Park as well.   Any resemblance between Father Christmas and one of our tenant liaison officers is purely coincidental.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Take One House - Part 3

Half way into week one and things are moving quickly!  Here are a few highlights from the last three days:

They may not look very big from ground level, but most of the stacks on our project are taller than a person,
When everything's safely scaffolded, and the vents in the house have been capped off to prevent dust, work can start on rebuilding the chimneys with new brick.

Where permission is granted, mixing will take place in garden areas.  These areas are always fenced off from the general public to prevent the risk of injury or accident.

Pride in a job well done - Chimney number eight hundred and ninety four....
Follow the yellow brick road....  Or at least the spay paint line.

The glaziers arrived on Tuesday...

Out with the old...

..and in with the new

The old frames are taken away for recycling, as with 96% of all our waste on site.

Fitting the mounting boards - the pattress in this photo will be the panel which holds the door in place.  We also do the same for burglar alarms, lights, hose pipe racks, etc. They provide a solid base under the brickwork for items to be fixed to.

On Wednesday we saw the first evidence of the rendering work - the footing rails which will hold the insulation board in place

On the same day, the cladding surveyor carefully checks the variations in thickness on the walls, and then sprays instructions to the operatives. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Take One House - Part 2

This is what we refer to as "Week zero" in the running order of a house's makeover.  During this week, we get the last of the "enabling works" done, which can include diverting gutters and pipes outside the house, and re-fitting your electric lights onto temporary fittings.

To do this, an electrician will need access for about half an hour.  Without lengthening the wires, the external lights won't fit after we've put the cladding and insulation in place, so it's a lot easier for us if we do this before the job is up and running.

Enabling works - Making sure the lights will fit...

...and diverting the underground drainage to the new position of the guttering.
Once the enabling works has been completed, we can get the home scaffolded up, and for our house this took place last Thursday and Friday.  Work normally begins at the back and moves forwards, although there is no hard fast rule why this is so.

It is at this stage that we will need to remove fences and dividers at the back of properties.  This move is sometimes problematic with the customer, but usually if we are able to discuss it with the customer, we can come to an arrangement everyone is happy with.  In this case we will be leaving the gates at the front of the house in place for as long as we are physically able to do so.

Scaffolding at the rear of the property first...

Finished scaffolding - certified and inspected - with the safety chute in place.
The red pipes we use are so that old tiles and bricks from the chimneys can be safely thrown down into our skips without risking the public.  The fact that items are no longer thrown from a great height is just one of many ways in which construction has improved its working methods over the years.

Next week - Chimneys, windows and roofing  (we hope!)