Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rip-Roaring Time

August 30, 2014

Well today started out so well (even though I was only working with 4-5 hours of sleep).  I go an early start and was making excellent progress in cutting back away from Ron’s house footings, undercutting by the NW tree, and generally getting to the bottom of the excavation in the first quadrant.  I used both Alfie and the Big Girl as I have term Parm’s machine.  I am getting a bit better versed using the caterpillar joystick controls.

Parm than called just before 3 PM and said he was coming to get a load.  On arrival he was very impressed with the progress I had made since he left and got to work filling the truck.  Things were going great until he got frustrated with the amount of rocks were he was digging and went looking for ‘virgin’ ground.  The problem is that he started digging on a spot he was not supposed to until Tue/Wed which would be after I was able to get that side of the trap lifted.  And unfortunately I was off doing something else at the time and was not able to re-direct him in time away from this area.

The net result is that I heard a big rip and ran out to see a 8ft x 10ft hole in my nice new tarp.  Parm felt horrible and I was devastated and really not impressed with my friend Parm at that point.  Now I have to see if we can have the tarp patched, and if so – can they do it on site (I would lower to grade).  Otherwise I will have to take the whole thing down and replace it or have it repaired.  If it has to come down, the question will be when.  Should I use it as is until I have the foundations complete and first floor framed.  Based on its location, most of the rain water will still go around this spot.  Then the question is, if the tarp is left in this condition for any length of time, will it self-destruct in the first wind?

I will still have Sean from Burley Boys raise the tarp this weekend as this will need to be done anyway. But beyond that I will need to wait till the tarp vendor opens on Tuesday.

Gaping hole in tarp

Gaping hole in tarp

As my neighbour Ron would say ‘Poor – Very Poor!’

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Admission

August 29, 2014

Just another quick note tonight.

There were several times today when I felt like I was out of my league and wondering what I was doing.  I felt like things were going to fall apart (literally – I thought the tarp would come down and waste the week of effort and couple of thousand dollars putting it up).  I disparaged when I could not drive the big excavator and wondered how that was going to effect the timing of the excavation and cost. Even this evening I ended up with Alfie on the top of a very large pile of dirt (7-8ft) with very steep sides and did not think I was going to get him back down to grade (I chickened out part way down a couple of times and backed up back up to the top).

But in each case I just put me head down and tried my best at each step of the way and in the end, that is all that is really required.  Be brave, do your best, and accept that sometimes you will fail and will need to deal with it and move on.

Oh ya – and do not forget to ask for help when you need it!

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Low Ceiling

August 29, 2014

As they say in the aviation industry, today had a low ceiling.

I started the day at 7AM with a call from the excavator.  He was going to send a truck, but I had nothing to load and really needed the big excavator to proceed.  I was not sure what his plans were for the day.

I then headed off to the district and applied for my below grade electrical permit (the tech cable that will go from the panel to a power pole in the front yard.  The inspector will allow me to install the tech cable under the footings and slab and part way to the power pole and then wrap up the remainder and keep safe until I move the shipping container and can then install the power pole and dig the rest of the trench.  This will not be for some time.  I was very appreciative of this accommodation.  While there, I also asked some questions about markups on my building permit drawing set. I then also applied for my perimiter drainage permit and will need to have this system engineered because it is a pump up system.  While on the subject I confirmed I can re-use the shallow sump I have by the road as long as it meets the current size requirements.  I will check this soon.  Finally, I was going to apply for the plumbing as well, but need to provide a schematic which I had not prepared yet.

On my return from the District Hall, I was greeted by Parm and company who had arrived with the 30 yard rock truck AND a very large excavator.  Immediately we had a problem.  The excavator cannot load the truck without its boom rubbing the tarp.  They made do and took away another three loads.  They are working quadrant by quadrant and the first quarter is probably 50% dug including a section that is close to our target depth.  I am trying to see if my arborist can come this weekend and raise one side of the tarp main line by 6 ft and also lift one of the attachment points near the street cam.

The second hiccup was that the Hitachi EX200 excavator has a SAE (Caterpillar) Joystick control pattern and my machine has a ISO (John Deer) control pattern.  Every machine I have used to date has a selector switch between the two within the cab, but the EX200 does not and a quick look on the net shows the only way to convert is to switch around pilot hoses in the engine bay (obviously not something I am going to do).  So Parm’s crew is also operating the machine.  This is really not making a big difference for them as their driver was just sitting waiting for me to load anyway and now can load much faster than I could.  I practised on their machine after they were gone (with permission of course) and was able to successfully navigate the controls, but I had to think about each movement and had no muscle memory I could rely on.  With Alfie, I do not even think about the controls and the movement just becomes an extension of my arms and dose what I want.

I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon taking Parm to a few banks to try to cash a cheque from a past client who had not paid him (I regularly drive Parm and crew to other jobs and such as they arrive in large trucks that are otherwise engaged on the site and so they would otherwise be stranded.  I do not mind being of service).

On our return, I laid out the batter board lines so I could start marking off the footing locations to identify where we have to dig.  Just as I was finishing this, the rock truck showed up to load the third and final load for the day.  While he was loading, I spent the time setting up the laser level and determining the depth we needed.

Parm and the crew knocked off a bit early once they had the 3rd load complete.  I spent the next 4 hours scraping the second quadrant of the top 2-3 ft of dirt and stockpiling the dirt at the back of the build site.  This will be used for back-fill.

So while not to plan, and completely filled with stress (I do not do well when I cannot plan things out, so was frazzled when we started digging before I had the batter board lines out or before I figured out the depth), we all got a lot done today. And I have just heard from my arborist who will be able to help this weekend to raise the tarp higher – excellent. The best news was Parm advising that we will be done by the end of this coming week, that he will pickup and place the concrete mass blocks (saving me over $1000), and that we will also figure out a way to use the excavator to lower the skids of ICF into the hole.

Parm will be back Saturday for another set of loads.  If the day goes well, we will have about 35-40% of the foundation dug.

Thanks for visiting.  I really appreciate your interest.  This website has now had 3000 unique visitors and I am now averaging 600-800 visits a month.  You are all awesome!

A tight fit!

A tight fit!

 

 

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Started

August 28, 2014

Well today officially started the excavation and therefore the construction.  And it started bright and early.  Park mentioned they would be around at 8:30 this morning so I set the 7:30 alarm intending to have breakfast and then getting setup for the loading of the trucks.

At 7:32 AM Parm called to advise they had arrived and were waiting.  I got there in about 5 minutes and did not stop till 7 PM tonight.  It took 15 minutes or so to prepare the site for loading and then I loaded the first truck (debris dirt) by 9 AM.

I stopped for a quick bite to eat and to send some emails and then returned to the site to work on the NW tree bank undercut. I also loaded the railroad and pressure treated ties onto the trailer.

At 12 noon the truck returned (three hour round trip to Squamish) and by 1 PM he was gone again.  It takes more time to load with Alfie due to bucket size so I hope the big boy comes soon.  I took the opportunity of a 3 hour span before needing to load again to run out to the Eco-Waste dump in Richmond to get rid of the ties (2 hour round trip).  The dump has an area for general waste as well and is the only place that will take railway ties.  These were rotted and not really good for anything anymore.

On return, I spend the next hour starting to scrape the top 2ft or so of soil from the site.  This is the dirt I will use as back-fill and is above the hardened glacial till layer.  I used this to create a new ramp that Alfie could sit on to allow loading the final load of take away dirt.

The truck returned at 4 and I sent him on his way again at 5 PM.  I continued working till 7 PM scraping off more of the top layer of dirt.  I was able to get an area about a quarter of the build site done.  It is slow going as I basically have to pile and then repile the dirt in a leap frog process in order to get from where dug up to behind the build site where it will be stared.  Alfie is not strong enough to push large volumes with the blade, so this is the fastest way to move the dirt.  I hope to hear good news tomorrow about getting a bigger machine on site.

One huge surprise was the drive past the house being torn down beside where I used to live on 6 Rd.  When I went by a month or so ago, there were many areas cordoned off with tree protection fencing.  Well today, the entire 2 acre property had been razed to the ground. I am pretty sure this was not per plans and there was also a City ordered Stop Work posting.  Was sad to see all the lovely fruit trees gone that were no where near the house build site.  I am glad I got to see and taste them one last time.

Nothing Left!

Nothing Left!

Oops - serves them right.

Oops – serves them right. They contravened the tree retention bylaw.

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Not yet

August 27, 2014

Today came and went and still no digging.  Yes I am perturbed and loosing patience.  But the contractor is providing plausible reasons why they could not make it and Parm even stopped by tonight to survey what needs to be done.  I have been promised a truck in the morning to allow me to start loading what I have already stock pilled and that I will have an excavator on my property some time tomorrow.

SO I spent the day doing more general construction prep again.  These are all things I planned to do in the evenings as I had time, but to be honest, I am glad to get a bunch of them done because quite frankly I am running out of steam right now and cannot work more than the 10-12 hours I am already.

Today I set up automatic sprinklers for the plants I have in pots (including those I saved from a demolition in West Van last year).  The faucet the hoses are attached to will be in the air once the excavation is done so the timer will take care of the task so I do not need to think about it.

I then finished roofing the cutting shack, rehung the doors for the storage compartments, and hung some temporary lights (using the temp light string I took out of the attic).  After some more site cleanup (putting stuff away into cutting shack now that it is done), I then moved on to hanging temp lights in the storage container.

Along with a few extended visits with visitors, that was it for the day.

FOSCAM received my defective camera today and dispatched a replacement to me by expedited freight.  I hope this means it arrives tomorrow.  The new rubber tracks for Alfie also arrived today.

I still have the siding to get onto the roof of the container, some more 2x material to stack in the new rack, and after a conversation with Parm, some railroad ties I need to load on my trailer and sometime take to the Richmond Eco Dump.

As promised here are some misc photos I owed you.

I used a piece of PVC pipe and cut a slot in it that the tarp slid into.  I then taped it up and connected to roll out plastic downspout - This should handle most of the water runoff on the front of the tarp.

I used a piece of PVC pipe and cut a slot in it that the tarp slid into. I then taped it up and connected to roll out plastic downspout – This should handle most of the water runoff on the front of the tarp.

Quick and dirty lumber rack to keep everything organized, off the ground and separated so it does not become water logged.  I will probably put a plastic roof over it in the days to come.

Quick and dirty lumber rack to keep everything organized, off the ground and separated so it does not become water logged. I will probably put a plastic roof over it in the days to come.

I used the opportunity while I was on the cutting shack roof to survey the state of the ICF pallets.  I found 2 damaged blocks and now there is also one more at the bottom of a stack.

I used the opportunity while I was on the cutting shack roof to survey the state of the ICF pallets. I found 2 damaged blocks and now there is also one more at the bottom of a stack.
This one can be salvaged.  I will just screw plywood to the face and let the concrete flow to fill in the damaged area.

This one can be salvaged. I will just screw plywood to the face and let the concrete flow to fill in the damaged area.

This one is pretty much a right off.

This one is pretty much a right off.

I spoke with Durisol today and they gave me some good tips about moving the blocks into the hole including ideas for lifting jig.

I also wanted to show the extent of salvaged materials I was giving away that I have ended up with in the end.  The following two photos shows all the material I have not been able to give away and will probably go to the green waste dump.  This is a pretty small volume and I am extremely proud I was able to divert such a large volume of materials away from the landfill.

IMG-20140822-00497 IMG-20140822-00498

Well, that is it for tonight.  Thanks for visiting.

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Tomorrow may finally be dig day.

August 26, 2014

As you can tell by the web cams, the excavator did not arrive today – something about needing to finish grading the bottom of an excavation and a problem with ground water and lack of pump.

So I spent the day further preparing.  I made two large piles of dirt; first was the one mixed with various debris, and second was just dirt and rocks.  This will help speed up the loading of the first trucks and was the top few inches from under the house once it was torn down, and the old water fall and pond areas at the back that was full of bind-weed.

After some chores (send the failed shed cam back to FOSCAM) and a nap (yes a nap – I have not had a day off for months and I was done), I then started in on re-stacking all of the long 2x material I have salvaged and that Eric had de-nailed.  I first made a rack (photos to come) for the shorter items and then moved the wood to both the rack and a spot at grade where it will be out of way of the excavation. Now I only have the salvaged siding left to move.

I also ran power, via an areal power chord (which you can see running horizontal across the middle of the street cam), over to the cutting shack.  Finally, I started putting roll roofing on the cutting shack.

Yesterday I started the day by fixing the tarp (I hope for the last time).  I had to lower the main line and preposition and tighten the tarp retention strap on the south side. This time I cut away the garden hose so the clamp was right on metal ( I slid a garden house over the cable to help protect the tarp from chafing).  I had to lower and raise 3 times to get the retention point in the right place so that it spread the tarp out but still allowed the tension to be on the cable and not the tarp.  Of course this meant that the tarp further re-positioned itself so that it was of equal tension to all of the ties downs.  This resulted in a counter clockwise rotation with more of it ending up near Ron’s house to the North.  This meant I had a water pooling issue and had to rejig the attachments in this location to form a funnel that the water could flow down. To this I fashioned a downspout connected to roll-out plastic downspout that will take the water to a storm grate in the neighbours yard (photo to come).

While taking with my father-in-law about the tarp raising (he has been gone from site for 1-1/2 weeks), I figured out what I will do if I have a heavy snow.  I will just let the main line down and let the tarp rest on what ever part of the building that has been completed to date.  This will take all pressure off the tie down lines and will probably even allow me to clean it off.

I then worked further at digging down around the tree at the NW corner of the build.  I ended up with a 5ft+ deep by 4ft wide trench all the way around the jog.  This is the area where I am going to need to put the concrete blocks.  The bank here will need to be undercut in order to get enough room between the foundation and blocks. I will just make sure the root zone is not effected (only down a foot or so) and so will dig this area deep enough so the blocks can slide in under the root zone.  I suspect that the placement of the tree on the original survey was off as in my drawing I had lots of room and I also double checked the recent surveyed markings for the footing batter boards and they are right on.

Finally I spread out the wood shavings left behind by Burley Boys to protect the root zone behind the tree fencing as I will also be using this area as a pedestrian way during the build.

So lets hope a really big machine shows up tomorrow and we can finally start the big dig.

Thanks for visiting.

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Cameras and Update – The dig is scheduled.

August 24, 2014

Sorry for the down shed cam folks.  I thought the network cable to it was damaged yesterday while raising a corner of the tarp, but it looks like the actual unit is malfunctioning for non-related reasons.  I have asked FOSCAM if they can get me a replacement here for Tuesday. I have also asked them to quote me one addition camera that would provide a view from the NE during teh day and act as another security cam at night.

I did sever the weather station cable while working on the tarp so lost some data over a 24 hour period until I was able to solder all the wires back together and seal it up yesterday afternoon.

AHHHH – just noticed this evening the ruddy tarp has shifted and some of the back attachment points are loose again.  Something may be slipping – will have to keep and eye on it.  I have a feeling it is slipping at the top on the main line and bunching up. May need to lower the main line one last time.

THE GREAT DIG IS SCHEDULED! I spoke with Parm from Diamond 11 and he has committed to starting Tuesday AM.  They are just finishing up a job. This is now starting to feel real – real scary!

So I will spend Monday doing final prep around the site including moving some stacked wood to its permanent holding spot.  I am also transferring the batter board lines at the NW corner to other boards because I am confident that the tree fencing will take a beating as we dig beside it.  I will actually have to undercut the excavation bank below the fencing to ensure enough room between the foundation and cement blocks to work.  I will then offset the top row back towards the foundation by 6-8″ by utilizing cap blocks for the second last row (so the top row does not engage with keys that would typically be on the top of the block).  This will allow me to gain space below the tree root zone and yet stay at the air spade line through the root zone.

Once I see how we do after a couple of days, I will have a better idea on when IO can schedule the concrete block delivery so that they can be placed directly into the hole minimizing time and cost.

I also need to figure out a way of lifting the ICF pallets with the excavator so these too can be placed around the hole as it is dug.  I am thinking of an overhead frame that acts as a spreader and attachment point for a quad chain up to the lifting point on the excavator as well as 4 strap attachment points from below on the outside 4 corners.  The frame would be about 4′ x 4′ to match the size of the pallet.  The two straps would be fitting through each bay of the pallet and the frame would ensure that they lifted evenly and did not crush the blocks at the top (this was happening when they were delivered).  We used to build custom lifting jigs to lift the equipment we designed and built (which was typically 5 or 6 feed wide by 25 or more ft long) at the chemical engineering firm I used to work at.  SO I have a good idea on what is needed.

Thanks for visiting.

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Tarp Raising

August 24, 2014

Well – it took the better part of 5 days but the tarp is up.  I tensioned the last point this morning.

This has been an interesting process full of frustration and learning.  First thing learned is just how heavy something like this could be and the tension it would put on the attachment points. As mentioned earlier, the original nylon chord was not nearly up to the task, so I switched out to galvanized cable for all of the attachment points.

Then there was the dynamics of what shape the tarp would take depending on where it was being pulled.  I needed to rotate the tarp as mush as possible on the main overhead cable because the trees the cable were attached to were diagonal through the build site.  I also needed a lot more of the tarp on the east side of the main line than the west (again due to where the trees were in relation to the new build).

I also lost a lot of time going back and forth to the lumber store for clamps as the scope unfolded and the design was modified.  I cleaned the local Dicks lumber out of two of the sizes.

But the majority of the time was just spent tensioning each line.  This would entail creating a hard point on a tree to attach one end of the come-a-long and then clamping a metal ring to the rope or cable to attach the other end of the come-a-long.  The cable or rope then would typically be run through an eye screw that was screwed into the tree.  Once tension had been placed on the cable, I would install a clamp on the cable on the outboard side of the eye bolt attachment point to hold the tension while I disconnected the winch and re-rigged to do the next pull.  This process was often repeated 5-10 times until that cable was tight and the entire process was often repeated if the attachment point had to be shifted or for instance when I switched from rope to cable. The end result was that most of the attachment lines took an average of 4-5 hours each and I had 5 major points.

None of this would have been possible if there was not tall and strong enough trees available and great neighbours allowing me to use their trees.  So, while I still contend that this is an excellent idea for new construction or renovations, it will not be possible in a great many sites.

The installation has garnered a lot of attention from passers-by wondering what the heck I am doing.  Some say I am nuts and some say why is this not done more.  I explain that this is my cheap way of imitating what they do in a neighbouring municipality where they will often build a aluminum infrastructure over the build area that is closed off with glass or plastic panels. Only difference is mine is going to come in below $2000 and the fancy version is reported to costs $60K or more.

I have tested and have the rain runoff taken care of but realized at 2AM last night I did not account for snow load.  Lets hope it is a typical Vancouver winter with a minimum of snow or it will get interesting as I figure out ways to dump any accumulated snow. One obvious method will be to try and wash it off.

In several cases I wrapped a cable around the tree and protected the tree with wood blocks to distribute the load and prevent the cable from cutting into the bark.  I got this idea from the internet where people were installing zip-lines.

In several cases I wrapped a cable around the tree and protected the tree with wood blocks to distribute the load and prevent the cable from cutting into the bark. I got this idea from the internet where people were installing zip-lines.

I then used a ratchet strap clamped to each side of the loop to tighten the cable around the tree before installing the double cable clamps

I then used a ratchet strap clamped to each side of the loop to tighten the cable around the tree before installing the double cable clamps

I attached a shackle to this cable that I ran the main line cable through.  I would 'lock' this off by placing a clamp just down stream of the shackle once tension has been applied to the main line. This photo shows the come-a-long in place tensioning the main line.

I attached a shackle to this cable that I ran the main line cable through. I would ‘lock’ this off by placing a clamp just down stream of the shackle once tension has been applied to the main line. This photo shows the come-a-long in place tensioning the main line. The shackle is just hidden behind the handle.

The other end would be clamped up stream to provide another tension cycle.  This process was repeated until the line was fully tensioned.  In the case of the main line, once I did this the first time, I figured out I could just run the tail of the cable out to a hook on the truck and with the truck was able to pull the line to within 90% of its final tension in about 30 seconds.  This was fortunate as I took the main line down at least 6 times.

The other end would be clamped up stream to provide another tension cycle. This process was repeated until the line was fully tensioned. In the case of the main line, once I did this the first time, I figured out I could just run the tail of the cable out to a hook on the truck and with the truck was able to pull the line to within 90% of its final tension in about 30 seconds. This was fortunate as I took the main line down at least 6 times.

I attached all lines to the tarp by wrapping them around a 1x4 and then taking a second 1x4 and screweinng them together while sandwiching the out edge of the tarp (which has a chord sewn into the edge to provide strength)

I attached all lines to the tarp by wrapping them around a 1×4 and then taking a second 1×4 and screwing them together while sandwiching the outer edge of the tarp (which has a chord sewn into the edge to provide strength)

This photo starts to show the scale of this tarp when compared to a 2-Storey house in the background

This photo starts to show the scale of this tarp when compared to a 2-Storey house in the background

This is a shot from across the street.

This is a shot from across the street.

A closer view showing the attachment point.  The flap handing will be left as there was no where to attach the end to as this is over the driveway.  It will probably whipe up against the trucks as they go in and out so I will have to make sure it cannot catch on anything.

A closer view showing the attachment point. The flap hanging will be left as there was no where to attach the end to as this is over the driveway. It will probably wipe up against the trucks as they go in and out so I will have to make sure it cannot catch on anything.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Wildest Dreams

August 22, 2014

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how much work it is to put up a tarp this size.  I heavily under estimated the time to install.  I figured it would take the better part of a day.  One neighbour though a few hours, the other a couple of days.  Well, today has been 3-1/2 and I still have more to go.

It was very clear after the second day that the nylon rope was not going to cut it.  A piece that I had used to tie the edge of the tarp to the main cable, so the tarp would not slide down and bunch up on the cable – snapped.  I then started having problems with the ropes starting to fray as I was clamping to them to use the come-a-long to apply tension.  So yesterday I switch to galvanized aircraft cable.  I am using 1/8″, 3/16″, and 1/4″ depending on the length needed and what was available at the store.  Yesterday saw the 4 attachment points at the front finished.  Today I lowered the main overhead cable so I could repair that side edge restraint and then got to work on the back side of the tarp just after lunch.  After 5 hours I managed to rig one attachment point and prep for the second.  Now it was a significant attachment point that goes clear across my neighbours yard to a tree.  It is a 120ft run and I used the 1/4″ for this so I could really tension it.

Tomorrow I will run the second attachment point at the other side of the back end to about 80ft away to a tall cedar and again use the 1/4″.  This should leave just a minor middle of edge point that I will attach to the apply tree just to maintain height and prevent flapping.  Then I will need to retention the one near the street cam as the tarp shifted when I lowered the main line this morning. Hopefully by noon all will be complete and I will have this installation behind me.  I will also need to replace the cable to the shed cam that was damaged today when I raised up the back edge of the tarp.

One of the building inspectors (the one that I encountered with the security fence ordeal) drove slowly by today and had a good look.  Hopefully the fact that they did not stop and get out is a sign that they have nothing to say on the subject.  I certainly have not seen any rule or policy preventing this type of installation but then who knows.

I will try to remember to take a photo of the finished install tomorrow because the vastness of them overwhelms the web cams field of view.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Sail Away

August 20, 2014

Spent the entire day trying to tame a sail that Christopher Columbus would be proud of and ended the day with 6 points of attachment and none of them fully tensioned. 2 of the attachment points are neighbour’s trees so I am again thankful for good neighbours.

My method of attachment is to tie a rope around a 1×4 and then screw that 1×4 to another with the tarp being sandwiched in the middle.  This has worked out well and I believe they are going to hold quite well.

What I am worried about is the rope, It is roughly 1/4″ nylon but I am now concerned it is not strong enough.  The tarp is every so heavy and as I try to tension up the sides so they are far enough off the ground, the force pulling on them is so much more.  So we will see if I end up needing to switch to stainless aircraft cable instead.

There is great concern that this idea will end up being a poor one that just caused me grief and empties my wallet, but if it works, it will significantly improve the build and make the process so much more pleasant.  And the quality of the build and finished dwelling will be improved by the fact that the structure will stay dry during the winter rains.

Lets hope it works!

Thanks for the visit.

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Movie Theatre

August 18, 2014

It was a busy day.

I started at 8 AM trying to use Alfie to excavate around the tree where the blocks are going to go.  After 4 hours, I had hardly made a dint due to the hard-pan (small boulders packed in with sandy gravel) and decided to give up and wait for the big machinery later in the week. Alfie has not been feeling well this week and has problems with his hydraulics.  Will need to trouble shoot later.

I also go a call from Phoenix transport who had moved the ICF skids.  I still had two skids to be delivered.  You will remember I was concerned what the final transport bill was going to be based on the first of three shipments being $900.  Well I was very revealed when they advised the next and final bill would be only $289.  This was to cover the second shipment and they were throwing in the third shipment at no charge.  This was excellent news and I am very appreciative.  So they delivered the final two skids of ICF early this afternoon.

Sean from Burley Boys also came by this afternoon to hang the cable I am using to suspend a tarp over the job site between two trees.  I then worked for the rest of the afternoon and early evening on unrolling the 60′ x 80′ tarp and hoisting the cable with it draped over.  I had several false starts as I adjusted things but after the first raising which I did with a hand winch over an hour or so, I got smart and ran the cable to my truck which allowed raising it almost to the finished position in about 30 seconds.  I then used the hand winch to apply the final tension.

It is a pretty impressive and heavy tarp.  Right now it is just draped over the cable and hanging vertically.  It would make an awesome movie screen and is about the size of the screen at many theatres. I will now need to attached ropes to various points and pull out the edges and anchor to strong objects throughout the yard.  I will used tow pieces of 1×4 to create attachment points to the tarp. The two pieces of wood will be screwed together sandwiching the tarp edge between.  I will then wrap the rope around the wood.  This should prevent pull outs.  The side of the rope that I will anchor to objects will be attached to an industrial bungy chord to provide a shock absorber for wind gusts.  The anchor points will need to be high enough so that the tarp stays above the web cams.

Once tightened up, this would make an awesome movie screen.

Once tightened up, this would make an awesome movie screen.

I then headed off to have coffee with David Butler and his wife Gloria who are visiting from Arizona and staying at Sean’s B&B which happens to be in my neighbourhood.  I know David from the Building Science Community and RESNET groups on LinkedIN.  I took then of course to Tim Horton’s.  Tomorrow we will play tourist and see the Capillano Suspension Bridge and then they will go do the Grouse Mountain experience before heading out together for dinner.

So – it was a fully packed day where a lot got done.  Wednesday we should start excavating.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Salvaged Materials

August 17, 2014

Now that the house is gone, I thought I would document the materials I salvaged and will keep and re-use.

A majority of the studs were saved and then de-nailed by my father-in-law (Eric).  These will be used for blocking, form bracing, and possibly some studs in the new home.

A majority of the studs were saved and then de-nailed by my father-in-law (Eric). These will be used for blocking, form bracing, and possibly some studs in the new home.

Cedar Siding and longer 2x lumber including the 2x6 ceiling joists saved from the home. The 2x material will be used as wall studs in the new home.  The siding will be used to re-clad existing accessory buildings on site.  There was also more siding, but it was already stacked on top of the storage container and not shown in these photos.

Cedar Siding and longer 2x lumber including the 2×6 ceiling joists saved from the home. The 2x material will be used as wall studs in the new home. The siding will be used to re-clad existing accessory buildings on site. There was also more siding, but it was already stacked on top of the storage container and not shown in these photos.

The beech hardwood floor had the nails ground off and then was bundled and put into storage. About 90% of the 700 sq. ft. was saved.  I would use this as the flooring in my wood shop in the basement.

The beech hardwood floor had the nails ground off and then was bundled and put into storage. About 90% of the 700 sq. ft. was saved. I would use this as the flooring in my wood shop in the basement.

This leaves the material I salvaged and then gave away.  The next photo is a collage of just some of the materials donated to others.

Many people had a part in ensuring very little was wasted on this house.

Many people had a part in ensuring very little was wasted on this house.

And finally a look at the waste stream generated on the deconstruction of this home.  There are a few pics missing, but this is the vast majority.  Once I get my finances in order, I will provide the dollar values for the dump fees and the total weights of each source dumped.  this includes recycled items, landfill items, and green waste loads.

Top band includes materials that were recycled.  The middle band was actual waste that went to the land fill.  This was generally painted wood and plywood as well as used insulation and foil backed cardboard. The bottom band was green waste that will be chipped up and sold back to the public in a few months as topsoil

Top band includes materials that were recycled. The middle band was actual waste that went to the land fill. This was generally painted wood and plywood as well as used insulation and foil backed cardboard. The bottom band was green waste that will be chipped up and sold back to the public in a few months as topsoil

Today I did some general cleanup on the site and took what will probably be the final garbage run to the transfer station.  I also spent the morning in the office planning out some tasks and sending out some emails.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Its Gone!

August 16, 2014

While the house was officially down on Aug 5, I can now report that the house is now officially gone.  I finished loading the last of the concrete into the truck at 1:10 PM today and the truck was picked up and gone at 3:45 PM.

As you can see by the below photo, the amount that was still left surprised everyone.  Parm was thinking we could do only one load.  I thought there was about 1/4 to 1/3 of a truck left.  Well, we basically filled this second truck to about 80% capacity, but it was a bit smaller of a truck.

Close to a full load

Close to a full load

I am surprised at the feeling of accomplishment this brought.  It has been such a long slog getting to this day that to finally be done and moving to the building stage was both exciting and scary.  Now I have to make sure everything from this point is done right and hopefully close to schedule!

I have commitment that we will start digging on Wednesday the 20th right after I take a visiting colleague to the train station. So I will spend tomorrow doing the final tidy up around the yard including moving some of the stacked wood to spots it will not be in the way (I have some time on this because we will not be to the front of the excavation for at least a week). Monday I will push the debris dirt out of the way (probably to the front of the excavation to be removed on the first load) and then will start excavating if I have time around the tree at the NW corner where the mass blocks will need to go to stabilize the bank.  This soil will be stockpiled on site to be used for back-fill later.

SO it is the beginning of exciting times.  Soon we will actually be building.  Was starting to think this day would never come.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Almost gone!

August 15, 2014

Parm from Diamond 11 Excavating arrived today with a big-ass yellow truck.  It was the size I was expecting so it was a good thing I moved the concrete and built a ramp yesterday.  He gave me about 2-1/2 hours by the time I got back from dropping him off at another job site to load before he had to head off to dump it before closing.  It was taken to United Lock Block on Mitchel Island who crush it up and use it for there product.

It was the first time I have ever loaded a truck of this size and it was also the first time I have driven a big rig (I pulled it back and forth in the site to aid loading).  He was hoping to get it all loaded into one truck, but I had too much concrete.  SO we will have to see when the truck gets back as he had other commitments this evening.

All in all a good day and I am happy that 75%+ of the concrete is now gone.  Alfie did well but he is overheating again.  This time I am positive it is the hydraulic system overheating.  For now I just cool him down regularly with a water bath and will have to figure out the cause later when I do not need him.

I am going to add a new section to my posts and come up with one or more things I am thankful for today.

– Parm arrived with truck
– I did not damage truck while loading it or while moving it (I realized how easy it would have been for me to have a concrete fragment jammed against a wheel and slashing it when I moved it.  It did not occur to me the first time, it did the next times which was important as there were dangers present)
– I made the decision to prepare site by moving concrete and building ramp
– Alfie survived the day intact and was able to do the job
– I did not tip the tractor (was pretty precarious at times)

Thanks for visiting.

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Heavy Haul

August 14, 2014

Today’s description is easy – I moved concrete.   Speaking with the trucker, it sounded like he was going to be bringing one of the big demolition trucks instead of just a pup dump truck trailer.  This would present two problems; they are taller than my life capacity on Alfie, and it would be much longer than the area I had intended to back the truck into.

I tossed and tuned all night thinking about it and came to the realization that the only way to address would be to build a dirt ramp with the rubbish pile and then move all of the concrete to the north side of the ramp.  This would give the driver a nice long straight area in line with the driveway to back into.  The ramp and moving concrete took the better part of the day.  I had a couple of calls from people watching the web-cams asking what the blazes I was doing. Unfortunately my FTP server picked today to act up so I lost all of the time lapse of today’s events.

Beginning of day status.

Beginning of day status.

End of day status

End of day status

The surveyors from Bennett Land Surveying also came this afternoon and marked out all of my batter boards (sorry folks I have been calling then batten boards up till now).  I will now be able to run twine lines between them to allow the locating of the forms.  I will also be able to measure set offs of the marked lines for the outer and inner faces of the foundation.  Apparently this is not done that much in residential anymore and most people just put marked on ground.  But these are lost in no time with equipment movement and such. Batter boards are the old fashioned way of laying out and much easier in my opinion. I will be able to hang plumb bobs from the lines and get the exact corners of my foundation identified.

That’s it, now I am just waiting for the truck to arrive.  I was promised tonight but as it is now 9 PM, it does not look like it is working out. Lets see how tomorrow pans out.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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Good Bye E

August 13, 2014

Reasonable productive day considering the rain.  Took care of some chores in the early morning and then headed off to city hall.  I was too late to ask the building inspector questions (need to be there 8 -9:30 AM) but did pick up the application for the electrical permit, plumbing permit and perimeter drainage permit.  On the electrical, I was informed I can take it out in stages, so can only do buried service the first pass.

I then did some more work on the tractor consolidating the debris pile so that I could get at the block wall on the north side. After lunch and a diesel fill up, I made short work of the block wall.  Removing it damaged the tree protection fencing so I had to repair that as soon as the wall was down.

Two things struck me today.  1) A neighbour two doors down was moving today and had storage bins and moving trucks on the road.  It was a very tight one lane through.  If I had been hauling soil away, lots of people would have been frustrated.  2) If the surveyors had finished yesterday as planned, the damage to the tree fencing would have taken out two of my batten boards.  I would have been screwed.  It is nice how things turn out some times.

Shortly after getting the wall down and getting the fence fixed, my repaired cylinder was returned by British Hydraulics.  There sales man Bruce actually drove it all the way out from New West at no extra charge – Awesome Service!  They can do cylinder repair and fabrication any size.  They also have their own 45ft chroming tank which was useful because mine ended up needing the shaft re-chromed. Finally they have their own machine shop and were able to easily turn out a pair of new bushings for the cylinder.  The cylinder repair came in at budget of $700 and the bushings were $150.  So it worked out to be the right decision to repair vs buy new (of course this decision was only made after the first one I did buy was the wrong part and a replacement did not seem to be easily sourced).

Bruce showed up around 4 PM.  I had the cylinder on and tested just after 5PM – I spent 15 minutes looking for a spring clip I had dropped 🙁  So then I emailed Williams to let them know they could pick up their E35.  E was a sweet machine.  It was a short but ground moving love affair.  She was nimble and sleek and oh so fast.  I will miss her.  I gave her a good send off by bathing her from top to bottom, inside and out.  Nothing was too much for my girl.

I bathed E down and scrubbed every nook and cranny.

I bathed E down and scrubbed every nook and cranny.

I then did some final work for the day with Alfie.  In comparison with E, Alfie is a cantankerous old man with arthritic joints and a pace maker.  You can just hear the groaning he makes as we grind through the movements.  Tomorrow I will treat him to some nice grease on his joints to see if we can get him limbered up a bit.

I also heard from Parm this evening and he will drop a truck off tomorrow afternoon so that I can start loading concrete.  Looks like everything is starting to roll and come together.  Lets pray we can keep up the momentum.

Also forgot to mention that Eric was here yesterday and finished processing ALL of the remaining wood which in this case was siding.  I had him stack it against the container as I will store it on the container roof until after construction and I figure out what I want to do with it.  This is great timing as now the space is clear and ready for the dump truck.  He will be MIA over the next week while he dogie sits my sister-in-law’s Havanese while she is away with my mother-in-law on a cruise.

Thanks for visiting.  Drop me a comment or question some time.

 

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A shack to not be proud of.

August 12, 2014

Today had an accelerated start.  I came out at 8:30 to put the garbage out and received a call advising that the surveyors were on the way.  I was not expecting them till the afternoon and still had two batten boards to install, so I had a scramble. At least I got an early start.

At one point I was shown the posting plan and it was different than what I needed or was expecting.  They had measurements to where the foundation was (apparently standard), but I wanted dims to the footing outside edges.  This would be no big deal, but I did not have the foundation dims plotted anywhere and had no way of checking the posting plan.  So I asked for them to extrapolate on corner and advise based on there dims, where the outside face of the footing would be – It was different than my dims.

So after doing the legwork up and down the street and starting on the actual property, it was decided to abort the rest of the survey until the right dims that everyone could agree on were sorted out.  After lunch I received a drawing that much more closely aligned with my Master AutoCAD design.  It just needed a budge to the east by 2″ and we were all set.  The crew will come out and start where they left off hopefully tomorrow and if not on Thursday.

I then spent most of  the remainder of the day building the ugliest shack you have ever seen.  This contains some storage for items like tarps and other bulky construction materials as well as a 9ft workbench cutting table.  The storage portion started life as a shed on the side of the house. The rest was made up from generally scarp material from old house including plywood I had scrapped off the floor.  The shed was constructed generally without a tape measure or level and it shows.  The only thing I measured was the spacing of the roof supports so they would line up on plywood edges and the only thing I levelled was the workbench.

Moving old shed into potions

Moving old shed into position

People are going to walk by and look at this shed and be very nervous as to how the actual house will turn out.  I like to keep them guessing.  My only concern was staying dry and this will easily meet that need.

One ugly but funtional work shack

One ugly but functional work shack

I still have not heard from the excavator and will follow up with him tomorrow.  I need to at least get the concrete off the site so I can finish preparing for the excavation.  I figure we will start the big dig next Wednesday.  I will be offline next Mon/Tues playing tour guide for a colleague I met on LinkedIN.  Of course our plans will need to change a bit because he was coming in part to see my house and of course I have no house to show him.

Thanks for the visit.

 

 

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Change in Tide

August 11, 2014

Well I did it – I was able to string two productive and positive days together.

Sunday comprised of office work in the morning (organizing web-cam photos) and then a dump run, a drop off to a Craigslist respondent, and then I installed batten boards that the surveyor will use to mark out the footing edges at the front, back and sides.  The evening was spent starting to rebuild my company Quickbooks files that was lost back in March.  Once I got started, I quickly progressed which was a huge relief.  I lost two and a half years and was able to reconcile just over 1 years worth of the visa.

Today started out on the road just after 7 AM so that I could drop the damaged hydraulic cylinder off at British Hydraulics.  They responded on Saturday which impressed me and had a price that was in the ballpark of others.  I was quoted $1100 to rebuild the barrel, clean up the piston and re-ring and paint. $700 if the barrel could be saved by honing.  I got a follow up email this afternoon advising that the barrel was able to be repaired so the decision to repair vs buy new seems to have paid off.  A new one was over $1500 with tax and that was with a very healthy discount built-in.

After dropping the damaged unit off at BH, I then dropped off the new but wrong cylinder at Williams Machinery.  I then traded the resulting credit in on a new pair of rubber tracks for Alfie.  These will cost just over $2000 which I do not have right now, but it has become clear to me how handicapped I am with the worn out metal tracks I am using now.  After doing some errands on the way home, I then set to work with the loaner machine from Williams.

I had a large pile of boulders that needed to be moved.  I then cleaned out an area that had the beginnings of a fish pond and waterfall.  The waterfall was a pile of boulders, dirt, and organic debris I had piled over 10 years ago and was now totally infested with bind weed.  As I disassembled it, I could see the weeds roots down 5+ ft into the pile.  So I cleared away all of the pile and re-scraped the area including the pond back down to hardpan and fresh dirt.  This debris will all get taken away in a load of misc rocks and debris.  This cleaned up area will be were I pile up the excavated dirt I will use for back fill.

I then reinforced and sheathed the back side of the lean-to shed I had peeled off the north side of the house and moved this to the front of the yard where I will set up a cutting table and storage for things like tarps and the like. I ended the day by clearing about around the driveway to make room for a dump truck.

I am waiting to hear back from my excavator after his really bad Friday.  I will give him some space as he grieves.  Tomorrow I will finish off the final two batten boards before the surveyor comes in the afternoon and then start working on stacking the salvaged wood in areas it will not be in the way of the excavation. Hopefully I will also receive and install the repaired cylinder and be able to return the borrowed unit back to Williams.

I want to again say thank you to Chris, Joel, and Allen at Williams.  Without their generosity, I would have been dead in the water on Saturday and today.  You guys stepped up and I am very appreciative!

For those who are not regular visitors to my blog (vs this journal), I posted an article on testing the Durisol ICF block yesterday.

Thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

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Lucky

August 10, 2014

I continue to be amazed that we never had an electrical fire in the old house.  Here is another example of a wire where the insulation has completely burned off the conductor.  This was a closet light that was used a lot.

Burnt off insulation

Burnt off insulation

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A tragedy

August 9, 2014

I was informed last night that the person I have hired for the excavation had a close family member pass away yesterday.  My heartfelt condolences go out to Parm and his family.

As a result, Parm was understandably off line today and unable to bring a truck by to load with concrete.  So I used the time to consolidate the concrete into one pile, and also loaded the trailer with one of the last green waste and rubbish loads.

Finally I also consolidated all of the general rubbish on the site too small to pick up, into a pile with the tractor.  This will go out as a small truck load and consists of broken brick, small bits of concrete, splinters and small pieces of wood, plywood, tile, siding, etc.   This was work I generally was going to do early next week, and have only been able to do today because Williams Machinery hooked me up with a loner machine.  I am so thankful for their generosity!

The site in now basically flat and rubbish free.  All parts of the house have been cleared away and separated into waste, give away, and keep. Once the concrete is gone, the original footprint will be totally clear.

I also keep forgetting to mention that Eric, my father in law, was around most of the week de-nailing and stacking lumber. He helped out Tuesday through Friday.  His assistance has been invaluable and I am very appreciative.  I would not have been able to salvage as much material without his help and having the wood de-nailed before it is stacked has been WONDERFUL.  I also had a helping hand from Gail on Tuesday.

Gordon, one of my regular Craigslisters also stopped by today and picked up the final ship-lap I had available.   Later in the day, I also had a fellow come by and pick up all of the shorter 2x material to use as firewood.  A couple of days ago, someone came and took several more of the windows.  I now only have a small pile of longer 2x material and a small selection of windows.  I have not had to take any salvaged materials to the dump to date!

This evening, I also worked on setting up the tree blocking I will use to protect them from the cable I will use for the tarp support.  I am hoping that Sean from Burley Boys will come by soon and install the blocking and hang the cable.

Tomorrow I will work in the office and also try to move the salvaged siding to a permanent storage spot where it will be out of the way.  Of course this will be done quietly since it is Sunday.  I also need to do some maintenance on the truck, so we will see what all gets done.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Act Three

August 8, 2014

Well, I am not sure that this play will end up being a dark comedy or a tragedy, but today certainly offered comic relief.

I started the day in the office updating various parties on the current situation on site and the need to delay.  I also checked in with the shop and we were still a go for the new cylinder pickup for mid morning.  I got to the site at 9:45 AM and took off one of the hydraulic hoses that powered the outer boom as I had noticed it had a gash down to the SS winding.

I headed out to Williams Machinery at about 10:30 and arrived just after 11.  The cylinder had not come in yet but I was able to meet all of the individuals I had communicated with by phone and email and inspect the broken cylinder. It was for sure my cylinder.  They showed me the damage and I am at a bit of a loss at how it occurred.  The speculation is that a piece of concrete somehow got wedged between the cylinder and its shield and every time I lifted the arm, it was gauging the barrel wall.  End result, was that the barrel and piston were done.

At 11:30 AM we were assured that the truck was “minutes” away.  One of the mechanics advised that new cylinders often do not come with bushings so we pressed the old ones out of the broken unit and I spend some time cleaning out the grease journals as I waited.  The truck showed up at 12:10 PM and NO CYLINDER!

At this point I was laughing (somewhat hysterically) and apologizing that they had been sucked into my black hole vortex. After several calls, it was determined the freight was missing and somewhere between Prince George and Burnaby.

While at the shop I also got a call from the ICF carrier.  They were putting through $900 onto the visa and that was only the delivery of the first 10 skids.  There is then the delivery of the second 10 skids and then the last 2 skids.  I believe I will be taking to the manager on this.  This should have been handled as two shipments on smaller trucks and was a miscall by the dispatch as to the right equipment for the job.  It is also not my problem that they were not able to pick up with the right equipment from the dock and move directly to my house.

I set off to KMS tools to primarily buy a snap ring pliers, because using a needle nose pliers and then a flat head screwdriver in my mouth to jam into the snap ring when I had spread it enough, was not my idea of fun.  I got a call while at KMS that the cylinder had been found and that I could pick up at the carrier’s dock in Burnaby.

On the way there, I stopped in at NewLine and had a new hose fabricated for $70 in about 10 minutes (it was going to cost me hundreds to bring one in from Bobcat on a 2 day service).  So things were looking up.  I also asked for the old hose as a spare as it was not leaking yet.  This turned out to be very fortuitous.

I got to the Burnaby freight dock and picked up the cylinder.  I asked them to take it off the pallet and my first clue something was amiss should have been when I overheard “how is he going to lift it” as a response.  Anyway, they cut the boxed cylinder off the pallet and helped me carry it into the truck.  The whole time I was thinking, this feels heavier than mine.  I even started to unwrap the box but could see it was going to take a while and I was tired and just wanted to get home and get it installed.

Immediately on un-boxing it, I realized it was the wrong unit. It was for a much larger machine and was longer, had larger fittings, and larger journals where the pins slipped through.  There was no way that this unit would fit on my machine.  The new cylinder had the right part number felted onto it, but when you looked at the engraved number it was the wrong one.  So someone in the Prince George stock room or perhaps THEIR supplier had mislabelled the cylinder.

At this point I sat down, I could not write a script for this convoluted of a week if I tried. It was definitely looking like a Greek tragedy was developing.   This play was definitely looking like a tragedy.  Was I to plunge myself off a cliff as the climax of the final scene?

I called the shop (it was about 3:45 PM) and gave them the bad news.  I left it with them and after 15 minutes got a call back.  There did not appear to be any cylinders in Canada.  They found one in the USA, but even with air freight I would probably not see it till Tuesday or later.  This is where things took an amazing turn for the better.  The crew at Williams Machinery stepped up to the plate and advised that they were sending over one of their rental machines and that they would ‘work something out’ re the rent.  I offered to pay for the freight which was appreciated.  I am so thank-full to Joel and Chris for their efforts dealing with this setback.

So now I had to deal with poor disabled Alfie.  I put a chain over her canopy and used a cum-a-long to pull her arm off the ground.  I then used the used hose that I asked to keep as a spare as a patch chord between the two hoses that normally connected to the now removed boom cylinder.   A top off in the fluid tank and we were good to go.  Alfie stalled a couple of times as he tried to circulate fluid through all of his lines and then we were good to go.  I was able to drive him further onto the garage pad and out of way of the driveway,  Once I remove all the broken concrete I will drive him further to the back of the property so he is out of the way until he is better and can rejoin the party.

The loaner machine arrived and I immediately started to put E to work. E is a Bobcat E35 and she is young and beautiful.  She is sleek and fast and I am in love.  Her front blade pivots like a grader and all of the controls are tight and responsive.  She also has rubber tracks that can climb mountains.  My metal tracks are shot and I get stuck climbing over a rock.  I want to keep her – sorry Alfie.  During the last hour of the day I could make noise, I widened the driveway by moving old railway ties and relocated a pile of waste dirt. With the last 15 minutes I started pulling apart the sub-floor I had removed from the bedroom separating it into the green waste and then the rubbish (plywood and building paper).

I wasted no time getting to know E and putting her to work.

I wasted no time getting to know E and putting her to work.

Once I saw that the machine actually had arrived at my site, I called the excavator to update and left a message.  I can only hope that he can get a truck to me Saturday AM so that I can spend the day loading the concrete and clearing the site.  I then need to co-ordinate with Sean from Burley Boys to put up my tarp cable.  He was to come Sat AM, but I will not be ready now.

And do not forget, I still have to figure out how to get a new cylinder for Alfie.  I will look into the possibility have having a new barrel and piston made if I can find teh right machine shop in the lower mainland.

So – lets see what act 4 will be and how this all turns out.  Enjoy the ride!

As always, thanks for the visit.

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Double trouble

August 7, 2014

I do not seem to be able to string two good days together, but boy can I get a roll off poor ones lined up.

Based on my description of Alfie’s arm weakness, they agreed it was most likely a bad hydraulic cylinder.  So I rushed this morning to get it off and was going to take it in.  Just as I was about to leave, I got a call from the ICF transport advising they had the next load on its way.  This threw a wrench into the morning but I put my new moto “Adapt and move on” into practice and called a freight company to take in the cylinder.  I set it up on an expedite only to get a call 10 minutes later saying they had radio issues with a driver and they had now left the north shore and the next opportunity would be mid afternoon. So I adapted and called a second company.  They came promptly but the cylinder still did not arrive till after lunch.  In the end it did not matter – the cylinder was pooched!

I got a call from the shop informing me that the barrel was deformed and it would just chew up the seals again.  What was weird was that the photos of the damage sent by the shop did not look anything like the unit I had sent out.   But I was assured that there was no mix-up and it was my part.  SO – they are transferring one from their prince George location by Greyhound and it SHOULD arrive tomorrow morning.  They are giving me a deal on the prioce but it will still be over $1500 all in.

So now I had an excavator stopped dead in its tracks and realized we may have yet another problem.  It was at the end of the driveway and may be in the way of the ICF truck coming.  The good news is that the truck arrived and just barely fit and the unload of the next 10 skids went fairly smoothly.  It was a tight squeeze and we had to jimmy one of the skids sideways 6″ using 2 large pry bars and two determined guys (me and the driver).

The downside is that there were even more damaged blocks (at least 2 and possible more, I will only find out when I unload the skids).  This also was not the last of the loads.  They had to leave 2 skids behind because they did not fit on the truck and they could not use a bigger truck because it would not have fit in the driveway.  I have asked for a tally of costs to date and am extremely nervous as what the answer will be.  I budgeted 6 hours at $130.  I think we will be WAY over this.

What is unfortunate is that is was just barely cheaper than my estimate to rent a all retain forklift, but I thought for the extra $100-$200, why not let someone else have the liability.  I now regret this decision as the cross Canada freight company would have delivered for free and I could have easily placed the skids in the right spot with the forklift.  It is all just money, but it is money we do not have until after the foundations are poured and I can get my first draw from the construction loan.  We are going to run out of cash flow before we get the first draw and I am not sure what the escape will be from that challenge.  I am making it the banks problem as they really should be giving us an advance considering the land value we have as collateral.

So the day was basically a wash.  I wanted to salvage at least a bit, so I finished loading the trailer with both a trash and a green waste run and Ron and I headed off to the transfer station and then Tim’s.  In the meantime everything else is on hold including the concrete removal, survey of excavation, tarp support cable installation by arbourist, and of course the actual excavation. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Thanks for visiting.

This is NOT what the piston inside a hydraulic cylinder is supposed to look like.

This is NOT what the piston inside a hydraulic cylinder is supposed to look like.

Anatomy of a deconstructed wall

A contribution of about 12 pieces of 2x material to the Craigslist pile

A contribution of about 12 pieces of 2x material to the Craigslist pile

Garage consisting of foil sheeting (insulation behind hydronic radiator), fractured siding, tar paper.

Garage consisting of foil sheeting (insulation behind hydronic radiator), fractured siding, tar paper.

Ship-lap for craigslist

Ship-lap for craigslist

Salvaged siding and 2x4's

Salvaged siding and 2×4’s

Green waste scrap

Green waste scrap

A bit more green waste scrap

A bit more green waste scrap

 

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Cursed

August 6, 2014

I would love to be able to string at least two days in a row that are productive and without challenge.  Today was not one of those days.

The ICF shipment continues to be cursed.  The pickup did not happen till today and I have not heard from the carrier to find out if I was charged a penalty as I had till 6 PM yesterday to pick up. The goods were picked up by a tractor trailer, brought to Coquitlam and then reloaded onto a BIG crane truck.  When the truck arrived it was clear withing minutes we were going to have a problem.

Issue #1: The pallet forks are designed for much shorter pallets as they do not extend far enough to clear the 7’6″ height of these pallets. So we could only use the forks for the three smaller pallets and had to sling and chain the others.

Design of Pallet Forks does not allow for a 7'6" tall pallet

Design of Pallet Forks does not allow for a 7’6″ tall pallet

Issue #2: We only had 15′ between grade and the cable/tel lines.  For the taller pallets, this was not enough roof to keep the pallets off the ground AND clear the lines.

With the shorter pallets we were JUST clearing the telecommunications cables.

With the shorter pallets we were JUST clearing the telecommunications cables.

Issue #3: The truck needed to bring the full shipment was much too large to allow it to enter our property and do all the lifting on the property side of the lines.

A long truck with a BIG load.

A long truck with a BIG load.

With the sling and chain and tall pallets, we were well above the height of the cables and could only put in the outside row closest to the road.

With the sling and chain and tall pallets, we were well above the height of the cables and could only put in the outside row closest to the road.

Issue #4: Because we ended up lifting by slings, the blocks were much more susceptible to damage and at least three were broken.  This was mainly because we had to lift two skids at a time (they were tight on truck and no way to get sling around just one), and one lift did not have wood blocking at the corners to distribute the weight (I am hoping I can use these broken blocks in areas where I would have had to cut out the fractured section anyway (like at ‘T’ intersections) as I only have a few spare ordered.

Issue #5: This is all billed by the hour.  Although I am sure they will be generous with the number of hours, it still will be a lot of extra hours for the trip back to the yard and the transfer to yet another smaller truck and the return trip tomorrow.  This one will be able to fit in the driveway and lift from the property side of the lines.

Issue # 6:  21 Skids were shipped – 22 Skids are being delivered.  I only have room for 21 skids.  So tomorrow I will have to hand bomb the blocks on one of the shorter skids back onto another of the short skids to make a tall stack again.  They were split apart into two as I understand one of the skids had shifted and needed to be re-stabilized.

So, this is the shipment that just refuses to go well no matter how hard everyone tries.  Lets see what hurtles it flings at us tomorrow.

Unfortunately, this was not MY only issue today.  I started the day consolidating all of the broken up concrete into a smaller and taller pile to make room for a dump truck pup that was to be dropped off this afternoon to allow me to start loading the concrete. Within an hour or so, Alfie was acting funny and just before lunch, the poor tractor decided it was time for a break.  It appears that the main boom cylinder has blown and will not keep pressure.  Poor Alfie could not even hold his bucket off the ground without feeding in continual pressure. So that ended today’s plans to start loading concrete.  The truck was already on its way when I had to cancel.  I will need to diagnose tomorrow and come up with a plan.  I am hoping the repair shop will confirm that the cylinder is the only thing that could be wrong and would be able to quickly change out the seals and rebuild if I rush it out to them in Surrey.

The problem with this setback is that it now delays the whole week and I need to re-book the surveyor who was coming to mark out the excavation, and the arborist who was going to hang my tarp support cable.  It also delays the shipment of concrete blocks I was going to setup for delivery on Thursday/Friday.  So I will need to delay the start of the big dig to mid next week or later.

On a good note, I had North Shore Recycling come by today and give me $50 for all of the metal materials I had about the yard.  Kind of wishing I had saved all of the appliances from the beginning of the project instead of dumping them for free at the transfer station.  The payment to me would have been higher, but I had very little copper in the mix.

So – lets see what tomorrow has in store for me.  The only thing I can do is shake it off and move on!

Here is a photo showing my Bi-Weekly Camera Spider service.  Mr. Chick-A-Dee is very efficient at removing all traces of insects from around the cameras.  I just need to train him to remove the webs as well!

Here is a photo showing my Bi-Weekly Camera Spider service. Mr. Chick-A-Dee is very efficient at removing all traces of insects from around the cameras. I just need to train him to remove the webs as well!

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House is down!

August 5, 2014

Almost three months after starting this process with the removal of the kitchen cabinets, I can officially say that today at 4:12 PM, the house was officially and completely down.

I spent the morning finishing the preparations for the storage area of the 21 skids of ICF block and then started work on dismantling the last wall that I had pulled down late last week.  This was down around 3:20 PM and had 45 minutes before I had to get ready for an appointment so though “why not – lets get her done”.  I proceeded to pull up the sub-floor and then I ripped out the final footings and concrete slab.

I will feel that the house is officially gone when I get rid of the concrete and have all of the salvaged wood processed and stacked away.

The assembled structure is no more!

The assembled structure is no more!

In other news, my shipment from back east continues to be cursed.  The skids of ICF were to be picked up mid morning and delivered by the afternoon.  Unfortunately, the carrier had an equipment breakdown.  He planned on picking up the goods from Richmond with a tractor trailer and bringing to their yard in Coquitlam and then delivering to North van tomorrow evening or later.  I did not get confirmation, so lets hope they got picked up and I do not get saddled with storage charges. I will be relieved when the blocks get here safe and sound.

The rest of the week will entail cleaning up the site making room for the excavation and doing basic layouts.  I have asked the surveyor to come late in the week to mark out the corners.  I have also asked the arborist to come late in the week to setup the supporting cable for the tarp.  It should be a busy week.

Thanks for the visit.

 

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Calm before the storm

August 4, 2014

Today was a generally low key day.  It started at 11 when a nice chap came by to pick up some plywood.  I then worked on the site cleaning up and stacking lumber.  I figured out the space needed for the 21 skids and will just have enough after some brief tractor work in the morning to level a bit more area.  If I had even one more skid, I would have been in trouble for space, so it has worked out perfectly.

Ron and I did a green waste run with mainly the rose trimmings and then of course stopped at Tim’s on the way home.  Once we got back the afternoon was gone and I was done as it was another hot one today (inside of my storage container was over 90º F).

Later in the evening, Gordon – one of my regular Craigslist respondents – answered my last chance call out to all of the previous people who had expressed interest in the free wood.  He took ALL of the ship-lap which was awesome.  Now I do not have to take the time to take it to the green-waste dump.

To date I have given away all of the ship-lap that managed to come off the house reasonably intact.  This included some from the floors, and about 80% plus of the wall and roof material.  This represents a HUGE diversion from the landfill and goes a long way to making this new build a much lower embodied energy dwelling than just about any ‘green’ house.  All the low VOC paint, sustainable harvest floors, efficient heating systems pail in comparison with just not throwing something out in the first place.  If there is any visitors out there that are well versed on calculating embodied energy and want to make a case study of my project, I would love to collaborate with you.

IMG-20140804-00462 IMG-20140804-00463

It was a full load!  Gord has been building a cabin just across the border and will use this for sheathing.

Your author sporting the hot day - bush man look

Your author sporting the hot day – bush man look

Thanks for the visit.

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Holiday Weekend

August 3, 2014

I have generally been good about not making a lot of noise on Sunday’s and have generally spent the day doing office work and some site work like cleanup and the like.  But an event on Friday indicates I will have to be VERY careful as I seem to have a disgruntled neighbour a few houses down.   My immediate neighbours have been awesome and even have encouraged me to get things done on the weekend, and have helped to boot.  But it seems not everyone has the same supportive attitude.

I received this all second hand so who knows – there was a woman standing in front of the site and it looked like she was taking photos with their phone of the boulevard, my permit, etc and trying not to make it obvious.  It was 7:45 PM and I was just finishing up on the tractor loading some green waste into the trailer.  Another neighbour from down the street who was watching me with his son, informed me at 7:50 when I had stopped for the day, that she was upset I was working and “did I not know it was 8 PM?”

When I went to their house to ask if there was a problem, I was met by the husband who did not know his wife had been out and did not express any concern.  So I left asking them to please contact me if there ever was a problem and that I am allowed to work till 8 PM on weekdays (construction noise is allowed 7 AM – 8 PM Mon – Friday and 9 AM to 5 PM on Sat)

I have not heard anything more, but it has left a sour taste in my mouth.  I have tried to be very careful to not disturb my neighbours.  One of the reasons I do not start early in the morning is that I have a senior neighbour who does not get up very early and I committed to generally starting later in the day and then working till 8.  This allows me to get computer work done anyway and of course there will be exceptions (like the upcoming excavation).  So the thought that I have an upset neighbour and that I am always going to have to be on my toes is frustrating. What is even more frustrating is the sneaking around instead of just coming to me. We will have to see on Tuesday if she has filed a complaint and I get a visit from the bylaw officer (not that I was doing anything wrong in this instance).

Saturday entailed finishing loading a green waste run comprising of all of the waste stream created by taking down the bedroom.  It was one of the largest loads to date but fortunately quite light (aka cheap).

The monster of green waste loads.  This wood gets chipped and composted and then sold as top-soil through outlets like Roberge

The monster of green waste loads. This wood gets chipped and composted and then sold as top-soil through outlets like Roberge

I also pulled down the final north wall.  When I pulled this wall down, I had hoped that the leanto shed attached to the side would stay in place, but alas I had attached it far too well (“You used too many fasteners!” as Ron likes to say), so the shed just rotated into the air when I pulled the wall down.  I am going to reuse this shed as my work and cutting table at the front of the site, so I spend to time cutting it off the wall and righting it again.  I also cut the roof into three sections to make the move easier.

The day was quickly coming to an end, so Ron and I rushed off to dump the green waste load so that the trailer was empty and I could move the rose hedge. In the couple of hours I had before my 5 PM cutoff, I drastically pruned the roses, bare rooted then to get rid of all of the weed roots (lots of bindweed), and transplanted the roses in Ron’s yard where they will be able to spread out nicely and live hopefully another 30+ years.  With a few minutes to spare, I finished levelling the ground where the hedge was and will now house 21 pallets of material and loading the pruning’s into the trailer to start the next green waste run.

Today I really should have done some cleanup and site organization, but generally spent the time in the office confirming my concrete order, researching how to hang my job site tarp, realizing I had another corrupt excel file from when I first moved here and had a power outage (and then spent hours in vain trying to find a backup copy of the file that contains all of my mileage records for my company).  I also have been trying to get rid of the final ship-lap, 2×4’s, windows, and plywood I do not need.  I had a couple of people come and take some.  I also had a person come for ‘all’ of the windows (should have been my first clue) and realized when they got here that they were a scraper.  SO I gave them one and sent them on their way and made sure I informed them that the place was under video surveillance. Tomorrow I have someone coming to get some of the windows for a shed, which is what I intended when I salvaged them.

Tonight I figured out how to have the webcams upload the images right to my file server in my office.  This will save an immense amount of time because I will no longer need to login to my hosted server’s FTP and download the images to my local file server every few days.  I need them local to view and edit them and now I am one step closer to the ability to create daily time lapse videos from each camera stream.

Tomorrow I will have to do some prep for Tuesday’s arrival of the ICF.  This will be quite work like raking dirt, moving wood, etc.  If it bugs someone, they are just going to have to bite me 🙂

Thanks for the visit.

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Bobcat Deconstruction

August 1, 2014

A family member had expressed disappointment the last time I used Alfie to tear down the office as they wanted to watch live. So this time I filmed a little of the dismantling of the bedroom to capture for all time.

Enjoy

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Lafarge becomes a sponsor

August 1, 2014

Well, we are one day closer to excavation but still have one wall standing.

The morning was spent in the office planning the logistics for Tuesday’s delivery of 21 skids containing 37K lbs of ICF block. I looked at having the consolidator just bring the blocks out on the existing trailer, but renting a rough terrain forklift (tellehandler) was going to cost $600 for one day and the consolidator would have charged a fee to deliver to a residential address.  So at somewhere between $600 and $800 I can hire the freight and site placement out to a crane truck and not have to worry about it.  I am using Phoenix Truck and Crane who had the best rates out of the few I called (most do not have equipment to handle these loads).

I also received confirmation from Lafarge Concrete (than you Eric/Don and Carlos), that they will sponsor the supply of the concrete blocks I need to stabilize my excavation around two trees.  I just have to arrange freight.  This was some good news in a day otherwise filled with spending money.  At this point it looks like I need 36 full blocks and 6 half blocks for a total of 163,800 Lbs.  I wonder if my property is going to sink below all this extra weight :-).  I will arrange for delivery for next Thursday or Friday. I will also be using Lafarge for the concrete for the dwelling and will discuss this more later.

I also confirmed the truck movement of my truss package from Quebec to BC.  At $2200, it is a far cry cheaper than the next quote received of $5000.  I had confirmation that the issue is moving less than a container load, and is not about problems loading the goods.  As I have gone through about 5 carriers to find this one (www.apinternational.ca), I think I will just accept that these will not move by rail.

By the time the office work was done, it was time for lunch.  After lunch I started on clearing beside the road to get ready for the ICF delivery.  I will order gravel for Tuesday AM. Tomorrow I will take the roses out and transplant them to Ron’s yard

Getting ready for the ICF.  Still need a gravel pad.

Getting ready for the ICF. Still need a gravel pad.

I then finished processing all of the materials from the bedroom tear-down creating the give away, keep, green waste, and rubbish piles.  Tomorrow I will pull down and strip the final remaining wall and the house will officially be down.

Thanks for visiting.

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