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Some Progress - But further behind.

I can’t believe it has been ten days since my last post.  It has been two steps forward and 1 step back for the last couple weeks.  A few of you have been antsy and asking where I am at.  Instead of taking the time to answer each of you individually, I will provide an update.

I have had some progress, but not nearly enough.

The biggest progress was on the floor truss package.  TRIFORCE has an agent and engineer in the Vancouver area that they were wanting me to communicate through and have produce the floor calcs.  I have been trying to get accurate calcs on and off since last October.  On the 16th, the local engineer passed the task off to the truss designer in the factory (Eric Pendland) and from there it was smooth sailing.  Eric issued two revisions of the truss calcs on Friday alone and then through the week of May 19th we were able to fine tune the package and my drawings including review from my engineer.  They have now been finalized and should be sealed off by the local Vancouver engineer early this coming week.  This was great progress but did eat up about three full days of my time.

The next most significant progress (but still disappointing) was with the demolition.  I finished emptying the laundry/utility room and the stripped out the cabinets, boiler, and hot water tank.  I also was able to lift the floor in full plywood sheets with the VA tiles still attached.  The plywood assemblies are stored outside waiting for the asbestos hazmat team to address when they do the drywall in the house.

I also finished emptying my old office and taking out the cabinet work.  I have had three trailer loads to the dump so far.  Two of garbage (painted wood and the like) and one of separated unpainted wood which is treated as green waste and chipped into compost and sold back later as soil.  I would have like to salvage more of the painted wood, but it was fastened together in such a way that it just split apart as I took the cabinets apart and off the walls.  But all in all, this is significantly less waste than is normally created in a demo (I will create a spreadsheet at the end of the process showing the total volumes that have gone to the various locations).

While this is progress, by now I was supposed to have all the drywall out and the electrical and plumbing removed and be working on removing the floors and sub floors.  But I cannot do most of this until the drywall is removed.  Actes Environmental is supposed to come Monday morning to provide a quote but as of yet, they have not confirmed.  I will need to work with them on the best approach to the drywall removal.  I am not sure if they would prefer to do it before the floors and wood panelled walls are removed or after. Hopefully I will find out tomorrow.

I have also been steadily purging items on Craigslist and at the street curb.  I am now up to 103 postings this year alone.  I have to say, as a person who does not like to get rid of anything I think would be useful down the road, this mass purge has gone quite well and I have offloaded probably 75% of the stuff I previously felt was important.  I think part of what makes it easier is 1) I am out of room in the storage locker and shed and 2) I know that by giving away the stuff it will be used and is helping people who may not be able to afford to get the items on their own.

What has been interesting is the wide assortment of items I am purging.  Many were not originally mine.  You see, when we bought this house in 1998, it was an estate sale.  The previous owner had passed and the sons were selling the place pretty much as is.  We struck a deal with them that we would take an earlier possession in return for being responsible to clean out the house and shed.  So I ended up with all kinds of weird items including pottery glazing compounds, saw sharpening clamps, buckets of ‘T-Bar’ ceiling installation hardware, etc.

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I posted these to Craigslist and was informed that they are clamps to hold a hand saw for sharpening.


Yesterday while cleaning out a part of the attic I had paid little attention to in the past, I came across this sign.  This was the original owner and builder of the house.  It was a cool find and I will keep and probably mount somewhere in my new wood shop.  I have learned a lot about Keith from the neighbours over the last 16 years we have lived here and I believe we would have been friends and that he would approve of the process I am now going through.  He was innovative builder for his time and clearly took pride in his workmanship.  He was also a pack rat just like me and kept everything that may be of use down the road.

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Two other items in my eclectic list of items given away.  I have no idea where I got the diving spear gun.  I have had it most of my adult life but do not dive.  The blow dart gun on the right was given to me by an Indonesian client when I used to work at a chemical engineering company.  This puppy garnered a lot of response from the Craigslist ad.  I had over 50 requests to take it off my hands.  I settled on a family, who’s daughter is doing a school project on Indonesia.

The part that has been most frustrating is the general structural engineering and the new requirement to follow Part C of the CWC guide.  My engineer continues to work through the design.  I received the first set of drawing markups on May 19th and was able to get the drawing edits back to them the next day.  The rest of last week seemed to surround the truss package review and edit and so we have not made enough progress on finalizing the rest of the structure. We were initially supposed to easily finish by the 15th of May, so these delays become frustrating and a large source of stress for me.  I have hope the drawing package will be completed this coming week and that I can finally book my permit application meeting for the first week of June.

Part of the issue is getting everybody up to speed on the new seismic requirements (including me).  I found out Friday, that one of my fundamental understandings of the code (required braced wall panels per storey) was incorrect.  I always worked off the understanding that Basements were always 75% requirement, grade storey 40% and upper floors 25%.  My engineer had first raised this in one of her mark-ups, and I had just dismissed it as wrong.  But on her pressing, I checked with the code officials in Victoria and they gently advised that I was wrong but asked for comment from Murray Frank (Murray created the guide that was used in the HPO training courses provided to the construction community regarding the new seismic requirements of the code).  Murray provided some information and clarification (thank you Murray! – on his weekend no less) that showed that it was not a clear cut  answer and depended on the configuration of the basement.  But in the end, MY dwelling had a requirement of 40% basement and 25% for the above grade floors.  While this meant I was wrong, at least it was in the right direction. These percentages were less restrictive for both the basement and 1st storey.  This allowed me to open up the basement wall providing the braced wall panels to make better use of the space and also re-centre the south living room window.  Not big changes, but ones that would allow us to enjoy the space better.  The rest of the design was still restricted by the larger min. panel size required by the Part C of the guide

Well, that is about it,  I hope to empty the attic out today and will hopefully start either the floors or the siding on Tuesday.  Mon will be some meetings including with members of my Building lab team to discuss any instrumentation that we are going to want to embed into the foundation.

Thanks for visiting!

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