Set Down

For the last four days there has been one overriding focus in our lives and that is to get the outbuilding set down. I’m happy to report that I can blog that we were successful.

Stage 1 was to lift the building (last October) with stage 2 being to move the building which was actually two steps. In February we lifted it higher, set it on beams and put it down on a trailer. Then we moved it through a blizzard to our yard and on a howling cold day set it over top of the partially prepared foundation.

Ron has been busy working on the foundation for the last few weekends. It could be perceived as over enginering but keep in mind he is an engineer first and foremost. We have small patio blocks down on a compacted sand base. On top of that he put concrete blocks which he mortared in place and following that he filled the holes with concrete. So it’s got a good solid foundation under the building which is ironic as one corner of the building seems a bit suspect. But none the less that’s the way he rolls. We then covered the blocks with a water proof fabric which is a bit like wall papering with your spouse in the wind and then we were finally ready for the final act of  stage 3 which was set down.

Patio stones in place, building "hovering". Working on sill plates here, foundation work still to go.
Patio stones in place, building “hovering”. Working on sill plates here, foundation work commencing.
Foundation work completed and new sill plate visible here.
Blue skin applied, jack in place. Dogs resting in their usual spot.

We started to proceed with this yesterday afternoon and with the first crank downward of the jack the building shifted AGAIN. This was super annoying as we had squared it up about a month ago when we had the Bobcat for the day. Since that time Ron had jacked it up and down in various locations working on the foundation and replacing the sill plate. URG. So this meant we had to a) accept it as it was or b) call for backup. You guessed it that we called our friend Peter and picked up the Bobcat for another round of adjustments. This morning we set back to work pushing a little here and there trying to get the building as square as possible on the foundation. It was a challenge and obviously the building itself is not square so we had to accept that one corner is off.

It’s not a pretty link but I think it will open to a video of the initial attempt to set the building down. I am still struggling with uploading and inserting video (GRRR). You might have to copy and paste to make it work.

We set down the south side and then faced our next challenge with the north wall being very bowed inward which we had seen happen during the initial lift off and subsequent moving. We also knew it could be pulled outward with the Bobcat as we had done it before so that was the final act. We had to let go of the inside bracing which felt safe as it was down on the foundation on the far side already. We then pulled with the Bobcat and it worked except for the second he took the pressure off it pulled back. So the two options were plan a) accept it or b)brace it from the inside. Out came the sledge hammer and a cantilever type beam was put into place to push it out from inside while he pulled with the Bobcat. I actually drove that home from the inside. That worked fine and held the wall in place. Ron then set it down off of the jack and half of that side did not settle. Air is clearly visible. Our hope is that it just needs to shift downward into place on the edge. We joked about jumping around in the loft but seems we had no column under the beam we decided perhaps that wasn’t the best idea. And then we discussed the pros and cons of the column being replaced under the beam. I said if we put it back into place it meant it wouldn’t settle down on the outside but he felt that it was needed so we wedged it back into place. A little bit of clean up then occurred and stage 3 was complete.

A little Bobcat push
A little Bobcat push
Just a little to the right!
Just a little to the right!
The rigged "out push" from the inside.
The rigged “out push” from the inside.
It's a bit tough to see but if you can figure it out this shows the bowed inward wall.
It’s a bit tough to see but if you can figure it out this shows the bowed inward wall.
You shouldn't see air here as the jack is gone.
You shouldn’t see air here as the jack is gone.

Stage 4 will wait for a while. It includes moving the man door to the south side for garden access, putting in 1 south, 2 north and 1 west windows for light on the main floor and adding 1 bigger window on the west in the loft. The first priority though will be to fix the sliding door so the tractor can be put to use in it’s new home. We also need to add the tin to the outside foundation so that we can backfill and do grad levels around the building. The final aspect of this stage will be to apply the new siding right over the old siding and paint it. Right — but not this week as well we all know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

This felt like a blog post from about 5 years ago when I was just learning how. I have had all sorts of issues with the photos tonight and I’m not happy with the final product but I am “sending” it out there as a)the project is completed at this stage and that’s always a biggie for me and b)it’s my daily routine and c)none of you care if it’s perfect and d)I tried.



2 thoughts on “Set Down

  1. creaturecomfortquilts May 25, 2015 / 11:47 am

    What a big job, and very well done! I see you have a perfectionist engineer for a husband! In so many ways that is a very good thing. My husband like to do things right the first time as well, and later on that saves fixing up what was slapped together. It requires patience which he really has for projects. Great work you two!


    • bernielynne May 25, 2015 / 6:24 pm

      It was interesting to pick up and set down a building as that’s what a professional did with our house. I am always amazed at what an engineer can “see” and then do. He thinks in a way that I, as a nurse, do not. We both have a big plus on the patience side and are willing to work away together on something we are passionate about. Thanks for stopping in to comment and to like.


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