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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Ground floor rooms emerge and the annex has a roof

This view, looking from the south shows, from the front, Bedroom #2, the main bathroom (behind the studwork) and Bedroom # 1.

This is bedroom #1 showing the insulation of the floor and outside walls.

This is inside the main bathroom and shows the heat recovery ventillation ducts, carefully recessed into the ceiling.

Possibly the most boring picture on this Blog - but a milestone even so - the roof of the annex, completed.
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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Builders' bums

It has come to light that the builders on this site are attracting attention.   So much so that the lady workers at a nearby office have taken to assessing the quality of our builders' backsides - much in evidence from time to time during the hot weather.   Builder's bums are being scored out of ten and fed back by means of A4 sheets of paper held up at the office windows.   The leading score was a creditable 7.8 until one cheeky chappie loosened his belt and scored a nine.

No photographs, nor names.   Yet.

Progress in profusion

Carl and Tim lower part of the main entrance threshold stone into place. The curtain glass wall at the south end will rest on this. The stone was cut and then hand finished from the original doorstep of the tower's doorway, unearthed during the works.

The annex roof being insulated prior to its Polyroof coating.

Just look at the thickness of the insulation - 250mm

The Polyroof synchronised gloop rolling team lay their special mix prior to the fibreglass layer going on.
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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Walls completed

Tom the joiner has worked hard all weekend and all of the remaining internal walls are now there.   Les Hobson's plumbers start with their first fixing work tomorrow - hopefully so too Mounsey's electricians and ADM Systems' ventilation fitter.

Essentially, the building work has now gone as far as it can until wires and pipes are fitted.

We must wait until 12th August for planning and Listed Building approvals (or not) for the details of the roof room and the retaining walls.

Architect Stuart Green has visited twice during the weekend.

During the coming week we expect to see the annex stairway and roof completed.  

Thanks to amazingly quick and meticulous building work we are at the stage of 'lift-off' for a completed project if other suppliers and contractors can deliver.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The big hole revealed

Removal of scaffolding today reveals the size of the enlarged opening in the south wall. Steel girders and masonry have been removed above the main double doors, the special new steel beam has been inserted high above and the infill wall has been rebuilt down to three courses below the dentition stones. This picture shows the red edge of the first floor and the daylight shining through onto the top of the upper ladder from the hole in the tank base where the lift shaft will be. The large opening in the wall will be almost totally glazed, letting in a great deal of light and overcoming the need to remove any more tank base plates for daylight.

For comparison, this shows the doorway as was. This doorway had been enlarged in years gone by so we have obtained Listed Building consent to enlarge upon that fait accompli.

The size of an even earlier doorway can be seen on the black and white title picture.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The apprentice

Never mind the clever stuff. That would not be possible without a constant supply of materials and running about. Much of this falls to apprentice Tim (also known as Lucas because of his resemblance to comedian Matt Lucas). Here is Tim doing one of the more mundane tasks - washing the trowels at the end of a busy day.

Tim has to jump to it when called upon - loudly and often. He is a quick learner and is rightly proud of his job description - apprentice builder.

He deserves, and gets, this posting all to himself.
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A big hole in the wall

Today the opening in the south wall has been fully opened up to make way for the wall of glass that will fill it. This was always going to be a tricky operation involving the insertion of the big new steel beam (see yesterday's post), removal of some very well built stonework and the supporting of the tank and masonry above.
The steel is in and the first course of stonework has been laid on a flange attached to the steel. This creates the strange illusion of a thin row of unsupported stone, just at the top of the white hard hat.   Compare this shot with the black and white title picture of the Blog.   All but three courses of stone between the door top and the dentition stones have now been removed.

The Kipper is Richard (The Stig) Kilburn who obviously has had ownership problems, brushwise. Woe betide anybody who borrows this one.

Carl and Gav have worked solidly all day rebuilding the wall above the new steel and knocking down the wall below it. The size of the new opening can now be seen from inside the tower.

The noise and dust have not deterred the spiders. This web is 'frosted' with stone dust.
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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Scary stuff

Yesterday, two holes were punched high up in the southern wall for temporary steel supports (below) for the soon to be unsupported wall beneath the southern end of the tank.
Even with 21st century equipment the stones took some removing.

Merlo the lifter was back in action, here seen raising the 300 kg steel beam that will eventually support that wall when the masonry is removed to make way for the glass screen wall.

The 300 kg beam now rests on the scaffolding whilst the second temporary steel beam is inched towards the second of the two holes made earlier. Tomorrow may see the removal of the stone below - I say 'may' because the sheer strength of the building is making it exceedingly difficult to remove every single stone. How incredibly sad that the other seven of these amazing towers on the S&C were demolished - presumably with great difficulty.

I must pay tribute to our builders Kilburn and Johnson who are tackling these jobs with resourcefulness and enthusiasm.   Carl Johnson is in charge of Merlo the lifter in picture #2.   Meanwhile Richard Kilburn was at hospital for a knee operation.   By the end of the day he was back on the job!   He does not yet know if the operation was a success as the knee was still anaesthetised.
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Sunday, 17 July 2011

A rather sad breakthrough

After weeks of struggling, the first two tank base plates have been removed, to make way for the lift shaft. Two more base plates - each 4 feet square and weighing almost half a ton each - have still to be removed, to accommodate the stairway which accompanies the lift shaft. Our original plans sought to avoid the removal of any base plates. The lift and stairs would have gone in a three storey annex, so preserving the tank intact and keeping open the possibility that it could one day hold water again. Access to the tank would have been over, or through one of the sides. This would have meant the removal and retention or re-use of just two side plates - a simple and far less destructive scheme. The Conservation Officer preferred the present approach which does at least retain the external look of the tank - but the penalty is the destruction of the tank's intended function.

Seeing daylight from within the tower, the hole in the tank base measures 8 feet x 4 feet.   The iron hard sealant surrounding each base plate had to be cut away then the plates were jacked up from below, using the wide lower flanges of the beams at the jacking locations - see below.

Here we get our first daylight close-up of one of the cast iron beams which support the tank. It is 18 inches deep. The top flange is narrow but the lower flange is wide enough for my hat to rest on. The hat gives a better idea of the size of these beams.   There are 14 of them.
From above, on a rainy day, we see one of the removed plates alongside the big hole in the tank base.   It would have been easy to simply smash the base plates but we have tried very hard to remove them complete, in the interests of conservation.   Not quite sure what to do with them though!

A discovery made during this operation was that the easiest way to drill a hole through 1 inch thick cast iron is to use an SDS drill fitted with a masonry bit, on hammer drill setting.   Whoosh - straight through.   Noisy though.
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Thursday, 14 July 2011

The annex is almost up to height

Seen from the south this is the first floor of the annex. Its roof timbers can be seen and, to the right, the start of its parapet wall.

This view from the north shows both floors of the annex.
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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A view

Clearance of the overgrowth and leveling of the plateau at the rear of the water tower has revealed this stunning view of Pen y Ghent.   What is a mountain with a Welsh name doing in the Yorkshire Dales?   Let us  hope the Welsh never ask for its return.

Here we see the annex very nearly up to roof height. Pen y Ghent is on the horizon.
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Monday, 11 July 2011

Threshold and ground floor

This was a very large stone step that we discovered in the wall to the south of the tower. It was underground and had been covered by a relatively modern concrete slope, removed for all sorts of reasons. It has been cut longitudinaly to yield two large slabs which will support the steel and glass screen wall and the entrance steps.

Here is a detail of the craftsmanship in the 'new' stones - the work of stonemason Nick Cook at Stan Jordan's stone yard in Settle.

Meanwhile, the shape of the rooms on the ground floor begins to emerge. From the far end we have bedroom 1, the main bathroom and bedroom 2/office. The blocks will support pre-fabricated walls.
The wetness on the newly laid concrete floor is from the tank high above. The tank does not leak a drop but we are preparing four base plates for removal to make way for the lift shaft and stairway.   The concrete floor still has to have insulation, then the underfloor heating pipes and a screed lain on it.
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Friday, 8 July 2011

Ground floor concrete, the annex takes shape, so too the garden

This is the upper floor of the annex taking shape. The doorway will lead out onto a bridge, connecting with the embankment. This is just the blockwork. The finished building, when clad in metal and glass, will be of ultra modern and stylish appearance.

Concrete is being laid on the ground floors of the main tower and of the annex. Tim the apprentice has the hard job.

This shot, looking south along the top of the embankment, shows its flat plateau - now cleared of trees and vegetation.

Two lorry loads of concrete cover what will be the areas of the main bedroom and bathroom. 4 or 5 more lorry loads still to be laid. The concrete has come from Lancaster. A spinning laser beam ensures things are dead level. Note the reinforcement mesh and the damp proofing and radon barriers.
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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

First floor in, annex nearly up, earthworks taking shape

Just three weeks to the day since builders Kilburn and Johnson started work on the tower the first floor is in and the scale and proportions of the main room begin to emerge. Here we are looking south with the doorway to the annex on the left. Straight ahead are the existing doors, to disappear this week as the south wall is opened up for the glazed curtain wall.

This is the first floor of the annex. The blockwork in the foreground is the start of the kitchen walls. The embankment has been cleared of invasive vegetation and graded down to the tanked retaining wall of the ground floor, now below ground. That wall is thicker than the walls of the tower itself. Over-engineered? Maybe.

This view from Station Road shows how the water tower has regained its prominence at the entrance to Settle Station. The earth bank to the left has been much reduced. The first floor of the annex is evident to the left of the tower. Note the railings on top of the tank, completed yesterday.

Further left than the previous shot, the now much reduced earth bank has had its tree stumps removed and a row of massive, presumably glacial, rounded boulders have been lined up along the edge of a single zig-zag pathway up the slope. These boulders were just below ground level at the top of the mound.   The impression is that they were there since time immemorial so maybe this was a moraine?   The majesty of the wall to the rear has been enhanced by the lowering of the land in front of it. Whitelock's digger men have worked hard today and created a useful area from what had been a steep wilderness.
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Saturday, 2 July 2011

We have an electrician

Posted by PicasaSettle electrician Jonathan Mounsey has accepted the challenge of wiring the place and exploiting its potential for innovative lighting and electronics in general.   As can be seen, he arrived mob handed today and fixed a great big sign on the side of the tower - and replaced our three phase electricity meters back on the wall whence they had fallen overnight.