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Friday, 30 September 2011

A visit to Cardiff

Courtesy of the owners and of Tiger Aspect, we had the privilege of a televised viewing of The Cardiff Water Tower.   The contrasts and similarities to the project at Settle are remarkable.   We came away with many ideas - and many reassurances that solutions we have found have worked in Cardiff.

There are just too many pictures to show here but follow these links:

If our project turns out as well as that at Cardiff (and we are quite confident of it) we shall be thrilled.

Elegant touches and we have a roof

The removal of scaffolding and tarpaulins has revealed the first floor to tank staircase. It is an amazing structure that seems to just hang there unsupported. You need to imagine it with wooden treads and risers and glass balustrades.

This is the northern retaining wall and steps nearing completion. The curve of the wall end is just the job. All the stone has come from the water tower or from Settle station.

The pathway alongside the new fence takes shape.

The photograph does not do justice to what has been achieved inside the tank during this heatwave week. The blue tarpaulin tent covers the area where the roof room will be. The grey surround is the finished glass fibre surface of the flat roof.

The main bathroom's shower enclosure is fitted.
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

First snow of winter?

Looking like a snow scene, this is the tank floor now covered with 170 mm of Duratherm foam. Before the day was over roofer James Holgate has laid roofing boards on top of the foam. Just for fun, the water inlet pipe of the tank has been flash sprayed with foam. It will later be painted, direct onto the foam.

This is Gary McKee, foam sprayer and Arabian impersonator. The sun today was so hot that the headgear was very practical. The sun's heat not only dried out the tank it helped the foam to cure quickly so that the job was done in a day.

Gary in action. The foam depth can be judged against the three untreated panels. The chemicals that comprise the foam are pre-heated and delivered to the spray gun at very high pressure via insulated pipework. The setting foam achieves an instant skin and can bear a man's weight almost straight away.
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Tank insulation

We decided that the best way to insulate the tank base, with all its nooks and crannies, was to spray it on. Isothane's Duratherm was what we have used, supplied by Sprayseal. Here is one of four giant barrels of the foam - weighing in at 3/4 of a tonne of ingredients. The heated ingredients are delivered at high pressure.

Gary McKee in full swing with the insulation spray. We are using 170mm thickness of foam. The roof will be laid on top of it within 24 hours. It is amazing to watch Gary applying this stuff. He has been doing it for 28 years and thinks he will get to enjoy it eventually.
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Pumping out the water tank for the very last time

0600 hours and Chris (You Dump It, We Pump It) Armstrong arrives on site with his sewage tank emptying machine - a giant vacuum cleaner. We have puzzled for long enough wondering how we could pump the tank absolutely dry before it was insulated and roofed. Chris came to the rescue with this novel idea. Besides having a dirty job he has a good sense of humour. The notice on the back of his lorry reads 'CAUTION Stool Bus'.

The Stool Bus watch dog, Heidi.

A sewage pipe runs up the main staircase.

On the dot of 0900 hours Sprayseal arrive to do the insulation. Click on the warning sign on the back of the sewage lorry.

Here at the other end of the pipe Chris Armstrong is sucking out the very final drops of water from the tank. Note the sunshine which quickly dried out any remaining dampness.
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Monday, 26 September 2011

The water tank roof takes shape

An Indian summer is forecast so we are making full speed this week with the tank roof. This is James (Settle Roofing) Holgate who will be laying the flat roof surface. Today we have been laying the substructure, building in a 3" north to south slope. The fibreglass roof needs a high temperature to cure properly - we hope to get it on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fingers crossed.

This shows the hills behind Settle in the evening sunshine. The timbers are ready for the application of spray foam insulation tomorrow. We start pumping out the tank at 6am.

Possibly the last ever picture of the tank with water in it. The footprint of the 40 sq m roof room can be seen in this view. Also an intermediate step of the staircase from the floor below.

A view northwards towards Pen y Ghent.   The trees are on the turn.

And to the east we see Castlebergh rocks and flagpole.
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Thursday, 22 September 2011

New kitchen, goods yard gates and front door

Pat seems pleased with the kitchen so far. One of its windows was glazed today by man CSi's Craig.

What a contrast with the old metal gates! Here are the Goods Yard Gates - to Midland Railway patterns.

Craig also fitted the 'porch' detail around the main entry door. This glass screen wall will be magnificent when finished off with matt black silicone between the glass panels. Watch this space.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Sidings gateway widened

We have removed the rather forbidding steel gates from The Sidings gateway as well as a six foot section of concrete wall to the left of the gates. During the next couple of days the new oak gateposts will be set in concrete and the newly made goods yard gates will be fitted. Compare this early morning view with the one below.

Before we bought it - showing the old gates and the concrete wall section which stuck out awkwardly into the road. Compare the size of the main entrance then and now.
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Monday, 19 September 2011

Getting towards the twiddly bits

Tiler Jordan Marsden making a start on tiling the main bathroom - a picture especially chosen for Norma Bartle.

Les Brewer has been fencing again - this time on the embankment. How's this for a sturdy, typically railway, fence?

The sloping pathway leading to the side entrance. It still has to have flagstones laid on top of it - re-used from the floor inside the tower. This will bring the slope up to the inside floor level to comply with disabled access legislation. The wall to the right cannot go any further until it has planning approval in writing. A planning condition is that we build a one square metre sample of the wall for consideration of approval. The stones to the left, all of which came either from the water tower or from Settle Station await the planning go-ahead, or not. The wiring is intended for low level illumination of the dark area of the slope. This too, along with all the other outside lighting requires planning approval before it can be installed. This was a planning condition requested by Network Rail as the property is near the railway and train drivers might get confused if lights could be mistaken for signals. Well intended but irksome when all the rest of the build is going so amazingly well.

We shall very soon have completed the building work - except for those things that await planning approval - a considerable cost and time penalty. Obligingly, the planning officer is visiting the site later in the week to see if we can resolve some of these things.
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Thursday, 15 September 2011

The top stairway and the kitchen take shape

This rather confused picture fails to do justice to the top staircase but its clever design means that it appears to be self supporting - and to some extent it is.

Just for now the third stage of the staircase - four steps up into the tank - is missing. This gives a rather odd illusion of a staircase into the sky.

A hugely boring picture of the kitchen part fitted, included to illustrate that we really are getting close to a finished building. Fear not, those cupboard doors are not really blue. That is just the peel-off protective plastic.

Neat cooker hood.

An action shot showing CSi's heavy mob about to persuade a staircase support bracket into place with an Irish screwdriver. Friction, gravity and the strength of the tower's walls are all against them.
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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Heave ho

A day of big developments as we begin to fit the staircase between the first floor and the tank. Here we see Settle Coal's big crane towering above the tower and the Orange mobile phone mast. It is lowering one of the four tank base plates that have had to be removed to make way for the lift and stairs. Each weighs about 1/2 a tonne. The plan is to incorporate these plates into a path or terrace somewhere on the site.

On the return journey the first flight of the staircase is lifted aloft - to be dropped in from the top. The figure in the tank is me.

Seen from The Sidings, the staircase is being manhandled into place having been skilfully lowered through the roof.

It fitted in place exactly - so much so that it could be welded in straight away. When the actual measurements were checked against the plans there was a cry of' 'Fcuking Miraculous' that may have been heard in Long Preston.

From the top of the tank, the second stage of the staircase takes flight over the International Corporate Headquarters caravan.

A view of the big crane from the top of the tank, with outriggers straddling The Sidings.

Stairway to heaven (or at least to the tank) on its descent.

CSi's men in action with stage 1.

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