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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:39 am 
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Hi Guys – I hope you and yours are all well. I can’t believe it’s been over four months since my last post, Man the year is flying through! :shock:

This is to bring you all up to date with what’s been happening, and where I am at the moment. Basically, the work that was supposed to go quiet around the middle of March just kept coming in, which is of course the right problem, but extremely frustrating when you’re trying to build a recording studio. I mentioned in my very first post ‘the ex-wife’ well, although off topic, on the 28th February, I finally completed on the sale of what Divorce Lawyers here in the U.K. call ‘The Former Matrimonial Home’ (not where I’m trying to build btw) after five and a half years of sheer hell and financial nightmares. I can now therefore confirm that I’m finally able to get on with my life and move on. For any of you that have been unlucky enough to go through this, you’ll know it’s a tremendous weight off the mind.

Now to far more important issues, and a chance to share with the newcomers my experience with local planning offices, and to offer some help with how to avoid the crap so that your build can possibly go a little more smoothly.

I apologise in advance if what I’m about to say seems irrelevant to our U.S and Australian cousins but this could be really helpful to anyone building in the U.K. :oops:

Government legislation dictates that every domestic property in the U.K. has a ‘Permitted Development Right’. In simple terms, this represents a mandatory right to extend/develop your dwelling without the necessary need for planning, if you meet certain criteria. For a semi-detached property this is currently 50 cubic meters, and for a detached, it’s 70 cubic meters. Now what this means in reality, is that if you visit your local Council Offices and pick up their leaflets on planning, you’ll look through the flowchart of questions, and if you answer 'no' to all those questions, you’ll almost certainly not need ‘Planning Permission’. This is exactly what I did back in Dec last year before I joined the forum. Not infringing a public highway, not building higher than the existing building, blah blah, you name it, I was totally within the planning criteria. It wasn’t until I went back to the offices in early March to let them know what I was intending, that I found out that the permitted development right for our home was removed by the Council themselves when it was built back in 1976! This did not show up on the 'Land Searches' when we purchassed. Shit, Bummer etc. Guys I urge you all to watch for this one as it proves, (Keith would rightly be so quick to point this out), that you can’t assume anything when it comes to ‘Codes and Permits’ (Building Regs/Planning in U.K. speak).

Ok, so what seemed then like a potentially disastrous set-back, turned out to have a couple of positives.

1. Since the Council removed the development right, we didn’t need to pay for the planning application. Nice one!

2. More than that, since we had effectively no right to build, we didn’t need to apply for a ‘change of use’. Now this bit is critical since it was the change of use gag that could have potentially ruined the whole project, and I didn’t even know it.

Faced with this unexpected situation, I clearly had no alternative but to submit an application. This wasn’t easy as we want to build a conservatory on the back of the house as well. The next step had to be to get someone to design the conservatory, and then get an Architect to draw everything up so that all the building work could be submitted on the same application. This of course takes a shed-load of time, but, lo and behold, the application for a single storey garage extension to the front, and conservatory to the rear was submitted on the 1st May.

Now as anyone here in the U.K. will tell you, Local Authorities seem to take an unbelievable amount of time to get their act together – two months minimum to be precise!

No worries Lou, go have a chat to the neighbours before they’re informed by the Council of what’s going on. They were all cool, but concerned about, guess what, noise! How many times do we talk studio to the over fifty fives, and they automatically think of unbearable noise levels, :shock: heavy-rock bands turning up in dodgy vans at 1.00am, :twisted: groupies taking drugs, :?: pizza boxes all over the drive, :cry: empty beer cans in the street etc? (As if I’d tolerate pizza boxes on the drive!) :lol: This really hacks me off, but I kept my cool, went and saw them all, and explained that I’d been producing music in the house for over two years, and they in turn, confirmed that they’d heard nothing. (No they’re not all deaf!) So there I was thinking all was going as smoothly as it could, when I found out that one of them had put in a letter of complaint after meeting with me!!! Hypocrite!

Here comes the next bonus for U.K. builders, (if there’s no change of use issue), noise has nothing to do with planning. This is solely down to environmental heath, which in turn means, build it properly to give maximum isolation and absorption, and if there is no disturbance, your neighbours have no right to complain. They could of course winge on about increased traffic, but hell, we’re not cutting peoples’ hair! A client in a studio is likely to be there all day, hardly highway congestion! :roll:

What this all translates to, is that I’m currently just over three months behind schedule, and at the real risk of upsetting the very people here who have offered me so much help: Kendale, Gulfo and of course John – (thank you all again). :oops: I had no idea that there might be an issue with this, and nether would I have started posting back in December if I thought there would be.

The end result, (I hope you’ll all be glad to know), is that my application was approved and ‘rubber stamped’ on the 28th June, so in short Gentlemen we are ‘clear to go’ and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it - yippee! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Now to something for our ‘State-Side’ brethren, Al Gore may have a point, (off topic but relevant), the weather here in the U.K. has been appalling. We’ve just had the wettest six weeks on record, I’m not sure if it’s ‘An inconvenient truth’ global warming, or just simply climate change, but even if I’d been digging in April as originally intended, I’d still be digging now! The downside of this is that any half decent builder around here is currently stacked up with a backlog of work that has to be completed before they can take on any more. :x :x

So, my posting will hopefully soon be on the construction site with pictures of mini-diggers carving up my drive! I’ve yet to design all the framing, ceilings, wiring, air-con etc, (much help needed here!) :oops: and my sketchup skills still suck, but at least you guys will be able to see things happening.

Here then, in all their glory, are the Architects drawings which we will all be working from. I sincerely believe I’ll really have my work cut out to finish the studio side of this before the end of the year, but it will, I hope, prove to be a worthwhile experience for all concerned, and of benefit for others to read.

On a side-note, (slightly off topic), I write an online theory article (total beginners to advanced), for a Guitar Magazine, (no this is not a spam!), if any of you want to brush up on your harmony knowledge please feel free to read, download, and absorb. I’m not getting paid, more like the moderators up here, just trying to help. The tutorials (stickys) are currently arranged in the wrong order (still a relatively new site) – hardest first, but it might be of use to some of you, I’m just trying to put something back, and, like this forum, it’s free. Here’s the link.

http://www.alloutguitar.com/education/lessons/theory

P.S. Massive apologies to Steve, Keith and Sideshow for not yet putting ‘The Glossary of terms’ together, It’s been a totally mad few months, and I just haven’t had the time. I’m still up for it but it’ll probably become a generic part of the build – if you get my drift!

Take care Guys,

Warm regards as always, diggers and bricklayers at the ready,

Lou. 8) 8) 8)

PS. I think this is gonna get moved real soon!

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewt ... sc&start=0


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Last edited by Lou on Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:54 am 
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Hi Guys

Loads to tell you, but for the minute, this is just a quick test to see if I can link the pics 'So Far' within the text....

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....And I can!

regards

Lou


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:23 pm 
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Hi Guys, I hope you’re all OK! Just to let you know it’s been a totally mad few days, and, that after almost seven months to the day since I joined this forum, Studio 4 is finally under construction. Yippee! :lol:

You’ve already seen in my previous post the state of our garage, but there was a lot of work to be done elsewhere before we could actually begin. Here then are the pics with brief explanations to bring you all up to speed.

I remember Keith commenting on ‘planning the job properly’, boy was he right, this has been something of a logistical nightmare just to get me this far!

First off, you can’t have machines running around your house if they can’t get to it, so we had to create access routes. This started with a quiet ponder whilst gazing at what will become the ‘musos’ main chill out area between takes.


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Get rid of the dwarf leylandii.


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Cut down the monster ivy to reveal machine access before.

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Side access before.

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Machine access after.
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Side access after.

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All that crud in the garage had to go somewhere, and yes, it did break my heart to throw this lot away, but I have no use for it now as it’s pretty much obsolete, and when you need to clear space, sometimes you just have to be ruthless.

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Garden rubbish to clear.

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Our sitting room is now a store! :cry:

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Finally a clear space to work with, however the whole of that garage floor needs to come out. :evil: :evil:

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Time to get stuck in with the heavy duty jack hammer and compressor. :twisted:

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Real messy – hard graft – very dusty, and, bloody noisy! The neighbours love me. :oops:


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Nearly there. Introducing my oldest schoolmate ‘Span’, a civil engineer and monster groundworker to ‘give it the muscle’


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All done, and 2 ½ brick courses below the original ground level.

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18 tonne graveyard – got to go!

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Learn to drive a dumper truck in five minutes.

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While Span gets on with ripping out the patio! (Oh no.)

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Yes I’m still playing with dumper trucks, but kind of having fun.

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It’s hard to visualise this as the studio chill-out area, but that’s exactly what it will eventually become – I think.

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The second 20 tonne load can be cleared away, and introducing ‘Big Pete’ on the left.

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You get the idea.

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Conservatory/Chill-out area dug out, the vertical chalk lines on the house show final positions.

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You don’t mess with Pete.

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Time for a 5 minute digger lesson!

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Then muso hand foot coordination kicks in and away we go! (Yes Keith, I play a bit of drums!) :lol:

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Minor disaster (complete accident – no one hurt), I wasn’t driving!

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Span – as always, ready and able to resolve the situation, but not without regrettably blowing both rear tyres, resulting in an hour and a half delay, and a call-out charge for them to be fixed on site at 5.45 Saturday evening. Bummer! :evil:

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Next, simply dig out the old manhole ready to take the new one and, the foul water feed from the new toilet. The blur on the shovel clearly shows the speed of work that Pete is capable of! Go on my Son! (English expression)

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Chill-out area level and sprayed up for Saturday dig.

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Precision digging from Span.

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At last, the existing waste pipework revealed.

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Gas and Electric to be repositioned outside the studio located 18” below original floor level.

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Then yet more of this relentless bloody rain! I understand that our freak weather has even made CNN, although extremely frustrating, we are so lucky that we haven’t been hit on anything like the scale they have just 100 miles north-west of here.

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Will it ever look nice again? What have we done to our home? :cry: :cry:

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So that’s where I am at the moment chaps and all achieved in a total of 66 man hours!

Ken, if you read this, please advise if this needs to be transferred to the construction forum now, or whether it’s more appropriate for me to start a new thread there, as my next question will relate to cable ducting in the new floor, and when in the construction process to do it!

Many thanks as always Ken, John and Glenn,

Happy viewing, any comments feel free, but go easy on any criticism as I’m shattered! :wink:

Regards,

Lou. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:43 am 
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Aloha Lou,

Congratulations on your groundbreaking phase! Whoa! You guys sure get a lot done and quickly. Great job on the pics.
Quote:
please advise if this needs to be transferred to the construction forum now, or whether it’s more appropriate for me to start a new thread there, as my next question will relate to cable ducting in the new floor, and when in the construction process to do it!

I would agree that now would be a good time to move this over to the Construction forum.

Lou's Studio Design Link - http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewt ... ght=#57995

Looking forward to more progress,

Aloha 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:00 am 
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Lou,

That's a nice series of pictures giving a good oversight of a nice job.

:) Just teasing:
I thought studios and music where constructive, and you title the thread: Construction ....
:twisted: This is more demolition ........

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:00 am 
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Many thanks Ken for all your help, please hang around to keep an eye on the design!

Eric, thank you as well kind Sir, yes you're right, it is demolition at the moment, and this bloody weather is holding us back big time but we're cracking on!! :wink:

Regards,

Lou. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:52 pm 
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congrats on the progress, Lou.... we're rooting fer ya....

JWL


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 pm 
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Best of luck with your studio build.

Just finishing my little studio off down in Kent, and I know the pain of the red tape!

I look forward to watching your progress.

Oz

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:42 pm 
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Hi Oz - really great to hear from you Dude. I've been watching your story for months and, as I've already said, (in American terms at least) we're practically neighbours! :D

Just about to go and take pics of my driveway before I clean up after the 3rd 20 tonne load of crap that was picked up yesterday. Yes, it will be me driving the digger without supervision from Span or Pete, :shock: but I have 6 palletts of brick and block - plus sand, insulation, etc, being delivered tomorrow with no 'clean' area to drop. :roll:

I'll show you how it looks when I'm done. It's gonna also get real busy at the weekend as I have 6 cubic metres of concrete (chill-out footing) on order for 9.00 am Saturday and we have to wheelbarrow it in. I have half an hour before I'm charged waiting time, so many hands and all that, and yes folks, it's still bloody well pissing down. :evil: :evil: :evil:

I apologise unreservedly for the linguistic slip in forum etiquette, but....... 8)

Warm regards,

Lou.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:53 pm 
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Hi JWL - many congrats on your progress too kind Sir, and thank you for the encouragement - much appreciated!

The words exuberance and contagious immediately spring to mind! :lol: :lol:

Warm regards to you and yours,

Lou. 8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 7:40 pm 
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Morning Chaps – well, as I said, the next step was a bit of a clear up operation on part. Here then are the all important pics!

Good old John turns up for the 3rd time in the pouring rain to get as much as he can in the Grab Lorry. To be honest he was probably overloaded since the muck was so wet. He could hardly make it up the hill.

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First lot of materials.

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I’m totally stuck until I get these machines through that section of lawn! :shock:

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The ground is so soft now that those tyre tracks are around 18” deep, and I can tell you that driving through there and turning 90 degrees was hairy to say the least. (We don’t need any more overturned vehicles!) :evil:

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All done safely – Told you it was pissing down.

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Couldn’t resist the ‘Arty’ shot sorry. :oops:

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Like I said, it’s precipitating heavily.

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Then just 15 minutes later – this! Man this weather’s weird. :roll:

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After an hour or so I finally managed to get to this, and if I’m honest, I felt quite pleased with myself given that I’ve never driven a digger until the other day. I now have total respect for the skill of professional machine drivers and of course, a clear area for this afternoon’s delivery of 6 pallets of bricks and blocks, 1 tonne of sand, 30 bags of cement blah blah blah.

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As I mentioned in my previous post, tomorrow’s gonna be a killer, and time really is of the essence. We start at 7.30 am with digging out the rear footing, and we’ve only got an hour and a half before the concrete arrives! :shock: Praying for a dry day, I’ll let you know how we fair.

Wish us luck!

Regards,

Lou.
8)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:12 pm 
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Yup. The weather's pretty much gone mad this summer. That rain passed (pissed... 8) That's kinda fun to say!) over south Sweden last night, so I got a nice little portion of it too........

Cool pics!!! This will surely be a great thread to follow!

Best of luck!

/J.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:54 am 
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Good afternoon people – much warmth to you and yours, and I hope you’re all enjoying your respective weekends. Johan – thanks for the encouragement, and nice to hear you’re hooked already!

Loads to show and tell, so here comes the update, whilst I still have the physical strength to type.

OK, so, Friday afternoon – clear area, and time for 2nd drop of materials.

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This Guy was really helpful and managed to get the truck so close to the property that he was able to offload and still leave enough room for concrete access in the morning.

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See what I mean? 8)

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No, they won’t fall over – honest!

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See! Just simple physics really, NOT! :oops:

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Now our home is really starting to look like a Builders Merchants.

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7.15am Saturday morning and someone was obviously listening as we have a beautiful clear sky to work under! Yes, oh Yes, oh bring it on baby!

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7.30am and, bang on schedule, as promised, Span is outside re-marking the ‘centre of dig’.

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Yes he’s very accurate.

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This bit was real tricky – transverse dig – no room to manoeuvre etc.

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Pete working like a ‘Man on a Mission’ keeping the area clear and tidy prior to concrete.

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And, he’s driving (each pass) a one tonne load of muck through this now 2’ deep mudbath! That takes some b@@ls! :shock:

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I’m 6’5” and this trench is almost to my waist. Footing deep enough?

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Although half an hour early, the concrete Guy on the left (he’s real of course - not made of concrete at all) was so cool, and quite prepared to hang around until we were ready. Introducing ‘Trev’, he’s someone I’ve known as a 'pub buddy' for around twenty years and has a heart as big as the planet. Totally ‘Top Bloke’

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Then it starts- I mean, really starts. Pete keeps an experienced yet watchful eye on the consistency. Gen 1 / Slump 75 – whatever that means.

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These barrows are bloody heavy, and even with, as it happened, only 4 cubic meters, we still had to manually pour 4.8 tonnes! I could hardly lift mine, let alone push it uphill and around the back of the house.

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Span checking everything.

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Me trying to help whilst Trev just gets ‘Stuck In’

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It really was manic! But, as you can see, the weather was so luckily (on this occasion) with us.

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Final bit.

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And, Voila! After just 2 hrs 50 minutes, a 13m x 0.5m x 1 m deep trench has been dug, and filled with nearly 5 tonnes of concrete to almost millimeter accuracy. :D

Absolutely unbelievable.

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Cheers Mate and many thanks for not charging me waiting time. Yes they normally do that here too to make you spend the extra £350.00 on hiring a 50’ pump.

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Introducing the ‘Man in the Red Shirt’ Another old schoolmate who will be doing all the brickwork. He starts tomorrow. He’s real pleased that his right hand thumb is exactly where it should be on that tape.

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Just as the concrete wagon leaves, the 3rd lot of materials arrive.

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Time now, to lose that 12’ garage door. It’s being really stubborn though and won’t go quietly.

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“Give me the bloody disk cutter” Arty shot again! (Yup, that's 140 amps of mains Electricity in the vertical black cable on the wall, with a bit of mains Gas in the yellow pipe for good measure!)

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Pete cracks in with yet more ‘upper body strength’ to sort it.

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What a mess.

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Then the garage door is finally removed from its original stronghold and Pete can get on with ‘killing it’ once and for all!

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Then on to the Manhole. Cut out existing, re-lay new 4” pipework, and re-connect.

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Once done, time to concrete into final position. (Yes Span had the good sense to save a bit from earlier).

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Voila again! Still only 1.30pm and everything is all plumbed in and finished. From top to bottom the brown 4" pipes are as follows:

1. New foul feed for Studio Toilet.

2. Replacement foul feed from existing house.

3. Replacement sink waste from existing house.

4. New washing machine waste from exisring house.


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Naturally, when you have this quality of Chaps working for you, everything worked as it should.

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Quick tidy up ready for Monday’s onslaught.

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Then, my round in a 'local' (English term for a regularly visited Public House) for a very well earned beer. From left to right – Trev, Pete, Some Muso Nerd, and Span. :wink:

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Although non-musician builders, these two have a massive love of Music - they just haven’t quiet got the concept of stereo yet! :lol: :lol:

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These Guys have been amazing, not only are they only charging me ‘Mates Rates’ (which is considerably cheaper than the norm), they’ve gone ‘all out’ and worked like Trogans again this weekend. I’m deeply grateful, and also, totally indebted to them. Thanks Guys, this definitely wouldn't be going so smoothly without you.


Tomorrow the brickwork starts on the chill-out area, another grab lorry to come in, and hopefully an inspection from building control re the drainage. Happy viewing, cos all the questions are coming real soon! Sorry if this post is ‘overdone’ but you all say you love pictures! (There’ll be less once the shell’s up – promise) All in all – a cracking couple of days. Cheers! No wonder I feel so happy. :D :D :D


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Warm regards,

Lou. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:20 pm 
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amazing pix, really. Thanx for sharing. 'ave one, cheers!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:35 pm 
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Thanks Ro – cheers to you buddy! 8)

Morning Guys, I hope all is well with you. It’s been busy around here so here comes the update, a bit of ‘off topic’ satire, our first potential hold up, and then the first (of what will surely be many) couple of questions.

Monday morning, bang on 8.00 am, and the first trench blocks go in. Introducing the man in the red shirt again, who is actually ‘Phil’ another old classmate.

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I can tell you that aside from being a naturally gifted sportsman, (still a ‘scratch’ handicap golfer!) he’s a superb bricklayer, and very fast.

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Introducing ‘Dave’ – an excellent ‘Builders Mate’

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Great progress, already out of the ground, and, up to damp proof course.

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John turns up for the fourth time, and I get some exercise as well as a go on the grab lorry – not as easy as you think.

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Then, after a hard days graft, Span and Pete turn up to crack on with the backfill.

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All done and made safe for the brickwork to continue.

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Tuesday lunchtime and it's really starting to take shape now. Phil is stood on 4’ trestles!

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The aperture in the front will be full height glass.

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Span and Pete show up after work again to make a start on the tricky dig for the front of the studio.

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The ground here, in layman’s term, is appalling – filled with all the junk they had left over after the house was originally built.

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Span had to dig down nearly six feet to get to good ground which has led to our first potential hold up.

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This is where we ended up last night.

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Span rightly advised me to get the Building inspector to visit the site and confirm that he was happy for the dig to continue at this depth. Now, as I’m sure Oz will verify, that’s not easy, especially when you bear in mind that my Architects Regulation drawings are currently stuck in the post (thanks to a postal strike) together with the cheque for the council to register them. I phoned Building Control this morning and finally got through to someone helpful who was able to send a Building Inspector to see me just 20 minutes ago! He approved the drainage in the garage, and said he was happy with everything so far. Result! Span and Pete now have the unenviable task of finishing the dig tonight so that another Building Inspector can re-inspect the finished hole tomorrow, prior to the concrete pour Saturday. Red-tape and logistics can be really frustrating sometimes, but we just have to get over the obstacles.

Now for the off-topic bit. I’m sure I mentioned somewhere up here that I’m a total gadget geeky nerd, so here’s the proof. The watch I chose as an engagement present.

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The main analogue dial is U.K time, the digital display bottom left is Honolulu time -10 hrs (Kendale), and the dial top right is Sydney time +10 hrs (John), well you never know. :lol: Bottom right is a compass so that I can always find the pub! It also has a barometer (very handy in this weather), an altimeter (which even recognises when I'm upstairs in the house), a thermometer, chronograph, alarm and calendar. Oh yeah and it’s shockproof and waterproof down to 100 feet – Cooool! 8) :roll:

OK, so then to the questions. For those of you who didn’t catch the design thread, this is what Kendale and John gave me so much help designing. Many thanks again Gentlemen. This doesn’t show the additional walls and patio doors either side of the control room, so is intended as a layout guide.

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Would one of you ’eagle eyed’ kind Sirs give my proposals for the floor construction a look? I want to make sure I’ve got the concept correct as per the isolated slab design on page 41 of Rod’s book.

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My second question is a two-part one concerning ducting. Would you Guys agree that its’ almost impossible to lay the ducting at this stage since I don’t know exactly where my final walls will end up? If you approve of the construction, do you agree that it would be much more sensible to build up to ‘screed level’, chalk out on the concrete the exact location of all the walls, and then set out all the ducting prior to the screeding?

Now onto something that’s been causing a real headache – where to place the ducting. As I see it, I’ll have three separate ducting systems carrying three types of cable to all parts of the floor area, Audio, Midi, and A.C. Mains. The following diagram shows my plan for the mains only. Blue is ‘Domestic’ mains fed back from the house consumer unit to the studio consumer unit (red box), red is ‘Technical’ mains which has its own ‘Technical’ earth (Green).

Image

Rather than trying to bring the ducting out of the screed within the rooms, I’m intending for all ducting runs to finally come out of the floor between the cavities or voids in the rooms – (between the leaves if you like). This way, I’m sure I’ve got a much better chance of not screwing things up both in terms of flexible location, and audible sound transference between the rooms via the ducting. Sorry if I’m not making sense, but try to visualise a sort of ‘sub floor’ rat run leaving 3 or 4” diameter holes dotted around the perimeter of the floor 4” away from the existing walls to still allow enough space at the edges for my outer leaf ‘beef-up’

Guys – thanks for reading, stress rising, jpeg of floor layout attached in case any of you fancy a doodle! :wink:

Regards,

Lou. 8)


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