On-site in St Ives - First Frame for Rookie Designer
My first project was for a delightful couple, Lesley Logue and David Black. It was a one and a half storey house based on the Derndale from our Woodhouse range. Having already followed the frame through the machine shop, helping to cut it on the K2i and then through the framing shop fitting and hand finishing it; D-day finally arrived and it was time for it to go to site, with me in tow!!!
Rookie Designer, First Frame
After getting up at stupid o'clock to be in the yard for 4:45am, I faced my week on site with trepidation...rookie designer, first frame...I didn't want to spend the week in the dog house with the site boys for making something which made their life difficult... I get out of the car, it is so dark I can't see anything except a shadow of what looks like a person by a van...turns out it is Marius, who doesn't seem to be too perturbed to have a rookie designer joining the team for the week…so far so good.
Ryan, Ollie and Matty arrive shortly after, the 'Dream Team' is complete and we hit the road. It is a long drive down to St Ives. I stick my headphones in, put my hood up and try and sleep as it still feels like the middle of the night and I am transported back to childhood, the last time I took this drive...family holidays...I resist the urge to say are we nearly there yet, but watch the miles slowly reduce on the glowing sat nav screen!
Eventually we arrive at another job which they have to finish and I get my first experience hammering pegs in (thank god for furniture polish), observing the art of slinging the frames/timbers on the crane and seeing a frame materialise in 3D. It is an interesting and VERY long day. I am glad to finally make it to bed, and look forward to what tomorrow brings.
Knocking in the pegs
So day one arrives at Oak House, the slab is all ready and scaffolding up, so just waiting for the crane and lorries to turn up. The crane arrives, then the first smaller of the two lorry loads, this gets unloaded...so far so good. The second lorry is bigger and no matter how hard the driver tries it will not get up the lane, so it has to go and get cross loaded off site. Once the logistics are sorted we can finally get started with erecting the frame, and I am a little bit excited.
The scaffolding is up and ready for the oak frame to be hoisted into place
At the end of day one it really has started to come together well, the frame looks great, it is all fitting together perfectly, I am enjoying being hands on wielding hammers and saws and getting stuck in...
The frame is looking great so far
Day two, the sun is shining and I think I have really become part of the team, enjoying the site banter...yes I am another left hander, that makes two with Ryan, and I run around like the site mum scampering up and down the scaffolding finding the blue bar or big one, picking up tools and being the peg gimp for Ollie and Marius. In return they finish off hammering my pegs in...obviously too painful to stand by and watch a left-handed woman attempting it!!
Day two, the sun is shining and the next part of the frame is being hoisted into place
Day three arrives, along with the gale force winds and rain...thanks to Mike (our Yard Manager) I am all kitted out in waterproofs and nice and dry, unlike the boys who left theirs at home thinking the weather was going to be good for the week. Today the roof is going up and it really is great to see the frame nearly finished, when the last ridge slots into position, I hammer in the last peg and feel really chuffed that everything has gone so well. The lads say it has been a great frame to erect, which is great news and Lesley and David are thrilled to bits, and bring a bottle of champagne to mark the topping off.
The dream team and clients enjoying champagne to mark the topping off.
The last day for me on site gave me a small insight into what happens next in preparation for the encapsulation stage of the project, which I would not be on site to see. It is then time to hit the road and do the long trip home and for the Dream team to disband. It has been a really rewarding and enjoyable experience, I have taken so much away from it and will put into practice what I have learnt in my future projects.