My week in numbers…

          If I do too much back work, the bolts come loose and my ass falls off.

This is Week 5 coming to an end…

It’s been a week of physically demanding work – after last weeks physically demanding week., and the previous weeks physically demanding works. There’s a bit of repetition going on here.

We have just about finished digging out the floor, only so we can start putting stuff back in. It’s beyond me why we have to remove tons of stone and rubble and dirt only to have to replace it with tons of stone and rubble and dirt – and of course cement. But there you go. Who am I to question these things?!?!?

We added another team member this week to get the job done. Andy’s son has joined us and he works as hard as his father. My digging is limited due to my back being held together with titanium bolts as a result of a weekend jumping off cliffs a few years back. If I do too much back work, the bolts come loose and my ass falls off. Hmm!

My job therefore has been limited to digging where I can and for as long as it’s comfortable, and wheeling the results of all our digging out of the property and into the carpark.

I thought I would share some of the numbers with you for the last 2 weeks effort.

2 . The number of wheelbarrows available.This is important because as we empty one the other is being filled. It’s like a chain gang. Also the number of breakers we have now used, as the first breaker broke! Ironic ?

49. Man (and woman) hours during the last two weeks just for digging out.

90. Each wheelbarrow can carry a maximum of 90 litres. Of course I cannot move them if full. That’s what you get by working with That There Builder Girl. But that means approximately 12-15 wheelbarrows per ton of rubble. To be fair I didn’t move them all myself. There is a time in the day when my little arms cannot simply move them.

72. In tons. The amount of dirt, stonework and rubble removed to date and collected by our cheerful grab lorry driver. Referring to above – that means a minimum of 864 wheelbarrows full.

47. The number of steps between the front door of the pub and where the wheelbarrows are emptied. Double it to return – albeit with an empty barrow. That is 81,216 steps.

10. The amount of wheelbarrows of rubble I had to move because I put them in the wrong place (mis-heard my instructions and never will I do that again!).

26. In square metres. Approximately amount of salvageable blue lias flagstones found under the concrete tiles and dirt which has now been sold on to a happy customer.

3. Breaks during the day – and also mugs of coffee or tea allowed per working day whilst working as apprentice builder girl.

11. The time at night that I used to go to bed when I was at home and doing a normal job.

8. The time at night that I make up my bed in the caravan – just to make it in readiness for later on you understand.

9. The time at night that I have yet to see because I am so tired.

6. The time in the morning that I get up because I keep going to bed too early !

21 -37. The number of weeks left on the project till it’s done.

There is one more number worth thinking about. That is the number of glasses of wine I may have to consume to get over the work day. But that number is secret – because my Mum reads this blog and I don’t want her to think I am an old soak!

Don’t panic….until you have to!

Commercial to residential, in this case, also means lots of digging! Not just a little way either. We have to dig the floor out to a suitable depth and then put it back in but with all the necessary materials that make a modern building. Including a DPM (damp proof membrane) and the necessary insulation.
We knew this from the outset, so in Week 1 we broke into just one area of the floor to see what lies underneath.

Concrete tiling is what everyone saw – great for a pub. Easy to clean and hard wearing. No good for a residential property. That was the top layer. Underneath was dirt, then blue lias flagstones. Probably originals from a way back. Yippee. There is value in them there stones and if we can save them, we can re-use them or sell them on.

Then weirdly, a type of bitumen. Didn’t smell too good but nothing to worry about.

What was worrying was the next material we found. It looked like a type of insulation board. We stopped work, masked up and sealed the area. Both Neil and Andy thought it might be asbestos. That is one of the words you do not want to hear when you start a job this big.

I cannot tell you how worried I was. My first action was to find out what I had to do. The HSE has tons of information but it doesn’t help lessen the panic. We have to dig up an area of about 90m2 – and if it was asbestos the digging out programme was about to get incredibly expensive.

That was a tough week. I sent off the sample we had unearthed to Artisan Surveyors, a specialist business found online. The result came back negative.

What a lesson to learn. We do have some asbestos sheets on an outside toilet. We know we have to deal with them in time…but it never crossed my mind that some of the floor would be made of asbestos.

You might have seen me dancing in the streets that night under the influence of sheer relief.