Mike’s spirit(level) in the sky!

To recap: the steels have arrived, and we are ready to start constructing the steel frame for the next phase of building work. First, we created templates for the bases of the stanchions…

…and used these to drill holes in the concrete bases, ready for later.

We also began addressing the dying trees that were frost-bitten this winter, and we also got involved in looking after Pips who…

…broke her ankle spectacularly in an equine incident. Ouch!

In case you worry we work all the time, here’s a quick shot of the fun we had last Sunday at a Ceilidh in the church in Betws y Coed.

On to more serious business. The telehandler arrived earlier this week and picked up one of the stanchions, which Mike and Niall accurately located, ready for us to fit bolts into the pre-drilled holes in the concrete. A special two-part catalysed glue is then squirted into the holes; the bolts are pushed into this; and an hour later the nuts are screwed down securely. This leaves us some thinking time, or perhaps…

…time for playing with Lola.

Once the stanchion was secure, the crosspiece needed to be added and before this could be done, we needed to reduce the wall height a tad so Niall set to with his disc cutter whilst…

…Lola and Freddie looked on.

Once the wall had been cut down, and the steel bearer mortared in place, the cross-beam was lowered and then bolted to the stanchion and laid to rest on the steel bearer. What followed after this was not recorded because I had to go and collect Pips from hospital and took the phone/camera with me, but I can tell you that a further cross-beam and upright were fitted to this stanchion.

The next morning, we repeated the steps above to fit the left hand crossbeam to the first stanchion, and are photographed fitting the upright and crossbeam to this. The picture, taken in a fine drizzle, shows me bolting the short upright to the first crossbeam whilst the telehandler is still supporting the weight.

This completed the rearmost line of steel, so then it was time for the next stanchion to be put in place.

It was carefully picked up and transported and then…

…offset precisely 910mm to allow for the staircase to be fitted between it and the central wall. Here you see two workers tighting bolts and two supervisers ensuring this is done properly

In case you are worried, here is confirmation that the bolts were being properly tightened.

Voila! Two of the five stanchions standing – just a little bit more still to do…

The next cross-beam also required us to take a notch out of the wall before the lower crossbeam could be fitted…

…after which the top cross-beam was fitted and bolted to both the top of the stanchion and to the lower crossbeam.

So far, so kiddies building-set-like.

Day three was more of the same.

Pick up the stanchion, move it into place, and then bolt the other bits to it.

I’m not sure how clear it is from this shot, taken as the light began to fail when the rain came in, but we now have five stanchions, several short uprights, and many crossbeams running left to right across the shot. You can just about see a scaffolding plank which we have clamped on the diagonal to link the first two structures, as they are surprisingly mobile in even a light breeze. No doubt when we start adding trusses and floor boards it will all stiffen up, but in the interim we have just braced it a little as our site is really rather exposed.

Now its Thursday night, and we have a couple more steels to add to the structure, but have run out of time and energy! We are very busy with hospitality this weekend, so will return to add the last of the steels on Saturday, and will then take a couple of days off before getting back to building work in a few days.

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