Visitors Head Home After Inspecting The Site
As I have just discovered the construction at ODEC is cracking on at such a pace you really can’t afford to turn your back for even a few days without missing something important.
When my wife and I left for a short vacation the framers (that’s the folks responsible for building the roof) had just arrived on site whilst at the front the footings (trenches) were just being completed in the Great Hall/Narthex sand pad. Get back a few days later to a veritable cacophony of activities with framers, electricians, brick layers and Higgerson (yes they are back) all hard at it and creating quite a vibe in the neighborhood! In the case of the concrete contractor it might have been a “vibe too far” with their 0515 a.m. start on laying the concrete footings for the Great Hall and Narthex, it seems time, tide and concrete contractors wait for no man!
The stack of roofing trusses is rapidly diminishing, and I think we are past the tipping point with more trusses on the building than on the ground. This area of roofing will not only cover the new rear wing but will also provide a pitched roof to replace the leaking apology for a flat roof that has blighted the day school, library and other sundry areas with water leaks for many years. This is proving to be a complicated piece of engineering because the existing buildings’ roof lines change like the Manhattan skyline and stand testament to the building projects that created our existing infrastructure over the course of many years. However, everything is starting to look “on the level” and so quite soon the new roof will be rolled out over the day school, library, corridor and other areas!
I’ve already mentioned the concrete poured for the foundation, the great concrete pump was on site and I missed it, so now the concrete blocks for the footings are being laid soon to be followed with the installation of the under floor utilities, such as plumbing, before laying the concrete floor.
A blog or so back I reported on Higgerson’s departure from the site but now Ryan and his team are back and busy “cutting in” the new vehicle entrances for the campus. One entrance, in the area where the old herb garden used to be, is for the new car park that will be located at the end of the Great Hall and the second will be a drive-in/drive-out drop off loop located beside Tucker Hall, which will service the Witchduck Rd door to the Narthex. It seems every small piece of site construction has to be inspected before moving forward and so it was with the “cut” for the new car park entrance as I watched a City inspector giving it the once over. I am delighted to report he seemed to be content with what he saw.
One other noteworthy event to report.
Some might regard sewers as part of the less seemly side of construction, a necessary service that is best left in the dark recesses of the construction craft and not openly discussed. Well that’s all well and good until a sewer doesn’t work then they really grab the headlines! You may recall way back in the mists of time, towards the start of our construction adventure, the sewer architecture serving AFH, Tucker Hall and the day school wing came under scrutiny because the subterranean system ran where the new rear wing needed to be. In the absence of any records or plans the sewer lines serving AFH and the day school were located and re-routed, “job’s a good’un*” or so everyone thought.
For some reason, better known to those who went before us, the sewer system had a concealed “strategic reserve” sewer line that became very evident in the most dramatic fashion when the day school returned. We are fortunate to have the multi-talented Mr Crumley on the team because before the day school toilets flooded thrice he had identified the problem and initiated emergency remedial action so once again sewers on the campus can return to their anonymity!
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach
“job’s a good’un”: South West of England (Counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall) colloquial phrase for doing a good job.
The City Inspector Visits The Site
This past week construction has been moving forward on all fronts at a mesmerizing pace, Great Hall/Narthex, rear wing and Day School have all felt the attention of Scott Crumley’s construction plans!
At the front the sand pad, recently recovered from Amazon using it to test the multi-terrain capabilities of a white panel van (not good), has been surveyed, the location of the walls marked, trenches for the footings dug and the steel rebars set in place so everything is prepared for the concrete footings pour next week. Readers may recall from the rear wing how a layer of concrete is poured into the trenches to form the “footings” that provide the foundation on which the concrete blocks that hold up the walls are placed. That's enough of “Construction 101,” as one with an eye for the heavy machinery like myself, the grand thing about laying footings is it marks the return of one of my favorite pieces of machinery to date, the mighty concrete pump.
Not to be out done the long awaited “roofing” has started on the new rear wing that will also replace the remaining flat roof over the Day School, library, and corridor. So hopefully the days of having the emergency roof repair man on speed dial will be over and water damaged ceiling tiles will be a not so fond, distant memory.
This week it’s been the framers turn to start “doing their thing” on the rear wing roof. If you have ever visited the rood space in your house you will have seen the roof trusses and the complex web of wood braces and beams that keeps this skeleton in place. If you are anything like me you’ve probably felt the pain those trusses can inflict on an unsuspecting head as you rummage around looking for an elusive suitcase that you’re positive was thrown out 5 years but “another” in the house has a different idea but then I digress. The framer’s processes are fascinating, after erecting a temporary wooded frame each truss from that huge stockpile of trusses deposited behind Tucker Hall is identified, lifted up by a truly entrancing green, extending arm fork lift truck, and carefully laid in its correct order on the temporary frame.
Last but not least the Day School! The kindergarten classroom was finished off with a stiff cleaning from our Sexton then handed back for occupation and I have to say the teachers have done a wonderful job in transforming the space in readiness for the start of term. Then there was the air conditioning, or lack thereof in the music room and nursery classrooms. It would be exaggerating to say it was a “Houston we have a problem," but getting power back to those air conditioning units was not just a matter of changing a fuse! It transpired that way back in time, around April this year, whilst excavating the rear wing a mystery cable had to be removed that seemed to have no purpose in life. We now know that cable had a purpose and to fulfill that purpose it ran under the courtyard to power those air conditioning units. So new cable and conduit, taking an above ground route, have been laid and cool air is now pulsing through those rooms, "lovely chubbly"*!!
I couldn’t end without drawing your attention to the New Building Photograph Album on Flickr, Gretchen Hood includes the link in the Daily Prayers email. The album gives a pictorial record of the build from day one including photographs of the individuals working on site and, of course the machinery, including the big, green forklift. And there is more, thanks to Chris Higgerson, the owner of Higgerson Inc the site contractor, I have been able to post some aerial photographs of the construction which I think are well worth a look!
I will be out of town so next week will be “blog free” unless the blog spirit moves me to write about staying in a cabin high in the Blue Ridge…….on second thoughts probably not.
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach
"Lovely chubbly": Cockney phrase meaning something is good or enjoyable (Cockney is someone who was born within the sound of the Church of St Mary-le-Bow in East London)
I would never have made it as a journalist, always in the wrong place at the wrong time, but fortunately in Gretchen “The Scoop” Hood I have an alert reporter adept at describing what I’ve missed.
It was a slow Tuesday on the ODEC news front. The Day School Kindergarten class room was basking in all its glory with new paint, new ceiling and new lights – true it is still missing a window but then what a wonderful project for the kindergarten kids to get their teeth into when they get back to school! On the front lot the sand pad for the Great Hall and Narthex was finished and that very morning had passed the geo compression test (as those of you who follow my ramblings about the rear wing construction will know passing that test is the prelude to digging and pouring footings) and Ryan, our Higgerson site supervisor, was putting the site into shape before departing to “constructions new” (more on this later).
Your correspondent, having toured the site in the morning was doing what married retired chaps are supposed to do by working through a home to-do-list (I lie like a cheap NAAFI watch*, I was actually inspecting the inside of my eye lids* on a sun lounger) when the text came through from Gretchen “The Scoop” Hood, “hold the front page of the blog, the ODEC vehicle sand trials have just begun!”
The finished Great Hall and Narthex sand pad covers much of what used to be the old carpark and is approximately 2 feet high all around, (harping back to the rear wing construction again the sand pad aficionados amongst us will know the height of the sand has to be 4 inches below final floor level to accommodate the concrete pour for the finished floor), in a nutshell we are not talking “kids on the beach sand castle from a bucket mold” here, oh no, we are talking about a large and, what many of us would assume to be, very noticeable sand dune.
Well apparently that’s not so, early Tuesday afternoon an Amazon delivery driver in an Enterprise Rental, Ford Transit Van turned into at what used to be the old car park entrance, skillfully avoided the traffic cones and drove onto the sand pad. The driver, realizing a Ford Transit Van has very limited capabilities in sand, started to execute a desperate “u turn” in an ill judged attempt to get back onto terra firma with little success. Transit Vans are real transport workhorses, seen on roads the world over and in that's the rub, “road” is the key word as our intrepid delivery driver was dismayed to discover when his van gracefully settled axle deep in construction sand.
Gretchen, Father Bob and Ryan gathered to survey the scene, Ryan rightly declined to pull the van out with one of the big yellow machines, I’m going to miss them, so it was over to Enterprise Van Hire to do the recovery. My Father was a WW2 North African Desert Campaign veteran and I well remember me getting the family car stuck on Pentewan Sands* (actually “in Pentewan Sands” is more accurate) on a rising tide and him telling me that “I got it there it was my job to dig it out!” Enterprise Van Hire are more forgiving than my old Dad and after some wait the recovery was expedited and one humbled Amazon deliver driver was, I am sure, very glad to put ODEC in the rear view mirror as he got away down the road.
Not quite the end of this saga, you will recall me saying the pad was finished – well after the Transit Van's attentions now not so much. A Ford Transit Van driven by a cove* ever more desperate to avoid getting stuck really cuts up your sand pad so it was fortunate that Ryan, the Higgerson Site Supervisor, was still there and to a professional like Ryan the destruction caused by a Ford Transit Van to his sand pad was but a mere bagatelle and certainly nothing that a few passes with a heavy roller wouldn’t fix. With pad fixed and extra bollards strategically placed to stop any more “vehicular vandals” from doing donuts on our pad, Ryan followed the rest of his Higgerson’s crew to pastures new!
It’s bitter-sweet to see Ryan and his team leave the campus, they have been with us since the last tree was felled but for now their work is done so their departure marks a major milestone in the construction. We have not seen the last of Higgerson for once the Great Hall is constructed Higgerson, perhaps it might even be Ryan, will return to dig the last of the three storm water retention tanks, complete the vehicle entrances/exists and lay the new parking areas but for now it’s “so long, been good to know you!”
Stay safe, stay healthy, David Beach
“Lie like a cheap NAAFI watch”: British Army slang, the NAAFI was the equivalent to the US Armed Forces PX and it was widely believed among the British troops that certain NAAFI “luxury goods” were not quite as reliable as one might have hoped so a cheap watch purchased from the NAAFI was, in the opinion of the troops, likely to keep bad time hence “to lie like a cheap NAAFI watch” was a nod to not being able to trust a watch from the NAAFI.
“Inspecting the inside of my eye lids”: British Army slang for having a nap
“Pentewan Sands”: Pentewan is a small seaside village on the south coast of the County of Cornwall in the South West of England blessed with a very large, sandy beach.
“Cove”: Old English for a person.
“You see him here, you see him there, you see Scott Crumley everywhere!”*
Scott’s presence on the construction site is a great barometer for judging progress and in this past week he has been everywhere; Tucker Hall – he is there, kindergarten class room – he is there, out the front with Higgerson, the site contractors, and there he is again! It has definitely been a very busy week around the construction site. So, what's been going on?
I'll start by shining the “blog spotlight” into the bowels of the day school wing where the kindergarten classroom is getting a makeover. Why a makeover? Well with the advent of a rear wing much of the classroom’s external wall has become an internal wall and with that windows and through wall air-conditioning units have had to be removed. I am rapidly learning remodeling is all about cause and effect, take out the windows so you need better lighting, take out the through wall air-conditioning units and you need to demolish the old ceiling to put in a new one so air-con ducts can be installed and central air brought to the room.
The ceiling demolition was something to behold, no flashy machines or fancy tools for this man and woman team as they took down what turned out to be over 7000 pounds of ceiling structure, each pound removed by hand, loaded into a wheel barrow and wheeled to the waiting skip*. With demo “done and dusted”* the team installing the new drop ceiling did their thing each, quite literally, a giant of their profession as they worked around the room on stilts (I’m told this is quite normal for ceiling work so I must have had a sheltered life because I have never seen such a thing before)! With day school starting in September the race is on to install new lights, replace the missing window and the wall painted.
Meanwhile Higgerson have been very busy connecting the new storm water retention tank to the new drainage system so although the rain may fall ODEC’s temporary pleasure lake is now, hopefully, a thing of the past. And it hasn’t all been about the drainage system, to my great delight the big yellow machines, warning buzzers chirping away like a bunch of cicadas, have been rumbling around the site gradually raising the sand pad that will, in time, be the base for the Great Hall and Narthex concrete floors.
Readers of this blog may have picked up a slight vibe from me about the very large, heavy roller. In a nutshell I’d very much like to have a go at driving the machine and even more so now I’ve discovered the roller actually vibrates to better compress the sand. If you happen to be sitting in the office wing, as I was, and the roller goes into vibration mode when it’s just outside Father Bob’ office then then you could be very easily be fooled into thinking N. Witchduck Road had just become an earthquake zone! Of course, I speak as a Brit with little earthquake experience!
There is much to look forward to in the coming weeks, footings and concrete floor for the Great Hall/Narthex and roof trusses for the back wing but in the meantime....
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach.
“You see him here, you see him there….”: adapted by me from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Emma Orczy
“Skip”: English terminology for a “dumpster”
“done and dusted”: English colloquial slang for finishing something
This week the construction site has been plagued by rain, rain and even more rain to the point of looking like The Netherlands on a wet Sunday afternoon (and having lived there for 3 years I know what I’m talking about!). We even had our own version of “The Little Dutch Boy who put his finger in the dyke” in the form of Shirley the Sexton for although she might not go down in myth as the savor of Haarlem* she did fight back the waters as it sneaked under the door in her utility area!
The deluge caught out Higgerson, the site contractor, who were waiting for the delivery of about 20 feet of piping (the blue 12 inch variety for those “pipe-spotters” among us) so they could connect the newest storm water retention tank to the storm water management system. The pipes did arrive on Thursday morning but unfortunately, they were really needed on Wednesday afternoon so much of Thursday was taken up with pumping out the car park, entrance drive and the flooded tank much to the chagrin of Larry and Ryan. I keep asking them if they are “living the dream,” they always answer to the affirmative but this past week I’m not so convinced!
Well enough tales of the ODEC recreational lake, what else has been “going down” (or perhaps filling up is more appropriate?). Not much news from the back of the site. The framing and yellow, sheeting water barrier, the latter well tested this week and they appear to work correctly, have survived intact and we wait with bated breath for the roofing work to start.
Meanwhile when not waiting for the site to dry out Higgerson have installed the missing pipework, so now the flooding should be abated, and completely ripped up the old car park and surrounding area in readiness for the start of building the Great Hall and Narthex sand pad. As you may recall from the rear wing’s construction it is critical that the ground under the sand pad is completely dry before they start to build what will be the biggest sandcastle on N. Witchduck Road you’ll see this Summer! The word from Ryan is with a dry weekend sand pad building could start as early as Tuesday next week (18 Aug), with pad in place and compression tested it will be time to dig the trenches for the footings then, to my great joy, it will be “concrete pouring time” once again, first for the footings and then the big pour for the floor and hopefully another opportunity to get reacquainted with the concrete floor leveling team.
Stay safe and stay healthy,
“the savor of Haarlem”: the myth has it that a little boy was walking along one of the Netherland’s many earth dykes when he came across a jet of water springing from a small hole in the side of the dyke. The little boy put his finger in the hole to prevent the dyke from collapsing and thereby saved the city of Haarlem. I’m sure Higgerson would tell us earth banks holding back water crack open so the little boy would have had a tough time!
Four major events on the construction site this week; 1) Isaias wandered past 2) walls appearing on the rear wing, 3) the entrance to Tucker Hall got a makeover 4) it rained (again). So let’s start with the weather!
Well it’s been a damp old week (English art of the understatement) but apart from littering the Campus with tree debris and flooding the car park area everything on the construction site seems to have ridden out the tempests. Nothing was blown down, washed away or left sticking out of a wall or window, all-in-all “a bit of a result!”* Once again, our fledgling storm water management system proved its worth and when it’s extended around the old car park we should see an end to flooding in that area as well.
Meanwhile between the patches of inclement weather the wheels of construction quite literally continued to turn. The framing out of the rear wing is nearly complete and so the focus has been on attaching the sheeting that provides a water barrier behind the outside walls, as you may recall from the architect’s renderings the rear wing will be finished in brick. Now this sheeting is not to be trifled with, it’s yellow about an inch thick and, as I discovered when I tried to pick up an off cut, is deceptively heavy!!
Whilst seeing the rear wing start to take shape the big story of the week must be “demolition” and I think we are now “past the point of no return!” A couple of blogs ago I mentioned our intention to accelerate the building work in the front and as we well know you have to break down before you can build up and that’s manifestly obvious with the removal of the entrance to Tucker Hall. Plants, bushes, small trees, asphalt, paving, columns and the porch are all gone and now the only way into the building is through the Day School entrance.
So what can we look forward to in the coming weeks? Work will continue on the rear wing with the walls soon to be followed by the roof construction. At the front Higgerson will complete the storm water management system, albeit leaving the middle storm-water retention tank until after the main construction on the Great Hall is completed, and once that is done work will begin on preparing the front area for the footings and, eventually, pouring the concrete floor so we can look forward to the return of concrete trucks, concrete pumps and, of course, the concrete team!
Stay safe and stay healthy,
“a bit of a result”: a good outcome
What a very active week on the ODEC Campus! A great quantity of earth has been moved, the rear wing has been picked out in a steel lattice and the Historic Church has been prepared for the arrival of its new audio/visual system.
Where to start? Well let’s kick off* with my favorite topic, moving earth!
Ryan and his Higgerson team (featured in the above photo) have been hard at it this past week and making good use of the wide array of heavy, yellow equipment to excavate the storm water bio retention tank #1. The new tank is where the old herb garden used to be and unlike tank #3, which is located between Tucker Hall and N. Witchduck Rd and was the first to be dug, this tank is designed to support vehicles because it will be under the new main access and parking area. This is a big tank, filled once again with the plastic milk crates (our onsite supply is dwindling fast) and, as regular readers will know, is already connected by a temporary pipe line to the Tucker Hall tank and thence onto the Chesapeake Bay water catchment area. In the coming week, the effectiveness of our storm water management system could well be put to the test as Isaias passes through our area.
Meanwhile great things have happened around the back. Just a week ago the steel framing for the rear wing began and here we are but a few days later and “voilà”* the external and internal walls, the doors and windows are all picked out in a web of steel. If you stand looking through the framing around the back door in your mind’s eye you can see the rooms and offices filled with staff, parishioners and children all going about God’s business. And it’s not just about framing, where the new wing shares a common wall with the library and the day school wing a new concrete block firewall has been erected (this goes right up into the roof space) as mandated by the fire code.
Turning our attention to the Historic Church, in these difficult times Father Bob, the Clergy, singers and musicians ably assisted by an off set team of “production staff” have been producing online content with a very “cobbled together system.” As our time in isolation has rolled on their experiences have highlighted the significant short falls and limitation in that cobbled system and so a revised set of requirements was drawn up and, with Vestry approval, a new and far more capable audio/visual system is being procured for the Historic Church. Installation is ongoing and we are expecting equipment delivery (camera, sound system, channel mixer) and final installation next week.
There is something else that's new on the construction site. This week saw the delivery of a "shed load"* of roofing trusses for the back wing and to replace the flat roof that has been the bane of Church maintenance for so long! I feel a roofing activity coming on in the not too distant future!
In a break with my “blogging modus operandi” to date by ending with a request for some assistance on the ODEC Campus.
Last year the Historic Church’s exterior wood work was cleaned, restored and painted but to keep it in prime condition for years to come the wood work needs an annual gentle power washing to remove organic debris and general grime that if ignored will eventually damage the paintwork. I’m looking for any volunteers with power-washers who would be willing and able to give the Old Church’s exterior woodwork a “mild and sympathetic” washing – no ladder climbing required, water and power provided. If this is something you could help with then please drop me an email to email@example.com or text to 757 339 3679.
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach.
Kick off: Get started
Voilà: French word meaning “there it is” or “there you are,” used in colloquial English to mean “there it is” or “there you are.”
Shed load: English slang for "a great deal" or "a lot""
It’s hard to believe a week has flown by since the magnificent concrete spreading team were in action and already the “framing team” have erected the structure that is the skeleton of the outside walls.
Unlike the framing at home the rear wing's is made of steel but I gather the terminology is very much the same so the “uprights” are called “studs” and once they are covered up they are probably just as hard to find as the wooden ones at home (anything I try and to attach to our walls at home is always surrounded by a plethora of holes as testament to my search to that elusive stud………and those stud finder devices never work for me, it’s the same with touch less faucets and touch less hand dryers, I can never get them to work, it’s as if I have stealth hands!! but I digress, back to the construction).
As you may recall, the framing rests on the top layer of concrete blocks that, together with the concrete poured into the foundation trenches a few weeks ago, make up the buildings “footings,” (I’ve received a couple of suggestions to set this process to the Dry Bones music). I was wondering what anchored the steel frames to the concrete or maybe it just rests there and relies on gravity to hold it in place? Well the answer to my musing was delivered by the harsh “crack” of what sounded like a gun shot!
Peeping cautiously from behind the shed, where I'd taken cover at what I thought to be the sound of gunfire, it was with no small relief to discover the gun shot was all part of the construction process. The framers attach a steel base plate to the top layer of concrete blocks and they do the attaching with a tool that, with one “shot,” drives a metal bolt through the steel and into the concrete to make a very snug fit. I’m adding getting a crack* with that tool to my bucket list along with “driving the heavy roller!”
Although wall framing “does not a building make” it definitely moves us from the abstract to the definitive, now you can see the dimensions of the building and once the internal walls are “framed out” the internal design will spring into life and then it will be on to installing the internal dry wall, the external cladding and the roofing.
I couldn’t end without mentioning some major audio/visual (a/v) improvements taking place in our Historical Church. This week the a/v contractor is installing the new system in the Historic Church, a system that is completely compatible with the system that will be installed in the Great Hall. Once the construction is complete it will be possible to stream services and events from the Historic Church to an audience in the Great Hall and, via the system in the Great Hall, upload to the “cloud” for wider distribution into parishioners' homes. As an interim measure, a temporary link between the new a/v system in the Historic Church and our existing system will be established so quality content can be more easily produced and more easily disseminated to the ODEC family.
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach.
* getting a crack: "having a go" English colloquial
My last blog focused on the pipe laying and hole digging going on beside N Witchduck Road but now it’s time to shine a light on the rear wing where a major milestone has been achieved!
In the early part of last week, in the heat of the day, a construction team was out on the rear wing sand pad to prepare for the much-anticipated concrete pour that will form the new building’s floor. First a thick plastic sheet or membrane was laid on the sand to serve as a water barrier and the base for the concrete pour. Next the team laid a steel wire grid on top of the membrane, this serves to give additional strength to the floor. My description doesn’t do justice to the real effort it took to do this preparation, whilst there might not have been any tears there was certainly a great deal of sweat, and I suspect even blood, with our own Scott Crumley joining in to install a steel pillar, at present the highest point of construction, that will eventually be part on the support for the rear wing’s roof. With this preparation completed and the work passing inspection the scene was set for the concrete pour, scheduled for first thing Friday morning.
Friday 5.45 a.m. and it’s a clear, cool start to the day as the preying-mantis like “concrete-pump” truck gets itself into position and ready to receive the 700 square yards of concrete that will be needed to make the floor. Much as I like the heavy machinery this morning my attention is drawn to the bunch of Spanish speaking chaps who will be working, at the delivery end of the concrete pump, to spread and level the pour. There are ten of them in the team and they are a very happy bunch especially when you realize they have traveled down from Richmond to be here at this early hour (you need some specialist skills for this concrete leveling gig and these fellows are in high demand).
Their banter is loud and laughter echoes around the site, no doubt to the discomfort of some of the closest residents. These guys will be literally wading up to their ankles in the concrete as it’s disgorged from the delivery nozzle so it’s no surprise that their common piece of attire is a stout pair of rubber boots. Now you may recall the term “rubber wellies” or “wellies*” from an earlier blog (English colloquial for rubber boots) so not wishing to be slow in offering an ODEC welcome I struck up a lively conversation. Not being blessed with too many words of Spanish I’m afraid I never really got any further than complimenting them on their “bueno wellies” and even though that seemed to get lost in translation I’d like to think we established a degree of international “wellie camaraderie!”
The first concrete mixer truck arrived on site at 6:45 a.m., slightly late but apparently they had already delivered 1000 square yards (100 truckloads) to another job before starting the ODEC delivery. Once pumping started the “bewellied*” team leapt into action, directing, pushing, pulling and leveling the concrete flow – a short break whilst the next concrete mixer truck took its place behind the pump - and then back into action.
I left the concrete gang to it to return to the site some 3 hours later and what a wonder to behold. By now mixers and concrete pumps had long left but not our intrepid gang. Now without their wellies, some on their knees deftly leveling and smoothing the concrete by hand to the precise depth whilst others using machines that looked like giant sanders. To me the floor already looked perfect but even so the work to smooth and level continued well on into the day to produce a surface that looks like polished glass.
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach
*wellies – colloquial English for rubber boots
*bewellied – word I made up as the wellie equivalent to bejeweled
A very exciting day and not for any reason to do with the new building but rather because today, 12 July, the ODEC family was able to gather together again in worship albeit in, to use the in vogue phrase, “the new norm.” That is almost news enough for my blog but there have been one or two things happening on the construction site so let me bring you up to date.
You may recall me writing in the past about the impact rain and standing water has on the site, it brings everything to a halt and even when it stops raining everyone must hang fire* whilst the ground dries out and, as it turns out, drying ground is just a small part of the problem.
As you will know since the start of construction back in March a great deal of time and effort has been spent on building the new storm water management system and it’s still on going. There’s a mantra site construction workers’ use when building a water management system, “start at the lowest point and work back up the gradient.” Applying this simple rule means as work progresses water will run out of the new system even as it’s been built rather than pool in the system or worse still flood the building site.
Last week Higgerson, our site contractor, excavated and constructed the first, of what will eventually be three, Bio Retention Tanks (aka storm water tanks). It sits underground between Tucker Hall and the curb, it’s big, it’s filled with those plastic milk crates, it’s complete, it’s working and here’s the thing; storm water runs into the tank just as it’s supposed to but there’s no flooding or pooling because the new tank is already connected to the new drainage system so storm water is already flowing to the Chesapeake Bay. The logic of laying storm water drains makes sense….work from the lowest elevation back so although the system is only partially completed water will drain from the site and help prevent future flooding.
Now in the great order of things, the next Bio Retention Tank should be built about where the old herb (or for your ears "‘erb") garden used to be but that will create a problem. It must be possible to get heavy machinery (the good old yellow kit) onto the site and that tank would be exactly where the heavy machinery needs to go but the tank would not be able to support such a heavy loads. So Higgerson is moving on to excavate the tank opposite the entrance to Sentara car park. “Foul” I hear you cry, “having just given us all that guff* about lowest elevation working back then how will this tank empty if the storm water drain continuity is broken? How will water get from this new tank to the one completed by Tucker Hall if the bit in between is missing??” Fear not, there is a cunning plan.
At the back end of last week Higgerson was laying temporary pipes to connect the next tank to the one by Tucker Hall so storm water will flow from this new tank through the temporary pipes to the Tucker Hall tank and from there via the new storm water drain on in to the Chesapeake Bay. Once the Great Hall is built the temporary pipes will be removed and the third Bio Retention Tank will be constructed and connected to complete our storm water management system.
To end with a few words about the rear wing. The water and sewer lines have been laid under the sand pad and have passed inspection so in the coming week the concrete floor will be poured and then the building’s metal framework will be erected.
Stay safe and stay healthy, David Beach.
*Hang fire: British Army slang for “wait” or “waiting”
* Guff: Details (often a bit tedious)