Although we are all enjoying the fantastic weather it feels a bit like Butlins for plant equipment today at Lawson Park, they're sitting everywhere soaking up the sun, things are strangely quiet and although its a relief to be able to hear yourself think for a change, I am concerned there is so little activity on site with projected delays to the programme mounting up.
Work began yesterday on the undergrounding for the overhead power supply but has already been halted by repairs needed to their equipment, the ground source drilling crew were hoping to be finished on Friday but broke the head of their rig on the sixth hole tbc...meanwhile the two stonemasons quietly work away and Barry our site manager continues to make a valiant effort, I think I've seen him in nearly every machine on site today, but there is only so much one man can do! It seems, to the untrained eye (see webcam) that there’s plenty to do so I’m hoping the last few days have been a lull which will soon be followed by a mass of skilled labour flooding onsite to start rebuilding the new and improved Lawson Park (well maybe not a mass, we’re not in China now)
Last week the Grizedale team visited Grand Designs Live to seek out interesting products and materials for Lawson Park (more on this soon) While we were there we visited the eco house in the grand village they've been building in Royal Victoria Square as part of the show. Although they were trying to complete the house in a week they still had time to take advantage of the onsite masseuse! Not sure if I should post this picture in case we start getting requests for similar ‘facilities’ at Lawson Park.
The giant bright orange sewage treatment plant that has been sitting on the turning circle at Lawson Park has now been installed. Seems to fit quite snugly into the giant hole that had to be made for it.
View of the North elevation taken last week with Leck in the foreground measuring the levels for the new drainage system.
While surveying the structure of the building from the scaffolding you can't help but notice the view, but as Barry our site manager points out "you don't really want to take your eye off that chimney to look".
I can see his point, especially as we're up here to look at how precarious parts of the dry stone walls are looking now the roof is off the cottage.
It's safe to say theres no shortage of water in the Lake District but we have recently been informed that our plan to install an additional borehole, to provide the new water supply for Lawson Park, has been scuppered.
The subcontractors for this part of the project are now saying the prospects of drilling a successful borehole are low, probably less than 10%. If this is the case we will need to revert back to using a nearby stream, though this should be less primitive than it sounds.
Meanwhile we have appointed engineers (yup more engineers) Burgess Roughton, to resolve the drainage issues at Lawson Park. With large volumes of rainwater passing through the site, over rocky ground on a steep incline, we are extremely conscious of the potential for flooding. Hopefully the new drainage plan they produce will deal with this. At the moment there is much talk of french drains which sound very sophisticated but appears to be simply a ditch filled with stones.
So its 6 weeks on and although we appear to be in exactly the same place ie poised ready for the roof to come off (with snow forecast at the weekend) we are in fact in a very different place.
After an extended period of discussion, consultation and much staring at walls, a revised sequence of work has been agreed this involves; ongoing excavations and demolitions, completing the new foundations and floor slab, making new openings and rebuilding internal walls and finally taking the roof off, at which point the building should stay standing without it...work continues very tentatively.
It’s a worrying time in the world of Lawson Park the engineers have been called in to check the structural integrity of the building before the roof can be removed. The underlying concern seems to be that it’s the roof that’s holding the whole building together now that all of the beams and floors have been taken out, add to that 70mph winds and it seems like quite a bad time to be on a roof, on a farm, on a hill.
This was always going to a potentially worrying time, the great unknown, how strong would the dry stone, rubble built walls prove to be, is the building actually sitting on bedrock (they’ve not found it yet) and now facing a severe weather warning and 20cm of snow forecast overnight whether the building will stand up without a roof to protect it?
Tomorrow is the first monthly site meeting, and everyone is on standby to see if we can even make it through the snow to Lawson Park, who’s idea was it to start this in January!