|Preparation - Trees, sheds, moving stuff, and stripping out|
There were a number of jobs which needed to be done before the builders arrived with their digger and got to work on making a mess.
The first of these was to remove a tree from the front garden, which needed to come down anyway, and it would be easier for the builders to remove the stump with their digger whilst they were here than me attempt it by hand. This one was a little too big for me to tackle myself so I got a firm of tree surgeons in to advise and they took the tree down to a height of around 10 feet. This was then left for a year to allow the roots to contract (they do that apparently) and then I took the remaining trunk down a few months before the work proper started. None of the wood was wasted as it all went onto the fire and kept us warm for a fair while and saved some coal costs.
|This shows the eucalyptus tree in the front garden back in 2011, it was even bigger than that when it was cut down this year. This is the stump that appears in the foreground of the later picture. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice an extra chimney in this picture. Due to the fact it was in such poor condition, and as a result of the subsidence it had cracked lower down, it had to be removed. No problem though, it turned out it was in the way of the final plan anyway.|
|While not really a job done as part of this work, this picture, from way back in 2003 when we bought the house, shows the huge conifer that is the stump in the middle of the next picture. I've included it here as the stump is coming out during the works, so it sort of makes sense.|
|A shot from the bottom corner of the front garden which shows the two tree stumps which remain after the trees in question were felled.|
The next job on my list of preparation activites was to move the sheds and the chicken house out of the way of the extension area. Both these sheds were about 9 years old, and were only cheap, flimsy affairs even when they were new. Both needed to be re-roofed anyway so this was done during the process of moving them. The chipboard floors and roofs were way past their useful life and so these were replaced with external grade ply and a few minor repairs made to other areas get a few more years of useful life out of them.
|This shows the location of one of the sheds and the chicken house in their original location. The other shed was not actually within the footprint of the extension, being at the edge of the dog run area, but it was going to stand a good chance of being in the way.|
|And here's a picture of the two sheds and the chicken house in their new location next to the greenhouse.|
The process of moving the sheds involved moving everything out of the first shed and into either the other one, the outhouse, or the loft. Then moving that again whilst repeating the process for the second one. During this I discovered a lot of things that, on reflection, I probably didn't really need to keep and so a couple of trips to the tip saw the quantity of moving required reduce as the job went along. This cleared a lot of items from the outhouse as well as this was moved into the sheds as space was created.
There were three motorcycles housed in the outhouse and two of these were moved to a friends garage for the duration, whilst the third is to remain available here, but will end up in next door's garage whilst the demolition and groundworks are done.
|Here's a picture of the inside of the outhouse well into the process of clearing it. I'm about 80% done at this stage with about four times as much junk as you see here already removed to other locations (or the tip) . One of my earlier jobs had been to knock through to make the two outhouses into one large one to enable me to store bikes (and loads of junk) in there.|
|This is my junk pile. All the things I've not got anywhere to put or I couldn't be bothered to either take to the tip, or find a proper home for. This will all have to be moved too.|
Whilst there's no plumbing in the outhouse there is electricity and the CCTV cameras and their wiring needed to be dealt with.
I spent some time modifying the wiring so that everything was reduced to a single feed so that when the builders arrived I could disconnect that and they could start safely. I installed a waterproof plug socket at the same time so they could have power outside without having to have a door open and risking the dogs escaping or leaving a window ajar in the winter.
There were four CCTV cameras that also had to be taken down and the wiring pulled back out of the way.