Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 1 Construction Complete!

Post by Joe

Last week marked a huge milestone in the Tiny Office project.  I began the actual construction!  I took the whole week off work so I could focus and get a lot done.  Last Saturday I sat down and made a priority list and schedule of tasks for the week.  Here is the schedule I laid out.

A cliche in construction is that if you take the cost and time to complete a project and double them, you might be close.  In my own business, Bonnie and I have fought hard to be an exception to that rule by developing accurate estimates for our clients.  Unfortunately, that was not the case with the T.O. last week.  By the end of the week, I got as far as Monday's tasks.  As expected, even while focusing on this project, life still has to happen.  I still have to go to physical therapy twice a week.  The dogs still have to go to the vet.  It still rains.  I still get sick.  I still have to drive to Westminster to get a Baugher's apple pie for my family Thanksgiving (which I did not regret...yum). 

Things don't always go according to plan.  This was evident right from the start last Sunday night.  The plan was to hook up the trailer, pull it up alongside the house into position, and get it leveled up.  I knew I wanted it about 30" away from the side of the house.   Now I pride myself on being pretty good with a trailer.  I haul one just about everyday with all my tools for work.  But I'm not quite used to hauling one this big, that's missing a wheel, on soft, sloped ground.  So I pulled it up and started adjusting it to where I wanted.  For some reason it kept getting closer to the house despite what I was trying to get it to do.  Pretty soon I ended up with this:

This was a little closer than I wanted it.  Now I had the challenge of moving it without tearing the house apart.  And remember that soft ground I mentioned earlier.  My truck was now stuck and unable to move the trailer.  Now I was getting pretty embarrassed and upset.  I didn't want Bonnie to see what was going on so I sent her this message...

She promptly came out to check on me.  She was very encouraging and knew I could find a way to fix it.  So with some fresh confidence and a few deep breaths I went and got my dad's truck and pulled it out from the other direction.

Success!  Not that I had accomplished anything but the trailer was back where I started and only very minor damage to the house.  So now using my dad's 4 wheel drive truck I hauled the trailer into position.  It took a few passes but it went much smoother than the first time.  It was finally in position.  So I went inside, grabbed a beer, and went to bed. 

The next morning I finally got to do some actual work.  The first step was to get it jacked up and level.  All this took was a jack and some cinder blocks.   Before long I had a solid, level work surface.

The next step was to strip off the existing decking so I could start fresh for the new construction.  This was not an easy task, especially since every bolt holding it down was rusted in place.  A few saws and a big hammer took care of the job.

Time to build!  But how?  This is not a straightforward project.  There is no manual on how to build a house on an old, used trailer, and specifically this trailer.  I ended up deciding to lay the bottom panels first, cutting around the wheel wells and getting the basic footprint laid out.

 Then I was able to begin framing the floor on top of that, gluing each board and then screwing it in from underneath.

A little insulation so we don't get cold feet in the office.

Glued and screwed the subfloor down and now it's turning into a more standard building project.  I've got an 8'x16' blank slate to create our T.O. on. 

I was hoping to get a lot further this week, but like I said, life goes on.  The project has begun and nothing can stop it now.  The next step, walls!

(A note: This blog is meant to be honest and detailed, not a polished, edited version of how the project is going.  As every contractor knows - as well as every contractor's spouse - projects tend to go much differently in their own home than in a client's home.  My professional projects are quite a bit more on schedule, and quite a bit less destructive to the property! Just to put your mind at ease in case you are in need of my services in the future...)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. And your last paragraph made me laugh. Partly because it's funny... partly because I was remembering my living room ceiling :-)