2015: The First Sixth

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

So far this year has not gone too well. In my previous post I ended last year with the steel brackets for the house stashed away in my shipping container and reasonable hope that, weather permitting, construction would start early this year.

The Scots tend to take New Year rather seriously; nothing much happens until there's been a clear weekend for recovery so I got in touch with the builder on Tuesday January 6th. He said he couldn't start for a couple of weeks which was a bit annoying as the weather had been decent so the ground wasn't frozen and looked OK for the immediate future. Actually, though, the sleet and snow started a couple of days later so in practice nothing could really have been done anyway.

A fortnight later it was my turn to say “a couple of weeks” due to a family health issue. I spent the second half of January and the first few days of February staying at my sister's in Southport which at least skipped the worst of the winter weather (so far) in the static caravan.

When I got back and contacted the builder he said, pleasingly, “next Tuesday”. Indeed, that morning he turned up with digger and driver and marked out the site:

leaving the driver to get stuck in:

Most of the holes were done that day and the last few the following morning just in time for the building control office to come and peer into them, pronouncing himself happy if we dug out the few which were down to rock but not quite to the 500 mm depth the structural engineer had specified. I did one with a hammer and chisel while the digger driver went off and got a breaker to do the others.

On Thursday morning the concrete lorry turned up and poured 7.75 m³ of concrete into the nearer holes and into barrows to fill the further ones.

The plan was to leave the concrete to set until the middle of the following week then resin in threaded bar for the post bases. However, when I went to pick up a few of them for laying out I found that the small spots of rust which I'd previously noticed were actually, in a few cases, quite large.

What's happened is that there are small pin-holes in the welds. The fluids used to prepare the surfaces for galvanizing have got in through those to get at the inside of the plates with the residue seeping back out. These look more horrid than they really are as the rust which has run down just wipes off:

I have to admit that when the fabricators told me that this was pretty normal I was more than a little skeptical, not least because they described it all in a bit of an inconsistent way. However, when I talked to other knowledgeable people it all seems to fit together. The fabricators gave me a can of cold-galv spray and I wire brushed and sprayed the affected areas.

In the process I noticed that the weld was missing from the bottom of one of the brackets so that's back with the fabricators to grind off the gavanizing and re-weld (which shouldn't take them long) and get re-galvanized which might take a while longer.

Meanwhile, the builder is hoping to be back at the end of the week to resin in the threaded rods and set 35 of the 36 brackets.