Long overdue this post! I left part one having just got the keys and sort of had a design in mind for the layout. Here’s the first few jobs on the list.
When we got the building, there were six rooms downstairs – with no windows, mmmm. Upstairs had six more rooms – two without windows. You get the picture, many rooms in bad state, with no natural or artificial lighting. A great place to inspire confidence in our clients, haha!
First job: Destroy everything! We didn’t want any of the rooms as they were, so every single wall inside had to come down. Most were only stud walls, but there was one breezeblock section which took a bit more doing.
With the walls down, next to be dismantled was two thirds of the upstairs floor. Up came the floor boards and then the joists were dropped. At this point I should note, as we did this ourselves, all health and safety procedures were followed, at no point were axes thrown through walls ;)
Unfortunately that much destruction really makes a mess, so two 16 tonne skips were brought into the building and packed – tetris style – to get rid of it all.
Now the building is empty apart from all the timber we saved to build various things. Also it’s freezing. Literally freezing. What better time to install heating?! As the building is mostly one giant room, the heating system had to be efficient at heating such a large space. And because we didn’t want radiators in our perfect white studio, that led to choosing underfloor heating. The first of many nightmares on this build.
The point of the huge studio space is that we can use the roller door to get vehicles in to be photographed. Try and find someone who will install underfloor heating you can drive on :/ After much research of my own and some maths from a friend more well versed in physics than me, I was happy to go ahead, although this took a couple of months on its own.
Before the floor could go down our store room needed the bottom row of bricks laying so the heating pipes could go round it. Brickwork wasn’t something I had much skill in, so enter Richard, our builder and advisor – usually in the form of “Why on earth have you done it like that?!” Also we had to remove the staircase as it was being replaced with a safer one and was in the way of the floor!
So bricks laid and stairs removed, we took delivery of three huge pallets of insulation, and spent until 3am laying them and covering them with pond liner the night before the pipe fitters were coming. That’s how tight the schedule was! The guys spent two days fitting and testing the pipes before the cement trucks of screed arrived to cover them in a quick setting mixture. The cement was poured into the pond liner we’d laid earlier and left to set for a couple of days, then fully harden over the next two months.
I cannot put into words how cold it was going from working at home trying to keep up with Fossca’s day to day running, to heading into the still freezing studio to construct the new stud walls.
The building is brick on the ground floor with a metal clad first storey, so from the inside had a very cold warehouse appearance, not the warm welcoming environment we were looking for. So stud walls were put up on each external wall to hide it! These walls are 5.2 meters high and plasterboard is heavy – fact. Also as the building had pretty much no insulation at this point, we added insulating foil roll. It’s about 8 layers of shiny, foamy, insulating witch-craft. It is also taped together to make an air tight seal, the main reason we chose to spend a small fortune on it, as the building was more windy inside than outside.
The difference this stage of the build made was tremendous, it suddenly looked like a building and not a warehouse and all the drafts were gone, wahey! Well apart from the roller door and front door. Another day’s story, stay tuned for part 3 featuring exciting tales of heating systems!
Update: Part three is here!