Flying Steel and a Delicate Operation

Construction continued on two primary fronts last week, and they couldn’t have been more dissimilar.  If nothing else, it was a perfect example of the differences between new construction and remodeling.

If you drove past us on Highway 29 this week it was impossible not to notice the incredible changes that were occurring daily.  The steel framework for the new addition started arriving Monday morning, and it seemed to go up almost as fast as they could unload it.  By Friday afternoon the steelworkers had the entire framework nearly complete, including the stairs.

It is an amazing process to watch.  Every piece of steel has been prefabricated at the factory and numbered.  Every bolt hole has already been drilled.  A huge crane lifts and swings each metal beam into place, and like a giant puzzle, each unique piece of steel fits together seamlessly.

What’s nice is that now you can really start to get a feel for the size of the addition.  You can tell someone that it’s 13,000 square feet, but most people have no frame of reference for that.  With all the steel in place, you can now see how big rooms are going to be and what kind of views they’ll have.  Trust me, it’s going to be fantastic!

The other main focus last week was on the rooms around the pool.  Changes in the building code forced us to rebuild this entire area.  The Swim School office, the pool equipment room, the bathroom, the water heater closet, and the storage rooms are all being torn down to the ground and replaced with more fire-resistant materials.

Since we were rebuilding from the ground up, we decided to steal a few extra feet from the bathroom and make the office a little larger.  On paper it seemed so easy, just move one line over a few feet, nothing to it.  Unfortunately we discovered that the power for all the plugs and lights for that corner of the building came up THROUGH THE FLOOR and passed through the wall we were moving.  Cue up the jackhmmer—get out the checkbook—ain’t remodeling fun!

Where things really got complicated (and slow) was when we started tearing into the walls of the pool equipment room.  There is a tremendous amount of electrical and plumbing going around and through those walls, and it all had to be saved.  If you can imagine tearing your house down to the ground while leaving all of the plumbing and wiring in place, and then rebuilding your home around it, you’ll get the idea.  We made it even more complicated by deciding to keep the pumps and filters for the spas running throughout the process.

To add to the degree of difficulty, we discovered that the wall that had the majority of our pool equipment mounted to it (five filters & seven pumps) needed to be rebuilt two inches thicker than the existing wall.  So not only did the piping need to be detached from the wall, it had to be relocated as well.

As plumbing projects go, this was a doozy.  Dozens of pipes (big stuff, 2 & 3″ diameter), tight corners, no room to work, a real nightmare.  The only thing that made it manageable was that with the two pools closed we could delay hooking that equipment back up until after the walls are rebuilt. 

We worked late into the night Saturday to make the changes with as little disruption as possible.  Unfortunately there are no pipe stores open that late, and we were short a couple of fittings to complete the job, so the spas were down a few hours Sunday morning.  That may not be the last unexpected closure, but please know that we are going to extraordinary lengths to limit these impacts. 

Next weeks schedule calls for work around the pools to continue.  The steelworkers will be welding, mounting roof trusses and putting down the decking that makes up the second-story floor and the roof.  We will also be digging and installing a new gas line.  This means we be losing (temporarily) some parking spaces on the north side of the lot, and shifting where our handicapped spaces are.  Please drive slowly and be observant when you park your vehicle.  

Looks like the weather’s going to cooperate for the next few weeks, so we’re looking forward to making a lot of progress.  We’ll let you know whats happening and keep you up to date with regular reports here and on our facebook fan page.


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