Thursday, 16 August 2012

Open for business

The new building has now been welcoming visitors for the last three months. They can relax in the comfortable and airy surroundings of the new garden tearoom. The beautifully crafted oak frame and windows let in plenty of light and show off the views of the tranquil walled garden. Schools have been taking full advantage of the facilities offered by the learning centre and the museum has already hosted two very successful day schools on the archaeology of East Dorset and 'Mapping Wimborne'. Today the building is full of children and families having a go at an array of art and craft activities, discovering the wonderful world of paper.

The Hilda Coles Open Learning Centre was officially opened as part of a celebration of the museum's 50th birthday on Tuesday 31 July 2012. The day was marked with a series of speeches including Derek Burt, President of the museum, Cllr Mrs Lucy Clarke, Chairman of East Dorset District Council, Roger Goulding of the Heritage Lottery Fund and a blessing by the Reverend Vanessa Herrick, Rector of the Minster Church of St Cuthburga. The formalities were followed by a cream tea in the garden tearoom.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Almost there

The carpenters have completed their ‘second fix’.  The internal doors are on – there is still a little bit of ironmongery to add once the painters have finished.

The electrician has finished apart from testing and commissioning, while the mechanical engineer has a couple more brackets to add to the pipe work.

Shelving has been installed in the upstairs and downstairs storage rooms.

The decorator is working his way through the building.  A second coat of paint has been applied to the floor of the ground floor store.

The groundworkers have completed the external paving (there is now a beautiful patio outside the tearoom) and tarmac is being laid at the front of the building.

The decorator is the last trade to finish.  Cleaning and air testing (taking measurements for heat loss) is arranged for the early part of this week.

Any necessary training for new equipment will be provided.  For example, the mechanical engineer will run through the controls of the mechanical switchgear (water and electric control panels).

Final handover is scheduled for Wednesday 4 April.  Two or three days beforehand the architect goes around to ‘snag’ the building (spot any final jobs that need completing).  When the architect is happy with the work he signs a completion certificate.  The keys to the building are then handed over.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

16 March

With the completion of the glazing and external cladding the scaffolding on the outside of the building has now been removed.

They have started to lay the vinyl covering to the floor.  The moisture content was suitable to lay the vinyl straight on to the screed.  The ground floor storage roller racking will be installed from next Monday.

The decorators are making good progress throughout the building.  The external doors are now fitted and glazed.  Work continues on the internal doors and the folding partition doors between the learning room and tearoom are still to go in.

The groundworkers have completed excavations for the services.  From the edge of the site boundary the utility companies then connect up each service.  Gas and electric have been connected so far.

The groundworkers have started on the external paving, the patio outside the tearoom.

The kitchen has been installed and the lift is being commissioned today.

Key jobs over the next two weeks are the external landscaping of the site and connection of the water supply.  The vinyl will be laid in the tearoom and learning room.

End of February

The door frames are in and the external doors will be fitted this week.  The plastering has been completed, which is a significant job, and the last bit of internal scaffolding is coming down.

The glass is arriving for the external window frames and doors.  The timber framed glass screen on the east end of the building will also be fitted this week.  The frames are manufactured first to provide accurate measurements for the expensive units of glass.

The groundworkers have returned to install the services for the new building (gas, electric and water).  The utility companies will follow to connect up each service.

The ‘second fix’ for the mechanical elements of the build (e.g. extractor fans, heating etc.) and electrical elements (e.g. plugs, sockets, switches, lights etc.) is now underway.  The lift was installed last week.  Once the electricity supply is connected the lift will be commissioned.  This involves checking that it works and training given on how to use it.

The moisture content of the floor screed needs testing.  An additive was put in to help it dry more quickly.  If it is not quite dry a special adhesive will be used to fix the vinyl covering to the screed.

The builders are now commencing the final fit for each area, for example, installing kitchen cabinets and sinks.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mid February

Preparations have been underway for the floor screed on the ground floor.  This is a mix of sand and cement reinforced with fibre.  Finally a vinyl covering will be added on top of the screed, for example, in the tearoom and entrance foyer.

The glazing has been completed in the entrance foyer.  These windows have a self cleaning film so could only be cleaned with water once installed so as not to damage the film.

The majority of the plasterboard is in place and the high level areas in the tearoom have now been plastered (this required a bird cage scaffold).

A big change has been the removal of most of the scaffolding.  For the first time the appearance and detail of the building’s construction is revealed to the passer by.

The carpenters are installing the window frames and the final section of cladding will then be fitted to the windows.  The doors should be in by the end of the week.

The ‘first fix’ is completed before the plasterers move in.  It includes all of the bits that are never seen, buried in the walls.  The ‘second fix’, including plug sockets and the like, should be underway by the end of the month, allowing enough time for the plaster to dry.

The groundworkers will be back on site soon to commence external works, preparing for paving and landscaping and finishing the drainage.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Early February

The roofing is almost complete, with a few adaptations being made around the glazed area.  The carpenters have finished the oak cladding and are now cladding the east side of the building.

Plasterboard is going up on the first floor, screwed to the timber walls.  A very fine layer of plaster will then be skimmed on top.  Wet plaster is used directly on any light weight block walls.

This is carried out by a plasterer.  It is highly skilled and hard work, plasterers having to use their arms continuously to get a smooth finish.  The colder it is the longer it takes for the plaster to set.

A plasterer first undergoes a three year apprenticeship, which is a standard length for most building trades, finishing with an NVQ.

The central section of glazing is almost in.  It is made up of bespoke parts, for example the glazing channel, the seal between the channel and the glass and the glass itself.  Modern glass is often hermetically sealed with a gas added in the middle to give it a higher insulation value.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Oak cladding and Welsh slates

The carpenters have finished the oak cladding on the north side of the new building and have moved on to the west side. Wooden battens are first fixed to the wall and then the cladding is nailed on.

The oak cladding is fitted by Matrod Frampton’s carpenters. It comes direct from the sawmill already cut to size. They are fitting horizontal and vertical cladding. With the horizontal cladding they begin at the bottom and work upwards, each layer partially overlapping the one below. The vertical cladding involves fixing alternate boards on the back before the facing boards are added on top.

Reclaimed Welsh slates have been used to roof the tearoom and the roofers are now continuing over the storage area. With reclaimed tiles they have to make sure that the original holes are not reused when they are nailed on to the wooden battens. The tiles are formed off site; they only have to cut the tiles to size for the ends of the roof.

The roofers and carpenters usually work in teams of two.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Building work progress on the Open Learning Centre

We will take a moment to look back at the major milestones of the building work so far.

Matrod Frampton commenced work on our new Open Learning Centre at the end of September 2011. The first stage was the groundworks, which included the laying of the foundations for the building. This was followed by the putting up of the steel frame in the second half of October. Each section had been made off-site; the sections were then lifted in to place with the help of a crane and bolted together. The final part of the building is oak framed and these beautifully crafted sections arrived in mid November. This area of the building will include the new tearoom.

Up next were the walls. They are a mix of masonry (light weight blocks and reclaimed brickwork) and studwork (timber frames). The builders are now fixing on the oak cladding to the outside of the building.

An important stage in any building project is the construction of the roof and at the time of writing this is almost complete. The roof is made up of timber rafters, facias (the flat band under the roof edge), soffits (the under-surface), felt and battens (which go on top of the rafters), and finally the roof coverings (both slates and tiles are being used). When completed the building will be watertight.

Some of the work understandably relies on the weather, not least concrete and mortar. For both to set properly the temperature has to be 3°C and rising. Concrete has been used for the ground floor and first floor, while lime mortar joins the bricks together.