July has been a month of Highs and Lows for the project. At the beginning of the month Dave, the site Foremen pulled an old back injury so that he is confined to bed at the moment, awaiting an operation to sort out two slipped discs. Dave has a wealth of experience in timber framed building so his input will be sorely missed. Darren, his son has taken over the reins and Dave is at the end of the phone to offer advice when asked. Even from his sick bed he still has the wellbeing of the building at heart!
This event also coincided with the loss of two carpenter teams as they were enticed away with more lucrative contracts on new housing sites at Broadbridge Heath. Such is the local skills shortage (combined with the holiday season) that it has taken until this week to find other carpenters.
In the meantime, the roof is 75% complete waiting for the final leveling to be finished before the sheep’s wool insulation, roofing felt and tiles are finally fitted.
On the positive side, the Ground Source Heat pump – the device that will heat and cool the building, has arrived on site and installation is proceeding at a pace. This is quite a complex piece of equipment which will take heat from four bore holes, drilled to a depth of 150m in the forecourt of the Cottage and turned it into heat for the underfloor heating system in the winter. In the summer months it works in reverse taking heat from the Cottage and sending it back into the ground again.
The pipes for the underfloor heating are now completely installed and the screed, into which they are embedded, is due to be laid next week All this, along with the insulation layers beneath the pipes will be completely hidden when the original brick pavers are re-laid towards the end of the project.
The electrician has almost finished what they call the first fixing (it’s getting all the wires to the right places to lay people like you and me!) With lights, power, fire alarms and data cables, not to mention the audio, security, hearing aid loop system, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth systems it’s a veritable mass of wires which, hopefully somebody knows where they all go!
And of course we need to be planning activities for when the building will be open (fingers crossed) in time for a Christmas Fair around, if not in the building. This event will be the first of what we plan will be monthly events at the Cottage to entice people to visit both the Cottage and Uckfield in 2016. We are hopeful that we can integrate this programme of event in with activities that the Chamber of Commerce and the Town Council should be putting on to encourage people to visit the town during next year’s High Street improvement works.
We did have a well-supported pitch at the Uckfield Festival’s Big Day Out Saturday when we adopted a Waterloo theme complete with a field hospital. Lots of people expressed interest in the project and put their names down for volunteering posts when the building opens. There will be many opportunities to be involved from helping with the schools education activities to helping with local history research to just minding the shop when the building is open.
And of course we had a tremendous response to our one day of Signing a Tile that will go on the roof. Although we were given very little notice of when we could do this event, in the end over 500 people turned up to leave their mark on a landmark local heritage site. Sorry to those who missed out; we are thinking of having a sign a floor brick event if that is practical so watch this space for more details.
The intention is to issue these updates on a monthly basis so look out for the August edition.