Building Project Archive: October-December 2021
December 29, 2021
Doors, HVAC, Elevator, Balcony Door
We’ve been gone for Christmas week, but construction has not stopped. A day before Christmas Eve all the interior doors arrived – a stack of at least 40 of them.
The HVAC people have moved the heat exchangers into the old furnace room. These two units will connect to the two heat pump units behind the church, either heating or cooling the air as needed. One of them will connect to a maze of air ducts to deliver the heated or cooled air to the sanctuary. The other will serve the basement. The fans in each unit will draw the air back through the return air ducts to complete the circuit.
The placement of the heat exchangers must allow room for all the air ducts and room to service the units. They are discovering that the necessary air ducts will push the unit on the left uncomfortably close to the north wall. That is a problem because it squeezes the route to the mop sink – so the sink may have to be moved again. A location in the closet just outside the furnace room door is a possibility – and the plumbing would be feasible.
The drywall is perhaps 90% in place. What is left are the little places, the bathrooms and closets, and the high places that are hard to reach. Most of the scrap has been cleaned up, along with the dust. As the elevator gets close to done, the doors on each floor are being installed. The metal doorframes must also be framed in wood so drywall can be nailed around the doorframe. Phil has been working on that. As soon as the elevator doors get their drywall, it will be time to start taping and finishing the seams, corners and nail dimples.
The elevator cage is being assembled piece by piece. I suspect they probably finished the walls and put on the roof this afternoon.
Roger and Phil have been puzzling how to finish the door cut into the balcony. There is just enough headroom for the door, but it had to go through the decorative curved metal trim that goes all around the sanctuary ceiling. The metal is backed by thin 3” fir boards nailed to curved framing. The seams of the metal sheets have many small nails into the wood. When the door opening was cut, they carefully removed the nails to preserve the sheets. The preserved sheets will be reused over the curved fir wood to each side of the door. I haven’t heard what they plan to use for the curved ends or the bit of ceiling. Perhaps drywall, or is there enough reusable metal to cover the ceiling?
December 21, 2021
Fog, Drywall, Lights, Elevator
It is now officially winter. The solstice happened at 7:58 this morning, making this the shortest day of the year. Six inches of snow on the ground and a wet, cold fog added to the feeling. The delayed sidewalk concrete pour will be delayed some more, along with the final painting of the addition. Will these be on hold until spring? Still, I thought the building looked beautiful in the midday fog. Don’t miss the chalice window and the icicles growing on the eaves. There’s also things going on inside.
The new track lights should brighten the stage so the choir can see their music. A couple of tiny suspended mikes should help pick up the piano and the choir. These had to be in place because new insulation in the attic will soon block access for most wiring work above the ceiling. The AV committee has been working furiously preparing materials and running some of the wires.
This was my view as I was standing on the top row of the new balcony. I took the picture to show our old suspended light fixtures – rewired, provided with LED bulbs, and now hung back in the ceiling. The fixture closest to the stage has been moved north about 2 feet, and the chain has been shortened to raise it above the view line of people sitting on the balcony. I was worried about this modification and relocation of our iconic light fixtures, but I am pleased with the result. Down on the stage, that is Roger working out the location of the hatches and mike connection boxes that will be cut into the top of the stage so wires can be run down below.
This is the view straight down the elevator shaft from the third floor. They spent much of yesterday and this morning working with the balky telescoping hydraulic cylinder that will lift the cage. They had the hydraulic system working beautifully at noon when I left and had just shifted to assembling the elevator cage. In this picture you are looking down on the new cage floor nearly 30 feet below. Everything comes as parts in big wood crates along with assembly instructions.
The classrooms and nursery room have been hung with drywall and are now ready for joint mud. The drywallers have moved to the third floor, where the conference room walls were about half done when I left at noon. I’m glad we decided to go ahead with finishing this floor. It is going to be a beautiful space.
December 16, 2021
Drywall, Electricity, Heaters, Hydraulics
We are getting drywall. Two workers fastened up most of the drywall in the three classrooms today. It is amazing to watch them handle the heavy 4×10 sheets. It makes the spaces feel a lot more like actual rooms. I expect they will put up most of the wallboard on the three floors before they begin to finish the joints.
I enjoy looking at the neat array of perfectly curved wires connecting to the circuit breakers. These are a work of art. It is also functional – the new Avista service to the addition is now connected. There are a few lights connected to the system now, but most lighting will come later as LED panels are installed in the suspended ceiling. More important, the temporary heaters are now connected to the new electricity, and it actually feels less cold inside. That’s important to keep the sprinkler system and the drywall mud from freezing.
Today the third floor attic space acquired some electric heaters. These are needed to protect the sprinklers from freezing in case of extreme cold weather. The thermostats will be set to come on if the attic space drops below 40 degrees, which should be rare – but it’s good insurance given the dire consequences of a sprinkler leak.
The elevator installation is stalled until next week. One of the telescoping hydraulic cylinders that will lift the elevator was not working correctly. The cylinder has to lift the cage about 20 feet between first and third floors. A telescoping cylinder consists of 3 or 4 nested steel shells or pipes, each with a brass ring at the bottom to provide stability, and a rubber ring or gasket to seal against leakage of hydraulic fluid. As fluid is pumped in, first the largest inner shell is pushed out, then the next smaller, and last the smallest – raising the cage. One of the brass rings was binding, so they took it with them home to Spokane to be milled a bit smaller. They will bring it back on Monday and try again. The outer shell over 4 inches in diameter, minus its inner components, is visible in the center of the picture.
December 14, 2021
Snow, Heat, Other Progress
This was supposed to be the week to pour sidewalks. Unfortunately, this week turned out cold and snowy. New concrete has lots of water, and if it freezes the ice crystals will destroy the concrete. It takes a week to ten days for all the water to react with the cement, so the concrete becomes resistant to freezing weather. As we wait for warmer weather, the intended sidewalk area is covered with plastic to retain the summer heat still in the ground so the area doesn’t freeze.
They will probably start hanging drywall later this week. Drywall won’t freeze, but the mud to smooth the joints will, and it is getting cold inside. The heat pump heating can’t be fully installed until the drywall is in finished. If it gets near freezing inside, they will use some backup electric heaters. These antiques are recycled heaters from old mobile homes that should put out enough heat to keep drywall mud from freezing.
The landing by the northeast exit door is taking shape. The stairs down to the sidewalk must wait until it’s warm enough pour the sidewalk. The landing is designed with a railing and Trex surface to match ADA the ramp nearby. A new door is coming soon.
Several other inside projects are proceeding. The elevator installers are back at work now that they have electricity to hoist the heavy components of the system. Soffits are now being extended into the new areas of Fellowship Hall. Later his week, the HVAC heat exchangers will get installed in the old furnace room. A scaffolding has been set up on the stage so the electricians can install some new track lighting suspended from the ceiling.
December 9, 2021
Soffits and Sidewalks
The UUCP “Fellowship Hall” has grown in size by about 50% by incorporating the offices along the south wall. It is amazing how big it feels – and how light with the inclusion of the three south windows. We have become accustomed to the ceiling soffits which cover the HVAC ducts and the rows of light fixtures that illuminate the space. To tie the new space with the old, the soffits will be extended. They got a start on that project today.
Work is proceeding on the forms for the front sidewalk. In the distance is the walk between the parking lot and the city sidewalk. Up closer, the wide sidewalk will lead to the front entrance. Note how both the new sidewalk and the city sidewalk will be lowered a few inches to channel water properly. Both the landing and the steps outside the south basement door will be poured concrete.
The forms are in place for the sidewalk outside the northeast sanctuary door. In this case, the landing and the steps will be made of wood and Trex to be compatible with the ramp. This is primarily an emergency exit, rarely used in the past. A new door also comes with the project. Concrete for all these projects will probably come early next week, weather permitting.
In case you haven’t already seen them, here’s two pictures of our new chalice window. The first is Ginger Yoder’s, taken in a snowstorm. The second is Duane DeTemple’s, taken at night.
December 8, 2021
Main Breaker, Stage, Sidewalks
The supply chain has delivered!! The main electrical entry breaker arrived this morning and is being installed. Avista will make the final connection at the transformer in a day or so, and then comes heat, lights, elevator and drywall.
Today’s other important milestone was the lid on the stage, covering up a maze of electrical, data and AV connections. This view is looking down from the balcony.
Work continues outside. The main sidewalk is a bit of a puzzle. The floor in the addition is almost exactly the same elevation as where the new entry walk would meet the city sidewalk – a potential problem in a downpour or when it rains on snow. The engineer’s solution is to remove several yards of the city sidewalk and replace it a few inches lower. The sidewalk and patio pavers will also have a swale to direct any flowing water across and to the west. The two strings mark the edges of our new main entry walkway.
My recent blog showed a concrete saw sitting unattended in the snow. It turns out that the snow was not the problem. The saw had quit running. Today they successfully finished the cut with a different saw. Century old concrete can be very hard. Note the bottle to squirt water on the blade to cool it. This saved a rectangle of concrete that we’d otherwise have replaced.
They are building sidewalk forms this afternoon. The pour will probably happen next week, depending on the weather. This will include a replacement sidewalk by the northeast exit from the sanctuary. The northeast project will include a new exit door and an outside landing made of wood in the style of the existing ADA ramp.
December 6, 2021
Sidewalks, Snow, Insulation and Good News.
The good news first – the electricians hardware delivery tracker app reported that the main breaker has been shipped and may arrive tomorrow. That would mean we could soon have heat, lights, an elevator and a host of other useful things. Also, we recently passed the electrical inspection for the wiring inside the stage – meaning that the top can be sheathed – a milestone.
When I arrived at the church at mid-morning, a big yellow machine was preparing the crushed rock base for the sidewalk connecting the parking area to the city sidewalk. It was not a great day for concrete work – it was 28 degrees, a light snow was falling, and more was forecast. The project included slicing off a bit of the sidewalk where it branched toward the Yellow House. The snow is increasing, and the concrete saw still sits there. It is hard to follow a chalk line when it keeps disappearing in the snow.
Still, they can move crushed rock in a snow storm. They need a base for the landing that will go outside the south door from the church basement. There will also be several steps that descend to the level of the pavers. It must all be well compacted.
I didn’t get a picture of the third sidewalk project. They will replace the old broken walk that connects the Van Buren sidewalk to the northeast exit from the sanctuary. By the time I walked by this pm, they had removed the broken pieces of cement, but there was so much snow, there was not much to see.
I did snap one insulation picture. It is an indication that the insulation is mostly in place that they are sweeping up the fragments from the floor.
December 3, 2021
Wiring and Insulation
Fridays are slow days at the construction site. Many of the workers are on a 10/4 work schedule – ten hours a day and 4 days a week. Roger was there this morning and some electricians, but the main activity was insulation. They have mostly finished applying a 6-inch layer of insulation batts on the exterior walls. Now, they are adding 6 inches of sound-blocking insulation to the interior walls and ceilings. This should minimize sound transmission between offices, classrooms and meeting rooms.
The supply-chain hiccup caused by the delayed main electrical breaker is beginning to stall things. There is hope that the device will show up next week – but has been promised before. The breaker is a prerequisite before we get power, heat, the elevator, water testing of the sprinklers, and drywall.
I am guessing that the hole he’s making in the church north wall will be a control connection for the heat pump units.
There are things that can proceed (mainly in the church). This includes finishing the HVAC system, the ceiling soffits, the stage and AV booth, the northeast exit door, and the balcony. Still, I think we are all waiting for drywall because that will be a visible milestone in our building project.
December 1, 2021
Insulation and Balcony Door
The insulation guys spent time today spraying foam insulation into the cracks between studding. Roger explained that a recent code change mandates this practice. For real cracks and gaps it makes sense – but I doubt if blocking the heat that escapes between 2 firmly nailed 2x6s makes up for the environmental damage caused by the manufacture of this stuff.
The ladder is sitting in the hatch to the flat roof. The structure will frame an opening through the actual ceiling – which will be about 3 feet below the rafters and foam insulated roof that you now see. I think the flat roof had to be that high to get above the peak of the trusses in the addition. I expect there will be more insulation added between the ceiling and the roof.
The opening to the balcony is about to get an actual door – it’s been covered with a plywood sheet for months. This is a challenge because there is almost a 12 inch gap between the two buildings. It is also hard to decide how to reshape the opening in the metal ceiling sheets that had to be cut to fit in the door. They saved the metal sheets they cut out – it will be interesting to see what they do with them.
November 30, 2021
Insulation and Siding
We have insulation! Truckloads of it started to arrive this morning and now sit in stacks on all three floors. These insulation batts will go between the 6-inch studs in the sidewalls. This contrasts with the 10-inches of foam insulation that is already in place between the roof trusses. Roger points out that a disproportionate part of a building’s heat loss is through the roof.
This morning they had moved the lift to the parking lot and started siding the west side of the north shed roof. This little bit was the last remaining wall in need of siding. I assume they finished it up today. With roofing, windows, doors and now siding, the building is now tight. Now for some paint.
November 29, 2021
Supply Chain, HVAC, Siding and Lighting
Like most construction projects we have experienced some supply chain problems. For example, we had the doors and the glass, but not frames to fasten the glass in the doors, which were delayed for some weeks. The lack of doors was a security and weather concern. When they finally came about 2 weeks ago, the frames were used to mount OSB panels in the doors rather than glass. That’s safer than glass which might get broken during construction. Now, with doors, the building can be secured for nights and weekends. The latches are not installed yet, also for construction reasons, hence the medieval version of a door lock.
There have been other supply chain issues. The batt insulation for the sidewalls has been delayed for some time – but it arrived in town on Friday. The really important issue is the delayed main breaker where the 3-phase electricity enters the addition. No electricity means no heat, which means the sprinkler system can’t be tested, which means no drywall. No electricity also means that the elevator installation is stalled. There are rumors that the breaker will come soon.
Both electricians and HVAC people have been at work, mainly in the church basement. The new heat pump system will move more air than our old furnaces. That will require modifications to the old air ducts, mostly in the basement ceiling.
This morning was very wet, but the guys doing the siding were anxious to finish the job. They rigged up a roof for the lift and got on with it. They should finish up the siding on the south side today, and the bit that’s left on the north side tomorrow. After working in the rain this morning, I suspect they will be happy to turn to some inside projects for a while – like finishing the stage, the balcony, and the soffits in the basement ceiling.
As the electricians are nearing the end of bending conduits and running wires, they too are turning to other projects – like light fixtures. The six hanging light fixtures from the ceiling of the sanctuary are being preserved. They date from early in the era of incandescent lights, although the Unitarians switched them to compact fluorescent bulbs. They each originally had one big “moghul” bulb – perhaps 300 watts – and several more normal sized bulbs. The heat from all those incandescent bulbs in the enclosed fixture has degraded the insulation on the wiring, so all six fixtures will be rewired, fitted with LED bulbs, and hung back in the ceiling.
November 23, 2021
Installing the Chalice Window
Many things were going on inside – electrical wiring, HVAC work, door installation – but the highlight of the day was the installation of the chalice window. The first step was to mark a 48” diameter circle on the gable wall and then cut along the line with a saber saw.
There was already a framed opening through the truss inside.
The window is heavy – about a hundred pounds – so it was a two-person job to carry it from the church basement where it has been stored since it got moved from our garage.
And, it was a four-person job to lift it carefully into the basket of the lift – cushioned by strips of blue foam insulation.
Then came the part that made me nervous, two people 30 feet in the air lifting the heavy window out of the basket, fitting it into the opening, and holding it in place long enough to secure it with a couple of screws.
Actually, the window looks rather disappointing now that it is in place. One can hardly see the rainbow and chalice design.
As we anticipated, the window needs a backlight. Earlier, we bought two 24”x48” LED light fixtures which Roger fitted close behind the window. We may fiddle a bit more with the placement of the backlights, but the result is spectacular. I expect the chalice window will become a landmark for our UUCP church.
November 22, 2021
More Siding and Stuff That will be Covered Out Of Sight
They probably completed the siding on the west peak this afternoon. They told me that there is a good chance they would put in the round window tomorrow, but they didn’t give me a time. Of course, there is a possibility of some snow tomorrow, and even more on Wednesday. However, they do want to do the window while they have the lift machine.
When they were demolishing the Yellow House and parts of the church, we were frequently surprised by things we found inside – old knob and tube wiring, a sharp chisel, rusted support posts, unidentified plumbing, and so on. That caused me to think about the things that we will be burying inside the walls of the remodeled church and the addition. They will soon be putting insulation batts in the walls and drywall to cover it up, along with ceiling tile everywhere. It is a good time to note the stuff that will be hidden from sight – maybe for another century. See if you can identify the stuff that will soon be buried in the following collage pictures. I’ll identify them later.
In the first collage clockwise from top left: 1. Wires in the church breaker box, in the front right closet in sanctuary. 2. In the kitchen, exhaust hood ducts in the north wall, conduits and HVAC ducts routed in joist space above the ceiling. 3. More conduits above the kitchen. The big one runs from the addition, under the floor, to feed the breaker box above. 4. Conduits embedded in the wall above the north exit door. I’m not sure where they go. 5. The diagonal black and white insulated HVAC lines run through the space between the addition and the church.
In the second collage: 1. These very big electrical cables feed from the transformer to the main breaker box, 2. These look more like organ pipes than conduits. They are in the same utility closet as the previous. Conduit bending is an art form. 3. This is the ceiling of a nearby storage closet. The hanging box seems to be a controller for the HVAC system. 4. See what the ceilings will cover up. There is an abundance of black sprinkler lines, black and white HVAC lines and red fire alarm wires. 5. This gives another view of the HVAC controller, viewed through a wall of embedded conduits that separates the closet from a restroom.
November 17, 2021
Mary Jo and I spent a refreshing week on the Oregon coast. Oregon lived up to it’s aquatic reputation – a direct hit by what they called an “atmospheric river” dumped about 10 inches of rain in 5 days. We read books, watched old movie CDs, and avoided the flooded roads. We even managed to walk on the beach a few times without getting drenched.
I understand it was wet here too. The siding had progressed only a little in the week, and the south gable is still waiting for the chalice window. The arch around the gothic window is a major accomplishment. Framing and siding these curved surfaces was not easy, but I like the result. I’m glad it’s not me working on that scaffold.
They need a more secure platform to work on siding the highest walls, so they brought back the lift machine this morning. They started working on the west end, where they need to finish the soffit, and then the siding. After they finish the west end, I expect they will move to the south side to finish the siding and soffit above the gothic window. The gable may be last – with its anxiously awaited chalice window. The timing for the window is uncertain – somewhere between tomorrow and next Wednesday. (Remember that next week has three working days because of Thanksgiving.)
The heat pump compressor units that will heat/cool the church sanctuary and basement were delivered this morning and now sit on their slab behind the church. These will connect to heat exchangers that will heat/cool air that will be distributed by air ducts. The heat exchangers will reside in the old furnace room.
The other recent delivery was the Avista transformer, now mounted on its pier behind the addition. There is still one crucial supply chain problem that must be resolved before we get electricity – we are waiting for the heavy duty master breaker switch that will control the entire system. Until that breaker arrives the inside construction lighting will rely on extension cords plugged into the old Avista connection that served the church.
That is not our only supply chain problem. It turns out that insulation is now hard to find. The sidewalls all need batt insulation, and there are other places where insulation is needed as a sound barrier. Obviously, the insulation must come first before the walls can be covered with drywall. I have not had a chance to ask Roger for his guess on delivery timing for the breaker switch and the insulation.
Supply chains do sometimes deliver. We have been waiting for door parts for several weeks. Obviously, since the metal door frames are already in place, it would be good to mount the doors. Doors would provide security for the site. Doors would keep out the rain and keep it warmer inside so things don’t freeze. Doors would keep the wind from displacing the insulation – whenever we get insulation. Today Roger picked up the missing pieces – the frames that will secure the glass in the doors.
November 4, 2021
A Very Busy Day
Lots of rain today, almost a third of an inch, yet it was a very busy day. One of the highlights was moving the chalice window. Mary Jo wanted her garage back (she doesn’t like scraping the frost off her windshield). The earliest it will get installed is next week when they get a lift that will reach that high. Roger and Phil came out with a pickup and took the window to the church. It’s heavy. It grew from about 50 pounds to probably a hundred with the added colored glass and epoxy resin.
The chalice window temporarily resides in the church basement – in the space where Ginger’s office used to be. It’s cushioned with cardboard and foam slabs, with the LED panels sitting on top. We’re really anxious to get it installed.
They started putting in spray foam insulation. Note the 2 black hoses – the big one carries the insulation fluid, and the little line has 180 psi air pressure to propel the stuff.
This is the view looking up into the attic from one of the second-floor classrooms. The white insulation has about the texture of Styrofoam packing peanuts and fills the spaces between the roof trusses to a depth of perhaps 10 inches. Almost the entire underside of the roof will be coated, so there will be very little cold attic space.
Most of our drywall requirement arrived yesterday – a very heavy load. Roger estimated that each sheet weighs about 150#, and they come bound in pairs. The heavy-duty semi made significant ruts in the crushed rock that had been compacted in preparation for the asphalt parking lot.
Here’s the frame for our new audiovisual booth. There is room for 2 or 3 operators and lots of hardware. Note the space where the tempered glass will go to provide visibility of the door and let in light from the windows. Pat, Sam and Rod are working with the electrician to assure that the right wires and connection points are in the booth and the stage.
Between rain squalls, siding is proceeding up the tower toward the gothic window. It will be an interesting framing and siding puzzle to construct the arched walls that will enclose the big window, echoing the arch around the old church entrance door.
The center of attention today was paving. The first step was a well compacted layer of crushed rock – graded to properly shed water and meet ADA slope requirements.
Yesterday Archie pruned back the lilac bush that was encroaching on the east-west alley. His timing was perfect because today they used the alley for the paving machine and for the big dump truck to bring in hot asphalt – so they wouldn’t drive over the new sidewalk.
The paving machine gets hot asphalt mix in the hopper in front and leaves a trail of perfectly shaped paving as it slowly advances. I am told that the stuff comes out of the mixing machine and into the truck at about 350 degrees – somebody said “hot enough to cook a pizza”.
This machine is their little one – the one they use in small spaces, but it is still big and clumsy and can’t get into corners. So, for awkward spots the machine dumps out a pile and the crew attacks it with shovels and rakes, making a uniform flat surface. Remember, the stuff is hot, so they keep a distance. As it cools the stuff solidifies, aided with some epoxy materials, so they follow up immediately with a big roller machine and a smaller tamper for tight spaces.
The paving machine goes over to the dump truck occasionally and refills the front hopper.
This is the final product, looking south.
And, looking north. Note that the new sidewalk has been lowered so it should no longer scrape the bottom of every low clearance car. It should be much more usable than the old alley exit.
November 2, 2021
The siding work is proceeding up the south side, part way into the gable. This is about where the big round hole will be cut to hold the chalice window. They need to cut a 47 ½ inch diameter round hole and frame inside the hole to hold the window. However, the timing of that milestone event remains uncertain. The scaffolding is about as high as it will go, so they plan to rent a lift machine, probably early next week to finish up the gable, including the window. They will move the scaffolding so they can side the tower around and above the front door. Then they will use the lift to finish off the high parts of that. It will be interesting to watch them frame and then side the curve around the gothic window at the top of the tower.
Things are happening inside too. The sanctuary floor has been patched and he has taken a first pass at removing the glue in the areas where the foyer carpet was glued down. With a lot more sanding and some new finish the red fir flooring should look beautiful. If you look far into the picture below (taken Friday) you can see that the sound booth framing had begun. That work continued Monday and today.
Here Lawrence from Strom Electric is installing the posts which will hold the meter box that will measure our electricity use and the output of the solar panels that will be mounted on the roof of the addition. With the meter box in place, everything is ready for Avista to bring the transformer, so they can activate the wiring in the addition.
There is supposed to be a big heavy load of drywall board arriving Thursday. Some of it will be lifted to the second floor and unloaded through the remaining open window on that floor. Some of it will be lifted to the third floor exit door. The timing is crucial since the heavy drywall truck can’t drive on new asphalt. As soon as the drywall is unloaded, the asphalt parking and alley can be completed – probably Friday.
Drywall hanging and spray foam insulation are also in the timing puzzle. The drywall could start very soon, although the mudding should probably wait until the building is a bit more closed in case the weather turns cold. More doors would certainly help, and they supposedly have found the windows that will go in the doors, the doors can be installed. The spray insulation (R45, I think) will be applied to the entire underside of the roof. Roger is scrambling to figure out where to locate the foam truck so it doesn’t interfere with asphalt paving, so they can get 50 amp power, and so their 200 foot hose reaches.
October 27, 2021
AV Booth, Floor Patching, Siding
The carpenters have finished the rough framing of the kitchen and have turned their attention to the sound booth. The new booth needs to be substantially larger than the old one because we expect it to accommodate more hardware and several operators to deal with both sound and video. This will be especially important if we expect to livestream Sunday services in the future. The floor of the booth will be raised a foot so the operators can see over people’s heads. The stub wall between the booth and the entry door will hold a tempered glass panel extending up to the underside of the balcony to let in outside light.
A flooring specialist has arrived to begin patching the floor in the sanctuary. Part of the task is to put down recycled clear fir flooring over the area where the stairway to the basement was removed. A large supply of old fir flooring was salvaged from the office floors in the basement and some from the yellow house demolition. The carpet in the church foyer hid several odd areas that will also need patching. There are places where wood other than clear fir were deemed adequate since it would be hidden by carpet, and even several spots where the boards ran east/west rather than north/south like the rest of the flooring. There were several places where ring shank nails were used on the face of the boards. These nails are impossible to pull, would do a job on a sander belt, and would show as a shiny spot on a finished floor. It’s going to be a big job. On the other hand, ours is an antique building, and I suspect that most of you have never noticed the floor patches that have been exposed and visible for decades in our sanctuary.
The siding scaffolding has been moved to the south side of the addition. The first task is the Tyvek vapor barrier, and then more trim wood and soffit. They will probably add some more siding tomorrow. Since they work a 4-day week with Friday off, it will be next week before they reach the gable. That will be the time to cut a 48-inch round hole, finish framing around the hole, and fit in the chalice window. That will probably happen the middle of next week. It will be some time yet until the chalice is illuminated – the new Avista electrical service is not hooked up yet.
October 22, 2021
Concrete for the Driveway
The concrete was poured yesterday afternoon and the forms were removed this morning. In the foreground, note the 3 feet of street curb that had to be replaced where the storm water will flow to the “bubbler” at the gutter. In the background, the curb defines the north side of the driveway. The new sidewalk is several inches lower to make the exit more usable. If the weather permits, the asphalt will arrive next week. The trick will be to get the big asphalt trucks and machinery in and out without destroying the new sidewalk. The east/west and north/south alley extension are too narrow to accommodate big traffic. Roger is working on the problem.
It is good to see our long drought coming to an end, but this intermittent light rain is not good for outdoor work. However, things are still going on inside, at least as indicated by the subcontractor trucks I see parked nearby. Strom Electric (from Troy) is doing the electric wiring. Cosco Fire Protection (from Spokane) is doing the sprinklers. Gropp (from Moscow) is installing the HVAC heat pump system. I think the carpenters doing the framing and siding come from Baysinger Construction (of Moscow). The excavation and concrete work are done by Germer Construction (of Moscow). It is up to Roger (with Golis Construction of Moscow) to coordinate them all and keep them out of each other’s way.
October 20, 2021
Some Progress and a Question
The elevator came in crates full of parts, and it takes an elevator expert to put the parts together. I have no idea what all of this is, except that the black pipes with red couplings are the hydraulic lines that will power the lift systems.
This is the control center for the elevator. Tom Golis referred to it as “the world’s smallest utility closet” – an ordinary hallway door will open into this 8 inches deep space. Again, I don’t know what any of this does.
Here they are building the forms for the city sidewalk and for the curb that defines the edge of the parking area. The sidewalk will be lowered several inches, so cars don’t scrape their undersides. Note how the curb makes a curve using thin flexible boards bent to shape. The concrete is scheduled to arrive tomorrow afternoon.
The kitchen walls are taking shape. The walls they removed were made with studs placed flatways against the rough rock foundation. Because the foundation was so fragile it was reinforced with a layer of shotcrete. The new wall will follow standard practice, with 2×4 studs oriented perpendicular to the shotcrete walls. This means that the north and east walls of the new kitchen will be about 3 inches closer in – a small reduction in kitchen space. They need the walls in place to accurately measure for cabinets and appliances.
In the southeast corner of the church basement (in what was the RE Director’s office) there used to be a rather nice cabinet. It proved necessary to remove the cabinet because the underlying floor was rotting and the lath and plaster wall itself was unstable. A new concrete floor is now in place that replaces the rotting floor and stabilizes the wall. This leaves an interesting alcove in the corner. The question is what should we do with the alcove? I should measure it, but my guess is that it is about 4 feet along the south wall, 3 feet along the east wall, and nearly 8 feet tall. Is this a place for library books in Fellowship Hall? Perhaps a cabinet below and bookshelves above?
October 19, 2021
More of the Same
There are a lot of things going on but some of them are hard to see. The elevator, electric and HVAC teams are all at work inside. I saw Roger arrive with a load of 2x4s that will probably be studs in the new kitchen walls – covering the foundation walls that had to be reinforced with shotcrete. More visible were the loads of crushed rock that were delivered for the parking area and alley. They are almost ready to pour the newly contoured sidewalk.
Siding is happening on the south side. They finished the first floor siding this afternoon – what they can reach from a stepladder. To go higher they will need to bring around the scaffold they used on the north side. I am especially watching their siding progress here. When they get up to the gable, they will cut a round hole to install the chalice window. However, the timing is uncertain because Roger indicated that the siding team may get drafted to work on the kitchen walls. Also, there is rain in the forecast.
Since the doors have arrived, the next step is to install the metal door frames. This is an exacting process, requiring careful measurement, a level, and lots of shims. We want the doors to swing freely. This afternoon saw frames installed for the north doors on all three floors. This is an important step because, with the frames in place the last of the siding trim can be finished, the wall can be painted, the steel stairway can be installed, and the scaffolding can be brought around to the south side.
October 18, 2021
Doors, Elevator, Wiring, Gravel
Things are moving ahead on many fronts, now including the elevator. This is a very heavy 15 foot long crate that contains the tracks that the elevator will slide on. It has been sitting at the curb for several weeks. This is an unusual grab for a forklift – he lifted one end and supported the other with a heavy-duty strap. He picked it up at the curb and stuck it in through the new front door.
The doors finally came. They have been back ordered for at least a month. More supply chain issues. A stack of doors and a stack of door frames. They will start installing them tomorrow. It will be good to have the building properly closed.
The electricians are still at work. They have a big job, including tying the old and new buildings together in a coherent way. These conduits are part of the tie.
The crushed rock south of the buildings is being shaped and compacted to provide a base for pavers and our new play area. The new landing and steps from the south basement door will be coming soon.
The parking area and the alley exit to 2nd Street have caused problems since the plans and the corresponding slopes and elevations have been moving targets. The area contains fire and domestic water connections, surface water pipes and catch basins, the electrical service, and the neighbor’s sanitary sewer line. It is critical to watch out for these when dirt is moved. Everything was complicated by the decision to lower the city sidewalk at the exit by about 6 inches so cars would no longer scrape bottom when they exit, and it was further complicated because Roger was sick for some time. Today brought out steel stakes, string lines, the laser level machine, hand levels, a slope measuring instrument and Roger’s feel for what made sense. The dip in the sidewalk is limited by ADA to less than 8%. By noon they had a plan, and this afternoon they started to configure the crushed rock. They anticipate that the asphalt will come next week. They need to pour the sidewalk and some more curb before then.
October 13, 2021
Siding, Grading, Concrete
The siding work has moved to the west end. I expect they were happy to work under the overhang given the nasty weather – a mix of cold, snow flurries and rain. Once they finish the lower area, they will move the scaffolding around from the north side so they can reach higher.
Today they graded the area south of the addition. That meant taking out a lot of Palouse clay to make room for the 5 or 6 inches of crushed rock that will be spread over most of the area as a base for the kids play area and the patio pavers. In front of the old church this meant getting ready for the landing and steps that will access the basement door and the planting bed that will be extended to protect the fragile foundation. This bed will continue to focus on Idaho native plants, and since lilacs don’t qualify as native, this one had to go.
On Monday, concrete was poured north of the church for the pad where the heat exchanger units will sit. The temperature has been down as low as 22 degrees the last 2 nights. That is cold enough to damage uncured concrete. As concrete cures it generates heat, which the tarp traps to help prevent damage.
October 7, 2021
Siding, Sprinklers and Heat Pumps
They will finish siding the north walls early next week and begin another side. This afternoon they are up on the roof, starting to put siding on the tall flat-roofed and shed-roofed areas. In the foreground, note the fresh concrete sidewalk. The concrete truck arrived early this morning, delayed a day by yesterday’s rain.
The heat pumps for our addition will have two parts. The outdoor units that will sit behind the addition and pull heat from the air and transfer it to a fluid. (Think of how your refrigerator pulls heat from the stuff inside and moves that heat to the air in your kitchen.) The hot fluid runs through insulated tubes to the inside units located in the various rooms, where a heat exchanger (radiator and fan) transfers the heat to the room air. The units will be reversible to provide cooling in the summer. In the secretary’s new office, the mounting bracket shows where one of the inside units will be mounted. To each side, the black insulated tubes are ready to be attached.
This is the ceiling of the secretary’s office. It just gives a hint of the complexity of the electrical wiring. Note the 2-part sprinkler head. On the left the sprinkler head will extend down a foot to pass through the suspended ceiling. Note the second less prominent sprinkler head placed above the ceiling in case the fire runs up above. Both heads have glass bulb triggers that shatter at a target temperature, releasing the water.
This Christmas tree is where the water enters from the city water main and is routed off to sprinklers on all three floors. It’s a complex and expensive system that we hope to never use.
October 6, 2021
Concrete Delayed, More Siding
This morning was wet with a steady light drizzle. Two spots were ready for concrete, the sidewalk between the addition and the parking stalls, and the pad for the HVAC compressors behind the church. However, the scheduled early morning concrete delivery was cancelled because of the weather and those workers departed. They are still waiting for elevation numbers from the engineers before they can proceed with patching the city sidewalk and configuring the alley exit to Second Street.
The electricians were not bothered by the weather. I resisted the urge to go in to look, but I think they are still working mainly on the first floor of the addition. It takes a lot of wires and boxes to make a building like ours.
The men working on the siding got a late start because of the rain. By this evening, I expect they are up to the level of the third floor. It’s an interesting process to watch. One man cuts the cement boards to length, sometimes with a guillotine device, something with the chop saw for angles, and sometimes with a jigsaw for more complex cuts. The other man fastens the boards in place with a staple gun, and calls out the length of the next board. Notice the little black jigs just below the staple gun? They clip on the previous board to help position the next board exactly 5 inches higher. (One of the workers yelled to me several days ago that they would be getting the job done a lot faster if they were using 7-inch siding instead of 5-inch siding. However, the 5-inch siding matches what’s on the church.) Notice the light colored squares a bit lower down on the wall? These are where the support posts for the steel stairway will be attached to the wall.
October 5, 2021
Inside Work, Siding and Paving
The HVAC people have been running connections between the compressors that will be north of the addition and the heating units that will be wall-mounted in the offices and classrooms. The electricians are running conduit and wires, mainly on the first floor so far. The elevator people went over to another job site as they waited for a firewall to be built in the shaft. When they finish that other project in a few days they will return to install our elevator. The fire sprinkler people have the main lines in place, but the little side branches will come next.
Outside, the siding is coming along after slow progress last week when they spent some time at another job site. Now they are working their way steadily up the back wall. The back is being sided first to make it ready for the installation of the steel fire escape stairs, which should come very soon. The siding is a cement board composite, the same that Jeanne Jacobson helped us buy for the south and west sides of the church two decades ago. It should last (and hold paint) for another century.
The parking area is taking form. They put in the curb last week, and now they are laying a gravel base for a couple of inches of asphalt. A sidewalk will run between the curb and the building and will extend to the city sidewalk. They are waiting for the engineers to provide exact elevations for the exit driveway and sidewalks. The sidewalks may get poured tomorrow. The asphalt will cover about 19 feet of parking width plus 12 feet that is designated as alley. Another 12 feet next to the fence is county-owned land and will remain gravel.
October 1, 2021
Siding, Driveway and More
The carpenters made a start on siding several days ago. The first steps were soffits and trim around doors, windows, and corners. Then they applied a few tiers of siding. That was several days ago, and now I think they may have shifted to another of the contractor’s building projects. Our addition is rain-tight now, except for the missing doors delayed by supply-chain problems. One can almost think of siding as cosmetic – they put siding on to protect the Tyvek, which is the real membrane to seal out moisture.
This is also a good view of the scaffolding they will use (instead of ladders or a man-lift) to apply the siding. There are 3 metal posts supporting 2 sets of platforms connected by the yellow safety net. With a lever at each post they can raise or lower the contraption as needed.
Here is a modification that I have been lobbying for. They are lowering the sidewalk at the driveway exit from the parking lot. For years this has frustrated users of the alley – most cars would scrape bottom as they exited to the street. The sidewalk was cut once to trench for our water connection, and cut again to trench for the surface water drain. It was an easy step to remove the in-between remnant of sidewalk and ramp it down a bit to lower the exit drive. This walk and the walk from the parking area to the city sidewalk will come very soon, followed by the asphalt alley and parking.
There are actually lots of things going on inside the building. But since they are inside and I am trying to stay out of the way, it’s hard for me to track progress or take pictures. Various subcontractors are working on electrical wiring, HVAC systems, and fire sprinkler systems. The plumbing lines are mostly in place. The elevator shaft now has a gypsum board fireproof lining in preparation for the elevator itself. There’s a stack of drywall board ready in the hallway.