March 06, 2019

March Building Update

by Alan Beatts

Looking back, I realize that it's been quite a while since I've given an update on how the construction is going at the new building.  Sorry for that but . . . the holidays, catchup after them, and then Cary's passing all made for a few months when extensive writing wasn't going to happen. However, time to correct that now.

There are four big jobs that we've been working on since late last year and they've all moved forward quite a bit since November.  They are, in no particular order; rebuilding the front of the store, expanding the bathroom to make it ADA compliant, creating the garden in the backyard, and getting the new electrical service installed.  There was one other job, the structural work in the basement, but the final touches were completed in January.  Here's where we stand on the other jobs:

Rebuilding the storefront ran into a hiccup in January and it took 'til the middle of last month to get past it.  The storefront that existed was, to be blunt, crap.  It had been built in the 70s at low cost, and it showed.  It also was not ADA accessible.  So, in consultation with the Historic Preservation department of the planning commission, we designed a completely new storefront that was correct for the building while also being accessible.  The new design included some big posts and beams that increased the seismic strength of that portion of the place (important because, right now, it's the weakest point in the structure).

Tearing out the old construction was easy (and a pleasure) but then the process of getting the material delivered involved a few delays.  Beams that are 19 feet long and measure 9 1/12" by 7 1/2" are not, at all, something you throw in the backseat of your car.  Once the material was delivered, fitting it all was a complicated and (very) careful job but not too hard.  But then . . . due to the method of attachment, I had to drill six precisely-located holes the long way through some 4" by 8" posts.  And they had be be dead-straight so that they would all line up correctly on the far side.  I blew through four 12' long posts before I figured out how to get the holes to line up correctly (BTW, it took a full-size drill press to do the job).

Now that those are done, it'll just take a little bit more work to get both posts and both beams in place.  Once that is finished, the job is a mostly straightforward piece of framing work with some fine details like the front tile and the windows.  I'm guessing that it'll take another month or two for completion because I'm also going to be working on . . .

The bathroom expansion also involves some big beams and posts.  Actually, one huge beam and a couple smaller ones.  The big beam is 18 feet and measures 5 1/4" by 16". The sucker weighs about 432lbs and has to go all the way up to the ceiling.  The tricky part of that job is where the smaller beam meets both the supports for the stairs going up to the apartments and the big beam.  We've been working on fitting that for two weeks and we're very close to having a pattern that we can transfer over to the actual beam so we can cut it to shape.  Once that's done, we put up the big beam, the posts to support it and then we can demolish the old bathroom.  With the old bathroom gone, like the previous job, it's a simple matter of framing the walls and then getting the plumbing and electrical installed.  I'm going to guess a month or two from now to complete that job as well, then we'll need to see how fast the plumber and electrician can get their work done.

The garden is going very well.  All the plants aren't in yet but we're at about 50%.  Over the last couple of weeks we got the first section of brick layed and that allowed us to move the rest of the brick out there, rather than having it take up a bunch of space inside the shop.  We'll be working along on that as time and weather allows but, it doesn't need to be finished before we open so it's less of a priority than the other jobs.  Regardless of how far we get on it before we open, it's going to be a work in progress for a long time because that's how gardens "do".

Finally, the new electrical service has been taking much longer that expected, mostly because Pacific Gas and Electric does everything on their own time (except when it comes to blowing up or burning down whole towns, it seems).  But, we're finally under contract for the service, the trenching plans are set, and we just need to have a pre-construction meeting to make sure all the ducks are in a row.  After that we can get the trench in the sidewalk cut, the new conduit in place, and then we can wait for a couple of weeks 'til they put in the new wires.  With that done, our electrician, Antonius Dintcho, should be able to get the rest of the work finished pretty quickly.  Because of the PG&E factor, I'm not going to make any prediction when that will be finished.

After we get all those jobs done, it's going to be a matter of final inspections for the storefront and the bathroom.  Once we pass those, then it's all small jobs and finish work -- additional electrical, new ceiling, lights, new floor (or, ugh, carpet), building dividing walls in the basement, getting the shelving in and so forth.  It'll still be a long way to go but, once we get the three big jobs above completed, we'll have made moved from the big-complicated part of the job to the smaller-simple part.  Which will be very, very nice.

In closing, I still don't have a date in mind.  I'm still sticking with "this year" but when this year is still anyone's guess.

All Best,

PS  I'll try to have some pictures posted in time for the next newsletter.

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