Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The sky is the limit!

More photos from the building as we get close to being water tight. The conservation roof lights went in yesterday and the structure around the dorma windows is being worked on today. Even Ben is getting excited now. He has been working hard to plan the butchery space with butcher, Charlie and as you can see the photo below, he can't contain himself!

Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fordhall Farm in the Guardian!

Take a look at Guardian Rural Social Enterprise Article by clicking this link or pick up a copy today! Great publicity for Fordhall

Go Social Enterprise - whoop whoop!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Our first glimpse of our new offices!

Today the roofers are in, battons are on and the waterproof membrane is being laid. All too quickly our outer walls are being covered in and rooms are being created.

Looking to the end of our new office.
   As I wandered upstairs I was taken aback by the wonderful space Seven Architecture have created and Charles and the team at Shingler have built. Although not complete, it is already beautiful.

Looking into our new classroom space, this old brick
wall will fall against our new staircase
 Today the electrician (Andy) arrived to begin the first fix and so it has been all hands on deck to ensure that the light fittings and plug sockets are all where we want them. The worst thing would be to not think about this properly now and have sockets in front of cupboards and lights behind shelves!
Whilst I look at plug sockets and light fittings, Ben has disappeared off to Cumbria to look at fridges and butchery equipment. He has taken Charlie, our butcher, and together I am sure they will create a functional and open space, which will allow the public to see the whole butchery process.

Everywhere you look there are men working (although as soon as I turn up with the camera they quickly hide!): nailing timbers together, attaching the membrane, finishing brick work, measuring and sawing. The site is a real hive of activity and the workmanship has been excellent.

As attention begins to move towards the finishing detail, we realise how much valuable work our architects and project manager, Gavin (WCP Associates), are putting into the project. Everyone is working together to ensure that this project completes on schedule.

Thank you.

p.s. Don't forget - if you want to make the images larger, simply click on them!

Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The sand blaster is here..

As work on the rafters draws to a close and the bickwork is almost finished, the sand blasters have come in to remove the white wash from the remaining old farm shop walls. 

It is strange to think that the old farm shop will never look the same again. The white wash walls at Fordhall have been part of the farms character and appearance for many, many years. But all of this will now disappear. The sand blaster, dressed like an astronaut or someone dealing with radioactive waste (!) is busy blasting the walls with tiny fragments of sand that dislodge the lime wash from the walls, revealing the lovely red bricks behind.

Its a messy job and a slow job, but the difference is fantastic.

Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands

Sunday, February 13, 2011

As the work to re-roof the old dairy continues we are looking for ways to use the materials and plants that have had to be moved to make way for the build. When the driveway was widened in November we had to remove a small section of the old hawthorn hedgerow. Not wanting this to end in the chipper, Charles and Duncan very kindly agreed to replant the best hedge trees into the field as a wildlife feature.

Formed into a small ring, these trees will hopefully re-grow during the spring to create a wildlife sanction amongst the grazed grass. We also plan to plant other wildlife friendly plants in this area over the coming weeks. Even if the hawthorn does not regrow the dead matter here will provide a wonderful habitat for invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The roof structure goes back onto our Old Dairy

Today the steelwork to hold our new roof began to be pieced together. Charles led his team of merry men and the skilled crane driver to place each heavey piece in exactly the right place. It has taken most of the day, but almost every steel truss is now in place. Ready to receive the rafters that will soon hold our tile roof.

Work has also been carried out on the oak dorma windows (right), which fill the gaps of old loft hatches and a dorma window which was removed when the roof was damaged in a fire in the 1970's. You can see the old black loft hatch on the image above left. It definately seems strange to think that we will never see the building as it was in its black and white form again. This renovation will transform Fordhall. The delicate, elicate and sympathetic design by Seven Architecture and the careful guidance of our QS Gavin from WCP together with the great team from Shingler, has ensured that so far (not wanting to pre-empt anything) this project has been a real joy to manage 
The walls that front our tearoom also continue to build up, with all the same character as they had before the came down - and a even little straighter! The brickies have been going for perfection and it shows.

Our attention is now being turned to the internal finishes and layouts, all those small decisions that you don't think about when walls are coming down, but which at the end of the project are what make all the difference. One of my current tasks is to find a woodburner for the tearoom.... just in case anyone has one going spare!!


Fordhalls new facilities have been generously part funded by Advantage West Midlands

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The building work at Fordhall continues...

The rebuilt brick walls put the old walls to shame, but when they are sand blasted and the lime wash is removed, they will all merge beautifully.

Apologies to those who are checking the blog on a regular basis, after taking a few days off myself, the build has moved on at the great efficient speed we have come to expect from Shingler Construction. The warmer weather has allowed the old brick walls (some of which were taken down and some of which fell down!) to be rebuilt. Using the relcaimed bricks from the original walls and building with lime mortar the walls look fantastic - definately straighter than they were before! Seeing the old brick walls go back up has begun to bring back the character to our Old Dairy building. It is definately more exciting to see things going up, than it is to see them come down!
Alongside this we have incorporated as many of the original timbers from the building back into it. Unfortunately, due to their age they have to remain cosmetic rather than structural, but we are happy that they have gone back from where they came from. These timbers have seen a lot of changes at Fordhall over the years and we are glad to see that they will get to see many more.

Simultaneously, the inner recycled blockwork leaf, which will hold the new roof, has been erected at super speed. The floor joists for the first floor are now in, providing us with a real sense of the room sizes, as we begin to plan how best to utilise the compact space within the building. But we all know 'small is definately beautiful'.

Tuesday this week saw a vast change in the build as the oak frame arrived for our classroom window. This is sitting above the old farm shop, and will have views across the farm for visitors. It was a substantial structure and had to be put in place with cranes, which took the team most of the day to erect. Each piece being pegged in place with oak pegs - no nails in sight! Absolutely beautiful.
Thank you Seven for a fantastic design.