Thursday, 16 July 2009

Three priorities for the architects

We showed the new architects the building yesterday, then met with them to talk about the order in which we need to proceed with the work.

The first priority is to finalize the drawings of the roof so that our contractor can get it built. On Monday, he gave us a really reasonable estimate for the work - $49,000 - based on the engineer's drawings. That's to rip the old one off, including the head house, put in all new thick LVLs, to bear the weight of 150lbs/square foot of earth/pavers/plants, install a drainage system, prefab, sloped insulation and a rubber membrane. The architects need to double check that the supports will accomodate the stairs, whether we need to leave them exactly where they are, or whether we're given permission to move them a couple of feet if we are granted a variance for the conservatory. The architects need to make sure the skylights are positioned to alight perfectly over the shower area in the master bathroom one story below. And then we just need a couple of height measurements checked by the architects and noted for the builders. It's pretty exciting to think that we're actually going to get to *build* something soon. We'll be sad to temporarily do without rooftop picnics/sunbathing.

The second architectural priority is to shore up the envelope of the building. Figure out exactly where the brickwork needs repointing, make final decisions about which windows to brick in, draw exactly where the chimney and fireplace should be situated, etc. Then we can get a bid from the mason for that work and turn him loose on the job.

The third priority is ensuring that we have a second egress from all three units (including the troublesome owner's unit) that will satisfy the city. Our first line of attack on that problem is to get the architect to draw a new fire escape with a levered staircase. Then we'll take it over to the building department at the city and see if they'd be okay with it. If so, we can get the ironworker I met with on Tuesday going on the new fire escape. We're doing everything we can and pursuing every glimmer of hope to avoid creating a dreaded second internal staircase, but word on the street is that since our overhaul of the building is so extensive, they're going to want something internal instead of being content with the external stairs that are on the building now. Once we get the emergency egress issues settled, we'll be able to finalize the floorplan enough to situate HVAC, utilities and plumbing and thus, clean out the basement and pour a new concrete floor down there.

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