This post is a part of a series documenting the renovation of the God’s Way Ltd Function Centre Caretaker’s Residence.
Welcome to the second phase of the Cushnie Function Centre Caretaker’s Residence Renovation Project. With the bulk of the de-construction work having been completed, it was time to move in the forward direction of construction. This started with marking out some of the changes and additions that were to take place to the structure of the building, to make it more functional and improve natural airflow throughout the house.
The works were decided upon by Jesus (AJ Miller), the project manager, in consultation with Cornelius (David Walsh), the on-site manager and carpenter.
Phase 2 works include:
- Deepening existing wardrobes to improve hanging space
- Building new wardrobe storage in the living area and bedroom 3 (which will be an office)
- Moving the location of the front sliding door to make way for the extra storage wardrobe in the living area
- Altering walls in the kitchen/laundry to create an open plan
- Adding a window and sliding door to the kitchen to allow more light and airflow from the direction of cool summer breezes. This also achieves opening the place up to the decking outside, to give a sense of more space to the small house
The existing bedroom wardrobes had outward swinging doors and only reached the height of the standard bedroom doors (2040mm). To increase storage space and prevent the doors from encroaching on room space when opened, it was decided to extend the height of each wardrobe to the ceiling and to install glass sliding doors.
In preparation for this change, a spirit level was used to create a 2100mm (7ft) long line on the wall, marking the new wardrobe height. This line ran close to the ceiling, however when measured it was discovered that the line was not parallel with the ceiling. The discrepancy suggested that something was out of level.
Time to investigate what is going on!
The process to determine exactly what was out of level was:
- Check the spirit level tool was reading correctly – it was good.
- Check the line on the wall again for level – it was good.
- Check the ceiling was level – it was not so good.
- Check the floor level – it was out of level like the ceiling.
- It appeared that something in the structure of the house was out of level.
- Check the adjacent room – the same out of level result.
- Check the other end of the house to see if the problem just affected one area, but the level was consistently out.
- Bring in a laser level for accuracy, to test the floor level properly. This showed that the floor had a consistent fall of 25mm (1 inch) off level, from one end of the house to the other (12m/39ft).
Because the fall was consistent across the building and not just in one area, the suspicious culprit behind the house being out of level is likely to be a fault in the laser or dumpy level tool that was originally used to create the foundational stumps of the house.
Luckily the floor of this house was not a concrete slab on ground, which would have been a major problem! Since this floor is raised off the ground on stumps and bearers, it should be relatively easy to fix.
Maintenance of Levelling Equipment
Often the assumption is made that all levelling equipment is accurate. However a periodic test is advisable, especially in cases where the equipment may have been dropped or hit by something.
If levelling equipment is out of level and reading inaccurately, it must be re-calibrated by a professional.
There is a do-it-yourself check, called the two peg test, which can be used to check the accuracy of a laser or dumpy level. To find out the procedure for a two peg test, use your favourite search engine and type in “two peg test”. You can test your spirit level for accuracy too. Search “how to test a spirit level” to see how.
Why bother to fix a floor after years of it being lived on without incident and even perhaps without the discrepancy being noticed at all?
By leaving a problem, every other person who does work on the house would have to be informed. Not correcting the level would mean that all future construction and alteration to the building would be required to work around the problem. This would make the work more complex, time consuming and also require the site manager or caretaker to continually keep workers informed and monitored to ensure they have allowed for the problem.
When there is a problem at the foundations stage, as in this case, the problem is magnified the higher up the building becomes… just ask the guy that built that tower in Pisa.
So it was decided that the level of the floor must be corrected. As with all loving solutions, while it may take some time and effort now, it will save time and make life simpler and easier for many others in the long term.
The next step was to get the tools and materials required for the job.
The house is of such a simple construction type that the entire building could be unbolted from the stumps and jacked up to the proper height. Non-compressible packing material could then be put in the space between the top of the stump and the bottom of the bearer, and then re-bolted with longer bolts if required.
Bearers are the horizontal steel members that hold up all of the floor joists
An accurate laser level was used to ascertain the highest point of the floor. This measurement was then used to set the height of all of the other bearers.
The bearers that were low were jacked up to the level height indicated by the laser level. Packers were inserted into each new space between the stump and bearer.
The jack was then released to allow the bearer to sit on the stump at it’s new, correct level. With the weight of the house now back on the bearer and packers, the bearer was double checked for level to be sure of accuracy.
For less than a day’s work for 3 people, the house was now back to level.
It was essential to undertake this work and ensure that the floor was level before any other work in phase 2 could take place. Otherwise all work thereon would have been affected by this problem.
A true level, plumb and square base was now established and work on phase 2 of the renovation could continue. More detail about undertaking phase 2 will be shared in the next blog update for this project.
A life also built on good, solid foundations will prosper, flourish and grow straight and true. The foundations in this case would be to follow God’s Laws, and live by what God’s Truth is and what God’s Love does. This will bring the best outcome for all to prosper, flourish and grow straight and true.
God’s Way Visionary & Founding Member
Construction Branch Manager
Information Sharing Auditor & Editor