Sunday, August 15, 2010

Demolition Progress!

The demolition of the coach house started about a week ago.  Here’s a picture of our first floor showing where the coach house was (red box).  The entire building (2 storeys) was removed and all that remains is the concrete pad it was sitting on.  The orange box in the picture was where our fire escape was.  That was removed also.


In the pictures that follow you can see the various stages of demolition.

In this first picture, taken from my third floor office, you can see the roof of the building.  They’ve just started to take off the roof covering.


Now they’ve removed most of the roof.


The inside first floor of the coach house.  The light streaming through the roof rafters above. 


Roof/second level gone!


Here you can see the bathroom that was built on the side of our current laundry room.  It was very poorly built to accommodate the school’s first female student, probably in the 1970’s when the back buildings were used as an electronics college.


In this picture, you can see the crew’s first big surprise.  You are looking head-on towards a 2 foot tall, 28 foot long steel I-beam!  The crew said that it was likely put in place by a crane.  This was done in the 1940’s when the original coach house was expanded to twice it’s size and this beam supported the entire centre of the building.


Here’s another picture of the beam running through the top of the first floor.


The demo crew cut all the ceiling joists on either side of the beam, as they were preparing to drop it to the ground.


They cut a small notch out of the supporting wood studs under the beam, then tied a chain around the base of the studs and their large truck, then dropped the beam down.  When it dropped, all the car alarms in the neighbourhood went off!


The beam down on one side from above.


In this picture, taken from the farthest corner of where the coach house was standing looking back towards our house, you can see the fire escape that was remove, the remaining interior stud wall that connected the coach house to the other outbuildings, our two level enclosed sunroom/laundry room, and the steel I-beam lying on the ground waiting to be removed.


Here’s a similar picture after the outside walls were removed and the first escape was (mostly) taken down.  My son has decided he wants a career in demolition.  (Don’t worry, he was very well supervised).


In this picture, you can see the internal stud wall removed.  You might wonder how we can have a 28' long opening with no support (or maybe you don’t care, but I’ll tell you about it anyway).  The ceiling joists in the remaining structure run back to front and are open steel-web joists 16” high.  The architect and structural engineer were very pleased to see this as they will allow us to have large open spaces in the interior, and an upper level deck with no additional support. Yey!


A picture of the back part of the open space, where the old furnace closet was.  This is now gone too.  You can see a bit more detail of the steel joists here with the dismal old fibreglass insulation.  You can also see how the outer walls of the remaining structure were built.  They consist of an 8” concrete block, an air space (filled in some places by newspaper), and then an inner 4” concrete block.


The latest surprise came on Friday when the concrete demo crew started breaking up the old pad.  Most concrete pads are 4” thick, sometimes 6”.  I had previously sledge-hammered a small hole to around 6” thick so we knew ours was on the thick side.  Imagine their surprise when they broke up a section to find it is 14-16” thick!!  It appears to be two pads, one poured on top of the other with a tar impregnated membrane between the two.  My guess is that the original coach house had the first pad poured sometime in the 1920-1930’s.  When the coach house was expanded and the the other flat-roof structure was built, the second pad was poured.  The concrete demo guys said they needed a better bobcat to break up the pad as the one they started with wasn’t going to do the job right.  So they left and dropped another one off this weekend and will be returning on Monday.

In case you were wondering, in place of the coach house, we will eventually have a yard with gardens and a patio.  I still haven’t scanned our set of plans (they are on large format paper that it not easy to scan) to show you the rest of the planned renovation.  That will come soon!  If you look at the picture at the very top of this post, the basic plan is to have the remaining two rooms become a garage (the one in line with the side of the house), and a recreation room / in-law suite (the one in line with the current laundry room).  We’ll be adding a roof top deck on part of the rear building with French door access from our upper sunroom and stairs down to a lower deck on the side of our current laundry room.  Current laundry room will be restructured and opened to existing kitchen and will become part of the kitchen (an eating area).  Doorway into old attached bathroom will become a door out to the lower level deck.  The side of the rear recreation room now facing our backyard will have a 13.5’ long, 8’ tall,  folding-sliding door to the backyard, allowing us to have an indoor/outdoor space with tons of light.

The city inspector will be coming by early this week to check on demo progress, while the crew removes the rest of the pad and our contractor starts to put a new external wall (with frost-protected footing beneath) on the remaining building.  Then we’ll get going with the gutting of the interior of the remaining buildings.  Fun times!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work even i always wish to repair my house with my own hands but i did not much techniques you have done superb work.