Cinema done got braces!
Scaffolding up today, cladding starts tomorrow!
We’re both feeling a little conflicted about the cladding. When we first bought the place, Midge was very much “I don’t care what it looks like from the outside, we don’t have to see it”. Then, as you may recall, he spotted the über-pretty Rodeca, and then we decided we didn’t want to have to paint the place every five years, and then the architect drew up some pictures of the place looking very swank, and then…well, then we found we were spending A LOT OF MONEY on the outside of the building.
But (and I can’t remember if we were actually ever told this, or it was just a hallucination I had as a result of forgetting to breathe because I couldn’t believe how much money we were spending on cladding) I thought was all just going to slot and click together, and be the work of mere hours to install.
Ah, no. Apparently, the Nu-Wall aluminium in particular needs to be fixed to a very straight, very flat surface. And unfortunately, I’m pretty sure we don’t have a single straight line in the entire building. So we’ve been told to expect that it will take a team of three specialised contractors 5-10 weeks to put up battens, creating a surface smoother than a very expensive baby’s bum, onto which they can then put the cladding.
Speaking of which, the aluminium arrived the other day. I was told by Dom that it was lucky I wasn’t around to witness s it – it was very heavy and very awkward, and apparently ladies and babies in utero shouldn’t be exposed to the kind of language that was flying around that day. (Although if Newbie is at all sensitive to that kind of thing, it’s already going to emerge cussing like a sailor. Mama’s got a potty mouth, as Midge tells Pugsley.)
Somewhere in transit, it seems that pretty much every piece got dinged or scratched or bent somehow. Which, I have to say, surprised/concerned me a little, given we had chosen an anodised finish because it was so durable and scratch/ding resistant. Apparently that applies more when it is up on a wall, not when it is being bounced round the back of a truck with other piles of heavy metal being dropped on it, and possibly someone throwing bricks at it. The guys were very onto it, taking photos and only signing for it as “damaged”, so we shouldn’t have to wear the cost if anything needs to be replaced, or if the scaffolding has to be up longer than expected.
And oh my, while I am
bitching about costs eloquently expressing my fiscal concerns – scaffolding! I had been considering sending Pugsley to plumbing school to support us in our retirement, but now I think I’ll get the kidlets into where the real money is!
So all in all, our decision to clad the place is the one area where we could have cut costs substantially. Our estimated costs to completion are up significantly from where we started, and we ended up at the bank manager’s office yesterday asking for a fairly hefty increase in our mortgage (more than double what we started with).
Was it a bad decision? No, not at all. I think. I hope. It’s going to look awesome, and be durable and hard-wearing, once people have stopped throwing rocks at it in the back of a truck. We’ll never have to pay for scaffolding ever again, and painting a place this size could easily cost us $30k every 5-10 years. It also covers up the evil asbestos cladding so we don’t have to worry about that any more. And that should stop the phone calls we’ve been getting from an anonymous “concerned neighbour”, about the small area of exposed asbestos cladding on the front of the building. It’s probably been there for the last 10 years, but she’s been threatening to call the labour department and have our build shut down. (I think she may have believed the gang-headquarters/childcare centre line we’ve been spinning. Or, she’s just heard my potty mouth.)
We’ve actually been asked by a lot of people why we don’t just get rid of the asbestos altogether. People do tend to hear the word and panic, thinking it may be leaching out like a toxic gas into the air. Turns out, asbestos is actually a pretty stable compound, and is harmless if it’s just left alone. Once it gets disturbed, usually by water blasting, or removing the sheets, fibres can be released into the air and breathed in. It can then take decades for lung disease to develop. We’re pretty familiar with its nasty side, as Midge lost his dad Cliff a few years ago to lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. What we’ve been told is that if you don’t have to remove it, don’t – it’s perfectly safe when covered up. If you do need to mess with it, get in professionals who know all the OSH requirements like protective clothing and masks and keeping the area wet to reduce fibres floating around. We’ve also been told to get the oldest person possible to do the job: developing lung cancer in 40-60 years is less of an issue for a 60-year-old than a 20-year-old!!
So. In case you were worried that I was just going to complain through an entire post, and then end it with a discussion on a deadly disease –