Yesterday was time to put the last few blocks into the pony wall of the new arena. This job turned out to be much harder than anticipated because the blocks were not poured square (nightmare). Anyway, due to a massive driver error (me) the 55 foot lift is out of commission until Monday night/Tuesday morning. Arena construction will resume then. Only 7 more blacks to place, then it is time to set and mount the plates that will hold the building to the pony walls. This should take a day or two, then it is finally time to put the metal framing together.
Did you have to rent that big crane that puts the walls down or is it supplied with the materials? Who are the men helping you?
Hello Carla, the boom lift is rented. The two guys helping me in some of the photos are my youngest brother, Seth and his friend Robbi.
The past week or so has been an exercise in maintaining sanity and the fight to keep moving forward. On Friday, the power to the barn went out....again (broken underground power line last month). Turns out that all this heavy equipment has been too much for the power line to handle and it once again broke. Whoever built the barn originally should have run it through conduit since it runs under the driveway. Anyway, I had to ignore it while I had help here, setting the rest of the 3400 pound concrete blocks for the 4 foot pony wall on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, major disaster. I tipped the 55 foot lift over when I was lifting a concrete block into place. A front tire dropped into a soft spot in the ground and over I went, super scary and dangerous to say the least. Crews from rental company of course, had to come to see the idiot who tipped over a 55 foot lift. Luckily I took out insurance on the $150,000.00 machine. There was very little damage, other than my wits and ego. We had to call a towing company to get the lift back on its wheels and since it was in an accident, it could not be used until it was checked out by the mechanic on Monday, so I took Sunday off from all the headaches of the arena and spent my day getting caught up on bills and paperwork which I had fallen behind on. Monday, the mechanic was supposed to be here at 8 am.....he showed up at 4 pm. In the meantime, I had to rent a backhoe so I could dig up the old power line to the barn and dig a new trench for the new power line. So, I dealt with the crane and rental company on Monday and also rented a backhoe and got the trench dug. By the time I got all that done, it was dark out, so I called it a day. Tuesday (yesterday) I back-filled the trench, put in new ground wires and ground rods, replaced all the breakers and replaced the breaker box with a brand new one, then hooked it all up. Got power back into the barn just before dark and with enough time to hop in the truck, go watch the fireworks, then come home, eat a frozen pizza and pass out. There are once again lights in the barn, the fencer actually has power again and Cheyenne got her barn fan back) she loves that fan). Today we finished the concrete pony walls and started cutting and drilling for the base plates that hold the trusses for the building...got rained out...then an appointment to show horses. Came in at 8, took a shower, made a lasagna, put it in the oven and here I am typing while I wait for it to cook another 30 minutes. The next step is to keep cutting, drilling and adding more base plates until all 12 are installed. We can then start to put trusses together and attach them to the building....then the cross members go in as well. In a few days, it will finally look like something other than a mess....I hope. This is turning out to be a huge project and we have run into more snags than I can count. Hopefully the road ahead is a bit smoother. Attached Images
So glad you are ok and in one piece!!! Could have been much worse. We are all glad you are alive and well. So much excitement for the long awaited arena and now so much frustration. Sounds like how a lot of building projects go. A lot of unplanned snares and hold ups. Hang in there!!! We're all rooting for you. Thank you beyond words for going above and beyond for the horses and their people! We love you!
Wow! I'm so glad you weren't injured. I hope the project goes more smoothly from now on.
Thanks for the long detailed report Scott! Wow, what a weekend. So glad you weren't hurt but all those concrete pieces are finally done now. Be careful and don't wear yourself out. That's when accidents happen.
I second everyone else's comments!
Wendy W - WI
Holy crap Scott! I'm glad you are okay, but holy crap!! This certainly has been a challenge for you and I am impressed by your will. Please please be safe. You are needed and loved. Yeah, I got all gooshy there for a moment.
Why, oh why do projects never go smoothly. It sounds like you've had every possible glitch. At least you're making progress and you're ALIVE. That's a bonus.
YIKES! So glad you are still in one piece. Really hoping you have smooth sailing here on out.
Holy buckets Scott!! Glad all is OK and you're back on track now. Also appreciate your sense of humor about the situation. Projects like this never seem to go as planned - here's to steady (and safe) progress from here on out!
It is so frustrating when something is wanted and needed so badly that the progress to the final goal is having so many setbacks. Lets hope now all of the setbacks are in the past, and only progress, slow but safe, is in the future. Each day does brings it one step closer to completion. A big
to all who are pitching in to help the arena become a reality. thank you
Don and Marianna
Scott, so glad you are OK. One can never be too careful when using heavy equipment because something can go wrong in a heartbeat. We had talked to our relatives from Wisconsin just the other day and they filled us in on the weather you have experienced there which hasn't helped you guys out on this detail either. Here's to smooth sailing from this point on. Be safe.
7/8/2017: Scott has two helpers today and they are working on it.... very huge project, not easy, and challenging at every turn. Thank you all for your support through this!
This last picture really is scary to look at! Has anyone there working on it, ever done such a project before? How are those rafters fastened together? How is the fabric top gotten atop of them?? I had never given a thought to how and.....who, puts those big contraptions up!?! Guess I was thinking that someone from the dealer was involved in the setup.
Carla, I will defer most of those questions to Scott, as he is the one to answer that as he has been studying the directions has has put up two buildings similar to this in the past (although smaller). There are detailed directions that come with the building, and the company does support and we can call and ask questions along the way as well.
It would have been incredibly nice to be able to have the company come and put this building up and save the headaches and countless hours working on this, but we got a quote from them on doing that and it was well over $20,000.00 for them to do put the building up (I believe it was close to $30,000.00 that they charge to come and put this building up). So, that is why we are busting our humps trying to do this. And being very careful. I do know that what they are doing with putting up the trusses (or whatever those are called) is a very difficult job. All of it is very difficult. Every step of the way. I do believe we are definitely going to need more help with this soon, especially when it comes to putting up the fabric.
Earlier in this thread - or maybe in another one about the arena - Scott had described the steps for putting it up, including that once the trusses were all raised and secured/bolted to the pony walls, the stretching of the canvas roof was the step requiring perfect weather and lots of people-power. I think his weather phrase was "dead calm", meaning 0 mph wind.
I was thinking about his description tonight when I was thumbing through images on my phone doing deletions. I absolutely trust Scott's instincts re: this arena erection process, so please don't get on me about posting these photos inviting nasty karma...
Wisconsin had "weather" with a capital W in May for a couple days mid-month. I am not one to go to the basement unless it's a tornado warning with one sighted near me or winds which totally shake my house. That said, non tornado-force winds can do a whole lotta damage. Following are images from a farm about two miles from me. A major regional pole barn company completed re-roofing dairy barn a couple days before and had just finished stripping old siding from ground level getting ready to reside that. You can see giant dumpster and unfortunately a large Deere tractor parked adjacent to it are the only things keeping entire roofline from being on the ground.
The screen shot of National Weather Service for that evening was too large to send but there was a tornado watch. Predicted possibility of high winds and large hail w/ thunderstorms. We did not have a tornado nor high speed straight line winds. Gusts to37 mph was prediction. Don't know how high the winds actually were but with the lower sides off the wind just lifted that roof up and dropped it 6 or 8 feet east of where it had been. Ouch
They had even already put down the gravel pad to put up a new metal building beside it.
Weather happens. This is a scary illustration of what the physics are when significant wind gets working underneath an otherwise soundly attached roof. It's why Scott needs a large number of people working in perfect harmony with him to stretch and attach the roof fabric on a super super calm day.
I trust him. If I were strong enough to be useful I'd be there if he needed me. I'm not. But there are others who are and I hope he has plenty to fill his needs when that perfect weather day arrives.
11 hour day working on the arena on Friday and over 12 hours yesterday. Absolutely everything hurts and I am worried that I overworked my two helpers and might have a hard time getting them to come back.....LOL.
I have put up two of these buildings before, but like Karen said, then were a little smaller, and to be honest, because they were only 40 x 50 foot structures, they did not need to be nearly as heavy duty and were actually pretty easy to put up. This one is a whole different story. It came with an instruction book as well as blue prints. It seems every step so far has come with a major learning curve on how to make that step go a little easier. Many of the steps were done, taken back apart and redone.....twice the fun. I think we have a decent system for the rest of the framework now though. To answer some of Carla's questions.... Once the blocks are set, level and square (no simple task) then the mounting plates are measured for each truss on the concrete blocks, the top locking rib on the concrete gets cut off so the mounting plate can lay flat, then the holes are marked and drilled. The plates are then fastened to the concrete with super heavy duty concrete anchor bolts. Then, at one end of the building, the 65 foot truss is put together (5 pieces each truss), carefully lifted and brought back to where that truss mounts to the pony wall. We lift each truss very, very slowly and maneuver, beat, pry and pound it into the bracket until we can bolt one side down, then move to the other side and do the same. Once the truss is in place, there are a series of stabilizers that connect one truss to the next (7 per truss). Once all the trussed are in place there is about 100 miles of steel cable that gets installed and tightened to give the building extra support and keep it from swaying. From there, a million ratchets and straps get attached to the trusses. Those will hold down and tension the cover once it is installed. The cover is made from a very heavy duty PVC material. It is laid out along one side of the building, attached to the building with a series of ratchet straps, then steel cable is attached, brought over the top of the building, then slowly pulled down into place on the other side. Once the tarp is pulled over, the ratchets tighten it and stretch it like a drum over the trusses. At that point, the building is pretty much up, except for the very complicated end walls with a 16 foot garage door and a 36 inch entry door on each end. When all that is done, wiring, lights and a few outlets can be added, along with massive ventilation fans near the top on each end. Last, level the arena sand back out, then add a mix of sandy clay and shredded rubber for a good arena footing. Last, mount the wall plaque that has all the major donors names on it, at which point I will sleep for a month straight.
Only a months sleep?! Rain is predicted almost every day this week, so you might be able to get some rest and recovery, due to mother nature. I'm sure you will be so thankful when this part of the project is finally done. Don't take any risks in trying to push to get it completed.
Scott.. You can sleep for a month straight and have one piece of chicken!
And some water.