Here are my five To-Do's in preparation for the weekend:
1. Inform the Construction Team
If you have been following, I am fortunately to have three adult and strapping sons who are all know which end of a hammer to hold. The trick is herding them together and at the same time. The first weekend of construction is critical so I need all of them to pitch in.
From the start I have created a project plan and kept my sons fully in the loop as to timing -- they all have booked this weekend for the first big push. In fact they have all checked in to ensure the plan is still on track.
2. Keep it Safe, and Sane
Just because this is a family affair doesn't mean that all the needs of a safe construction site should not be observed. So be sure to ensure that all members of the construction team have all the necessary safety gear and appropriate gear, such as:
- Hard hats
- Work boots with steel toes and shanks
- Sun protection - sun screen, long pants and shirts, and hats
- Proper use of power tools
- Proper carrying techniques
3. Grub and Hydration
Construction is hard work, and the hot sun and humidity play a significant part in the wellbeing of your construction team. So plan for great meals, and plenty of fluids. The issue of fluids can not be stressed enough. Keep these points in mind:
- Have them always easily available
- Have plenty
- Keep them relatively cool
- Pick fluids with good electrolyte balance (e.g. like Gatorade)
- Ban alcohol during the working part of the day
On meals, I shouldn't need to tell you to keep them nutritious and simple.
If you are building in the great outdoors like we are then there won't be a hotel nearby so it is important to plan for as comfortable sleeping arrangements as possible. After a hard day of swinging a hammer the body needs its rest so it can start all over again the next day. My recipe for sleeping arrangements includes:
- Tents for every two members of the team
- Portable bed mattresses (single)
- Summer sleeping bags
- Outdoor Kitchen: BBQs, coffee machine,
- Outdoor dining: Picnic table
- Covered area: in case it rains - it won't of course...
- Restroom: a portable toilet with a tarp over and around it goes a long way to making the female members of your team comfortable
- Washing arrangements: This will likely mean a bar of environmentally-safe soap and shampoo, a towel and the lake.
- a clothes line...
Remember that the family-based construction team are generally not professional framers and such, so building of the family cottage tends to be part learning experience. Take the time to communicate what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Good communication leads to a good understanding of what needs to be accomplished and in what order:
- Describe each task clearly
- Assign tasks appropriately taking in consideration the skill and experience level of your team members. Pair up one experienced members with an inexperienced member.
6. Keep it fun
Everyone on the construction team is there because they want to. They are not being paid. They are doing it as a labour of love, and to share in the benefits of a family cottage. Don't make it a job -- try to keep everything upbeat! Even when disasters happen. Get their input, ask their advice, keep everyone involved.
So what is the plan for this weekend?
When we arrive tomorrow the foundation will be in and backfilled. The sonotubes for the surround deck will be in place. I intend to arrive early in the morning to set-up and receive the first shipment of materials. I also need to stop by the city offices to pickup the official building permit, and also to drop by Dale's Home hardware to pick up some of the small, loose material I need for the weekend.
The construction targets for this weekend are:
- Frame the lakeside wall of the basement
- Install the engineered floor: joists, rim boards and floor sheathing.
- Install the plumbing in the basement floor in preparation for pouring the floor next week.