Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Framing #2

The demising wall framing went up in an instant. After days of prep work, the guys put up the demising wall framing in one day. Yesterday the sprinkler guys were there lowering the existing sprinkler heads in the locker rooms, showers and office areas. Today, they worked on more framing, and a couple of hefty dudes were there putting up drywall. The space is really starting to be defined and I'm starting to get a good idea of how much room there is outside of the courts. Looks like we'll have plenty of room for lounging around after playing and be comfortable.

James, our General Contractor, finished the entire schedule of events so now I have something else to obsess over. They'll continue framing this week and next, work on stuff in the ceiling, and then get going with more electrical and plumbing work.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The concrete is poured and now the framing begins. The first couple of days after the concrete was poured was spent lining out exactly where the walls are going to go. The guys took measurements to see how close the architectural drawings are to reality, and things were pretty close. However, they had to make a few small corrections here and there. Next thing to do is to install metal tracks that outline the walls and then insert the framing. Some of the tracks have to be attached to the ceiling as well. which requires the guys to work on a lift. All of this work is painstakingly slow for now, but once the tracks are in, the framing should go relatively quickly.

The other thing the guys did was "shoot a grid" of the slab where the courts are going to be. They used a combination of lasers and chalk lines to see just how close we are to being perfectly level. The plot points on the grid are put into some sort of computer program which then plots out exactly where the high and low spots are over the entire slab. To make a long story short, the bulk of the slab is within 1/8inch of level. A couple high spots will be leveled with some sort of concrete sander thing, and only one low spot will have to be shimmed by the flooring people. Considering that this slab alone is almost 3000 sq. ft., to be off by as little as they were is quite impressive. The General Contractor James, of Wyldewood Construction is pretty pleased with how close the concrete guys came to perfect.

So that's one big hurdle. The next one is the walls. These have to be straight and plumb within 1/8inch. That will be quite a challenge. I'm not sure when they are going to start their work, but probably in the next week or so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Concrete #2

Today they are pouring the base for the court floors. This is the most critical part of the project so far because the tolerances are very tight: It is supposed to be level within 1/8 of an inch over a 10 foot area. The reason for this is because the floors have to be perfectly level so that the ball bounce is true.

You hear a lot about the "trueness" of a court in squash circles. Are the walls straight? Is the floor level? Does the ball bounce true? Courts that play true are more fun to play on because the ball doesn't do unexpected things. It doesn't bounce funny off the wall, or do weird things in certain spots on the floors. True courts reward good play, and penalize bad play. If you hit a perfect rail (a shot that is tight to the wall) you expect that the ball won't come off the wall. Walls that bow or have other imperfections will kick the ball out away from the wall making it easier for your opponent to hit it. Doesn't seem fair when the court turns your good shot into a mediocre one, does it?

Anyway, the flooring people are able to make the wood floor level even if the concrete is not quite level, but it will take more time as they'll have to use shims. Generally, the fewer shims, the better the floor will stand up to years of use.

Next week, they'll start framing out the locker rooms and office of the club as well as do some work up in the ceiling. The masons will have to wait a week or so to put up the walls of the courts because the concrete has to cure for a while before it can bear the weight of the walls.

Oh, one funny thing, the concrete guys are a little shocked at how over built these floors are. The pad is 5 inches thick for the court floor and 12 inches thick for the walls. There is a ton of rebar and wire mesh to help prevent cracking and the concrete itself has a fibrous mesh in it as well. One guy said that the walls on this floor are NOT going to move and that this is way more reinforcement than they do on commercial jobs. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by commercial, because, well, this is a commercial job.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Concrete #1

This week is concrete week. They've poured the first section which includes the locker rooms and showers, as well as part of the open area in the empty part of the building. Today, they continued prepping the second big section which they will pour tomorrow, then they'll do the court floors on Thursday. Friday will be some clean up work and they cut the saw marks so that the concrete cracks where we want it to, not where it wants to.

By the way, the un-paved area in the picture above has nothing to do with the squash club--it's where the restroom will be in the tenant space next to the club. It's left un-finished so that the tenant has some control over where the plumbing will go in that space.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Progress is being made. We got our state approved plumbing drawings. The city inspector blessed the work, and now the concrete guys are beginning to form out the different sections of the space. The photo above is what will become court 1. They have dug some 1 foot deep channels where the walls will go. The guys were using a bobcat and shovels and it just stunk like diesel fuel in there.

The picture below is the formed out locker room area.

On Monday they'll pour the locker room area, Tuesday the courts, Wednesday through Friday the remaining areas in few separate pourings. The following week things will really start moving.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More waiting

It seems that in construction there can be a lot of waiting. We finally got State Approved plumbing drawings and those have now been passed to the City Inspector. He's reviewing the plans and will inspect the site on Thursday. What's frustrating is that a week has gone by, nothing has happened, nothing will likely change from what the plumbers have already done, and we will have spent $3000 for the privelege of waiting.

In the mean time, we've got concrete guys who are waiting to backfill the plumbing trenches, and a bunch of carpenters and HVAC guys waiting around to get to work once the floor is in.

The HVAC guys are getting some work done. Yesterday they were cutting holes in the roof for the two units we'll be using to heat and cool the place.

Because we're building a squash club and will have a building full of sweaty, stinky people, we purposely over-designed the HVAC system to be very efficient in how we get fresh, non-stinky, air in the building, and to deal with excessive humidity. I don't know the right term, but we're getting some sort of heat-exchange on the units that dramatically reduces how hard they have to work to keep the temperature stable. When cold air comes in, it is pre-heated by the exhaust air. I hope it won't taint the "new" air with stinky-ness.

The concrete guys are going to pour the slab in two sections: the courts, and the rest. The slab for the court area will be 5 inches thick and where the actual court walls will be, the slab will be 12 inches thick with lots of steel reinforcement. In addition, that slab will be recessed three inches from the rest of the slab so that the playing surface will be flush with the finished area outside the courts. The court flooring is 3 inches of layered wood and rubber which provides a nice springy surface that's a bit easier on the legs when playing squash. The rest of the slab will be 4 inches thick. All of the concrete will sit on 2 inches of foam insulation and a vapor barrier as well.

Here's what 208 sheets of insulation looks like. Good thing we have a warehouse to store stuff.