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My Biggest House Move Ever - 408 Dallas Rd. Victoria B.C.
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Last week, I finished the best run of house moving work that I've had in three years. I used to do quite a bit of this but then work dried up to a trickle in the fall of 2009. Two months ago I did a little work cleaning up the big yard that contains the office and house storage yard so that it could be sold or leased out. This seemed like it could be the end of it. The change was part of a consolidation plan that moved operations to Nanaimo, a city 65 miles north west and the second largest city on Vancouver Island. --- Then the news came that two big jobs that were pending,had been approved. The next 5 weeks would be ultra busy. My land is about 8 miles from this new center of operations. So. it's likely that we will still do some business in the future.

The first building is the house which stars in this thread. The second one is the Crossroads Pub in Colwood, which lies about 6.5 miles from downtown Victoria. The pub move will be documented in a separate thread.

The Photos ---

1.This house lies just across the road from the ocean, just a kilometer from the big cruise ship terminal. It's about 40 ft. long and 35 ft tall. Much too large to travel far by road, it is being moved by barge, about 150 miles north/west to the small coastal town of Royston. The new site is one block in from the water. The upper floor will enjoy ocean views. In the future when the cavernous attic space is developed complete with dormers and decks, the home will be far grander than it ever was in the past.

2. This is the view from the upper deck. The barge site is about 20 houses down the road, just before the breakwater.

3. It's a monster. It started out as a single family home but was converted to a four-plex in 1917. 95 years as a rental hasn't done too much harm.

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I don't do any of the actual lifting and moving. My job is to prepare the house by taking down chimneys, stripping out basement apartments and other non structural basement stuff, to chop off any decks or additions that are not to be saved and to cut the building free of the basement pony walls. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the nature of the job. I have cut a few buildings completely in half.

With this one, I had to give the whole place a thorough cleaning so that it could be sold. Some smaller homes are taken to a storage yard on spec. if no buyer is immediately found. A house this big is only salvaged if a buyer can be found since it won't even fit down the road to the storage yard.

photos. 1. The tenants knew that the property was up for re-development when they moved in. Some left a bit of a mess. Only the one in the upper SW corner was a true pig. Plant pots were dumped all over the oak floor. --- A neighbor made it her mission in life to prevent the tree in front of the house from being cut. Her plan was to prevent this house which contains the wood from 100 trees from being saved in order to prevent one overgrown sidewalk splitting one from being cut. She failed.

2. Plenty of useful items were left in the home and in the 3 bay garage. I sold some and made a big trip to the Salvation Army thrift store.

3. The yard produced lots of free plants for my customers and for the neighbors.

I kept this huge aluminium framed clothes line. It's made of heavy aluminum and covers about 150 sq. ft.

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1. The first big job was to take down a big chimney which stood 9 ft. above where it came through the roof.

2. The only way to get to the chimney was to climb the steep roof. It was about 14 ft. from the roof's edge. I tied a piece of wood to a rope and tossed it toward a metal vent pipe near the chimney. After several attempts I was successful. Then I attached a hook to 16 ft. of thin PVC pipe and used it to retrieve the end of the rope. Both ends of the rope were secured to the gutter nails and to the ladder. This gave me a secure hand hold.

3.The mortar was in really bad shape. It's too dangerous to lean a step ladder against a chimney that is crumbling, so I had to poke it down brick by brick using a chunk of 2x4 as a poker. I positioned myself in a safe spot up slope from the chimney to do this.

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1. Falling bricks can do a lot of damage to the roof and to things on the ground. The roof and the fence below were covered in old carpets and underlay. It looks pretty steep. It feels even steeper when viewed from the top. This bounce pad allowed bricks to fall without harm to the house. Most bricks survived and I sold them. $$$

Placing the carpet is one of the most tedious and strenuous jobs in a house move. Individual bricks weigh about 6 lb. each, so not a big deal. I had to drag rolls of carpet up slope with one hand while clinging to my lifeline with the other. It took about an hour of preparation before the first brick was knocked off.

I also use old carpets to protect hardwood floors when the fireplace is removed and for covering any other vulnerable surface. Before I started doing these house preps several years ago, they had a guy who charged less than I do but he regularly did damage because he wasn't willing to take steps to cover vulnerable areas.

2. Every black spot on the fence is from a brick that would have damaged the fence.

3. Quite a view from up here.

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1. This is the view down the chimney from the attic. I work my way downward a brick at a time, carefully placing bricks above my position until I can't reach any further. This house was unusual in that there was no fireplace. Sometimes when there is a fireplace with a nice mantle and shelves or other woodwork, I work my way down without penetrating any walls in order to preserve the look. I finally exit through the fireplace hole in a manner that is half gymnast and half desperate rat. I don't know how Santa Claus stays so clean. On other chimneys, it's ok to make an opening on each floor level. Fancy cove ceilings are kept intact since my escape holes seldom rise more than five feet from floor level.

2. Here's what it looks like when half done. Sometimes when I'm totally spent and need to stop for a minute, I lean against the walls of my temporary prison and reflect on the choices I've made that have led up to that moment. Then, I catch my breath and continue slogging away until I reach an escape hole. (it's important to pee before embarking on a 12 ft. decent where climbing back up is very difficult )

3. This escape hole is in a kitchen. The entire chimney space will be incorporated into the floor space on this one. Sometimes closets are created. In cases like that, it's important to only damage the wall where the door will be.

More later. There's going to be about 30 pictures in all.

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Very fascinating so far! Looking forward to the rest of the pictures. I'm trying to imagine this house getting set onto a barge...
STRIPPING OUT THE BASEMENT --- This basement was mostly semi finished space. There were 5 different rooms, all of them framed in 2x4 and sheeted with boards. Very little drywall. I managed to salvage about 600 sq. ft. of t&g wainscoting in perfect condition. Sometimes this stuff is nailed hard and painted a dozen times which causes serious losses when salvaging. This batch was barely nailed and barely painted. It is all to go to Jim, the guy who finds the houses. One month in he has failed to pick up this load which could have put $500 in my pocket. About 2/3 of the basement was sheeted in shiplap boards which currently have little market value.

Sometimes there is a basement appartment. The removal of an appartment can be the biggest single task in a house move. All needs to be stripped down to just the exterior walls and support posts so that there is room to get the timbers under the house to jack it up.

Photos. 1. Nice long runs of barely nailed wainscoting.

2. About 10% of the wainscoting.

3. This basement contained a big ugly boiler covered in asbestos. A hazmat company wrapped it prior to my arrival. I wear an asbestos grade full face mask for just about everything.

The system is too busy to accept photos from my phone, yet it lets me write this. Problem solved. Might have something to do with the speed of the router at Starbucks.

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The boiler had a brick bunker surrounding it. Brick walls encased the boiler room and an adjacent service room. The walls were 2 layers thick. These walls had very soft mortar.Thousands of good clean bricks came down in record time. $$ $$ At first, only the chimneys were torn down. The brick walls had to wait until the house was lifted since they were bearing tons of joist load.

The base of the big chimney was built into these walls. The bricks with blackened edges were part of the unlined chimney.

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When the place was converted to apartments in 1917, a chimney and fireplace were demolished. The portion in the basement was left in place because it also acted as support for two support beams. This is not good practice in an earth quake zone.

Before demolishing the remains of this chimney, I needed to shore up the beams which bore the weight of many floor jousts and bearing walls above. I've seen a few houses where some fool removed this type of support without shoring. Wood frame buildings seldom collapse completely but major cracking and other structural damage can occur.

1. The chimney before shoring. There is another beam on the opposite side of the chimney.

Look at the bright spot by the garbage can. The electricity was disconected so I set up a big mirror in the yard and reflected sunlight through the rear doorway onto the front wall. This lit the space quite well since the whitewashed concrete reflected the light well. The mirror had to be adjusted every half hour, so I made trips to the mortar pile regularly so that adjustment trips would be productive.

2. It was the Easter weekend when this job was done, and the lumber yard was closed. Luckily, my own free lumber yard is just across the street. Our beaches are littered with lots of good usable timbers.

3. I gathered four nice posts and as an added bonus, I found this container that may be meant to keep fish fresh by keeping them in the water. It's not a trap. Does anyone know for sure what the container is for ?

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1. The posts have been banged in hard with a sledge hammer. They will bear several tons of beam load.

2. When the chimney was about 1/4 down an evil spirit burst free after 95 years entombed in the chimney and then it howled and swirled out the window.

3. The end of another chunk of hard work.

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More photos

1. The evil spirit had just departed when this photo was taken. Notice the curvature in a formerly straight column of bricks. Oooooo, scarry.

2. These artifacts were found inside the chimney. My flash has obscured one of the "eyes" on this rock. Gives new meaning to the term "rock face". The rock was probably broken off of a sea cave back when that sort of thing was acceptable behavior. The parks people seriously frown on this sort of quarrying today.

3. Usually chimney bottoms are empty. This one was filled to the ceiling with plaster, glass, lath and anything else that needed disposal during the 1917 renovations. It added about a ton to the pile of crap that I had to haul up the stairs and dump in the back yard.

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Dale, I am impressed. I swear you are one of the few people out there crazier than I am. lol I mean that with all respect.

Moving a house is one of those things that is really fascinating. I have a small teak home I built as a model that I want to move soon. I'll send you some pictures. Since it was built to be a semi-prefab, you are going to laugh at how easy it will probably be, and it is only 7 meters square.

Cutting the house free from the basement pony walls.

The pony walls lie just beneath the floor joists. This is the separation line. Everything above the bottom of the floor joists is kept intact. Everything below the joists is left behind.

The stucco and shiplap boards must be cut accurately along this line. Rather than running back and forth inside and out with a tape measure, I employ a more accurate method. Long nails are driven through the boards and stucco from inside the basement at exactly 5 inches below the joists. Then, I measure up 5 inches on the outside and drive nails for chalk line marking. Keeping the nails low prevents any chipping from the process from marring the stucco on the keeper portion of the house. The double plate is 4 inches thick and would be difficult to nail against or through.

1. I couldn't find any chalk for my chalk line. Luckily the 5 year old next door had some road chalk that I was able to powder up on a piece of asphalt shingle. He had salvaged several toys from the garage the day before. Stay on good terms with the neighbours.

2. The stucco is cut using a circular saw with a diamond impregnated blade. Stucco dust is horrible for the saw and for human lungs. I wear a good mask. A saw is good for about 10 - 20 houses before the dust kills it. A mid-grade human might be useful for 50 houses if a mask is not worn !

3. Look at that perfectly straight line. This will have a positive effect on the final look of the building. Five inches down on the right side of the wall is a hole made by a nail that was driven from inside.

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Fred Morgan wrote:Dale, I am impressed. I swear you are one of the few people out there crazier than I am. lol I mean that with all respect.

Moving a house is one of those things that is really fascinating. I have a small teak home I built as a model that I want to move soon. I'll send you some pictures. Since it was built to be a semi-prefab, you are going to laugh at how easy it will probably be, and it is only 7 meters square.

On my last job which involved chopping a building into 3 chunks, I was referred to as "The Crazy Man" and as "Spiderman". None of these terms bother me since they relate to my work ethic and agility. I'm sure that other names have been used as well since I pride myself on being a relentless slave driver. Lazy guys can't stand to be near me. I lead by example in the hopes of finding some young guy who can be half as productive as me when I really need help. When I get a guy who isn't going to work out, he is assigned thankless drudgery. A motivated guy who is smart gets to help me with more interesting aspects of the job.

Fred, if you like, you could start a thread on moving your little building and we could all figure it out together. I lifted a small building that was on very soft, unstable ground and I took some pictures of how that was dealt with.
After the stucco is cut with the diamond blade, it's time to switch to a regular wood blade. I use fairly cheap 24 tooth carbide blades. These blades are run through wood, nails, metal flashings and remnants of stucco. Average blade life is about 50 ft. of cut. I recently came upon a sale where these blades were only $2.50 each, so I bought all they had.


1. This house has very thick stucco. The piece of lath is of standard size and gives some perspective. Some years back, a 1/4 inch layer of really hard stuff was placed over the original high quality stucco. After switching to the wood blades I was unable to cut deep enough to cut the shiplap boards even with a 7 1/4 blade at full depth. A reciprocating saw had to be used around the full peremiter of the house to reach through the stucco, wood shingle layer and the shiplap sheeting. It's very easy to bend recip. blades while doing this since there is no free space beyond the cut. The tip wants to bang against the joists and the double top plate of the pony walls. A very steady hand and pace are required.

The next two photos are in reverse order. The house is up now. There were some very tough nails holding the pony walls in place. I ran a recip. blade through the crack between the joists and the top plate of the basement pony walls. A pry bar is used to open a gap. Once the walls begin to fall, gravity helps the prying process. On some houses these walls come down in one glorious crash. This one resisted every step of the way.

Notice that the shiplap runs on a 45 degree angle. This is a better method than running it horizontally but it also ensures that any little uncut portion will hold things firmly together. Quite often on houses with horizontal sheeting, movers will simply cut the stucco and then pry the pony walls loose. The boards split and let go. A well built wall like this one does not come apart easily.

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The pony walls are super heavy even with the stucco removed. Luckily, I was able to remove stucco in neat 50-100 lb. slabs. These fit the wheelbarrow nicely and were moved out of the way to the rear of the property. On most houses, the stucco breaks into a million pieces or it resists removal to the point where it makes more sense to chunk up the walls with the stucco intact.

The wavy nature of these cut lines was produced as the photos traveled via WiFi. There is no more than 1/8 inch of waver in any of the cuts. The quality of my clean lines is my #1 selling point in an industry known for reckless cowboys who sacrifice quality for speed.

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Photos 1. It takes some practice to develop the ability to load 250 lb. of wall slabs into a wheelbarrow and then wheel it 80 ft without spilling the load. Some of these slabs were 10 ft. long, so rather than using the handles, I steer with the back of a well balanced load and push with the load held against my body at the belt line. It's a bit awkward, but a huge labour saver.

I spilled one of the 12 loads hauled this way. This process drew a small crowd of retirees who marveled at the efficient nature of my methods.

2. I needed to heave some 200+ lb. slabs onto the scrap heap and the film crew got me to perform various feats of strength and skill. We're being featured on a show about big moves. At first I was told the show would be on "Mega Movers" ,then someone said "Monster Movers". Last week the English film crew (two guys with a van load of expensive looking stuff) said it may be on a show called "Massive Moves". They seem committed to the letter "M" . They may be freelancers who will shop the finished product to HGTV, or the Discovery Channel.

Several trees came off this property. I processed them for firewood.

3. Having conquered my shyness I stand proudly beside the junk pile.

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1. The basement must be largely empty before the lift crew shows up to build these large bunks which hold the jacks. The blocks are all hand stacked according to a plan which places bunks under all major bearing points. These blocks are surprisingly light at about 35 or 40 lbs. each. But there are still plenty of heavy tasks. The most awkward step is when the jacks are placed onto the bunks. Cranes move all of the really heavy stuff. The jacks are raised with hydraulic fluid. This allows for a very smooth lift. Since there is always some spillage of fluid, they switched all hydraulics to vegetable oil about 10 years ago. The pump truck that powers the jacks is worth aprox $ 600,000.00.

2. The house has been raised about 18 inches and the pony walls have been removed. This creates a 3 1/2 ft. opening around the whole house. The formerly dark basement is now bathed in sunlight from all sides. The brick walls in the distance no longer bear the floor load and I'm removing them. All of my tools get painted fluorescent orange so that they don't blend in with all the dirt. Look past the hoses and you can see the remnants of brick walls that have already come down. The two guys to the left are with HGTV. They are Canadian. An English crew showed up to film the move portion of the job.

3. All of this electrical stuff is obsolete but must remain so that the electrician at the new location can make sense of everything. This dangling stuff gets strapped to the ceiling to prevent it from getting in the way.

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Removing a Really Tough Concrete Porch And Wall of Death.

Early on, a decision was made to try to preserve the large concrete slab that served the front entry. I strongly express my doubts about the advisability of this but was overruled. I promised to take plenty of pictures when it eventually had to come down. Since I don't know how to post video, you will be spared my performance of the "I was right" dance. It's an embarrassing spectacle.

1. This is the slab before it was lifted another 3 ft. There is a wall at the back which is not visible.

2. It took almost 2 hours with a 60 lb. jack hammer just to break up the super hard 2 inch thick top coat. The hammer was moved every 5-10 seconds. I tried to take big chunks but this tough stuff wanted to break in 3 inch pieces. When I tried to go larger, nothing would chip off. Instead, the chisel would just pound deeper into the slab and get stuck in the wood beneath.

3. Eventually, I was able to get to the softer layer beneath. But this layer had lots of rebar. A combination of jack hammering, sledge hammering and prying with a 3 ft. bar, slowly demolished the slab.

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1. I used my pry bar to rake broken concrete over the edge and into the hole. Wooden formwork prevented the chunks from falling as they were produced. This type of bar with a wide heavy head is great for rooting out stuff like this and for leveling ground while crawling around in tight spaces under houses. Those standard blue bars made from 6 sided crap metal and with a head set on a 45 degree angle are inferior in every way and should all be recycled in the name of efficiency.

Look at the connection between the extension cord and the jack hammer. It's a rental that came with no locking mechanism to keep the cord from shaking apart. It shook apart about every 30 seconds, so I used duct tape. I couldn't find any so I salvaged some off the side of my truck. I had conducted some duct tape body repair a week earlier. When I returned the jack hammer, I suggested that a locking mechanism is needed.The guy couldn't understand how such a marvel of engeneering would work or what it might look like. Imagine what Thomas Edison would have done if this guy were his apprentice.

2.When the wooden form work finally decided to let go, it came down quickly. I was wary of this possibility and was standing on rebar at the time. It was a slow sliding collapse, much less distressing than the split second things that sometimes occur.

3. With the slab largely gone, it became quite difficult to exit the house since I had to step over 4 foot gaps with jagged waste 6 feet below. The job reached this point by 7:30 pm on Saturday. I would return on Monday to face the ---- WALL OF DEATH----

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After the concrete slab was removed, I was left with about 1 1/2 tons of concrete wall which was suspended precariously over the PIT OF DEATH below. All of this difficult work could have been avoided if the concrete had been dealt with while the house was safely on the ground. We had an excavator on site with a hoe ram attachment. ( it's like a giant jack hammer that replaces the bucket.) It would have taken 15 minutes to do it with the excavator. It took me 10 hours and a hammer rental, gas to run a generator for hours etc. Probably a $500 screw up.

1. This is the hanging wall with remnants of the slab and associated rebar attached. The film crew were keen to capture a dramatic moment. Up until this point, I didn't have anything flashy to show them, with everything going smoothly according to plan. On the Saturday they filmed some very slow going with the jack hammer. I called them that night to say that the wall would come down first thing Monday, no later than 7:30 since I needed to have things ready to put the wheels on by 8:30. I was first on the scene, so I bought some time by cleaning up all the wood from the forms that had come down previously. Then, I tweaked off a few bits of wood to the sides of the wall in order to prevent the concrete from catching on anything during it's decent.

2. From this vantage point we can see that the wall has dropped on the left side by the door. I have bent the rebar up tight against the house so that it won't whip me or knock me from my perch as the wall falls. The camera guy was rapidly fiddling with his camera as this photo was taken. The foreman of the lift crew came over to see how much longer I would be, since any delay would idle 8 men who were now ready to start their work day. I stood on a steel beam which runs 4 ft. out from and parallel to the wall. I was at the far right, furthest from the door. This was by the corner of the wall which had not decended. Using one hand on the 10 lb. sledge, I began with a couple whacks to the concrete. No movement. Then I decided to hit the wood wall that the concrete was wedged against. One moderate whack was all it took to shift that wall and with that the concrete dropped free. There was noise from the rebar smacking steel, there was a cracking thud as concrete met concrete in the PIT OF DEATH, there was dust which lingered for a few seconds, there was me moving cat like to a "safe zone" that would shield me from flying debris that can be kicked up when big things fall, and there was a sigh of relief and then applause from the gaggle of seniors from a nearby nursing home who regularly watch from the sidewalk. Finally, about 1 minute after the glorious event there was a surprised camera man filming the aftermath. He had missed the main event.

3. This is the wall sitting in the pit. A few good golf swings with the sledge is all it took to remove the rebar and remnants of the slab. This brought it low enough for the house to travel over it. The pit was then filled with the same wooden blocks that are used for the jacking bunks. they are covered with 2 layers of one inch plywood and the former pit becomes part of a fairly level roadway on which the house is rolled. Other than a little bit of interior clean up and later site clean up I was done. I addressed the onlookers and said " My work here is finished". The old guys got the Lone Ranger reference, the young guys didn't.

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1. Because every house and situation is different, it is not always possible to line the steel up at bolting positions. This house came in at 105 tons and would probably hold fast with gravity alone. These welded braces and spot welds give some extra insurance against slippage. The ramp to the barge is sloped and the whole package will be vulnerable to weather during the ocean voyage. Most of the waters on this trip are sheltered with islands to hide behind in the event of a gale. There is a stretch of the Salish Sea of Strait of Juan de Fuca that is 30 miles across between Nanaimo and Vancouver where there is nowhere to find immediate shelter. The experienced tug crew would choose to wait for a good spell of calm weather if the wind came up. March is our windiest month. The house traveled on May 07 without incident.

Some of the tallest waves ever recorded were off Port renfrew on the west side of Vancouver island which faces the open Pacific. I've never heard of anyone barging a house on the west shore of the island where shelter is minimal.

2. A view to Dallas Rd which lies 35 feet from the front door.

3. A side on view of the wheels and wooden roadway. Soon the front will be jacked up and the tall bunks in the distance lowered so that the truck can be attached. The wood from these bunks is stacked to match the rest of the roadway so that the house can be carefully rolled ahead onto the front yard and down the road to the nearby barge site.

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1. It took about 2 hours to get the house from over the basement to the road. Heavy plywood was placed over soft ground. The sidewalk split and crumbled as expected.

2. It's been a long day for the camera crew who started some time after 7 am. They filmed my activities for a while, then rushed to a ferry terminal to film the arrival of the new owners who will occupy this house. They interviewed them and the company owner, operations manager and salesman. Then they returned to document the move which didn't end until 7:30 am the next day. I'll assume they didn't go out on the town on Tuesday.

3. Finally the house is free of the foundation and ready to head down the road. Night is coming. The road permit allows total blockage in about 20 minutes at 10 pm.

It is evident from these photos that the disputed tree absolutely WAS in the way. The back corner of the house traveled over the stump and just cleared the pole. A saw was close at hand to cut the pole if necessary. All future services are going underground, so the pole will leave soon. Many flyers were distributed which explained that it would be simple to move the whole operation 10 ft. to the left. A "collition of the ignorant and unwilling to learn" had gotten quite a bit of ink selling the idea in the local tabloid that passes itself off as a serious newspaper.

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1. THE HAPPY COUPLE --- These people live in the little town of Royston. They'll soon have one of the largest houses in town. They paid $122,000.00 delivery included for this house. It will have a rental appartment on the main floor and at some point they will develop the huge attic. They have a 3 year old and a new baby will arrive in a short time. You'd never know about the pregnancy at first glance. Just a basket ball sized bump on an otherwise normal looking woman. My mom carried 10 kids in a similar way and was back to her normal weight a few weeks after each birth.

2. The move drew hundreds,( it might have been a thousand by 11 pm.)of spectators. By 1 am. the crowd had dwindled to about 200 and at 4 am there may have been 75.

3. Android phones are not designed to take night photos. Notice the parked cars. For 2 days there were big highly visible signs warning that any vehicle left here would be towed. When the tow truck arrived, a spectator ran to her car and moved it. :

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1. This well lit scene was made possible courtesy of a diesel powered light tower. When I returned the jack hammer at noon, I asked if anyone needed to return or have anything picked up at the rental shop. The overworked operations manager suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to book the light tower. When I got there, they were in the process of shipping the last tower to another rental outlet ! The rental guy made a few quick calls and managed to fill the other customer's needs with stuff from a competitor at a distant shop. Could have been a big screw up.

Jim, the sales guy is known for his energy and enthusiasm, but on this night I think he got into some Red Bull. Look at those eyes. It's blurry because he can't hold still.

2. There was a bit of a slow down at about 3:30 am when an alien spacecraft landed on the other side of this crane. About half of the spectators were rounded up and abducted. Surprisingly, the local media has been silent on this. Another unsolved conspiracy !!!

3. The barge, just before the big steel planks were laid across the gap. Visibility was pretty good for night work. Again the problem was my android phone which has been my only camera since a robbery in December.

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Up until now, I've presented everything in chronological order. Some of the spectators have promised me better pictures of the house on the barge and I'll get a photo of the house once planted and occupied in Royston.

Now a few interesting points that I missed amongst my camera's 1015 stored photos. The card is full.

1. A big skylight illuminates this attic. This window is set into the ceiling in a very dangerous set up. Any one walking through the attic could fall through the glass and plummet to the stairwell below. That's what you get for not staying on the attic framing.

2. The view from below.

3. The best illuminated attic you'll ever see. There are no electric lights or camera flash, just sunlight.

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1. I built two walls like this to reinforce two sun rooms with big windows. Often, spaces like this flex so much that the windows break.

2. Another view of the stairwell. There was a plan to remove all of the carpeting from the home, but when I took up the first little chunk on the steps it was revealed that the wood and old varnish are in absolutely beautiful condition. So we left the carpet and it will remain until near the end of renovations to preserve them. The stairs and railings are the first thing a visitor sees. These will be a showpiece.

3. The rooftop sky light.

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The house moved starting at 10 pm. Monday May 07 and was finally on the barge by 5 am. Tuesday. Then the crew had to gather up and load all of the blocking, steel beams, loading planks etc. They would finally get to their motel by around 8 am.

I had the inglamourous job of travelling the route to check for anything left behind, replacing signs that were taken down and checking for any damage to public property . Next came cleaning up the site and making it secure.

1.On Sunday, I gathered all of the old carpeting with a plan to dump it off at an ocean side park just after dark on Monday evenving.

2. The carpets were needed to cover this concrete and stone sun dial that had to be driven over on the way to the beach. Raise your hand if you thought I was involved in illegal dumping.

3. A funny thing about the sun dial. I happened along during construction and noticed that no provision had been made to correct for daylight savings time. From March through to October all readings are off by one hour. This means that if a tourist stands in the correct position for a given month and they add the number of minutes prescribed on a stone plaque they will never get an answer that matches the time on a watch. We seldom see our shadows or tourists during the rainy season which is the only time that the dial could give an accurate reading. Many of our visitors come from places that don't mess with the time, so there is constant confusion as they lean this way and that in vain attempts to get it right.

Before the concrete was poured, I called every organization listed on this plaque and explained the problem and a simple solution. No action was taken. None of them called back. The black stone was etched with instructions that appeared whitish for the first couple of years. After only 5 years it became difficult to read some of the information and instruction since foot traffic burnished the stone to a uniform smoothness.

Hundreds of thousands of people have carefully followed the instructions on this thing and a few figure out what's wrong. Most make adjustments to their posture and standing position before moving on.

And that's how a group of bumpkins chose to spend a good chunk of donated money. Why don't people consult with me at every turn ? >

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1. Several signs were plucked out of the ground as the house progressed along the road. These were then tossed loosely back into collapsed holes after the house passed. The next day, I returned to fix them. They have huge balls of concrete which helps the signs withstand the high winds of winter storms.

2. I grabbed a 10 ft. pry stick from the beach which was used to remove the signs. They were planted at the propper angle and depth and then the loose dirt was packed with my shovel handle. The squared timber was then stood on end and each hole was compacted as I raised it overhead and then slammed it down the side of the pole many times for super compaction. Heavy work.

When stop signs or other signs with a safety component are removed they are replaced immediately after the house passes.

3. Two big beams and four chunks of blocking were forgotten at the site in the rush to get the house to the barge. These were far too heavy for one man loading and I'm lucky I didn't injure myself in the process.

I will never replace the rear window that was missing when I bought the truck 7 years ago. Long items are loaded to within 6 inches of the front windshield.People always ask,"why don't you get a headache rack ? " The reason is simple. I often move things that would be too heavy to raise any further. The beams will remain on the truck until they start another job near by or until I need the truck bad enough to warrant a trip to a site 10 miles away.

When I first successfuly posted a photo a few months back, I said "a monster is born". This thread currently contains 78 photos with about 10 more to come. One day I'll learn how to post video. From that day forward, I'll never have to suffer the indignity of having an unexpressed thought.

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Dale Hodgins wrote:

Look at the connection between the extension cord and the jack hammer. It's a rental that came with no locking mechanism to keep the cord from shaking apart. It shook apart about every 30 seconds, so I used duct tape. I couldn't find any so I salvaged some off the side of my truck. I had conducted some duct tape body repair a week earlier. When I returned the jack hammer, I suggested that a locking mechanism is needed.The guy couldn't understand how such a marvel of engeneering would work or what it might look like.

I know this thread is old, but I figure it can't hurt to bring it back to the top of the forum to say, first, this is just too dang neat. The whole thing. Love it.

But also, don't you West Coasters know about this? You tie an overhand knot before you join two extension cords so they don't pull apart. This is just a light-duty household cord, but it works on any thickness.

EDIT: Also, mine is the only reply? Seriously, was Dale the only user on this forum in May 2012?
Just confirms that you Yanks are all nuts.

Michael Cox wrote:Just confirms that you Yanks are all nuts.

YANKS? Pfffft...

This is in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada... we serve high tea at the Empress Hotel.... hardly Yankee-land. If we're Yanks, you're a Jeordie and you can 'Haddaway yem'
Hey, I'm an Aussie :p

Michael Cox wrote:Hey, I'm an Aussie :p

Well then, if you were a Kiwi you'd understand. Aussies are just upside down Yanks

And I'm just poking light-hearted fun at ya. You know how us 'lesser' neighbours can get a bit huffy at times. BTW, I went to kindy in Sunny Banks, Brisbane.

I've always found that one of the limitations of the interwebz is engaging in playful banter.

Back to the topic at hand, I'm actually seriously exploring having a small house (~2 bedroom bungalow) moved up to my property, using the very folks that Dale is working with in this thread. It seems to be a chance to economically develop a residual source of income. If I could find renters of a permie bent that wanted to chip in developing our place, so much the better!

Kirk Hockin wrote:And I'm just poking light-hearted fun at ya. You know how us 'lesser' neighbours can get a bit huffy at times. BTW, I went to kindy in Sunny Banks, Brisbane.

I've always found that one of the limitations of the interwebz is engaging in playful banter.

I know that, hence the "sticky-out-tongue-smiley"

But seriously, from the point of view of us over here in the UK this whole process looks bonkers. For a start our roads are narrow and twisty country lanes, mostly that evolved from cart tracks, with houses barely two vehicles width apart. Having a potential building site with sufficient access to even contemplate this project is pretty much impossible.
Hello. I was surprised that others didn't comment at the time when this was first posted. It reads like a small book, so it could be that I covered everything pretty well and there were no questions. If instead, the thread were about building a house from dry leaves and molasses, there might have been a dozen people willing to debate the pros and cons of such a proposition . I'm guilty myself of being naturally attracted to a train wreck.
On the power cord thing --- The short, thick cord isn't one that can be tied. I had a look at your photo. That might hold for a few minutes. Now, look at the tie below. It could still shake loose or come apart while being dragged but in most stationary uses, it will hold. With thick cords, it's important to stay back from the ends because the cords exert pressure as they try to spring to a straighter position. Really splitting hairs now.

I've had a few moves since this one, but the whole business has died down considerably.
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If tomatoes are a fruit, then ketchup must be a jam. Taste this tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.

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