The list of jobs to complete our new base has seemed endless at times and we're all grateful to the Base Committee, especially to Bob McKeand who has worked tirelessly to keep the momentum going, applying for grants, directly sourcing and purchasing materials and employing trades so we can stick to the limited budget we have.
By doing so and shopping around we managed to save over £2000 on doors and fittings, plus a similar amount on the timber and plasterboard. The saving on the groundwork alone will be around £8000. We also obtained a 10% discount from the joiners, something over £1000. A main contractor cost for all of this work would have added considerably more to the cost.
The interior blockwork walls creating the rooms have been completed. The wall separating the garage from the rest of the building now extends to the roof with the addition of a metal stud fire wall. All joists are in and ceilings are in. Doors and door furniture (handles, hinges, kick plates etc etc) have all been ordered but due to the lead time on doors (particularly the fire doors) means that these will only be delivered towards the end of September. The joiners will then arrange to complete the door frames, facings and hanging of doors together with some internal stud walls.
After taking drastic steps to rectify problems caused by the electicity contractor, on 17th August we finally managed to get a meter installed (on the 4th attempt,) which allowed the electrician to get the building connected. This means that we have power to open the garage doors and light the garage area. The initial electrical installation was agreed on the expectation that power would have been available back in January.
We now need to get lights and electrical sockets installed in the various rooms together with a fire alarm system (required as it’s a commercial building.) To complete this the electrician will need to change some of the existing wiring and have access above the garage area. This work is within the agreed budget for the internal fit-out and the electrician expects to be able to get started around the middle of September.
The base will have a kitchen plus 2 unisex toilets and a disabled one. Depute Team Leader Scott Thompson (Bowmont Water) has generously offered to install all of this plus the plumbing required. This will hopefully be done during September.
Other internal works
The ceilings have now been plastered allowing the electrician to complete the final fix of the electrical work. This was work we had not anticipated but as we employed the joiners on a labour only basis and spent a lot of our time on sourcing materials we have saved enough to cover this.
At present it looks likely that painting of walls and ceilings will be dependent on us getting further funding. (Or team members rolling up their sleeves and getting their rollers out.)
Team member Damon Rodwell (Alarms for Farms) has generously offered to install an alarm system for us.
When we contracted for the initial building we could not afford to complete the required groundwork to the rear. This involves installing a fin drain, perm avoid diffusers and the completion of the car parking area which forms part of the drainage plan that we need to comply with the requirements of Scottish Water, SEPA and building control.
Our treasurer - Kevin Sterrick and Base Officer - Bob McKeand had a site meeting with a groundworker who gave a verbal estimate of £20000 to complete the work required on a commercial basis. This is substantially outside what we can afford.
To get the work done we have therefore reached an agreement where the work done on a pro-bono basis on someone’s days off.
We expect that this will be done in September. This will let us to use the drive through feature of the garage.
To separate our plot from the stone cutters next door we have asked for a quote for a fence along that boundary.
The consequence of directly contracting trades etc is that completion will take longer than any of us would want but is necessary as we did not have limitless funds.
Heating & Renewables
We are still looking to source funding for the heat pump, solar panels and storage battery. These are to minimise the amount of power we need to run the base particularly due to the high cost of electricity (currently 82.5p per unit!) Team leader Duncan Buchanan and DTL Scott have had discussions with potential donors to provide funding to finish everything which hopefully will bear fruit. In addition a grant application is being worked on which could fund the renewables as it fits with the drive to Net Zero.This will require us to provide some match funding.