Project Progress – March 2016
Work continues apace on site as we move further into the year when we are due to complete our first project. Elinor provided a detailed report to the General Meeting a few weeks ago, and all is looking good. The foundations for the new build part of the project now support the block walls that level the new with the original building – and this work was finished with a week and half in hand. That meant a quieter spell before work began on the timber frame, as contracted, on February 1st.
The ground floor of the frame, beautifully made by Natural Design and Build, is now complete and the upper storey well advanced. The scaffolding built for this will stay in place for the roofing and external insulation, which we are adopting to maximise space inside the building.
Building the frame is a specialist job, but much of the other work on site continues to be done by our volunteers. As well as helping them learn new skills, this keeps costs down – with savings of thousands of pounds to date. That, and other unplanned gains such as the fact that the solar panels on the roof are already generating revenue from the feed-in tariff means the project stands a good chance of coming in under budget.
Behind the scenes there has been a lot of work writing calls for tender and assessing the proposals from potential contractors, as well as continual exchanges with the architects, reconciling details of the plans with the way things actually look on site.
Meanwhile, prospective tenants are shortly to receive a questionnaire, and work is getting under way on outline policies for what will be the tenants’ co-operative once people move in. Suddenly, October doesn’t seem far away.
The mayoral elections are bringing us some attention, with recent site visits from the Green Party candidate Tony Dyer and Bristol University policy researcher (and former councillor) Tessa Coombes. The latter is investigating housing organisations lobbying efforts, and whether the elections for mayor make any difference to those organisations influence. We do hope so.