Bodgitt & Son Site Clearance Division
Monday 20 November 2006 was when I seriously thought that Bodgitt &
Son had finally bitten off more than they could chew.
I had just walked into a light engineering factory around
the back of Surbiton with Nigel and Rodger. The factory was scheduled
for demolition and we were there to remove a mezzanine floor which is
going to form the base of a new club patio extension.
This was serious stuff; 16ft wide, 24ft long and 8ft up
in the air. The steel work was several different sizes of "I" beam's,
some as much as three men could lift. So, as the song goes "we had a
cup of tea" and discussed removal tactics.
Basically the whole thing was a giant Meccano kit held
together with a lot of large bolts, some welding and topped off with
very heavy 8 x 4 boards. The main problem was that one false move could
have brought a ton of steel crashing down. Hard hats, overalls, boots
and riggers gloves were a definite given to ensure we left with all the
bits we arrived with.
First up was the factory strip lighting most of which was suspended
from the structure we were about to dismantle and was still 'live'. We
were confronted by a mass of redundant wiring which was connected to
circuit breakers but nobody knew which one. The next thing was to
remove some of the mezzanine flooring (a) to lighten the load and (b)
to let some light in.
After angle grinding away a hoist we
discovered that another big beam that we were going to unbolt and
remove appeared to be supporting part of the roof, the truss at this
point having been cut away for some reason. Dismantling dramatically
stopped and construction started on reinstating the truss to ensure the
roof didn't collapse on top of us.
Finally, about 2:00pm we
started removing the mezzanine girders. Each one was numbered and
lowered down to the factory floor. In order to miss lights and trunking
each girder had to be carefully suspended by ropes, rotated, tilted and
lowered. As I said before some of these were a three man lift. You
didn't want to drop one of these babies on your toe. Monday finished
about 5:00ish with perhaps a little more than half the job done.
8:00a.m., Tuesday 21 November 2006. Back to work and more steelwork to
be dismantled. The work progressed quickly. Monday had been a steep
learning curve but on Tuesday we knew how to handle the girders and
apart from some less than co-operative fixing bolts we were ready to
start transferring the material back to Aquarius by early afternoon.
'Bodgitt Site Clearance Division' had borrowed Kwahu's road trailer
from Charles Dennis for this job. It's the large trailer that lives on
the grass in the AQSC car park. Even with this it took two trips and a
lot of heavy lifting to get all the steel back to the club.
Once there we still had to move best part of 3½ tons of girders from
the car park down to the club, the trailer being too big to go down the
ramp. I think it fair to say we were pretty knackered by this time and
coffee in the clubhouse really hit the spot before any of us was in a
fit state to drive home.
We now have the material, all we've got
to do is erect it in reverse order and convert it into a patio
extension. This will be the job of the 'Bodgitt Construction Division'
which actually is the same as the 'Site Clearance Division' and just
means that the socket set wrenches have to be turned the other way