Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stabilization of the West Wing - Part 3

November 10th started as a cold but clear day. The lift was available so it was a “go” to do the beam placement. Bill and his staff arrived to do the actual raising of the beam. Bob was there to assist with any questions and for consultation in case of issues. Chad Lethig, from Indiana Landmarks, and Amanda & Eric, homeowners, were there to observe and pray.

The lift was huge! It was amazing that it could be controlled so carefully so as not to start a chain reaction, knocking down the whole wing.  The placement of the beam was a very delicate process. The beam had to be inched into place so that no additional damage was done. With such a heavy beam and large lift, this is more impressive to show than to try to describe.

Very slowly, the beam was moved into the opening and then lifted up toward the roof. Finally, the beam was actually touching the roof line. Once it held a little weight, they had to tweak the position of the beam so that they could get the beam and the roof aligned perfectly. This was especially difficult on the north side where the roof appeared to be twisted. Once everything was aligned, it was important to slowly move the beam up about an inch, then wait as the roof itself shifted. With the first lift, there was a small shower of wood and plaster that showered down causing everyone to catch their breath. It was tense for a minute while waiting to ensure that nothing else was going to fall. Then they repeated and the beam was raised another inch.. Repeat. Gradually the roof began moving back into its proper position. And keep repeating until the beam lined up with the top of the walls.

After working all afternoon, the beam was finally in place. The final step for the day  was to add the bracing to the beam without causing anything to shift. Everyone breathed a big sigh of relief when this was done. The beam was in place, the roof & walls were stabilized and not one disaster! Thanks to Bob & Bill for their meticulous planning and execution. And we were almost ready for the long winter.

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