Preparing to Finish the Atrium

One of the nagging issues that we’ve been facing is, ‘how to finish the upper parts (e.g., ceiling) of the Atrium.’  The issue relates to access, since the ceiling is 24 ft 6 inches above the finished floor.  Actually, the issue relates to safety too, as anything dropping from above could land on someone or, if a person slipped or fell, they would land on 20 inches of solid concrete, which is not very resiliant.

We solved this problem today by constructing a temporary deck over the two bridges that covered the entire Atrium.  This allows us to use regular ladders to gain access to the ceiling, where we will be putting lights and speakers, and then finishing the ceiling with the refinished redwood.  In addition, the temporary deck increases the safety during construction since it reduces the risk of injury or damage relating to materials and tools dropping from the ground floor to the lower level.

Focusing on Safety

Craig Butcher, Chief Safety Officer for Teamwrkx, has monitored the safety relating to our project and he has stressed the importance of reducing hazardous situations.  As well, Ram Reyna, a very good friend who works at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (formerly Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), identified opportunities for us to increase the safety at our job site  in order to meet SLAC’s extremely high safety requirements.  SLAC is hypersensitive to safety and incorporates leading safety practices with all of their construction, maintenance and ongoing operations.

We’ve considered multiple alternatives to increase the safety at our job site, which is somewhat dangerous to start with since it has a opening between the ground floor and the lower level.  The high ceiling in the Atrium and the 9 ft 6 inch ceiling in the lower level combine to make a very tall Atrium.

Yesterday, when reviewing the site with Al DeBeaclair, Bryan had an epiphany regarding how to address the access to the Atrium.  Cover the two bridges with a temporary deck, just like we covered the pool!  Bryan and Al measured the space between the walls and found it to be just more than 16 ft wide and just more than 20 ft long.  Perfect for using 4×8 sheets of plywood on 20 ft 2×8 joists.

The temporary panels could be constructed individually with duplex nails and deck screws.  Al understood quickly and agreed that a temporary deck would be easy to assemble, and disassemble, and solve the access and safety issues.

Assembling the Temporary Deck

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber arrived at 9:30 am this morning.  Chris Tritschler, our salesperson at Channel Lumber, promised that the materials would be delivered on Friday but he said he would do his best to have it delivered today.  And it was!

With the materials on site, Al set up his chop saw in the driveway while his helper, Nep, worked with Bryan to disassemble the temporary wood railings around the Atrium.  Then, Al and Nep measured and cut the 2×8 joists to size and assembled the first 4 ft x 20 ft frame in the driveway.  Getting it in place was easy and then the 3/4 inch plywood went on quickly.

With the first panel in place, the second and subsequent panels were build inside the house.

Tomorrow, we will put temporary lighting in place so work can proceed in the lower level.

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber unloading our materials at 9:36 am.

The delivery truck from Channel Lumber unloading our materials at 9:36 am.

Nep cutting the straps around the materials so we can start to assemble the temporary decking across the bridges in the Atrium.

Nep cutting the straps around the materials so we can start to assemble the temporary decking across the bridges in the Atrium.

Nep disassembles the temporary wood railings around the Atrium so we can assemble the temporary decking across the bridges.

Nep disassembles the temporary wood railings around the Atrium so we can assemble the temporary decking across the bridges.

Laying out the 2x8 joists for the first panel at the foot fo the driveway on Via Sereno.

Laying out the 2×8 joists for the first panel at the foot fo the driveway on Via Sereno.

Al BeuClair and Nep had the first frame, consisting of five boards, assembled with 12 duplex nails in minutes.

Al DeBeuclair and Nep had the first frame, consisting of five boards, assembled with 12 duplex nails in minutes.

Ready for the first panel.

Ready for the first panel.

The first two of four temporary decks in place across the two bridges in the Atrium.

The first two of four temporary decks in place across the two bridges in the Atrium.

With two of the temporary panels in place, the lower level is getting dramatically darker!

With two of the temporary panels in place, the lower level is getting dramatically darker!

The posts will be covered with temporary railings again, after the four panels are in place.

The posts will be covered with temporary railings again, after the four panels are in place.

Three panels in place!

Three panels in place!

View of the Atrium, now dark with the full temporary deck in place across the two bridges. We need to install some temporary lighting fixtures tomorrow.

View of the Atrium, now dark with the full temporary deck in place across the two bridges. We need to install some temporary lighting fixtures tomorrow.

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