40. Put a lid on it

The roofers begin work

30th August 2014

Half the pleasure of construction lies in ending the day with more of a building than you began the day with. The other half is the gift of the people who make it happen.

Take Ashton and Steve, for example, the two-man team from SW Roofing who began work this week installing our exceptionally warm roof. They are both cheerful, relaxed and willing to work around the problems of the job - key qualities of any subcontractor. On top of this, they bear a curiously warped resemblance to Laurel and Hardy. Steve, who is nominally in charge, is from Newcastle and has the Geordie habit of addressing his coworker rather intimately - "Ashton darling, would you cut some insulation to fill this gap" - which Ashton, from south London, takes entirely in his stride, keeping the passive-aggressive banter going with ease.

Thankfully they are working under a warm sun. I have become a slightly obsessive follower of the Met Office website as rain is so troublesome when you have no proper way of getting it off your site. When it does rain, I am acutely aware of why so much of building design is simply about making sure every drop of rain is shed from the building rather than getting into it. Consequently I am delighted that Steve and Ashton are here, building up the thick layers of Kingspan TR27 insulation before installing the continuous water-tight membrane over it that should keep us dry for ever.

The Orchard has a parapet roof, so the membrane will cover the roof then carry on up and over the parapets. The parapets will eventually be properly finished with metal cappings but it's the membrane which does the weathering job. By the end of the week, slapstick permitting, we may be water-tight.

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