Stripping Back the Vestibule – Part 2

We spent a second day stripping out the old vestibule.

The completely stripped out vestibule

The vestibule is finished, another 5 hours spent removing the remaining plaster and demolishing the brickwork. We’re not long back from a trip to the Co-op for some well earned beer and pizza. George had cracked open his first can of Innes & Gunn before we’d even left the carpark 😀

Yesterday I remembered we had lots of rubble sacks and so we were able to bag the plaster. 40 fairly heavy bags of the stuff are now sitting waiting in what will be Harry’s bathroom/ bedroom until the recycling centre reopens. The bricks George has dumped to the rear of the building for now. It’s not ideal double handling such heavy materials but needs must and at least we have the space to store it without hindering further works.

We’re missing our trips to the recycling centre. Strange as that sounds the 30 minutes there and back allows you a well earned rest and the weight off your feet.

Stretch Targets

Each day we start with a goal and what George likes to call a stretch target. We don’t always achieve our stretch target but today we did. Stretch targets are often a result of my inability to know when to stop and most often reluctantly agreed. Today George humoured me, the stretch target was to lift enough linoleum tiles to fill the space left in our landfill bin which is being collected tomorrow.

We’re on a rural bin collection schedule and have no brown bin. Our landfill bin is collected every two weeks and without fail it’s full to the brim. George will agree I’ve moved mountains of mixed waste over the years filling our blue bin fortnightly. Simple pleasures 😆

Raising the Floor Level

The Listening Station windows are set quite high in the wall, presumably for privacy. Unfortunately that means, with the current floor level, I can’t see out although the boys can see just fine ! We’ve got a fair bit of room height and so it was decided we raise the entire floor level by 39cm. This level change requires steps in the vestibule and also steps to our new back door.

The beauty of removing the wall in the vestibule is that we can now ask the architects to update their drawings and move the position of the steps closer to the front door and away from the main corridor. We can also widen the treads which, we think, will look better.

I’ll email Bill shortly, he’s the very able architect tasked with our detailed production drawings, and share our weekend handiwork. Poor Bill probably opens emails from me with some trepidation when they arrive on a Monday morning 😂.

Tomorrow sees George back to his day job. I’ll be up the newly moved scaffolding tower continuing my steam cleaning of the garage brickwork.

Stripping back the Vestibule – Part 1

We spent this weekend stripping the original vestibule back to the brick ready for redevelopment into the formal entrance at Hawklaw.

Behind the doors. The original main entrance to Hawklaw

Pretty pleased with progress in the vestibule yesterday. Seven hours in and the job is over half way there.

The double skinned wall took quite a bit of effort to demolish, especially the header bonded courses ( where the ends of the bricks are on show). George used the demolition hammer for most of the day. A wide chisel bit lifted the linoleum tiles and removed plaster. A point chisel bit broke the cement bonds between bricks and the concrete lintel into small chunks.


It’s worth mentioning asbestos at this point. Asbestos was widely used in 1940’s construction, our building being no exception. Owners of buildings such as ours have a legal obligation to ensure any building undergoing extensive refurbishment or demolition has all forms of asbestos identified by means of a destructive demolition asbestos survey.

Our demolition asbestos survey identified many obvious and some surprising asbestos containing materials (ACM’s).

Linoleum tiles and their adhesive can often contain asbestos, so too can toilet seats and sink pads ( the pad under your stainless steel sink that acts as sound deadening).

Tens of samples were taken throughout the building and black crosses were marked on the areas sent for analysis. I spotted one of the black crosses today on the linoleum tiles we were lifting in the vestibule. The tiles and adhesive tested negative for ACM.

Linoleum tiles and adhesive tested in the girls toilets and locker drying room tested positive for ACM’s. Those tiles were safely removed and the adhesive painstakingly scraped away by specialist contractors back in 2016 ahead of the administration block demolition.

Asbestos cement is one form of asbestos that we’ve found can reasonably be removed by householders. Thoroughly soaking the cement, being careful not to damage or break the sheets and using well fitting masks are sensible precautions even although the risk of fibre release, for undamaged asbestos cement, is fairly low.

We’ve literally disposed of tonnes of asbestos cement from the site over the years (a sheet of corrugated asbestos is surprisingly heavy). The double garage and both incinerator buildings demolished had asbestos cement roofs and some of the more modern extensions to the rear had asbestos cement guttering and downpipes.

We were fortunate that until a few years ago our local recycling centre accepted double wrapped asbestos cement for disposal. A form detailing the type and quantity, its origin and the person disposing of it were recorded by the council which was subsequently audited by SEPA.

More recently we’ve paid £300/ tonne to dispose of our asbestos cement and a further £25 for the required SEPA certificate. Little wonder asbestos is found fly tipped.

Asbestos has been one of the many, many things we’ve had to learn about over the years we’ve owned Hawklaw. Every day is a learning day with a self build project.

Hoping to finish in the vestibule later today, update and photos to follow