Of course before you can put a building up you need some foundations. Usually these days that means poured concrete, which is pretty sturdy, but environmentally disastrous, not what we want for Swan Barn Farm’s new Orchard House. In keeping with our last build we are using local natural stone as a foundation. It comes from a small sandstone quarry a few miles down the road.

First though the site needed to be prepared. It was pretty exciting the day the first sod of earth was cut.

The first sod

Soon the site was level and it was time to dig the foundation pits. There is a 3/4 metre square pit under each post of the building and each one was filled with compacted local sandstone.

Compacting foundations

This provides a really firm footing for the building. As two of the bays of the building form what is effectively an open barn we needed a floor as well. This was made of compacted fine sandstone.

Setting in padstones

Into this floor and directly on top of the filled pits we set our recycled York Stone Pads. These are what the posts will rest on, they have been set into the floor to ensure they don’t present a trip hazard. To make sure they rested level and true on the foundation pits and stayed firm for the frame raise we bedded them on lime mortar.

Then came the dreaded maths…

taking levels from the padstones

We needed to work out the releative levels of all of the stones against a set datum point. This is how we work out how long to cut each of the legs of the frame. A dumpy level and measuring staff along with much head scratching and note taking gave us the numbers we needed to take over to the framing bed…

Next came the timber framing (more on that soon)… Which I am pleased to say we have just finished, so we are all go for the frame raise next thursday. Wish us luck!

back to the frames