(Mis)adventures of converting a stone barn to a dwelling

Workshop build

During the build so far, Ive been somewhat handtied by not having a workshop that I could use, and all my equipment was in storage.

It was a pain as the jcb needed attention badly and I was just plain old missing being able to fix and sort things out, or even have a working motorbike once again.

In the grounds of the barn project, there is another smaller house also being used as animal stores which is to become the workshop.

Small house to be workshop

Firstly the original rotted wood floor and internal walls were removed from the machine room to be.

Original walls taken out


, The original floor was cut deeper to allow sufficient headroom for me to walk round without smashing my skull on the concrete beams already holding the celing up, as the original builder must have been very short indeed to do this.

breaking up original concrete

The jcb was limited to acting as a large wheelbarrow to lift the hardcore out. So lots of hard manual work.

giant wheelbarrow

To do this we dug beneath the level of the original floor and decided it required substantial underpinning as the building originally had no footings. I laid it out with a wine gauge originally, and picked up on the marks I made from the wine gauge with a cheap chinese laser level, as the laser itself was horribly innacurate when aligned by its internal bubbles.

setting up

Some services were added, heavy power cable for 3 phase underground in a conduit with marker grilles etc, and also water/drainage/comms.

Services going in

That done, the floor was hand excavated level, a labourious process…


This required digging a series of boxes completely under the wall every metre, which passed completely under the wall and would tie into a reinforced structure running around the inside of the building to add strength back in. So for the building to shift would require all of the strengthening teeth to be snapped off and the reinforcing pier moving.

Digging a box completely under the wall for foundation boxes.

As the floor was beneath ground level, a trench was dug around the periphery of the room and filled with stone wrapped in geotextile, to provide a hydraulic pressure relief system and drain any groundwater away.

Trench for drain excavated


At the front entrance, the stone trench incorporated some slotted drain pipe and a outside drain pot for rainwater which was connected to the underground yard drainage system we had previously put in ready.

Front drain trench

Besides the yard drainage, we had also laid power, an ethernet bundle, and water services into the building in prep.

Drainage connection in the building


A DPM membrane was added on top and shuttering added to form the reinforcing trench at the same time. Isolation was put down to stop heat loss downwards from the slab.

Isolation added

Steelwork was added into the trench and joined to runners which fitted into every single underpinning teeth

Steelwork added

The underfloor heating pipework was attached to the steel reinforcing mesh to provide under slab heat.

UFH pipes in

And brought out to a manifold area in the corner, which is also fitted with a underground pipe linking the room to the next room along in the building.

Underfloor heating connections

Then concrete day arrived, and I got the wagon to unload straight in and did tamping then floating duties on my own as Pip had injured her back, and I hadn’t asked anyone else to help stubbornly. It came out ok though once I’d recovered I could start to make a bench and other fittings.

Bench fabrication started using beams too twisted to use on the house build

I started to get my machines out of storage and get them in.

Start of machinery coming home

Thats the workshop itself done, machines may be another post!










May 10, 2011 This post was written by Categories: BuildingMachinery No comments yet

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