Our House Diary # 37: Disaster strikes! Oct. 19, 2016

To date, all of my “Our House Diary” blog posts have been about our various successes, learning experiences; adapting the build to the program of study, integrating students and teachers into the project – all good stuff, right?

Well, you know that old adage: “pride before a fall”? Well that is what happened today.

As I drove into the parking lot today, I saw this:


Up close:

In case you are wondering what you are looking at, it is the roof of the module (that we had stored outside) leaning up against the side of the structure. Hmmmm, what is wrong with this picture?  Ahh, yes…..it should be ON TOP of the unit!!! Apparently a fairly serious wind storm had blown through Ormstown the previous night and this was the result…

After picking up my heart, which had fallen to the bottom of my shoes, berating the gods for the injustice of life, beating myself up for not anticipating that this could happen (we could have easily prevented this….***sigh***), we called in the troops (special thanks to Peter!!), gathered our communal heads together and started to develop a plan of action.

After numerous proposals (cranes, boom trucks, cutting the roof in sections to temporarily place it to protect the structure……), we decided to start by making a temporary structure and placing a tarp over it to shed water….we are expecting some serious rain over the next 4 days. Then we can take the time it takes to to find a permanent solution.

On the good side (yep, there is always a good side that has to be celebrated!), the insulation was only a tiny bit damp, and as it is Roxul “Comfort Batt”, and not damaged by water (fiberglass would have really made this a greater disaster, so count our blessings! Thanks Roxul Canada!), we will not have to replace it…it will dry on its own and be perfectly fine!! Go Roxul!

Another good discovery was that the ceiling of the unit below was only damaged in one place where one of the truss “feet” came through the ceiling. Easily repaired:


So we just got to it and started by installing a temporary “knee” or “pony” wall down the centre of the building, braced it and placed some plywood to prevent puddling on the tarp:

After that we installed the tarp over the entire structure:


Beautiful sky and clouds today, don’t you think?

Then we took the roof apart to see what we could reuse and what would have to be replaced. At the end of the day, the roof was pretty much dismantled, on the ground and ready to be cleaned up, nails removed and a triage done to asses the components:

A brief inspection quickly shows that the hinges are scrap:


So now we have to create a plan of action to rebuild the roof structure.

So what will be the impact on the project? Definitely there will be a loss of time, energy and human and material resources will have to be dedicated to the repair, which will have the effect of a loss of manpower and hours on the rest of the Our House. This will certainly set us back on our timeline.

However, I do not believe this hurdle to be insurmountable, and in some “perverted” sense, it is an chance to turn a real-life “event” (crises, disaster, gong show, emergency; you choose the word you want to put in the blank….) into a real-life learning opportunity for the teachers, students, school and project alike. After all, bad things happen, and what separates the competent carpenter from the less competent is the ability to deal with these issues and problem solve to discover the solution(s) necessary.

Lots of learning going on here, but, hey!!!, we are a school!!

(Editorial remark: sometimes, I hate learning!!)







About jhcarpentry

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry Program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) for the New Frontiers School board. This blog is a way for me to connect with my students.
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8 Responses to Our House Diary # 37: Disaster strikes! Oct. 19, 2016

  1. WOW! I am confident that you will find a great solution! At least the big rain hadn’t set in already! Never a dull moment! It’s what keeps us on our toes!

  2. Andree Coursol says:

    I’m sure you will find a solution and great learning for the new to be carpenters out there ! that’s what life is about, you have a setback you find a solution and find a positive in the experience …good luck keep us posted

    • jhcarpentry says:

      Thanks, Andree. Yep, there is always a solution, it’s just figuring it out that is difficult!! We will only be losing some important time in an already tight schedule!!
      Thank goodness for Roxul!!! Would have been much, much worse with fiberglass!

  3. Michael says:

    What a mess, mother nature is not a kind parent, i can see that everything is under control and the project will move forward with just a bump in the road, cant wait to get there and start to install the electrical. See you soon John.

  4. Michael Joseph Luciano says:

    What a mess, mother nature is not a kind parent, i can see that everything is under control and the project will move forward with just a bump in the road, cant wait to get there and start to install the electrical. See you soon John.

    • jhcarpentry says:

      So true! In any case, we will be judged by the final product! The process is an important learning experience no matter what happens. At least the students will have some stories for their grandkids!! Thanks for the support, see you soon.

  5. Pingback: Our House Diary #45: Of Roofs and pipes, Nov 7, 2016 | jhcarpentry

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