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July 6, 2005
Extended Bays

A picture worth a thousand words: looking at the blueprints, Gail realizes that something is wrong with both of the extended bays

When we last left our mountain top home, we had seven out of the eight lower story wall panels tacked in place.  Well, six actually, if you account for the fact that one is not installed correctly.

The problem is with both of the "extended bays."  These are the sections where the wall panel is not installed in the normal octagon of the house, but actually projects outward to create more interior space.  As a result, these sections require additional short side wall panels; hence the term "extended bay."

This lower story diagram shows the extended bays for the pantry/bathroom (upper right) and the stairwell (upper left)

The first extended bay is for the pantry and bathroom.  The problem with this section is that the wall panel is exactly as long as the foundation.  This leaves no room for the side walls, which have a dado that is supposed to interlock with the wall panel.  The only way we could tack these panels into place was to flange the side walls outward.  As a result, they are not set at 90 right angles, as they are supposed to be.

The pantry/bathroom extended bay.  In order to fit the long wall (left), the side wall (right) had to flange outward from the required 90 angle.

The second extended bay is in the section for the stairwell.  The problem with this section is that, per the blueprints, we have already installed a triple purlin where the wall panel is supposed to go.  Unfortunately, two objects can't occupy the same space at the same time.

A side wall for the stairwell extended bay.  Unfortunately, the long wall can't be installed, because there's a triple purlin in the way (upper left).

When we returned from the mountain on Monday, July 4, Gail was highly motivated to get on the phone with Topsider to sort out the situation.  We were therefore quite surprised to find that our vacation mail included a letter from Topsider's engineer.  In that letter was a revised specification and drawing for how to install the joists for the stairwell over the extended bay.

It wasn't until a couple of days later that Gail was able to connect with Al Fielders of Topsider to find out what was going on.  Apparently, Al had noticed a flaw in the blueprints and already taken action to correct it.  Unfortunately, he had decided not to mention anything to us until he had resolved the situation.  In the meantime, we had spent a day beating our heads against the wall because we couldn't install the stairwell wall panel.

The bottom line was that we should not have installed a triple purlin in the stairwell section.  Al pointed out that the blueprint drawing for that particular section did contain a subtle difference: the purlin was supposed to be placed on top of the glu-lam beams; not against them.  On the other hand, Topsider had specified and sent out the wrong lumber for us to do this.  So the blueprints were still in error.

The solution: Topsider would have to send out a replacement triple purlin.  In the meantime, we would have to remove the triple purlin that we had already installed over the stairwell.


The extended bay for the pantry/bathroom is a much more difficult problem.  The bottom line is that Topsider is not quite sure how to fix this one.

With Russell and Gail due to go back up to the mountain in another couple of weeks, the situation is only half resolved.  One extended bay can be fixed by removing the triple purlin.  The other extended bay... well, that's still under discussion.


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