Creative Co-Op Receives Engineering Approval - Safety & Fire Equipment Installed

July 24, 2011 - The epic Creative Co-Op passed a huge milestone this week with the final inspection and approval by Ron Saikowski, our project engineer. A couple of weeks ago Ron visited the building and we went through it inch by inch. Ron gave us a list of things we needed to do before he would sign a form required by the Fire Marshall needed to request their inspection. On Friday, July 23, we again walked the building with Ron and we pointed out to him where each and every one of the items on the list has been addressed and he agreed they were done to his satisfaction.

Ron signed off on the project, and hand delivered the form (with his seal on it) to the Fire Marshall's office. We will call their office on Monday and ask to set a time for the inspection. If we pass that review, we will get a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), and our tenant (Silver Rock Productions) can move in.

This week we spent a great deal of time painting, and adding moldings and trim around the Silver Rock offices. We purchased 125 yards of commercial grade carpet from Perkins Carpet in Conroe, Texas, and owner James Perkins Jr. helped us find a great deal directly from the mill in Georgia. The carpet will be in on Monday, and we will install it on Tuesday.  We ran an ad in the "Gigs" section of the Houston Craigslist, and have found a number of installers looking for side work. We will interview a couple of them on Monday and hire one to help us with the installation. 

Scanning the "Materials for Sale" section of Craigslist also paid dividends when we found a guy just five minutes from the office who was looking to sell eight, 52" five blade ceiling fans, with the mounting hardware and light bulbs. We bought the fans for $15 each, and gave the fellow a hand taking them down. The next day, we painted the body of the fan silver, and the blades black. Both sides of the blades were painted to insure they would remain in balance. We will add these to the other fans we have and both loft units will have ceiling fans throughout.

One of the safety items we needed to take care of was the installation of the wire rope in the railing on the ramp and second floor walkway. Hundreds of holes were drilled in the vertical posts using a metal template that Adam built. Before the wire could be run, the 2" steel columns had to be primed, then painted. Rain, which had not been a problem for the past six months, halted our painting plans twice during the week. By the end of the week we had run several thousand feet of 1/8 inch wire rope. We looked at buying the hardware for the wire rope (turnbuckles, crimp sleeves and eye-bolts) from Home Depot or Granger, but the prices were way too high. We found the materials needed online from Unicorn Stainless in Massachusetts. The hardware will arrive on Monday, and be installed early in the week.

For months we have been waiting to use the Mitsubishi Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) panels, and this week we really had a chance to work with it. It is simply awesome to build with. We started using it to frame out the bathroom sinks and in the kitchen, but this week used it for several other purposes as well. We built an enclosure for our Knox Box and installed it next to the front door. A Knox(Box is a mini safe that holds the keys for the building. Only the fire department has a key for it, and they can use it to enter the building without breaking down the front door if needed. A new Knox Box goes for about $900, but we found one for sale in Austin, and had the owner send it back to the Knox Company so it could be re-keyed for the local fire department. Our cost was $100 for the new box, and $65 for the re-keying and S&H. You gotta love Craigslist!

Cutting and routing the ALPLOLIC ACM is a breeze because we have a Panel Saw and a special router from Diassa, Mexico. This company makes a lighter grade of ACM, and we will be using it in a variety of places around the project. Company president, Chris Larimore has been very helpful advising us on a number of ideas on using the materials throughout the job. Chris actually worked as a sign installer and shared his first-hand experience which prevented us from making a number of costly errors.

We also painted the lines for the fire lanes in the parking lot. Glidden makes a paint specifically for this purpose. We began by thoroughly cleaning the concrete and washing it down a couple of hours before we were planning to paint.  We used a 6" roller designed for rough surfaces and masked off the areas of the lot prior to painting the cement. The work was done in the afternoon and the surface temperature of the concrete was hot to the touch. The paint dried in about 20 minutes. We then used a 5" stencil kit and white spray painted - "Fire Lane" and "Do Not Park" every 10 feet.

Handrails were added to the interior stairs, along with the remaining safety lights that our Engineer asked us to install. We contracted with the SAFE Security Company to install the security system for the building, and this week they ran the wiring and installed all the sensors and keypads.

We have our insurance agent checking out rates for the building (we will go off the construction policy we have now, and onto a standard building policy as soon as we get the C of O from the Fire Marshall). We also worked with our attorney on a lease for Silver Rock, and some other administrative details.

Two of the contractors we have been working on and off with for the past several months were in a bad auto accident this week. Larry appears to be OK, but Eric remains in the hospital recovering from a neck injury. Guys, get well, we need you back on the job!

With some luck, next week we will install carpet, finish the wire rope installation, add additional trim on the interior, and get the Fire Marshall to visit and give us a thumbs up on the Certificate of Occupancy.