This was the first project managed by our then newly acquired foreman, Michael Knowles.
His task was to take the roof off this three story former brewery building, now converted into private flats, and to construct a new open plan floor above. Although the clients had moved out into rented accommodation for the duration of the works all their belongings were left behind so this complex procedure had to be undertaken under Scottish climatic conditions and the property kept protected at all times even without a roof.
These buildings backed onto Carlton Hill, one of Edinburgh's landmark mini mountains in the city centre and the flats all had separate access to drying greens up there via an external stair from ground level. Part of the logic of this conversion afforded extra living space but also offered direct access from the new level directly out onto Carlton Hill - Quite a back garden.
The work was completed within programme and assuringly for such a difficult project, under budget.
At the opening party we received very warm and much appreciated praise from our clients John Clifford and Sue Innes. John, a playwright himself, wrote this in commemoration of the project.
Poem for Steve the Builder
We're coming back from holiday and we get back to our home
Nice to be back we think no more need to roam
But they've knocked the bloody roof off and there's no more kitchen ceiling
Words cannot describe how terrible we're feeling
There's a guy in there called Mike and another one called Gary
Knocking holes in things with hammers, and its all pretty blooming scarey
The builder Steve has upped and gone, vanished into thin air
He's lost the bloody plans again, he put them down somewhere
The architect's called Murphy and he wears drip dry shirts
Because he doesn't believe in ironing boards and he doesn't believe in dirt
He's got all these young men with him, but they don't last for long
We go through James and Will and Chris there must be something wrong
The engineer's called Jane and David her boss man
They'll hold the house up with a window seat, that seems to be their plan
And we're standing in the middle and our heads begin to ache
The roof goes off and disappears, we've made a big mistake
But Mike and Gary soldier on, Michael brings stuff in the van,
And Steve appears triumphant, he's gone and found the plan!
Brian does the wiring, Jim fixes up the pipes,
Dougie bleeds on all the walls and there's no end of Mikes
And when you're feeling wretched, there's Gail whose on the phone
She'll be a sympathetic ear when you want a right good moan
And they all work together to create something quite amazing
A house that's got a roof on and a room windows that need glazing
Mike finally builds the cat flap and we're all very grateful
It's the most important moment, it's vital and it's fateful
Because if you ask us why we did it, well the answers that
We built this huge extension to make an entrance for the cat
And Mike the joiner's skilful, he's generous and nice
He makes holes in the skirtings as houses for the mice
Then Ian makes the decking look like a work of art, and the kitchen that we crave
Is all put together by Michael and Big Dave
And now the house is finished, we're happy and we're glad
It's really very beautiful it's really not half bad
We're Katie who writes novels and Rebecca who builds towers
There's Pip who watches over us and Grandma who paints flowers
And as for me and Susie, we use up lots of paper in fact use reams and reams
We're building houses out of words and rooftops out of dreams
These guys build houses out of plaster and out of wood
They stand all firm and solid, are well made and look good
So let's all raise our glasses, let's shout it out real loud
Let's praise all good builders, let's be happy and be proud.
John Clifford, 3 December, 1999