Estimates at this stage suggested we would need to move about 120 tons of earth off the site during the groundworks. In fact we moved quite a bit more than that.
Initially the plan was to make a lorry entrance off the front street by taking down the wall at its lowest point near the pedestrian gate. After some consideration we decided to make the entrance on the corner between Tipperlinn Road and Stable Lane, mainly for safety considerations.
We were going to have to underpin the wall on Stable Lane because the site excavations might go down 5 metres. Since the wall was already badly leaning and had previously been reinforced by adding two buttresses, we decided the safest option was to take away the wall here, make this the site entrance and then rebuild it off a proper foundation later.
The first real building phase was mainly done by hand. Our men removed the various outbuildings and debris that litered the site and then we took down the garden wall stone by stone, by hand, preserving the best pieces of masonry for the later rebuild.