Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Railings, pre-Final Inspection

Adrian, our metal fabricator, is in the hotseat - he's the last guy to have to finish his stuff before we attempt to get final inspection. He's been scrambling to finish up the balcony railing and the inside stair railing.

Here is the balcony - the railing is mostly in - at least the hard part. It still needs a few more screws, some cable tensioning (so they don't sag), and a real handrail cap.

I installed the temporary (Home Depot's finest 2x4's) cap over the weekend in order to get ready for final. I'll replace it later when I build the actual balcony deck, but that's still a few weeks (months) out.

The railing is a "cable rail" style - but it uses a really nice "invisible" system of cable termination/tensioning. It's called "Invisware" from Ultra-Tec and eliminates the unsightly "turnbuckles" used on most cable rail systems. Since our railing has 5 separate sections, each with 8 cables, we'd be looking at a ton of hardware with the "normal" approach. The Invisware gives us a nice clean look.

Due to the schedule crunch, Adrian has moved on to the interior stair railing. He got the lower post installed yesterday, and did all the rest you see here today. It's looking awesome.

The horizontal rods that go into the vertical posts are all in (loosely). That was good practice as the rest of them - that go between the stair risers and the railing - are the more difficult ones due to the angles.

That's the project for tomorrow morning - which will be interesting as we have the building inspector showing up in the afternoon to give us a "first" final inspection. There is a chance we will actually GET our final approval tomorrow, but no one is actually betting on it.

Rather, we are expecting a relatively short to-do list of things that will need to be finished/tweaked, and then a "final-final" inspection sometime next week.

Did I mention that the posts, railing, and rods are all SOLID Stainless Steel? Here's the railing before it got welded in place today:

Adrian did a bang up job on the holes that receive the "ferrules" on the rods - they are a perfect fit and gives us a clean look:

Did I mention that the railing is solid ;-) ? I guesstimate that just that one part alone weighs over 100lbs.

Despite seeming like overkill, it seems like it is working out according to plan - the railing is exactly as I hoped (and calculated) it should be. It's really robust and should pass the 200lb force requirement easily (whew!).

Here's one of Adrian's angled, bored holes:

Oh, and you might be wondering "what's up with that weird "extra" railing at the landing part"?

That's, um, a "feature" in order to pass inspection. The rules changed last year and you can no longer have a 36" railing (like on the stairs) at a landing. Now it has to be 42" high (a.k.a. UGLY) in order to meet code. So, that extra top rail, extra rod, and vertical ends will be chopped off after the ink is dry on our final-final signoff. (Shhh. Don't tell anyone, ok?)

Here's another view of it. The railing is going to look really nice without it, but we have to live with it for at least a while longer.

So, fingers are crossed for tomorrow, but I'd put the probability at about 30%.

Regardless, Drew told us today that they are still sticking to their plan of move-in on July 10th - which is 1 week from Friday. Whoo hoo!

We'll still be entertaining painters and other contractors doing miscellaneous work for a few weeks after that. And I'll have projects for a lifetime of weekends beyond that, but with luck we'll be moving our stuff back across the street very shortly.

Stay tuned!


Location Test code (me just fooling around):

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