Once the trenches were dug, after we measured and marked the ground with yellow spray marker paint, we had to establish the level for each pier in each of the trenches.

The final floor level of the new studio was 3m lower than the final floor level of the Blackhouse some 70m away. There was a surveyors datum stake left from the build which marked the final floor level of the Blackhouse about 15m in front of the Blackhouse.

Simon had a fairly basic laser level and we took the level from this datum stake and marked the final floor level using the bleeps of the laser to tell us when we were at floor level of the Blackhouse close to the site of the new build. Once we had established this level we subtracted 3m to establish the final floor level of the studio.

We then set up a series of level boards on site with the final floor level marked on each, both length ways across the site of the building and width ways. By then using the level in combination with string lines we carefully established the position and level of each pier. The piers at the east end of the site were the shortest and those to the west of the site, front sloping end of the building, would be the highest. The building of piers allows you to deal with the discrepancies of height across the site by adjusting height of each pier.


Once marked out we then had to cut the initial steel mesh for each trench which would be placed in the middle of the first foundation pour, minimum 200mm concrete mix, for each trench. As well as this mesh in each trench a further reinforced cage had to be made to sit on this mesh and be the central reinforced core of each pier. All of the steel needed to be prepared before the initial pour. This work with steel requires a metal cutter, angle grinder, and we also needed considerable heat to get the 16mm steel bar hot enough to bend at 90 degrees without tearing the steel. Simon made a bench with vice installed that would allow us to lever the bar in order to bend it. We used a blow torch running off a propane bottle. This gave us just enough heat.
This work took three days ready for the concrete to arrive on site.