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Yawning Angel

Lessons from a Roll-off build

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I've been meaning to write this sort of post for a while, so here are my thoughts on 'Lessons from a Roll-off build'. Some I learnt the hard way, others I caught early enough

  • Before breaking ground, take panoramas of your chosen sites horizon (your phone can do this!). Review the site at night for lights etc
  • Make sure your scope fits. Imagine you have your dream scope...make sure that'll fit too!
  • Water finds a way! Roof rails should fall ever so slightly away from the rolling section, to prevent ingress along the rail
  • Stainless annular nails are awesome, unless you need to pull some
  • Good screws are worth their weight - Reisser Cutters where my choice
  • End grain treatment for sawn wood!
  • Season your cladding! Until it's sealed, it's a sponge and will shrink
  • Construction softwood cares not for your 2mm tolerance.
  • Run your power (and data) early in the build! Having mains in the under-construction obs is invaluable.
  • You don't have enough wood
  • Budget for insulation - it isn't a cheap afterthought
  • Build in standard sizes where you can. Sheet material is usually 1200mm x 2400mm (yeah right, plus at least 5mm - don't trust the sizes!)
  • Building materials are not square unless you check it. Timber isn't straight and 100x50mm (2x4) is 95x45ish
  • Don't forget you need to lock it...build the door frame with this in mind
  • Commercial grade stainless fittings are great for outside
  • That hole in the ground is big enough, STOP DIGGING!
  • Concrete don't fill as much as you think. Use a calculator for your volumes
  • Just because the roof rolled yesterday, don't mean it will today. Test after any major changes, it's easier to fix before you've moved in
  • Don't underestimate windlift. Secure the roof from both rolling off and lifting off
  • Snow is heavy!
  • Plan where your rainwater is going. Drain, soakaway etc
  • Things will live under your obs if you let them. Things that like power cables for lunch and insulation for dinner. Stainless or copper mesh is cheap
  • It will take longer than you ever imagined
  • Set a budget!
  • You will overrun your budget
  • Unless you're know someone, are qualified or particularly cavalier, you'll need to pay an electrician - budget for it
  • Good ventilation will help, but a desiccant dehumidifier might be on the cards too if you get lots of humidity / dew. Plan where it drains, plan where it is powered from
  • You haven't planned for enough power sockets
  • Do you want Wifi? If not...are you really sure?
  • Security shouldn't be an afterthought
  • Insurance! You can get specific cover, or extend your 'outbuildings' cover. Either way, tell them if you want cover
  • Do you really need an external window?
  • If you have a warm room, you need an internal window!
  • Choosing lights will consume time...so much time!

I hope this helps someone - please feel free to add to the list

Happy building!

Edited by Yawning Angel
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  • Check age / growth potential of surrounding trees / hedges , especially if on neighbours land.
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Being in the middle of a dome build, I can confirm that this is all sound advice. 

I love the comment about stop digging the hole, perhaps we went down just a little deeper than we needed to on this one?☺️

5904EC67-EA12-4875-8892-D42278F8DDEC.jpeg

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Such a good topic! I've just finished the groundworks for mine, and yep, I kept digging. And digging. And digging. Followed by mixing. And mixing. And mixing. 🤣🤣🤣 

Top advice 👍

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On 17/09/2019 at 12:17, Yawning Angel said:
  • Don't forget you need to lock it...build the door frame with this in mind
  • Commercial grade stainless fittings are great for outside

A bit late to the game here.  I really like the full list, but the two items above are ones that I have taken on board in making some retrospective changes to my otherwise excellent ROR built by HomeObservatoryUK (I know, not DIY, shame on me.)

I changed all the hinges for the door, and wall flap, to heavy duty stainless – not an expensive process but utterly worthwhile, as the old ones were beginning to rust.  Most recently, I also changed the door handle to exterior quality stainless and upgraded the padlock arrangements.  The old galvanised padlock loop is redundant.  I can really recommend the Bulldog garage lock that's on there now... very sturdy – I don't think you'll get through that with any bolt cutter I've seen.

Tony

 

IMG_2453.JPG.3b45ac07a2f6d78d7ee815bf6ab99dfe.JPGimage2.jpeg.e2563104cb08d475ea18fd2d7a30fb78.jpeg

 

 

 

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Big bloke with a wrecking bar might make short work of those bolts. Pull them straight through. My workshop lock bolts (two) are backed with 16 gauge galv plate. If your hinge pins are exposed outside then fit some hinge bolts (interlocking plate and bolt) into the frame. Of course the structure is all wood so they can still get in.....................

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57 minutes ago, Len1257 said:

Big bloke with a wrecking bar might make short work of those bolts. Pull them straight through. My workshop lock bolts (two) are backed with 16 gauge galv plate. If your hinge pins are exposed outside then fit some hinge bolts (interlocking plate and bolt) into the frame. Of course the structure is all wood so they can still get in.....................

Very true, if the want to they'll get in. A brick built observatory, I'd be through the wall in 2 minutes with a sledge. 

Photo - electric beam sensors are the business or if you have a second shed with nothing of real value in, leave the door unlocked but alarm it. They'll try first every time. Anything to deter or alarm before they put a wreaking bar to use. 

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An unlocked shed next to your obsy is a good home for a peckish Rotweiller.

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This needs to be compulsary reading for everyone contemplating a build.

So many of the items on that list are likely to occur no matter how well you plan

😂

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