Frank received a call to help save an A-Frame cabin that the family loved. The structure was sitting directly on the ground, and needed a foundation under it if it was going to survive. This presented a challenge for Frank and the crew: How do you get beams under a building sitting on the ground? Trying to dig under it would have been dangerous and prohibitively expensive to get equipment to the site that could do the job.
Instead, Frank devised a way to lash the lifting beams to the floor joists from on top of the floor. Many small holes were made in the floor to get the lashing around the beam and floor joists. After Frank was confident it was secure, his crew lifted the building, building crib piles on each end of the beams to get the house in the air.
Frank was asked to look at a project to restore an old historic barn in Fall City, WA. The property had been owned by an older lady, and in her last years, her neighbors took care of her before she passed away. In return for their kindness, the woman bequeathed the property to her neighbors, with the condition that they restore the barn. The new owners contacted Frank to see if he would take on the project. Frank worked with the architect that oversaw historic preservation for King County. Working with the property owners, they formulated a restoration plan for the barn, and the Excavators Northwest crew went to work.
Old barns tend to accumulate stuff, so the first thing the crew had to do was clear out about ten dump-truck loads worth of junk. Next, they demoed the existing patchwork slab, and enough siding to build crib piles in the building and insert the lifting beams. There were a total of nine crib piles in three rows of three piles each. Once they had the roof structure supported by steel beams, they demoed the walls. This cleared the way to excavate for new foundations. Once the trenches for the foundations were dug out, they formed and poured new footings, stem walls, and pads for posts.
They started rebuilding the side walls to get ready to set the roof back down. Frank found a saw mill in Snohomish that could custom-mill siding that would meet the historical preservation requirements. They were able to cut Doug fir siding that was exactly 1" thick by 12" wide, and the battens needed to go over the joints between the boards. Frank was also able to source the materials to re-build all the windows to match the old design, including using single-pane glass. While the walls were being rebuilt, new beams were installed using steel I-beams, supported by steel columns.
Once the walls and beams were in place, they set the roof structure down on the new construction. Unfortunately, the old roof system had bowed out over the years, so the crew used come-alongs to pull on the structure and get it squared up so that the roofing could be restored. Section by section, the lower portion of the roof along the hayloft was removed and restored with new wood framing and sheathing. After the structural integrity of the roof was restored, a new metal roof was installed to preserve it from the elements.
All that was left was building new custom doors to match the ones on the old barn. Frank was able to find hardware that matched the old handles, tracks, rollers and other parts needed to trim out the barn. They stained the building, and Frank took the final step to re-grade the property around the back of the barn. It sits at the base of a hill, and the water runoff would have gone straight into the barn. Frank took the grade down and leveled out the area directly behind the barn, diverting the water around and away from the building.
The owners of the barn were pleased with the result, and the King County Historic Preservation department put their stamp of approval on the work. The barn still stands today off the Fall City Road.