Moving a house – Part 4: ‘Voila’ – the house is moved!

The house movers are magicians

After waiting through the approvals process and finally getting the seal of approval, the day came when the house was to be moved.

The house moving company arrived and things happened quickly. First, they dismantled the brick ‘skirt’ around the base of the house, which had really just been put there to hide the piers. Funny, I never realised that – I always thought they were somehow structural!

The house with its ‘skirt’ removed

Because the house was being moved on the block itself, we didn’t need to take it on the road and the trees on our block had been cleared, the house didn’t need to be cut. We thought this was an advantage as it reduced the damage that could result.

Now I’ve seen houses on trucks before, but this one was different. We were moving the house about 20 metres and rotating it by 90 degrees from east-facing to north-facing. The house moving company created a big steel frame and placed it under the house, so when it was lifted off the piers, it had structural support. Then they placed a couple of enormous steel girders under the house, which must have had rollers on them, but I can’t remember noticing them, and began to inch the house towards its new location.

House on girders. Can you make out the steel frame supporting the building at the bottom left hand side of the house?
Our partner on the subdivision, enthusiastic as ever about the project!

The excavators came in to do final levelling at the house’s new location, and the pier holes had to be dug. The certifier was called in to check the pier holes were of the right depth and in the right location to match the plans.

Of course, as soon as all that started, the weather took a turn for the worse and we had some of the heaviest rain in recent years. Excavators got bogged, bigger ones were called in, and the whole block turned into a quagmire.

The rain fell and fell and fell – and created a total bog on site

If you’re going to do work like this, you need to have good imagination. There were many times when I wondered how on earth our block was ever going to look nice again.

I’m always learning and amazed what specialists can do. I thought you could only pour cement in fine weather. Well it turns out that’s not right, and the footings for the new house were poured in torrential rain. Apparently, you use a different type of cement that goes off quickly. It was another reminder that there is a solution to every problem.

After that the new steel piers were installed, and the house continued on its journey on the girders. I was disappointed that I was at work and I didn’t see the house movers do the final rotation of the house or lift it onto the new piers. The neighbours had the joy of that, and for me is a mystery that still remains.

My 5 year-old daughter with one of the house-moving team
Job done. My it all looks bleak and lonely. Now for the clean up

A new canvas for a house renovation

At the end of about two weeks, our partners on the subdivision had a house in a new location, and I had had the joy of being part of a dream come true. How fortunate I am to have friends open to new things! The house looked a pretty stark and lonely in a sea of dirt, but it was the beginning of a new life. It had survived the move with only a couple of hairline cracks in the gyprock. Rotating the house by 90 degrees made a tremendous difference to the light inside.

The house already felt airier and brighter. However, the property hadn’t been updated for ages. Amongst other things there was a mould problem. There was an exciting road ahead to bring the house up to a comfortable, modern standard for a tenant.

Our own private certifier, our daughter, approves the move