Observatory Construction: Building

The Backyard Observatories (BYO) crew (three men, including the owner, Scott Horstman) commenced work on June 3, 2009. Although BYO builds according to their standard designs, options and custom features were previously negotiated. I prepared a diagram of the building footprint, with door and window locations and sizes specified. Scott used my diagram as a blueprint to augment his standard design.

It was quite a challenge for me to coordinate the work flow, and I have newfound respect for general contractors! As an example, I ordered windows from a lumber yard near my home (4 hours distant from the building site) and was assured that the delivery date was etched in stone. I expected to pick up the windows on June 2. Unfortunately, the delivery truck experienced a problem and was stuck in Portland, Oregon. I waited an extra day, but by the evening of June 3, the truck still had not arrived, and I needed to travel to my property early the next morning to meet Scott and his crew. Late in the day, the manager of the local lumber yard managed to locate the truck, which was now in Tacoma, WA. To my utter amazement, he sent a driver to Tacoma to retrieve the windows, and then this driver brought them to the building site by 4:30 PM the next day in time for Scott's crew to install them, all at no extra charge. Incredible service!

The BYO crew worked quickly, and by June 5 the framing was completed in time for my electrician to install the interior wiring, which he accomplished on Saturday, June 6. Scott and his crew took Sunday off, and we hoped the electrical inspector would arrive on Monday, June 8, to approve the wiring so the warm room interior could be finished. Alas, due to recent staffing cuts, the inspector could not arrive on Monday. Since Scott and his crew were on a tight schedule, I went up the management chain with the state inspection office and was told they would make every effort to get the inspector there by Tuesday, June 9. Despite this assurance, Scott announced on Monday evening, June 8, that they were otherwise finished with the project and could not wait for the inspector. I paid the balance due (less a credit given for the unfinished work), and they left the premises on the evening of June 8. The inspector arrived at noon on Tuesday, June 9, and approved the wiring.

Fortunately, my friend Jim Elmer was available and is an excellent carpenter, so he and a helper accomplished the interior finishing as well as various other tasks. They did a superb job, and by June 17, 2009, the building was finished. First light occurred on the 19th, a lovely clear night. A dream come true!

Next: Afterwards

Observatory Construction Pages

Introduction | Excavation | Foundation | Building | Afterwards | BackYard Observatories Review