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Re: Turning over and moving a 2-story Pump House

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This is just a brainstorm and only the seed of an idea.

Put a bladder inside and fill it full of air (frame in windows first).  Tip
it over onto foam pads similiar to that used at high jump events.  Dig out
the foam to "let the building fall onto the trailer".

Have a beer.

Brad Friederichs
VE Solutions, Inc.
Sacramento, CA USA

At 09:19 AM 2/12/99 -0800, you wrote:
>I am moving a 2-story 10x10 pumphouse 6 miles into town and want to set it
>up in town (Modesto, CA) as a storage and possibly guest bedroom if allowed.
>Will add outdoor stairway.
>The problem is how to slow its descent when I pull it over without using a
>fancy crane. A mover estimated it would take $1800 to use a crane to pick it
>up, put it on a trailer, move it and set it back up. He hasn't been able to
>give me a final price for the last week or so. I'm trying to save money and
>time. I plan to move it horizontally on a flatbed trailer. I have already
>had a pre-move inspection and am getting ready to move it or at least take
>it down.
>It was probably built around 1900 and uses balloon framing with 2x4's and
>4x4's full length, fireblocking, 2x3 diagonal blocking, 1x6 redwood
>vee-groove siding. No plaster or sheetrock. Aluminum roofing. Estimated
>weight 5200 pounds total. Window sashes will be removed prior to move.
>20'-3" tall.  Will add temporary bracing and strap ties.
>One idea is piling a large dirt pile to one side with an inclined broad flat
>surface facing the puilding. Install a stand and hinge point 4' high so the
>building will pivot 4' high above the near edge. Pull the building over and
>let it fall several feet into the dirt.  A bit drastic. Dig out dirt until
>the building falls level. Prop it and drive trailer under.
>Another idea to slow its descent is to build some kind of big A-frame with
>block and tackle.  Or use a heavy duty forklift, such as a Gradeall (which
>has a lifting capacity of about 7000 pounds).
>Time is of the essence as the building needs to be down so the Owner can
>apply for a permit on the building that will stand where the pumphouse was.
>The county is not allowing us to apply for a building permit for a new house
>until the existing house and buildings are demolished.
>These pump houses were used before rural electrification in the central
>valley of California. Typically they were 3-stories tall with a big
>sheet-metal open-topped tank on the top floor. A windmill attached to the
>side of the building pumped water into the tank where it gravity fed the
>house nearby. Lowest floor was used as a utility room. The middle floor (now
>top floor) was used as a bedroom, probably for a field hand.  They have some
>historical interest and character and are dissapearing and inexpensive to
>Sorry to be so wordy.  Any further ideas on how to take it down and put it
>back up?
>Gary M. Wheeler, AIA, Architect/General Contractor
>American Architecture Service.  Try our Web Page at