Mr Smyth-Richards advised Viscount Ebrington that Mr Lemon considered “that the plan as now worked out is very convenient – as convenient as any saw mill that he knows of – in fact more so than most.”
By June 1899 work was underway. The Estate Mason, Mr Bament/Balment had been given the task of constructing the sluice at the head of the leat and the chamber at the intake from the leat. Mr Brailey, who in December 1898 was working on the leats, had made a good job of the waste weir and fender (presumably by-pass leat) but was not getting on well with the sinking of the tail water trench. He apparently had difficulty in getting men to work on this task but Mr Smyth-Richards offered to do what he could to hasten on the work. A year later, in December 1899, George Smyth-Richards was becoming increasingly concerned at the progress being made by Mr Brailey with the turbine pit and while it appeared that he had got over the worst of the work it was anticipated that it would be some time yet before it was absolutely finished. He was greatly relieved when, in March 1899 he was able to write to Viscount Ebrington to say that “Brailey has cleared out of Simonsbath of which I am very glad.”
At about this time the building previously used to house a steam ploughing engine was converted into two new houses at West Cottages and in 1898 James and family moved into one of these. The Baliff, Molland, moved in to the other. In a letter from George Smyth-Richards to Viscount Ebrington on 3 May 1898 he says “The cottage now occupied by Welsh (sic) will be unoccupied on his removing into the new cottage by Molland's.”
There were plans to recruit an additional carpenter and Mr Smyth-Richards told Viscount Ebrington on 24 May 1898 that he had “met the Carpenter Pring at Simonsbath yesterday and I rather like his appearance. He is a young man about 25 and should I think make a very good jobbing Carpenter. I am to hear from him in the course of a day or two together with his referees. I presume he would go into Welchs's (sic) Cottage at West Cottages or he might have the Cottage beside of Kingdoms and let Ridd have the Cottage at West Cottage. I should prefer having him take one of the West Cottages although the Cottage by Kingdoms would be the most convenient for his work”.
While these discussions and projects were progressing James Welch was still hard at work in the old Carpenter’s Shop. George Smyth-Richards went to Simonsbath on Boxing Day 1898 and wrote to Viscount Ebrington the following day that “Welch was very busy putting together the principal timbers for the roof of the addition to Simonsbath House. He was about the only man at work yesterday the remainder having taken a holiday.”
James Welch’s work at Simonsbath was very varied. In June 1899 George Smyth-Richards “gave Welch particular instructions … to finish the Nurseries and I have no doubt that he will have completed the painting in this portion this week and I think that from the 18th to the 20th it will be perfectly ready for your lordship's children. I will push this on as fast as possible.” A week later he was able to report that “Welch has practically finished out the painting on the East wing of the house and I hope therefore it will be fit for occupation early next week.”