Sunday, 30 September 2012

Build Week 8 - Transition

After the flurry of excitement getting the shell of the building up, we had a week of preparation for the next stages of the build.

The first task was to get the roof sorted out - it needs to be waterproofed before the sedum finish can be installed. To prepare for this, the roof has to have a ply deck added which will then be waterproofed with liquid rubber.

This week, work on the blue brick external plinth wall started and the hunt for the timber cladding began. The material finishes have to be agreed with Planning before the facades can be completed.

We had a very positive moment when the Building Inspector from the Local Authority visited and said he would like to put the project forward for their awards! We are thrilled and moments like this really make all the time and effort spent on the design and specification of the project worthwhile

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Build Week 7 - SIPS Structure Complete

This has been a very exciting week as the SIPS structure is now up. Being able to walk into the completed shell is really pleasing. All of the spaces and natural light within them have turned out exactly as imagined.

The final walls went up very quickly. The roof panels were fixed into manageable pieces on the ground prior to the arrival of the crane. On Friday the 36 tonne city crane turned up and the glulam beams and roof pieces were hoisted into place.The glulam beams look terrific and when they are oiled up will be a fabulous feature of the house.

It is always surprising how the size and scale of the building changes throughout the construction process. Before the roof went on, the building felt very tall - something we tried very hard to avoid. However the roof going on made it all proportionate. The roof has also transformed the large south opening and seems to make it much bigger. We are now able to stand in the opening, soak up the view and imagine how amazing it will be to use the balcony and enjoy the views all year round.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Build Week 6 - SIPS start

The next 2 weeks are the biggest of the project so far. When the SIPS shell has gone up all the other elements of the build can start, a real turning point and also we will feel like we have a house.

First of all the sole plate is laid onto the low level masonry. Discrepancies in level are sorted by using plastic shims to bring the sole plate up to the highest level.Once this is in place the insulated panels fit together just like a puzzle. Each is numbered and are assembled to the instruction drawings of the supplier, Glosfords. The panels are literally stuck together with glue which creates an airtight seal. It all happens extremely quickly with brief pauses to fit lintel beams over windows. The internal walls arrive already assembled and are just fitted into place.

The posi-joists for the floor are fitted and the then the floor deck goes on. Posi-joists are two smaller pieces of timber that are connected with a metal web. These give better strength than solid timber and allow services to be channelled through the floor construction.

We finish the week with the lower ground floor completed, the ground floor and some of its walls in place.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Build Week 5 - Beam & Block Floor

This week the floor structure went in. We chose to have a beam & block floor structure so we could use the existing foundations and allow ventilation and drainage to the basement walls. We used a specialist polystyrene block instead of the conventional concrete building block. Although more expensive it has many benefits over the traditional system. Expanded polystyrene it is a very good insulant, requiring little extra insulation to bring it up to the very high standard we set ourselves. This along with its T profile, which lets it sit in between and on top of the beam, means that the floor construction depth is reduced. The product uses a wider beam spacing meaning less beams, saving time and money. The polystyrene blocks are manufactured in 2.5m lengths and are easy to cut and fit into place, again saving time, money and a lot of work. This floor construction also scores A+ on the BRE green guide contributing to the CfSH materials assessment.

The day that the beams arrived was a very tough one as there was torrential rain all morning. Luckily we had hired a crane for the morning to lift the beams from the lorry directly onto the low level masonry. In hindsight we would have struggled greatly without the crane as the torrential rain made the clay ground very slippery and dangerous. As it was we managed to get the beams in place by lunchtime and could retire for the day absolutely soaked to the skin, but with all the beams insitu. The next day the polystyrene blocks were delivered and were quickly fitted into place. A job well done in difficult circumstances. The rest of the week was spent finishing the low level masonry in preparation for the SIPS installation..........

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Build Week 4 - More Groundworks

A week spent continuing with the preparation for the SIPS erection. The site is taking shape and we are now getting a definite feel for the footprint. Now that the plan is becoming much more defined there is a much greater feel for the size of the house. When everything is open it feels like it is very small, but as it rises out of the ground it gives a much better indication for actually how big it is. There was more excavation and the concrete was poured for the external shed and rainwater tank foundation pad.

Tanking base drain rodding point 

With the low level masonry going up, and following a meeting with the SIPS installers on site, the project programme is starting to firm up. Some time has been spent planning in all the next phases of the project. This has been very positive as we can now see that if things go according to plan we should get a finished envelope in a couple of months time and an idea of when the main internal works will be done.