Posts from September 2007

Day 11...


Since Debs' post this morning, by the time the crew left at the end of the working day the hardcore and type 1 material was in with sand blinding on top ready for the insulation to be installed. This point marks the first departure from conventionality, as the next stage is to install 200mm of polystyrene insulation ready for the 20 tonnes of concrete slab to be poured on top of it.
Usual practice is to pour the slab at this stage, then insulate it and pour 50-70mm of screed on top within which the underfloor heating pipes are installed. We're cutting out the screed and going for a single pour of 150mm, which will will also contain the underfloor heating pipes within this massive slab.

The theory behind this is that we will be using a lightweight (timber frame) structure to build the house, this being common practice in Scotland and fairly standard in Scandinavian countries and North America. Whilst there are many advantages of timber frame construction over heavyweight masonry, well insulated timber buildings can be liable to overheating in summer and internal temperature/comfort levels can be difficult to stabilise. Introducing 'thermal mass' elements into the structure compensate for this...which is where the heavyweight floor slab comes in. In addition we have specified high density wood fibre and mineral wool insulation for the walls and roof which will also add to the thermal mass of the building as a whole.

Chilly Morning

Last night we had our first true frost. The air temp hit freezing outside the caravan and the lowest point inside was 4.8 deg C -the hard part is surfacing from under the duvet. The views are fabulous today, its very easy to see where the big windows of the house will look out to.

More hardcore arriving today to form the base for the insulation and then the concrete pour, both of whihc will happen next week. The timber frame will be about a week late so after next week not much will happen on site. We are really pleased at progress so far. It is a year ago this week that we purchased this place so it feels good to be out of the ground one year on.

Drainage

Work today is concentrating on getting the drainage in place, notably for surface and rain water as the foul drainage is already in place from the edge of the previous house to the septic tank.

Its currently very sunny but also very chilly and we're expecting the first frost of the season tonight. As a family of 4 we are living in a large caravan on site - this is generally pretty comfortable but the cold mornings are not that pleasant....and its only September. The house is expected to be complete around March 08.

Day 3

With concrete founds set and sight lines re-established, work starts on the dwarf walls which will support the slab. We had good dry weather today and good progress was made.

At the same wok continues apace made on the retaining wall opposite the house. The soil behind this used to be retained by the wall of a cow shed which was demolished to allow more light to the house and improve its setting. The new wall is constructed fom 150mm dense concrete block and then faced in sandstone (laid dry) reclaimed form the original farmhouse.

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