Friday, 21 May 2010

Progress, windows

So - a quick clarifying site meeting today; one of the big south windows in what will be our bedroom has been opened up (it's about 2metres tall now!)

Here's a detail (iphone, I'm afraid)detail of new window We'll be re-using the lintels (there are 3 very heavy concrete ones) and replacing the bricks up the sides with blue engineering bricks, and the same (soldier style) in front of the lintel.

This pic shows how much taller the windows will be than they currently are - not quite twice as window, old window

(Here's the windows in the old room - before the false ceiling was removed windows to garden and here's the window from the inside with no ceiling , with the floor where it will be and giving you an idea of how tall the window will seem in our room!plan for new windows

The inside upstairs showing the small square that will hold the southeast window upstaors new southeast window and the southwest window space Upstairs new southwest window.

The blue is EXPENSIVE airtightness tape and the boarding it is on is a fancy one with one side tarry and one just boarding.

Gil is very impressed with the quality of the work, which is of course very encouraging. Exciting!

The scaffolding is up next week, so the remedial roof work and skylights then windows will be getting going. 

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A floor at last!

All those giant insulation pads are down in the base and up the sides, and the 'powerfloated concrete' sits on top - we have a floor!

Here's a good overall image - you can see the edge looks paler, that's the side insulation, on top of which will sit the wall insulation, so we'll be inside a whole cocoon of insulation in the end, toasty as anything (that's the plan!)new concrete floor

Here's a detail of the edge of the floor, showing that insulation, and the damp proof membrane (aka thick plastic sheet, it seems).
floor insulation detail

Just behind the far right of the tower here, you can see the reddish form of the post that will support the glulam beam that supports the joists cut for the stairway. hiding post

And here's the garage side of the new brickwork we showed you last week; those lovely Staffordshire engineering bricks. Beautiful work!new brickwork

And just a quick pick of architect and chief builder in discussion...Gil and Ian

The site meeting this week was a big one - we realised that there's a flaw in the planning of the job, in that the windows are yet to be ordered - sensibly, the builders want to form the openings and measure accurately before giving the suppliers the final measurements; however, there is then a 6-8 week lag before they're due to arrive.
What this means is that we can't do the airtightness test* until then, by which time not just the insulation and 2 separate airtightness membranes will be in, but also the internal service void, plasterwork and 2nd fix electrics, plumbing and joinery. NOT ideal, because if the measurement isn't as good as we hope, it will be very difficult to make improvements back at the level of the membranes where the work needs to be, not only because we'll have to take OFF plasterboard and plasterwork and the insulation in the service void, but also because some of the seams will be hidden completely by more solid structures (walls etc). At this point, trying to do the proper way would mean the builders being off-site for 5 weeks, a major issue for them which would be passed on to us. Not really doable while maintaining a decent relationship, which is vital. So this is a point of accepting a potential reduction in overall standard. Unavoidable, but disappointing.

* The airtightness test involves a machine fitting the front doorway, and blowing air in to increase the pressure within the house; it measures how much it has to do to maintain that pressure, which gives a number of airchanges per hour value. This represents how 'leaky' the house is; very important in terms of Passivhaus and AECB (we're aiming to exceed silver) standards, and how warm the house will stay.

PS Clare wants me to make it clear we're BOTH doing these posts - but the photo uploading stuff is on MY laptop, not hers!

So this is Clare and Emily, signing off.....

Monday, 10 May 2010

Walls and Floors

It seems as if there isn't much to show at the house this week - last week had a bank holiday in it. But in fact, there's the concrete shuttering to mend one wall done.concrete shuttering
Rebuilding the other wall is also completed (those are Staffordshire engineering bricks where what M-H quite rightly calls the stronggirls were last week)new brick courses
and the concrete block for the post is done (no pic) and the second glulam beam is in.
2 glulams
And upstairs, supportive battening (to help the mansard roof withstand high winds now it isn't stiffened by lots of internal walls) is all in place, along with some initial copper piping.supportive battening

And in the courtyard...insulation in courtyard
and out frontinsulation waiting masses of MASSIVE bits of insulation for under the concrete slab! This should keep us warm...

On other notes - we found a reclamation yard and bought a basin for the upstairs loo basin (ex-institution d'you think possibly??) only £10 including the tap.

And Clare's nicked an xray lightbox from work (it was going begging as they are all viewed digitally now)lightbox Should be fun to play with!

And finally - we've decided on the downstairs floor (I know it looks premature when there's no subfloor at all, but...) - we're going for reclaimed oak parquet, which we'll clean and lay ourselves. A big project, but we did initially plan to buy a house we could do up ourselves! And it's pretty cheap for a longlasting floor covering, and as green as it gets! It's from the reclamation yard in Nottingham, so we've seen it in the flesh - and in fact are carrying a block around with us to check against other things. But here it is on ebay, if you want a look.

We're also having lots of discussion about kitchen organisation; found this place that does units with recycled yoghurt-pot tops, FSC oak and strawboard rather than MDF- if we can save up enough (!) we might get a wide unit from them with drawers for under the hob. we keep doing to-scale drawings, but of course the solid edges of the space aren't there yet for definite measurement (well, the balcony sliding doors are, but not the upstairs loo which will be the other end of the kitchen run) and the positioning of the windows isn't completely certain until their openings are created!

More after the next site meeting on Friday (just me, Emily, as Clare is working).