Over the weekend we fitted all the exterior panels to the end walls, so the basic shape of the house is now complete. And already we are thinking of taking one back out and ordering an extra window on Tuesday! This is because it seems a shame to have covered up so much of the view from our upstairs lounge.
Our volunteers have also waged war on polystyrene by measuring, cutting and carving the blocks to fit into wall, ceiling and floor spaces. And yesterday the waterproof membrane got tucked neatly round the eaves at the gable ends and extended down the panels.
Now it is a very rainy bank holiday Monday and I am sitting in the portacabin listening to the rain and trying to do some more preparation work for returning to my job as a part-time teacher. From now on the build process will slow down as we shall be working on it for a maximum of 4 days per week, but by the end of today we hope to have achieved our aim of getting a waterproof structure erected by the end of the summer.
After a long slog yesterday, we finally have the waterproof membrane over the roof and in the next day or so we hope to finish the end walls so that the whole building can be wrapped and weather-tight.
We are still amazed at the way in which people have set about helping to build our home and the speed with which it is transforming from hundreds of individual pieces of wood into a sturdy house. There is only one job that no-one likes: holding the end of the belay rope when someone is working on the roof – sheer boredom!
Photograph courtesy of Alastair Parvin
The first end panel is fitted
One complete wall, needing cladding
Two week’s work
Fitting the waterproof membrane to the roof
Photograph courtesy of Alastair Parvin
Keeping the instructions handy
Does it fit?
unloading the cladding
Floor, wall and ceiling part made
Starting to drive the screws into the battens
The rain can’t dampen the enthusiasm
Planning the next move
Holding the belay rope
A welcome delivery of fresh fruit from a lady in the village
Martin through skylight AP Photograph courtesy of Alastair Parvin
After making such fantastic progress in the first week it was disappointing when the rain arrived forcing us to work under black plastic covers which flapped noisily around us. However today the sun shone and we risked unwrapping the house and started to get it wrapped in waterproof membrane. Photos will follow another day.
In a bid to beat the rain, several people worked hard to get roof panels and wall panels fitted today. We didn’t quite manage to get all of them on before the band of rain reached us, but the ones that were on made it much easier to pull the covers over without them snagging. After a late lunch, work continued inside the covers. fitting flooring panels downstairs and more roofing panels upstairs.
Another huge stride forward. Thank you to this weekend’s crew.
Over 4 days we have made new friends, a bit of a mess (which we have cleared up) and the 9 downstairs frames which are the main structure of the our house.
Emotions have ranged from
bewilderment: just how do all these parts fit together?
panic: have we got enough screws? (We hadn’t, so we have now bought the entire stock of a certain screw size from 5 different Screwfix stores across the Midlands, and a B&Q, as well as ordering over 100 more boxes!)
amazement: so many people have given up an entire weekend or more to help wield mallets, cordless screwdrivers and drills to construct the frames.
pain: I was stung by a bee!
awe: the frames went from a being in a neat pile on the ground to being vertical with surprising ease.
gratitude: to everyone who has helped in any way including WI members providing cakes for the crew.
hilarity: watching Molly (one of our collies) attempting to join in!
forgiveness: I won’t mention the missing connectors which are stopping us from raising the other 5 frames!
Hopefully the impending rain won’t manage to penetrate our massive covers and we shall be able to work inside them to construct the floor.
Adding connectors to join the first 2 frames together
Mallets at the ready
Adding frame connectors
Cutting the polystyrene insulation to fit inside the frames
We now have a temporary garage full of Wikihouse panels, which will fill the gaps between the arch-shaped frames, and a polytunnel containing enough polystyrene insulation to build a very impressive model igloo village! Unloading both lorry loads in one day is certainly keeping Martin and me fit.
At the moment everything appears to be going to plan. Architecture 00 have sent us the assembly guide and we have bought 35 boxes of screws to hold all the plywood house parts together. 9 people have kindly signed up to help start the build on Saturday morning (15th Aug) with several others joining us later in the week. Despite today’s rain, the weather forecast is looking good.
Over the last week I have paid several very large bills, but we are all keeping a close eye on ‘the spreadsheet’ and we are currently just within budget still. I might yet have the central vacuum system that I’ve been hoping for.
Wikihouse panels protected from the rain
Polystyrene insulation blocks have been cut to size by Styro Tech Ltd
Exploded view of frame construction taken from manual supplied by Architecture 00
These are just some of the pieces which will fit together to build the entire frame of our house. They have been cut by CNC machine in a workshop in Sheffield. We have had 2 deliveries so far, with 2 more scheduled this week.
We have used local contractors to build the foundations as this is the critical bit!The pipes sticking up are the drainage routes from the kitchen and utility room sinks, the bathroom and downstairs wet room. The three long runs support the walls, the two ends have vent holes in to allow air to flow freely underneath the home, and the little block will support the stairs.