' the Woodlouse: I'm not panicing, honest.


Monday, 16 April 2012

I'm not panicing, honest.

I've been doing a lot of this lately:

It's quite fun but I'm still finding the amount of internal bungalow demolition quite alarming.  Builders are due in tomorrow to put in the big glulam beams that'll support the roof once we cut out the ceiling in the living area.  Once that's done there's a bit more demolition to do -  a cluster of walls that currently hold up all the ceilings - then things will hopefully start to take a more constructive turn.  The new sloping ceiling will go in, the roof will go back on and, if time allows, possibly solar panels will go up on the roof.  Then the scaffolding will come down and all being well groundworks can begin.  Later on (or possibly while someone who actually knows what they're doing with a digger does the groundworks) new internal walls can be put in where needed.  There's much much more that will need doing but that'll do for now.

As soon as possible I need to start building the plinth walls that will support the new strawbale walls and the strawbale wrap.  That needs to be followed swiftly by a load of carpentry to make the wall-plates and roof-plates that will sit under and over the bale walls (and spread the load of the roof evenly across the walls), and to make the timber boxes (for want of a better word) that will hold the windows.  Then I can get the window company to measure up and order the windows, hopefully in time for them to arrive and be installed immediately after the strawbale courses.  That in turn will allow me to lime-render the outside of all the bale walls, at last creating a watertight building.  So that's me up until late August at best.  Then there's the insides to sort: floors to lay, walls to plaster, electrics and plumbing to go in...

Urgh.  But the immediate future is roof works, and getting someone booked in to follow on after and do all the groundwork.

Temporary view from utility room to bathroom

The hole made by separating the chimney breast and the airing cupboard walls.  Bricks reclaimed from chimney.

And from the other side... Plumbing needed a bit more bodging to keep it functioning

I built a wall! So small but so pleasing.  The padstone in the righthand corner will support one end of a glulam lintel, which in turn will support the new ridge beam and purlin.  The padstones are concrete. :-( I hate having to use any concrete but it was the most practical material here and it keeps the structural engineer and building inspector happy.  It's the ONLY place I'll let them persuade me to use it.  Stone may have been another option but it is expensive (especially when it'll be hidden in the wall). And frankly I ran out time to source alternative.  I looked for reclaimed lintels but they were all too narrow and hundreds of miles away.

Smog, created by roadsaw, used to cut through wall where new bathroom door will be

Acrow props holding up ceiling, doorway to bathroom cut through supporting wall


Plum blossom.  Made wine and chutney with these plums last year.

Boots and brick dust.

New lintel in place, and the twin padstone to previous photos.

All the internal walls including the inner leaf of the cavity wall are built from these extruded clay blocks.  I think they're great: they use less material to make, are light to handle and are structurally incredibly strong.  Clearly lots of reduction in the kiln that fired them, judging by the black carboniferous interior
Corridor to extension will run through here

Lots of reclaimed bricks from garage.  The chained gate is increasingly pointless

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