Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day 173 - Stripping the strapping

Tuesday September 27th, 2005

Sean and Patrick are busy stripping all the strapping and bracing from the ICF. Once this is completed, the WASS and all the wall bracing inside the building will come down also. The house will seem a whole lot bigger inside, once all the bracing comes down and out of there.

Meanwhile, Dave and Chris are busy putting the plates on top of the walls. After using the 2x12 for the scaffolding on the WASS, it is cut up as needed to be reused for the wall plates. The trusses will sit on top of the plates and be fastened to them with hurricane clips.

In the Small World department, Dave told me that Jennifer Dickson (mentioned in this Day 171 - Truss photos post) was a teacher of one of his classes at Algonquin.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Day 171 - Truss photos

Driveup Sun Sep 25th.

This was the sight that we saw on Friday evening (but didn't have the camera). This photo was taken today (Sunday) - an overcast and misty drizzly dull day. Hmmm... just the way England is...

This photo is taken from the back of the house, looking through the great room windows and door space, and out the front door (center of photo). This is what Ottawa artist Jennifer Dickson calls a "glass house". She is very fond of this type of house in England, which are usually found only in old artistocratic estates.

An example of some of the bracing that was required when pouring the walls of the main floor. You can see that some of the extra strapping and bracing in the window bucks have been removed (see window on left side).

A closeup of one of the two piles of trusses. These are engineered specifically for a particular building, using computer programs that compute the static and dynamic loads, and thus the required forces the trusses must carry. These trusses are made with 2x4s, which I presume is because of the size of the building. We walk our dog Tawny around some of the new construction that is going on around our current house. The trusses for most of these tract built houses seem to be made out of 2x3. There is some wane on some of the pieces but I presume that won't affect the strength of those chord segments.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Day 169 - trusses arrive

The trussess arrived Thursday afternoon. It looks like the crew spent Friday removing some of the supports and strapping.

Photos later this weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Day 168 - Pouring the walls for the main floor

Tuesday, Sep 22nd - the concrete is placed for the main floors. Here are some pictures from the event. (Photos courtesy of Charles Irvine, Admirable 2000 Homes Ltd.)

Remember to click any picture for larger view.

Mr Murphy pays a visit...

Despite detailed preparation, anything can go awry, and usually does. Murphy's Law applies to construction too, of course. This collage shows how everyone keeps an eye out for Mr Murphy interference.

1a. Dave (L) and Brian (R) are directing the concrete into the wall of the great room. 1b. Brian and Charles notice that one of the joins is coming apart, so... 1c. Dave takes the concrete hose over to the corner to relieve the pressure on the joint. 1d. Meantime, Charles handed a piece of 2x4 and a drill up to Brian to reinforce the joint.

All in all, quite a minor problem.

Straightening up and cleaning up...

2a. Charles and Sean are working to straighten the back wall on BR2. Charles is describing to Sean what to do in order to get the wall straight. (You only really get one chance to get this right.) 2b. Here Charles and Sean are straightening the wall. It's tough work, and a 3rd hand is really needed, so Chris came over to help finish the job. 2c. Sean is pouring concrete into the wall section below one of the windows in the great room. 2d. After taking care of the lower wall section, Sean cleans up the spattered concrete so the floor will still be smooth. (Otherwise it could be difficult to put the finish floor down later.)

Preparing for the wall plate and trusses...

3a. Charles is measuring and inserting the bolts that will be used to secure the wall plates to the wall. The roof trusses will be secured to the wall plate, so these bolts will prevent the roof from getting blown off in high winds. 3b. Charles is inserting the bolts on the angle wall above the great room windows. Meanwhile, on the right, Brian and Dave are doing the WASS two-step. 3c. Charles and Brian are discussing if the concrete is set up enough to trowel while Dave is checking out the wall for bulges and plumbness. 3d. Charles is trowelling the concrete in preparation for inserting the anchor bolts.

The snazzy new pumper truck...

(top) This is the view of the concrete truck and the pumper - the pump arm looks like a mutant spider leg or a grasshopper leg. (bottom) This is a closeup of the pumper truck - it sure looks brand new (there wasn't any dirt or grease buildup around any of the joints on the pump arm). Either that, or else someone did a flawless job cleaning this McNamara pumper truck!

As you can see from the photos, there is a lot to do in a very short time, and you don't get a second chance at it! This is why you hire the pros...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Day 167 - finishing touches for the ICF

Sep 21st, 2005 -- 85 days to go to building completion.

Meet Sean Drury, the new member of the crew. Now Charles' crew is up to full strength.

The crew was working late tonight in order to complete all the little finishing touches. They were also going to start at 6am (1 hr early) on Thursday morning.

This is the view from the scaffolding on the outside of the great room, looking across the study (two windows on the right) and the main entrance (on the left).

Note all the string lines to make sure the walls are straight and square. With concrete, it's pretty darn hard to fix it after the walls are up... :^))

Monday, September 19, 2005

Day 165 - Looks like we're almost ready

(click any picture for larger view)

Monday September 19th - Day 165, 87 days to building completion.

All the rows of the ICF blocks are in place. Compare this photo to the one from Sept 9th. (blog entry)

This is the window in the great room -- it sure looks amazing! You have to zoom in to the larger picture to see the precision workmanship of the block construction. If it looks just like finish carpentry that's because Dave did this, and finish carpentry is one of his strengths.

This is Freda and Tawny having a little heart to heart in the great room.

I took these photos after I returned from Edmonton. I had thought the concrete for these walls would have been poured by now, and the truss construction started. Not sure what is going on, I will have to call Charles to catch up.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Day 156 - Saturday catch up day

(click photo to enlarge)

Sat Sept 10th. Here Chris is working to complete the last two rows of ICF blocks in the garage. It's a bit fiddly doing the parts around the window and door bucks, but if you get that right then the last row will go on smooth like buttah.

The crew was able to make some progress on Saturday, but certainly not enough to make up for the various delays we have experienced. In the weather front, next week will be very hot.

This is Dave working the fiddly bits in the solarium. The wall above the feature window in the solarium and also in the great room will go up at approx 5/12 pitch I think it is. So there will be some more fiddling going on there.

In other news, we picked up the balance of the exterior lights that we wanted from LL - and they gave us an extra 10% off! That's always good. On the down side, they seem to have misplaced a glass shade we left there for them to find for us.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Day 155 - Only 97 days to go...

Sep 9/05 - Day 155 a rain delay (again), and only 97 days to go... Rain yesterday wiped out most of the day. The rain started around 9:30am or so with some pretty terrific thunder and lightning and then rained steadily until about 4pm.

Here you can see the final window buck with the curved transom is installed, lots of bracing, and the WASS is in place in the garage. Because of the rain it will be impossible to complete the wall prep for pouring on Monday.

This is the view of the garage from the future drivway. You can see the crew has started the 10th course on the inside wall.

The crew is working tomorrow (Sat) so Freda and I will take some lunch out to them. Hopefully we will be able to make enough progress tomorrow and on Monday that the walls can be poured on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Another decision - stone height and ground levels...

This image also reflects another decision.

The original plan basically had the house and the garage at the same elevation. Because of the bedrock formations, etc, the house was not sitting as low in the ground as would have been required for that plan. Image C basically shows the plan view with garage/main floor at approximately the same level.

We had two options: A keep the top of the windows in the garage at the same level as in the main floor, or B keep the windows at the same height off the ground as in the main floor. After looking at these pictures, and driving around to see how other houses were built with respect to window height and changing elevations, we decided to choose option B.

This was kind of a reversal of a discussion I had with Charles and Dave on Friday, but I should have talked it over with Freda first. The bottom image shows what the right elevation of the house will look like.

In other news, the details for the trusses arrived - 95 pages of details, with text that looked like 5 or 6 pts!! Wow!!

Stone decisions and indecisions...

We have made the decision about the stone for the exterior.

We have selected OLD MILL by Arriscraft, in Fortress Brown. We rejected the stone we originally selected (Citadel by Arriscraft) as it looked too yellow when we saw it in daylight on a house (vs just a a small sample board indoors).

This post also introduces my "Freda Approved" checkmark. I used the Willow font, which is an Arts & Crafts style of font, and therefore in keeping with the look of our house.

In addition, we decided to have similar window/door treatment as shown in these photos. There is a large block above the center of the opening, with the half size blocks arranged vertically over the opening. At the sides of the opening, the stone just runs up to it in a normal pattern with no fancy trim.

One final thing to add...

The Old Mill stone is the same that is used in the Jiulia Lake Estates sign, although this is a different colour...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day 152 - Building the garage walls

Today is September 6th, 2005. It is day 152 of the building project. There are 100 days to go to the planned building completion (Dec 15th, 2005), and 131 days before the occupancy permit is planned.

(click any picture for larger view)

The truck from Canam-Hambro comes to load up the borrowed roll bars. It's good to get those out of these, as that is another item checked off the to-do list, and cleans up the site too.

The guy in the white shirt is the salesman from Canam-Hambro, he drove in from Montreal in the Neon to help with the loading.

As you can see, it is another beautiful day -- we had an above normal high temperature of about 27C, the humidex was 30C, but it was a gorgeous day with a light breeze. Here is a collage of some action shots of the crew hard at work.

Clockwise from top left: Dave playing Hercules, Dave checking in with Charles, Chris cutting a nice straight line which does not include any digits (haha), and Patrick taking a 10 second break so I can get his photo, and reminiscing about his birthday party last weekend

This photo was taken after the crew packed up for the day. The doors bucks for two of the garage doors are in place. The garage wall is going up quickly, with the openings for the windows ready to receive the window bucks, once the walls get high enough. The crew is going through hundreds of feet of strapping, which is used to hold the bucks in place, hold the courses of blocks together around corners, vertically, etc. The strapping will be removed after the concrete is poured.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Windows - what a pane!!

I'm not talking about Windoze, by Microsoft, but the ones made of glass that you look through. However, =since you invoked their name, here's a Haiku for Windows for you...

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Love those Windoze Haikus.

In other news, the windows arrived and are sitting at the window company compound. Strangely, these windows were ordered by the window company without a final authorization from Charles, so I hope there are no problems fitting the windows to the openings... The good news is we know we won't need to wait for the windows to arrive. The bad news is the 30 days payment due clock has started ticking...

Day 148 - backfill complete

(click any picture for larger view)

The backfill around the house and the well is completed, as you can see from these photos.

Chris, hard at work, amid the forest of scaffolding, etc.

Dave and the disembodied hand of Charles are installing rebar at the T-junction of the wall to the garage and the master ensuite.

This is the first time we've been able to walk around the house at ground level, and the building looks massive!

The wall that you see in this photo is at the final height. This is the northeastern side of the house. The small stand of trees here will help block the north wind and provide something interesting to see at the same time.

Dave, hamming it up. It's been a busy week, so it was great to see everyone in good spirits and enjoying themselves.

Monday is a holiday (Labour Day), so next week would normally be a 4-day work week. However, because of all the weather and other delays we have had, the crew has agreed to work on Saturday so we will be able to pour the walls the next week. Wow - thanks very much guys! What a team!

Tawny, having tired of us throwing a stick that was a mere four feet long, decides to fetch something slightly more substantial. There was only a slight problem -- Tawny could not lift even the end of it!

As we were preparing to leave, the wind starting picking up and this was the sight we saw. You can see the wind tracks as it blows across the lake. A few minutes later, when we were on our way, it started to rain a little bit -- perfect timing!

Yesterday we saw two young deer running across the road as we were leaving. It's a good thing Freda wasn't going too fast or we would have hit them.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Day 147 - backfill in progress

(click any picture for larger view)
This is the site we saw when we drove up on Thursday Sept 1st. The backfill around the garage and inside the garage has been completed. There was so much going on today that I'm not sure if the drain for the one parking stall was placed. (I forgot to look.)

In this picture Tawny is running at full speed, like she always does when we're out at the land.

Freda is standing by the window for the main bath.

That window and wall sure seem tall!!

When we got to the house today, Tawny was all excited. Who am I kidding, Tawny is always excited when we come here! Anyway, she was running around the house and wanted to come up to where Freda and I were, but she was a bit too scaredy cat to do that. So I asked her to sit so I could take her picture. We need to have a holding tank for the septic, and that tank should be going in this area. Since the tank wasn't placed before the house was backfilled then this dirt will need to be dug up again to place the tank...