House Update

Tuesday 1 May 2001

Today saw most of the roof on the eastern side of the house completed. The clear polycarbonate over the deck is much more fragile than steel, so it needs a different treatment. First, the hole made by a Tek screw is too small; a somewhat larger hole has to first be drilled before using the Tek screw to hold the sheets down. Because of its softness, we use nearly twice as many screws than we do with steel: every corrugation on the ends and every other corrugation on the intermediate fixings. We leave some of the polycarbonate until later in order to finish the more critical material over the rooms.

Hughie handles the shorter sheets of steel by himself, so I put undercoat on the steel stair sides. Tomorrow I will paint them with blue enamel to match the other painted steel parts. Later, we will put the treads in with Tek screws from underneath. Scraps of construction ply will be taped on with ducting tape to protect them from damage during the rest of construction.

Hughie and I use Fran's hand trolley to move a large lichen covered rock to use as a step up onto the small deck outside the back door. Before we do that, though, the tyres need air and while using the compressor to blow up the tyres, Hughie notices that there's a bolt missing from one of the wheels. The wheels are the sort that are two halves of pressed steel held together by bolts and a missing bolt risks the inner tube being squeezed into the gap with the consequence of a tear. Hughie also discovers that all the bolts on both wheels are loose. Had there been no missing bolt, both inner tubes would likely have been shredded.

Of course one should never assume things and we discover another Stramit problem. Two sheets of corrugated zincalume are 25 mm shorter than the length of the rest of a bundle that are all supposedly the same length. While we can cope with this, it does show that everything needs to be checked carefully.

Wednesday 2 May 2001

Fran made and installed the custom bridges for under the clear polycarbonate sheeting over the eastern deck. These bridges were made from scraps of 100 mm purlin and look somewhat less "industrial" than the bridges used elsewhere.  Then Fran continued installing the polycarbonate, a slow and tedious process.

Some of the sheets of corrugated zincalume roofing had become soiled during their three months' storage, so I used detergent and a broom to clean them off. Then I finished off attaching Tyvek with the special gang-nails made from sheet steel. There's more Tyvek to arrive before we can finish that off. Then I spent a couple of tedious hours painting the front stair supports with enamel paint.

The last thing we did today was nail up the first of the sheets of fibrous cement under the floor joists. Fran's old canvas tent made an adequate rug to protect us from the damp soil and we ran the cement sheet sheet underneath on a couple of pieces of framing lumber. Then we inserted ourselves between the canvas and the cement sheet while Fran used the nail gun to attach the sheet. It worked well enough, but relies on brute strength and ignorance. Fran thinks a while and comes up with an elegant solution using a couple of pieces of timber that will allow us to do the job easier and quicker. But that's a story for tomorrow because beer o'clock arrived.

Tomorrow morning the window frames will be delivered. Let's hope they fit!

Thursday 3 May 2001

The day started quite cold with me double-checking the amount of corrugated zincalume for the walls and measuring actual wall widths. My suspicion that my original order didn't include what we used for the carport was confirmed. However, this mistake was a blessing in disguise! The architect's elevation drawings disagree with the floor plan drawings. So there's a follow-up corrugated zincalume order off to Stramit with every sheet cut precisely (I hope) to required size.

Part of the checking of what was used and what was left from the corrugated zincalume stockpile entailed me climbing onto the roof. We do this using a ladder from the front deck at the lower end of the gutter. This morning all except a trickle down the centre of the gutter was ice! I slid a little, fortunately not out of the end of the gutter onto the ground 5 metres below! And I stood there stock still for ten minutes waiting for Fran to arrive. I knew that any move was potentially fatal, but felt quite safe remaining motionless. I was relieved though when Fran arrived and gave me a helping hand.

Fran's idea for lifting and holding the cement sheets in place worked well. The following illustration shows what we did.

We used three scraps of scantling a little shorter than the floor joists and levered the cement sheet close to the joists. The top illustration shows how the joists are attached to the steel beams and the bottom illustration shows what happens between the joists. We nearly finished the back part of the house under Thomas's bedroom and the spare bedroom/office.

Just as we commenced our lunch break, the truck with the windows arrived. I was expecting just the frames, but it was the whole lot. It took a little over an hour to unload them. Luckily, we had finished the eating part of the lunch break! Full marks to Chris Bell Removals for their care and attention to what they were transporting. They obviously take pride in what they do.

After a short rest and discussion, we decided to install the large French window frame first. Without its glass, this was manoeuvred into place without too much difficulty. The width ordered was 4.5 m, and we had been told to allow 10 mm all round for adjustment. The frame was actually 5 mm narrower, so we had a gap to fill. Our opening was perfectly square and parallel, so we attached the frame to one side  and filled the other with a piece of timber cut to fit precisely. The vinyl windows have fins that sit outside the frame and we used chipboard screws to attach the fins.

Fran went on to install one of the one metre square windows while I went to the cottage to light the fire. On my return, I slipped on the gravel path, twisting my right ankle quite badly, tearing the left trouser leg at the knee and hitting my forehead on a ladder! I recovered enough to help Fran with the window frame, but that finished just on beer o'clock.

Fran talked about his various building experiences with owner builders and the unusual nature of the houses. Probably because we are all quite eccentric. One across the valley, the owners decided to call in a regular builder for an extension. They chose this option because they wanted the job done quickly and Fran works at his own pace. The regular builder cost an arm and a leg and also made inappropriate judgements about doing things without consulting the owners. Their French window had a gap between the doors that allowed wind and water to penetrate the house, something that Fran would never have done. Fran might be slow, but he costs less and does a far more professional job than registered builders. I recalled the building inspector remarking on the use of short pieces of scantling under the floor joists to help support the joists. Apparently, the so-called professional builders rely on a couple of nails through the side of the joist into the studs.

Friday 4 May 2001

Fran and I, mostly Fran, put in the door frames making sure they were all square and plumb. The wooden reveals needed some routing to create a rebate for the plaster board to sit behind. After a sluggish start to the day, I used short Tek screws to attach the wooden treads to the front deck stair that Tony made.

Fran on the left and Tony on the right discuss an aspect of laying the corrugated zincalume roof. roof-team-discuss.jpg (46268 bytes)
The roof is complete at last. Notice the slight reversal of curve at the left and right hand edges, just like the wingtips of a bird. I suspect that this wasn't anticipated by the architect, but it looks good! roof-complete01.jpg (44181 bytes)
Looking through the rear door frame towards the front. The door will open outwards and closes on a seal akin to a refrigerator door, or the door in a ship. No unwanted draughts in The House of Steel. door-corridor.jpg (43331 bytes)
Ricky the Wonder Dog waits patiently for me to cover the steps with scrap plywood attached with ducting tape to protect them during construction. Shortly after this, he had his first visit to the front deck. He was a little chary of ascending the stair until he'd seen me do so. He celebrated by having a nap in the sun. steps.jpg (94683 bytes)

I must apologise for the poor picture quality. When changing shutter speed on my old Pentax camera, it's all too easy to change the speed rating of the film and that's what happened here. I must have my camera expert see if a stronger spring can be put in.

Sunday 6 May 2001

Today I used up the roll of Tyvek Home Wrap we brought home yesterday. I need a little less than a roll to finish weatherproofing the house. This required me to spend a lot of time at the top of the ladder with Thomas ensuring that it didn't slip about too much. When the ladder was leaning against a surface covered with Tyvek, the slippage was a real problem; it's very slippery stuff. Apart from that it's ideal for the purpose: tough, lightweight, waterproof, not shiny, transparent to water vapour.

Monday 7 May 2001

This morning Marguerite and I went to the bank to seek a loan to continue work on the house. Our bank is the Commonwealth again after many years. When the Commonwealth shut its doors in Huonville, we ended up at the state government owned Trust Bank. Recently, that was taken over by the Colonial and that in turn has been taken over by the Commonwealth. Today was the first day under the new regime!

Tony Coulson who used to be the man to speak to has been replaced by a person from the city who vets one for loans. A very important thing that in modern life, ignoring local expertise. While Tony knows our circumstances, in the name of efficiency, we had some work to do with the townie. I showed him a photograph of the house and a copy of the spreadsheet showing how much we have spent ($A100,000) and the anticipated expenses of completion ($A50,000). I also told him that I was the owner-builder.

"Ah!", says our Loans Expert, after pausing briefly to yet again answer his mobile phone, "You have come to the right bank as the Commonwealth is the only bank in Australia that lends money to owner-builders. Who is the registered builder?" I told him that there wasn't one, just me and the contractors I was hiring. The registered builders wanted twice what it was costing me for an inferior job. The loans expert says that we will need to pay a registered builder to supervise the building of the house if we want a loan. I lost my temper a little and explained we didn't "want any fucking registered builder anywhere near the house" and quoting the building inspector's compliments about how we were building to a much higher standard than registered builders do.

Mr Loans Expert adamantly told us that he could do nothing for us without a registered builder and an insurance policy on the house. Marguerite pointed out that none of the insurance companies she spoke to would insure us, presumably because we are owner-builders. I butted in with a question: "How come, since we own the cottage we are living in, the land occupied by it and The House of Steel and earn an above average income, we can't borrow a stinking $A50,000?" Mr Loans Expert pauses briefly and says that in that case he can't see why we can't have a viridian loan. "A hydrated chromium sesquioxide loan?" I think to myself. "How do they think up these names?"

He prepares the appropriate documents and is probably even now complimenting himself on taking over half an hour to do something that would have taken Tony Coulson five minutes! Tony already knew our circumstances as we had chatted about this some months ago. And no doubt as a member of our local community knows as much about The House of Steel as everyone else.

Yes, The House of Steel is not just attracting attention overseas through this journal -- it's the cause of much local hot goss! A near neighbour, was quoted yesterday afternoon by another near neighbour. "What do the council think they are doing allowing monstrosities like that being built!" She's the kind of snobbish Englishwoman my family left the UK to get away from! But what a hoot! Marguerite and I are both bursting into fits of giggles every half hour or so thinking about what she said. 

I told the neighbour who passed us this goss about my discussion with Mr Loans Expert under the new regime at the bank. When I got to the part about not being able to insure, Tony, himself an owner-builder, said that we need to be at lock-up and then the insurance companies will play ball. So it seems that from the bank's point of view The House of Steel is worthless until we have finished it (unless we put a potential incompetent in charge) and that from the insurance companies' point of view it has value only after we have the walls, roof, windows and exterior doors on. Bizarre!

Progress today saw all but the last window frame installed. I varnished the gutter support beam with marine varnish and made several phone calls and minor decisions. The assistance from Certainteed won't be available for two weeks, but there's enough for us to be going on with until then. The last of the corrugated zincalume and Tyvek arrives Thursday.

The book that will be based on these daily notes is taking shape in my mind. After The House of Steel is finished I will design a similar, but conventional House of Steel and cost it out. it is my firm intention that the book be practical and useful. The kind of book that would have been useful to me in this venture. Every owner-builder book I have read has more enthusiasm than hard, practical, up-to-date information.

Tuesday 8 May 2001

A cold, foggy morning. We didn't see sunshine until midday, a rarity for our location. Usually, we look down on the bank of fog in the river valley and feel sorry for those buried in it. We put in the last of the window frames and while Fran put in the last of the noggins, I excavated the topsoil in front of the house to make a nice garden bed behind the row of stones. I reached the gravel pad where we once intended to have a driveway for a house. I have since realized you don't want cars parked in front -- they are better out the back. The gravel pad was used to make compost for several years, so the soil is of excellent quality.

In the early afternoon we put the last of the concrete sheets under the joists at the back of the house. This is hard work. The sheets are heavy and so is the nail gun. Then Fran cut the ragged edge of the roof on the eastern side. He used his big power saw for the steel and tin-snips for the polycarbonate. After that there are only a few chores left: flashing under the doors (black plastic dampcourse), cutting off the excess threaded rod at the foot of the front stairs.

While Fran did that, I prepared a garden bed for garlic and onions. Beer o'clock came half an hour early, so that gave us an extra 15 minutes of sunshine to sit in and enjoy. Tomorrow is a lay day. We could put up concrete sheets in the front of the house while we await the arrival of the last roll of Tyvek we need and the last of the wall cladding, but we are a pair of tired old farts. And I need to phone around to have some zincalume sheet cut and folded, and purchase some aluminium extrusions for around the doors.

Thursday 10 May 2001

Fran and I went shopping for flashing, the bits of folded metal for smartening the corners of the building and concealing the edges of the corrugated zincalume. A similar thing needs to be done adjacent to the doors and I was originally going to use aluminium extrusions there, but folded zincalume is a lot cheaper. The chap at The Roofing Centre was smart, pleasant, friendly, efficient and promised the order would be ready for pick-up on Tuesday! "What a contrast to Stramit!" says I. "Oh, you could have bought all your needs from us," says the salesman. "Oh, you mean I needn't have had to deal with The Bastard Salesman From Hell?" I ask. "A-----?" he replies and we both have a good laugh.

Then it's on to John Cowley to discuss insulation and plasterboard. My original intention was to line the inner side of external walls with a polythene film to prevent warm moist air cooling and condensing the moisture inside the walls. I forget who persuaded me that wasn't a good idea and to use foil faced insulation or foil backed plasterboard, but John told me that both those solutions were far too costly. So, we are going with the polythene film. 

Also, it seems, the rolls of insulation cost more than pre-cut batts. We are going to need to cut, or use more insulation as our stud spacing is a little non-standard. Standard stud spacings are 450 mm or 600 mm on centre, making the gap either 412 mm or 562 mm. Since we double-studded and brought the studs closer in many places neither standard size bat will fit. I suspect we will get bats for 600 mm spacing and cut them to fit between the studs sideways to their normal use. I also discovered that wall bats are stiffer than ceiling bats since ceiling bats are usually laid on top of the ceiling and don't need to resist flopping out of the gap between studs! John also offered us the use of his scaffolding for free when we do our ceilings. Another pleasant person to deal with!

Sunday 13 May 2001

The wrapping of the house in Tyvek is all but done. Just a few high places that the ladder I'm using weekends won't reach. This is a cooler winter than usual, so the temperatures are not quite high enough for painting the steel in the carport. As a temporary measure, I've closed off the western end of the carport with Tyvek until the weather is warm enough to paint the steel supports and install the corrugated zincalume. Tomorrow sees the beginning of wall cladding.

Monday 14 May 2001

We started the day by sorting the recent delivery of corrugated zincalume from Stramit and discover quite a few sheets are missing. A check of the order shows that two lengths are scheduled for delivery with the last of the purlins tomorrow. One is definitely astray, so I fax Stramit.

We commence putting the zincalume on the spare bedroom wall with the window. The first sheet is easy as we can do it from the ground. The next requires the use of a trestle, a scaffold and a plank. After that we are into ladder brackets to hold the planks we walk along to screw the sheets into place. A note on the self-drilling screws -- they go in much faster if started with a smart bang on the back of the screwdriver with the palm of the hand.

The second and third sheets require a cut-out for the window. The window frame has a shallow rebate around it to hide the cut edge of the zincalume and since it's quite shallow, requires accurate cutting. Fran uses the steel-cutting saw blade on a brute of a power saw. It's very difficult to control if the saw binds in the cut and that happens on the first sheet. The second sheet, Fran cuts the top edge of the cut-out first, before freeing the panel with the second and third cuts and that works much better. Also, he discovers that cutting the slot to each end without reversing the saw in the cut works much better.

Wiggling the cut sheet into place is not easy. We ordered the windows to have a rebate that is a snug fit. We might have been better ordering them with another millimetre of wiggle room. Fortuitously, the cut in the corrugation below the window is right on the top of a ridge and that looks much better than a cut in a valley would have. There's not much visual contrast between the white of the window frames and the silver-grey of the siding, so we will put a decorative border on later. I think a narrow (20 mm) aluminium frame, powder coated bright red would look nice. 

The day sees much of the large wall at the western end of The Great Hall finished, I am tired and delighted.

Tuesday 15 May 2001

Fran and I start the day by placing the penultimate sheet of corrugated zincalume at the top of The Great Hall. We do this by "walking" the sheet up two ladders. I find my fear of the height we are at diminished, but still noticeable. There is a narrow triangular section left to fill, but we leave that until we are using up leftovers of the corrugated zincalume. We always aim to minimise waste.

Next we commenced the front wall of the master bedroom. Despite the drainage ditch I dug the other day, it is still muddy underfoot as we are having occasional showers of rain. We place three sheets of corrugated zincalume and decide to work on the wall adjacent to the front deck where we are under cover.

In the early afternoon, the Stramit truck arrives with the last of the corrugated zincalume, but without the last of the purlins. The truck driver reverses the semi down our lane, rather than reversing out as he did last time. He offers to help us carry the sheets up the driveway to the house, but we tell him that's not necessary. He expresses gratitude for this and we chat a while about Bastard Customers from Hell and The Bastard Salesman from Hell.

During the showers, we also cleared up the carport to make cutting the sheets of zincalume easier and we installed the woodworking vice on the workbench. The coach bolts do not have enough thread, so Fran uses a die nut to extend the thread as far as is needed. We test the holes for attaching the wooden face plates with various die taps, but none fit. The conclusion is that the thread is metric, so we are stuck at this time. The only suitable screws at the local hardware store are 1/4 inch and that's too small! If we knew what the thread size was, we could order them in. Why, oh why don't manufacturers supply this information? The salesman at the store that sold me the vice doesn't know either. I checked!

At times today, putting up the corrugated zincalume sheets would have been much easier with another pair of hands. I ask Fran who we should get, Hughie, Tony or Paul. Fran says he doesn't mind, so I suggest he ask Hughie as he works just for the beer at day's end.

Wednesday 16 May 2001

When Fran arrives, I ask if he called Hughie and he says no. There's plenty we can do without needing his help yet. Then Hughie arrives anyway and much progress is made. The weather prediction was for frequent showers, so we clad the walls of the small side deck. The showers don't arrive until we have finished there and commence the eastern wall of Thomas's bedroom, but by then it's beer o'clock anyway. We are now approximately halfway through the external wall cladding!

In the afternoon, Lindsay arrived with the zincalume flashing from The Roofing Centre. This was in time for us to put the one in place at the bottom of the wall of Thomas's bedroom. It looks fine and will eventually be painted blue to match the steel beams that run at right angles to the floor joists the flashing covers.

Some of the corrugated zincalume is quite knocked about, resulting in dimples in the corrugations and dented edges. Hughie uses a piece of wood and a ball-pein hammer to remove the defects.

Occasionally, the brute of a saw that Fran uses to cut the corrugated zincalume binds in the cut. This makes the saw buck and leaves unsightly marks on the zincalume. Hughie notices that the height of one of the three saw horses we are using is very slightly higher than the other two. Placing the identical saw horses either side of the portion to be cut cures the binding! God bless Hughie!

While we clad the walls around the side deck, I spend some minutes admiring the effect. The deck looks very much like a small jetty and I imagine a dinghy suspended in mid air, moored to it. Extending the 75 mm angle iron that runs under the master bedroom will do the job. Now that should get right up Caroline's nose!

Marguerite and Thomas arrive home in the late dusk and drive directly to The House of Steel instead of the cottage to admire our progress. The silver of the zincalume concentrates the little light there is and is quite visible in the near darkness.

Jo from Stramit sends an email to say the missing purlins are still on the way and due to be delivered Thursday! One would have thought that they would have waited two days and delivered them with the corrugated zincalume, downpipe and gutter that arrived Tuesday.

I forgot to mention that on Monday, Fran placed bright orange "witch's hats" around Marguerite's weekend plantings adjacent to the house. Fran did this as a joke, but Marguerite took it as a serious attempt to protect her work. Fran's wife, Lesley, thought the joke offensive! Amazing how differently people perceive things.

Thursday 17 May 2001

Despite the cool, somewhat windy weather, we make considerable progress today. Last night there was a gale from the south east. Strong winds very rarely come from that quarter, but this one caused a little damage to the Tyvek. Nothing that a few extra foil clips couldn't fix. Fran and I finish the eastern wall of Thomas's room and we finish the southern wall of The Great Hall. Hughie arrived around the middle of the day and runs around with great energy, as if to make up for not arriving at our usual start time of 8.30. This ends in a near disaster at clean-up time. Hughie raced in through the back door to where we used to have a plank (it's up on a scaffold now) and falls through the cement sheet! The piece of cement sheet that fell out is in one piece and so can easily be put back in place. Hughie's repairs will take some time as he is quite badly bruised and shaken by the fall. The lessons are to never assume and to always move around a building site carefully.

The remaining purlins arrive from Stramit, but not the water tank from Advanced Watertanks. I suspect this is because of the wind. Corrugated zincalume water tanks are very light and are easily blown around.

Friday 18 May 2001

A very cold start this morning, but the sun's rays warm us when we seek a patch of sunshine. The water tank had arrived unannounced when I wasn't on the building site. Whether that was late last night or early this morning is a mystery. I drive three steel posts into the ground around the tank and tie the tank to them with plenty of strong rope so it doesn't blow around and become damaged. Disappointingly, the vertical seams between the sheets of zincalume will face outward from the house if placed the way I intended. I will need to investigate the possibility of an orientation that will hide them and the water outlet where the pump will live.

We manage to cover the main southerly wall. The windows have a slot around them where the zincalume can sit behind the window frames. The doors do not have this and the zincalume flashing I had made by The Roofing Centre substitutes for this. It looks really elegant and that pleases me greatly. 

We finish for the day around 12.30 and drive to Huonville for a counter lunch at the Grand Hotel (a mysterious name for such an ugly building) followed by some shopping. We spend the afternoon at Michael Henrysson's shed drinking beer and telling lies around Michael's "Mr Squiggle's Rocket" fire. Michael has finished Thomas's stairs and will install them sometime soon.

The chairs that Michael and Tony made from stainless steel and blackwood slats are a little tedious to make. Drilling holes in stainless steel is an arduous process. So they planned to make a plywood covered with leather version. The fly in the ointment was the amount of wastage of cowhide. I suggest that a patchwork leather version would look nice. Just overlap the leather pieces slightly and cut through with a sharp knife to make the shapes match. I am hailed a genius for this idea and I bask in the glow.

Here's an early prototype of the chairs. They are very comfortable and eminently suited to either indoor, or outdoor use. The flexible stainless steel rod means that they sit firmly even on uneven surfaces.

The Michael Henrysson/Tony Dunshea chair

Friday 27 May 2001

Sorry for not posting for a week, but things have been full on and my weary old bones required copious amounts of soaking in hot water, not to mention the occasional pharmaceutical, to keep going.

The external wall cladding is pretty much complete. Thursday, two Vietnamese men, My and Timmy, arrived to assist with the installation of the windows and doors. Installation of the  windows and sliding doors went very quickly, thanks to Fran's attention to squareness and levels in the frames. My commented on this and said that houses built to registered builders standards fall far short of our achievement. Window frames are put in upside down, the frames at 90 to the plan etc.

The hinged doors took considerably longer. They are from Germany and have three hinges with both vertical and horizontal adjustments. The locking mechanism has four bolts, also adjustable. Timmy takes a lot of pride in having the doors work perfectly and this takes much fine-tuning and trimming.

Fran is shown how to perform the installation of the doors and windows and is clearly impressed by seeing two people work with the same dedication he brings to his work. Ian at Certainteed wants someone local that can work to the company's standards and Fran is an ideal choice for our district.

I have taken many photographs and I hope to be posting the best on Sunday.

Saturday 28 May 2001

Pix a bit earlier than I expected. Click the thumbnails to see a larger version.

The house is starting to look finished now that most of the cladding is on and the windows and doors are in place. 25may01.jpg (40195 bytes)
We will be using flat zincalume sheet to close in the sides and ends of the purlins so that they look "solid". More zincalume sheet will be used to fill the gap between the corrugated roofing and the top of the wall. eaves.jpg (37943 bytes)
These are the witches' hats used to mark where Marguerite has planted various decorative plants and herbs. witches-hats.jpg (72456 bytes)
This is one of the "lent for free" trestles we used up to 3 m or so above the ground. trestle02.jpg (87636 bytes)
This is Fran using a spirit level to ensure the screws remain in vertical alignment. trestle01.jpg (97362 bytes)
This is the collection tank that will sit under the front deck and collect water for pumping to the larger polythene tank, seen here in the background. I'm not sure about having the soldered seam you can see here being exposed. The ropes were needed to prevent the tank blowing away in the gale force winds we experienced shortly after delivery. tank.jpg (60750 bytes)
These are the steps to Thomas's room. The flyscreen won't remain in place as it would be exposed to potential damage as we continue with building and will be removed shortly. Thomas-steps.jpg (75000 bytes)
The double reflections in the windows are quite fascinating. reflections.jpg (49524 bytes)
My and Timmy adjusting the sliding door to Thomas's room. my-and-timmy.jpg (57037 bytes)
Ladder brackets are used above about 3 m height. They are known as "suicide hooks" as there is no guard rail as with conventional scaffold these days. Their prime virtue is that they are cheap and effective. If there's a danger of falling, a rope about the waist, up and over the top of the building, attached to something solid the other side works well. suicide-hook01.jpg (48459 bytes)
Hughie stops to roll a cigarette. He prefers his faith in God to guard rails or safety ropes. hughie01.jpg (82195 bytes)
The windows team: Fran, My, Ricky the Wonder Dog and Timmy. the-windows-team.jpg (44750 bytes)
View from the main road. main-road-view.jpg (76882 bytes)

Sunday 27 May 2001

More pix. Click the thumbnails to see a larger version.

View from the north east. northeast.jpg (45472 bytes)
View from the south east.  southeast03.jpg (44850 bytes)
View from the south west where most of the weather comes from. Note that southern hemisphere Tyvek is printed upside down. The white box is the temporary power box and will shortly be attached to a wall by the electrician. On Friday, the meter reader told us we have consumed 74 kWHrs so far at a trivial cost. southwest01.jpg (46305 bytes)
View from the north west. west01.jpg (45561 bytes)
View from the north. This is where the sun shines brightest in the southern hemisphere. The walls concentrate the sunshine making the deck very warm. In the summer, it will be unbearable, so some sort of shade, or sail will be needed. northwest.jpg (50685 bytes)
The front door. The door frame material (vinyl) is made in Germany. It's designed to butt against brick walls. The window frame material, also vinyl, is from the USA, so it's designed to hide the edge of the wall cladding. door01.jpg (73009 bytes)
This is one of the three hinges that support the door. Allen keys are used to adjust the hinge from below for height and from the end for tilt. hinge.jpg (46343 bytes)
This illustrates the folded zincalume trim we used to hide the raw edge of the wall cladding. It works well. trim.jpg (39944 bytes)
This illustrates how the wall cladding fits into the groove around the window frames. We will run a bead of silicone along the join for weatherproofing. The join will eventually be concealed by a narrow (20 mm or so) frame, likely a bright red. trim2.jpg (48920 bytes)
The wooden joists are covered with zincalume flashing to be painted blue to match the steel beams later. The corners will be covered by folded zincalume trim next week. The edge of the zincalume is folded back on itself to make it appear heavier and to provide extra stiffness. trim3.jpg (33326 bytes)
This is a window frame before the siding is applied. The frames are attached to the openings with screws through the fins. fins.jpg (60407 bytes)

Tuesday 29 May 2001

Yesterday we managed to finish cladding the tops of all but one wall. Today, we started with putting the purlins in place for the small deck outside the back door. It was cold and wet and climbing the ladders to place the last of the corrugated zincalume would have been too dangerous. Tony Heron arrived to do the electrics, followed shortly by Hughie. While Fran and Hughie worked on the deck and finishing the wall above the master bedroom, Tony and I worked out where the power outlets and cable are to go. I managed to bore a few holes, but seemed to spend most of the day managing and deciding.

In the afternoon, Frank Abbott arrived with the floorboards. He has a small crane that allows us to keep the three packs of floorboards intact, including the polythene wrapper. Frank drove the truck as close to the carport as possible and lowered the boards onto the short lengths of steel water pipe we used for moving the cook stove. Once pushed into place under the carport, Hughie and Fran used pieces of lumber as levers to lift up the boards and remove the pipe.

Thursday 31 May 2001

John from Canada arrived last night and with Hughie today helped place the cement sheets underneath. Much easier with four pairs of hands than two! 

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