Saturday, July 28, 2007

19 July 2007 - The First Floor Goes Up

In the hottest week since weather records began, and with temperatures reaching 40 degrees plus, the frame for the first floor went up. This was not a good week to be working on a building site!

Don't drop it!

Adam explores. The floors inside will be 30 centimetres above the current base.

Adam and the views from the living room windows. Unfortunately, more houses will be built on the plots next to ours.

At this point we went to the neighbours for a cool drink and for Alex to play in their pool!

Peter and the electricity meter.

20 July 2007: inside the house. The gap in the ceiling is where the staircase will go up. At the moment the beams are covered with OSB boards, so that the builders can work on the first floor. In the end they will be covered with nice planks of wood. Our nearest neighbours' house is visible out the back. Unfortunately, we couldn't afford to buy that plot as well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

15 and 16 July 2007 - Airtightness Tape and Beams

The airtightness tape is an essential part of our passive house as it covers all the gaps and holes where air and moisture could seep in or out. It is really important that the house is as airtight as possible in order to stay warm in the winter. Generally, air moves via the cracks and crevices in the structure of any house because of temperature and pressure differences inside and outside. When warm air flows out via the holes, the heat flows out along with it. Also, cold air flows into the house via the same holes, thus cooling the house. So if a house has lots of holes, you need to pay more to heat it. Also, if there are lots of cracks in a structure, moisture enters it more easily, which also makes the house lose heat.

In a leaky house the air is exchanged naturally, which it must be to make the house habitable. In an airtight house, the same effect is provided artificially via an energy efficient ventilation system with a heat exchanger. The ventilation system forces the stale air out of the house via the heat exchanger, in which the incoming air is warmed up by taking energy from the outgoing air. Bjorn, the architect and project manager, rolling on tape.

Marian, the building contractor, cutting tape.

Zuzana, the architect, cutting tape.

The beams will remain visible.

The first beam is fitted over the taped-over holes.

The ground floor frame with beams in place.

Rudolf, the carpenter/builder and other builders slotting the beams into place.

Rudolf, the carpenter/builder. Also note the airtightness tape!

11 July 2007 - The Carpenter's Workshop

The first floor and beams fill Rudolf the carpenter's workshop. Everything is prepared ready to be mounted on the site in just one or two days. Beams to separate the floors (on left).
First floor walls on the left and the outer wall beams with slots.

Alex climbing on a huge pile of sawdust.

More beams.

7 July 2007 - The Ground Floor

We needed the ground floor in order to get an official valuation done for mortgage purposes. Building on the plot came to a standstill for a few weeks while we waited for the money to come in. Meanwhile, the carpenters were busy preparing the first floor and the beams and roof (see next post). View from the footpath that runs past our house.
Our roof tiles will be similar to the ones on the house through the window.

Holes drilled into the concrete to hold the screws connecting the frame to the foundations.
The base of the house.

The living room and terraces.

What are these metal pieces called?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

21 June 2007 - The Calm After the Storm

No sooner had the first walls been raised than a huge storm with gale force winds hit the area, bringing down trees and taking roofs off buildings! Emma drove out later in the evening to check that the walls were still standing, and took the beautiful rainbow arching over the hillside as a sign from God that all was well, which it was!

21 June 2007 - The First Walls Go Up!

On a scorching hot day the team of architect, builders and carpenters put up the ground-floor frame. The pre-fabricated walls arrive by lorry.
Unloading the first wall.

Bjorn, the architect, (centre) discusses details with the windows and insulation people.

Marian, the building contractor, in the foreground.


The bolts and staples used to attach the frame to the foundations.