Archive for August, 2010

Paperwork has been lodged!

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I can hardly believe it myself. I picked up the completed certification documents from Tany at Pocius and Associates yesterday morning and drove straight out to Cambrai to lodge them with the building consents officers at the council.

The officer explained how the process unfolds from here, and it is simply they check the planning approval against the final plans to make sure we are not completely turning the design on its head. By law they have 5 days now to stamp the documents with the big “approved” stamp and return them to us.

To get to here we have needed help from some really dedicated people and would like to issue thanks to the following:
Aaron, one of the council planners who has always been quick to provide (or find) information when I ask for it whether it was in his department or not. Council need more dedicated people like Aaron.
Darren from Wise Drafting for his great ideas and input early on in the ideas to plans phase.
David and Glenn from RCI Engineering for their quick turn around on the engineering work.
Daniel and Jason at Footersville for quickly supplying all the engineering for the roof framing.
David and Lee from BlueScope Lysaght for the quickest ever quote for steel roofing materials.
Our parents/inlaws for listening to all the ideas and helping give outside perspective. Sometimes you can bury yourself so far into an idea it’s hard to see flaws in your thinking.
And finally to Tany from Pocius and Associates for putting all the bits and pieces together and making sense of it all for us.

From here it’s now time to drag out all of those sketch books and note pads and get all of the ideas and drawings collected over the last 14 months into order so when we have that actual final piece of paper approving the build we can swing it all into action.

Almost there

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Dare I say it, but after a quick email salvo back and forth between us and the certifier it looks like we will have the approved documents in our hands this week. While this should give us a free pass through council I’ll not take that for granted seeing as this has taken so long with so much reworking of reports to get to this stage.

A huge thank you to Tany at Pocius and Associates for getting all the paperwork sorted and the checking through and certifying of all the engineering documents.

I got myself a heavy combination (HC) truck license as well for future use as we develop our business plan on the block. If you are looking for a truck license in Adelaide I can highly recommend Rob and the team at GNL Heavy Vehicle Driving Centre. I had a great time learning how to drive the Eaton Road Ranger gearbox and with Rob’s patience and excellent tuition I soon felt very comfortable with driving such a large vehicle.

Optimism is increasing

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The certification process
First volley back from the private certifier gave me a list of 13 items that needed more clarification, validation or that were just wrong. I’ve just resubmitted the revised items and we are confident we now have all the pieces of the puzzle, it’s just we need to fit it altogether.

The certifier is being very thorough and that is exactly what we are paying him to be. I’m still amazed that this far into the journey, with all we have learnt, we could still have so much that needed to be tweaked. If we were to do this again I would retain the certifier from the start as the length of this process is in chasing everyone else for the corrections to the work that have done for us.

The self sufficiency quest
I have enough data now to know just what conditions we will be facing in terms of getting power generated. Using that data and manufacturers’ specifications I now know we will need a single 2kW turbine backed up with 1kW of solar panels. This really does not change the overall costs of setting all this up it just better spreads the opportunity to make power.

Ironically what I have seen from the data collected is there are days with not enough wind and not enough sun to produce enough power. However these are roughly 1:100 day events so they are isolated, though it seems these days are the calm before the barometer swings heralding the changing of weather patterns. Our intended battery backup will provide ample power for these odd days.

Planning the build
Having the confidence now that we are on the right track and approval is going to be sooner rather than later I’ve spent a lot of hours working out just what it is I need to manufacture to be able to make the mould system to build the house. Using graph paper to map out the block outline of the house I have been able to work out how we are going to stage the build and what mould components will be needed for each.

Essentially I have tweaked the sections to be built so were have the maximum use from an absolute minimum pool of parts. Less parts of course makes the system cheaper and quicker to build and leaves us with less to transport or store.

Testing the theory
Every council has guidelines allowing you to build an outbuilding of certain size without needing to seek planning or development permission and in our council this building size is 15 square metres. We will build a shed of this size that will later become the storage area for the self sufficient power components. The roof of this shed will become the base for the solar panel array so the shed will be orientated to make maximum use of solar north so the panels we have will be generating the maximum power a fixed array can.

The shed will be built on strip footings with a floating concrete raft as a floor. I’ve used the engineering specs from the house to specify the footing depth and width and also the lintel details for the window and door. Since this is a trial run, we’ll be using exactly the same principles and design spec to make this shed so it will be perfect opportunity to test ALL of the components of the house. The roof will also provide enough rain to supply a 5000 litre tank while the shed itself will be a perfect storage area to keep us and tools out of the weather.

This building we will start on as soon as we have the building consent for the house.