Archive for February, 2011

The joys of children

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Little fella started back at playgroup last week so the first cold of the season has laid me up for the past 5 days and I am feeling like I need another 2 at least to beat this bug. It’s been a good time to sit and ponder on where things are with the build. I’ve given us a general tick for everything being where it needs to be, although I would have liked the power room to have been finished already.

Still, lots of learning has been done, lots of modifications have been made and the future looks simplified shall we say.

Our next pour day will be the other side of the power room first level blocks where the lessons learned from the first blocks will be used to hopefully give the desired finish. If this comes out as we want then the whole build will be ramped up and we’ll be going for broke.

The power room is using only a third of the shuttering I have made so I could, time permitting, start on the smaller portions of the house while finishing off the power room. Wishful thinking maybe? Probably, but I’ve lost the opportunity to get 70 or so blocks done while I have been sick. I am going to take every opportunity from here on in to get an extra block in whenever I can. With 960 odd to make, sneaking an extra 1,2 or 3 in a day will make a significant difference to how long the whole wall making process is likely to take.

Update on costs

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Bianco sold me 80 x 20kg bags of brighton lite (white) cement for $651.20
Stratco for bits and bobs $62.51

Total project spend is now at $287,760.14
House only is now $73,807.64
Cost per square metre is now $256.28

So it really begins

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

flickr in their wisdom have told me to have more than 200 photos on their site I must upgrade to a premium membership. Pfffffffft to that I say. To see larger pics click on the thumbnails.

So, after packing the Pajero and trailer with so much stuff it barely managed to crawl up the hills, we got onsite with virtually all the components needed to build the house. All that blue steel is the boom lift which I have completely forgotten to get photographs of so far.

First point of business was to get a grip on water usage, so a simple and cheap tank guage was installed. No more guessing or pointlessly tapping at the tank to guess how much water is in there.

With the tank done, next was installing the site toilet. The cladding is all recycled fencing panels, since this is not a permanent structure how it looks was the least important factor in its’ construction. The loo cistern is filled with a bucket and it has an el cheapo LED solar powered light for night use. The toilet is installed using an extra IP installed by the plumber.

With all that done and the site now comfortable for the wife, attention turned to laying the very first of the blocks of the power room. In total it took us 7 hours to set up the formwork, mix and pour 9 blocks. There was a lot of learning in that 7 hours and I have now made several mods to the formwork based on that experience.

For all those wondering why on earth I would choose to sleep in the back of the Pajero when the block is only 45 minutes away, that question was answered when I hit a roo on the way up the next morning. This was only a little roo, about 1 metre tall, and I only hit it at 60kmh. That bullbar is 4mm aluminium and you can see the deformation it did to that. I was very lucky to hit it while it was on the ground, had it been mid hop he would have joined me in the cab.

After stripping away the formwork of those first blocks the results were pleasing and again offered more lessons. The cracked blocks were made with very wet mix and shrank considerably while other blocks were not tamped enough, or were topped up with the next mix without being rodded through to combine the two mixes. In order of the thumbs we have: cracked block, bevelled wall ends, shutter divider void, dual mix block, dual mix block with corner block showing insufficient tamping. Last thumb is of the next generation of locusts that are crawling through the area at the moment. I’d estimate the numbers to be 100-200 per square metre.

Delayed start

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The usual crap life throws at you when you don’t need it meant we couldn’t get a start last weekend. My time during the week that I had set aside to tweak and test a few last things was eroded and I was not prepared to rush things to find them wrong or poorly thought out once on site.

I have made some modifications to the soil sifter. Using an old 220L pickle drum I cut the base out of it and took a slice of the curved surface to make a material chute to direct sifted soil into a container be it a bucket, tubtrug or yard cart.

The dividers also had a rework with a nut welded to the top of each. I can screw in a handle to this and make removing them very quick and easy. They have also been cleaned up so all sharp edges are ground down or rounded to improve safety on site.

I put together some tamping blocks in 2 sizes and made a spare set as well with left over steel and wood from all the other jobs from the past few weeks. I can quickly fix a 25mm hardwood handle to these, so we can vary the length for comfort and make the job less of a chore.

Photos of all this can be found on our flickr account, click here to see them.

Update on costs

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Garden Grove for 30 ton of sand – $1323

Total project spend is now at $286,997.42
House only is now $73,044.92
Cost per square metre is now $253.63