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Progress in building the house

Winter 2006-07: preparing lot and permit                                                   to enlarge pictures, click on them
Autumn 2007: excavation, footings, foundation, shed
Winter 2007-08: temporary electricity, drive way
Summer 2008: casting concrete rim beam, placing floor joists
Autumn 2008: laying flooring, damproofing foundation
Spring 2009: building walls, starting roof
Summer 2009:  roof  
Autumn 2009: second floor
Winter 2006 - 07
original plot trees removed stumped staked out
Original lot Felling the dead trees,
clearing ivy, mowing
- Oct &  Nov  
Stumps removed Ground stacked for
- Dec
elevation plan floorplan The house is planned to be
wood construction (Canadian
style) with good insulation.
The siding is to be red cedar.
The roof is to be manufactured slate.
The south side of the house
has solar heating panels. The
steep roof and shutters are
normal in this area. The kitchen is towards the road & the living room towards the back.
Planning permission was
because the
site is co-visible with a
listed building, a tithe barn.
It took time and many
Planning permission
recieved  for house
Harry designed - Feb
Autumn 2007
digger arrives opening site footings excavation concrete delivery footings
start of excavation -
Opening the site excavation complete -
Concrete delivery footings finished - Oct
mason mason shed foundation Bedrock is near the surface so
footing are made by trenchin
down to rock and filling with
concrete. Foundation is built on  the footings with masonry to enclose a crawl space with dirt floor.
Mason making
- Nov
Canadians construct
shed - Nov
foundation complete -
Winter 2007 - 08
edf putting in supply electricity supply excavating drive drive Drives and sidewalks here
 are made by  removing the
soil down to the rock and
filling with broken  rock and
clay. With weight it
consolidates into a good road.
Temporary electrical
supply installed - Dec
Drive made - Feb
Summer 2008
conreteing concreteing On top of the foundation we
cast a reinforced concrete
beam. This had set into it the
slots to support the floor joists
and the wood to attached the
floor board to.
concrete mover In order to cast this much concrete by hand, Harry made a motorized wheel barrow that would go over rough ground, a easily filled measure to fill the mixer and other smaller jigs.
Starting the rim beam -
Concrete mover
finished rimbeam More jigs were made to set in
the floor joists. Here is the
floor joists floor joists This part is manual labour and
the hardest part - getting the
joist vertical on the beam and
ready to put on the carriage.
Rim beam finished - Aug moving joists into place
floor joist floor joists floor joists floor joist floor joist
floor joists floor joists Next the joist is lift onto a fancy forked stick while the top part of the carriage is put under the joist and fastened to the bottom part. The joist is balanced  on the carriage with its ends free of the foundation. floor joists floor joists
floor joists floor joists floor joists floor joists The joist on its carriage is then winched along a pair of rails on the central wall until it is over the slots it is to sit in.
floor joists floor joists floor joists floor joists floor joists
floor joists floor joists Then in reverse: the joist goes on the forked stick, the top of the carriage is detached and removed, the bottom is removed and the joist is let down into its slot. floor joist floor joists
floor joists floor joists floor joists After all joists were in place, each end was raised a fraction and mortar was put  underneath to bed them. And some concrete was put
along the center wall to hold the joists. Sorry, no pictures of these operations.
Joists finished - Aug
Autumn 2008
The flood is tongue & grove and is glued and screwed to the joists. Harry made a device for moving the boards but it turned out to be easier to carry them. We had to put a tarp on when it rained. floor floor floor floor
Floor started - Sep
floor floor floor floor floor
Floor complete and trimed - Oct
dampproofing Harry had an operation on his wrist, it kept raining, there was Christmas and we had terrible colds. Very little done from middle Nov to middle Feb.
Dampproofing - Nov
Spring 2009
The lumber came in 13 meter lenghs. Harry had to go to the lumber yard and saw each in two before the yard could deliver them. Then we had to cut to stud and other lengths. lumber lumber
lumber Harry made a rig for sawing with a long grove to hold the lumber true and a ruler mounted along it. The cut peices were all labeled. 
Sawing started - end of Feb 2x6 but more on the 2 and less on 6 Canadian Sheathing
saw saw saw wood tent After some more rain and visits from Canada, Harry started the walls. He made up the parts that framed the windows first.
cut wood in its tent Framing started - mid Mar
window frame window frame window frame window frame window frame
using floor to work on power and air for nailer first bit of the framing
westwall eastwall southwall northwall This is all the framing that can be done on the floor in one go. These walls will have to be raised before the other half of north and south wall can be framed.  
framing west wall framing east wall half of south wall half of north wall
sheathing sheathing sheathing sheathing sheathing
sheathing walls - started early April
nailer We had a problem with the nailer which took a few days to sort out. Thank goodness it was fixed and we didn't have to buy a new one. Can't work without it - very fast, very easy, quality nailing. lifting strap There are little bits of strap on the frames. They are fixed before lifting the wall so that the wall sits in the right place and then fished out after the wall is nailed in place. Tyvek (composite material & not same as in Canada - parapluie in French, meaning umbrella) is put on the outside of the sheathing. It lets vapour through but sheds liquid water. On top of it goes the slats that the siding will be fixed to. 
working nailer lifting strap
tyvek First wall raised on Apr 17. We did it alone but 3 neighbours were 'on call'. There were ropes and stops for every problem and it went up with a winch. wall wall wall
Tyvek first wall up - mid April beam to pull over Rope over beam to winch Part way up
wall wall This was quite a feat as the wall weighs about a third of a ton. With a system it is easier to lift a heavy wall then to do the usual - sheath it once it is standing. With the west wall up, the half north wall can be moved into place, rigged for raising, raised and fixed in place. It was rolled into place on small rollers. wall
up but not fixed up and cannot move moving wall
wall wall wall wall wall
in place north raised south being raised raised
Half the walls are up now. The other half must be finished before they can be raised. Work was delayed by heavy rain. eastwall eastwall The part that puts the most strain on the winch is the first couple of feet of lift. On east wall we could use the car to start the lift and finished with the winch. eastwall
walls almost ready - early May east wall raised
Only half of the north and south walls were raised. Now the other halves need to be fit in. part northwall northwall wallsix wallsix
second half north wall raised fastening two halves of north wall tagether second half south wall ready to raise almost in place
wallsix This is followed by a lot more nails and screws and fiddley little things before the next big task. But first we had to wait until the rain stopped. load walls loadwall loadwall
All walls raised - May 8 load bearing walls- mid May longer and shorter walls framed longer wall ready to raise
load wall load wall These walls will be fixed in place and then taken down. The screw holes and marks mean that they can be be erected quickly when the roof goes up. The walls will carry a small second floor over the living room. tresses gable
longer wall raised shorter wall also raised roof trusses delivered May 28 east gable framed
East gable built on the house floor after the internal walls down. Northwest gable built on a steel rack beside the house. gable gable gable
rack for small roof nw gable framed gables sheathed and tyvek put on them.
Summer 2009
A crane was hired to lift the gable, move the one set of roof trusses into the house by the big gable, and move the other set of trusses to the rack where the small gable was being built. Notice lack of safty equipment - usual in France. crane crane crane crane
June 5 - crane arrives the gable is lifted beside the south wall trusses moved to beside the gable
crane crane crane crane  After much rain, a sunny spell and we fixed the trusses along the top plate. Harry modified the concrete wheel barrow to make a trolly to lift a truss and move it across the floor. He also made a fancy stick for me to control the top and keep it above the bottom.
trusses moved to rack The tree is dead but was left as a support
first truss in placeready to move 2nd trussfour in placeall in place
gablegableThe smaller trusses were sort of manhandled into place on the rack. Harry on the heavy end and me on the lighter end. This was finished on June 21.trussestrusses
 small gable ready to raiseraisedThe first one moved and being fixedGetting ready to move the fifth one
trussesNext was sheathing the roofs. The problem here was the extreme pitch that was demanded by the SDAP architect. This made moving on the roof difficult.roofroofroof
all in placefirst row of sheets uptwo rows on each sidethird row had to be raised by pulley
roofroofWe now had heavy rain and wind, Paul's visit and then the town mower took out the power supply on July 15, followed by more rain.We were burgled on the 20th. Tools in and around the building site were taken but not what was in the shed or across the street where we live. More delay and rain.sheathing
needed a long ladder to reach for nailing - ladder longer for top row.putting in last peice on the top corner with extention on ladderfirst two rows on half roof
sheathingTo lift the roofs with a crane there needs to be places to connect the crane hooks and these have to be able to support the weight of the roof. Harry started with two steel beams.They were very heavy to difficult to get in place. Then studs were put across them and attached to the trusses. We will reuse the steel and the studs once the roof is in place.roof lifterroof lifter
starting the fourth (top) rowputting one of the studs inall the studs in place
skyhookroof tyvexroof tyvexroofroof
hole put above the beam for the skyhookputting up the first lenght of tyvex -Aug 3tyvex lenght draped over the roofstapling down the last sheetputting batten in the right place
roofroofroofroofHarry's welding machine was one of the things stolen and so he had a buy another in order to make the loops for the crane to lift  with.
screwing down second last battendecided the bottom row could be done before lifting
tyvex on little roof
bottom row of sheathing on and roof getting last battens
roofroofHarry struggled up the roof with this steel U shape and lowered the 2 legs down the back. I said 'what's next?' Harry said 'that's as far as I've planned.' As the ad goes: welding machine- 100 euros, steel- 20 euros, Harry without a plan- priceless.roofroof
4 loops through big roof to steel beamstop loops on little roof - U shaped thingya lifting beam in the small roofthe other beam in the small roof
putting on battens for slates - Sep 19and on little roofSep 23 - the crane arrived to lift roofs - putting on chainslifting slightly in order to get ballast right.safely clear of the walls without hitting them
rotating the roofsetting down, gable end firstin placeputting chains on small roofmeanwhile Harry putting in the load bearing wall in house
lifting little roofflying acrosscoming downbeing settled downin place and being unhooked
inside as the crane is leaving
Autumn 2009
After the crane, there was quite a bit of adjusting and putting in screws and nails. Then everything was made ready to leave for our holiday. Rain and shingles delayed.stairwellin roofWe decided to put in the upper floor before trip. This would make it easier to protect from weather. The first task was to make the beams to support the floor. The wood was planed ready to glue and staple/screw into the girders.floor beams
another wall for the stairwelltaking down the lifting beams top and bottom chords ready
floor beamsfloor beamsfloor beamsceiling beam
center spines and the webs on tablefirst beam madeclose upbeing varnished
The beams were put in place screwed to an alloy angle on the south end and to the load bearing wall on the north.  beamsbeamsTongue & grove floor sheets were screwed and glued to the top of the beams. Harry had a system for lifting the sheets. Each lift is from a different angle up to the next resting place.upper floor
southnorthsawing sheet to size
upperfloorupperfloorupper floorupper floorupper floor
on flooron rest 1on to rest 2up onto beamsputting on glue
upper floorThe windows were delivered. The upper floor was covered in plastic sheet. Then we had a holiday. While we were gone, we had most tools in the house. What was left on the building site was stolen when we were not there.Only a few small things done: a barrier across the drive, purchase of tools and materials, start of upper walls. But no pictures in last 3 weeks.
floor in - ceiling laterback Nov 19Dec 12