Sunday, April 26, 2009

Concrete floor

All the concrete has been poured this week and it looks all very smooth. The boxing is removed and the builders will start with the framing the coming week. People that have seen it are all very impressed with the round corners and the smoothness of the concrete. Today it was sunny weather and nice to be able to walk bare feet on the concrete.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Concrete pumping

Today another milestone - the concrete slab is poured. It was a bit rainy today but this didn't stop the action and the concrete pump and first concrete truck arrived 7.30 in the morning. In total 8 trucks with concrete. The slab is relatively thin - only 6 cm thick. Without the underfloor heating the slab would have been only 4 cm thick.
In the afternoon the concrete was smoothed (screeting?) and it looks pretty good. Unfortunately the contractor clipped 3 of pipes from the underfloor heating system with the screeting machine. Luckily the damage is done above the concrete and should be easy repairable. A bit of a scare.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Artist impression

Very nice all these pictures with pipes and boxing but how is it suppose to look like at the end. Roughly like this. This is view from the north east - the side that gets the early morning sun. The house is designed for passive solar heating and receives all day sun.
The house is designed for comfort and not necessary luxury . However, what "comfort" is for one is "luxury" for somebody else.
Anyway, it is a 3 bedroom house with an additional loft area with an office space and a play or TV room. All services are centrally located with the bathroom, laundry, toilet and kitchen close together. The living has an open kitchen and partly a cathedral ceiling. Not sure yet that is going to work out with the heat circulation to the loft spaces. The design incorporates a big carport on the south side and a patio on the north side. The patio is designed to create a sheltered place about 90% of the time. The total footprint is 211 m2 (with strawbale walls) and approximately 180m2 effective floor space. The loft area is about 40 m2.

The house was designed by Evan Crawford from Sustainable Structures (Opotiki) and the builder is Dale Finlay from Featherson.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Underfloor heating

One of the most important bits of our new house is installed at the moment: the underfloor heating system. It is an hydronic system powered by an "air-to-water" heat pump. For us this was the most cost-effective and convenient system. Other heat sources considered but not regarded as suitable:
woodburner - located to far away from the cylinder and to much work to keep the whole house heated
solar - not effective enough (based on internet feedback and comments)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cupolex pods for the underfloor insulation going in

The builder has now started with the underfloor insulation. The system used is from Cupolex. This system is not unlike egg carton trays creating air cells under the slab. Advantages, according to the manufacturer and the designer, are: high insulation value, allows for a thinner concrete slab (40 - 60 mm) - less concrete, no waste, low volume - less transport costs. Will be interesting to see how it all works out.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Plumbing going in

This week (first week of April 2009) a lot of progress was made on the plumbing and the boxing for the concrete floor.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

layout complete

We are getting into shape now. The layout is complete and base course trucked in. The new "parking" and driveway done too.
Also the first changes to the plan are here. The planned 10 m long macrocarpa beam spanning the living is not feasible - it is just too long. The alternative, a laminated beam was getting to expensive and we have settled on a steel beam with macrocarpa cladding. At the end may be the best option anyway is it will be a lot easier to run electricity cables along the ceiling.