22nd July 2014
Today the house entered that magical place: the third dimension. It's taken a few days to get ready for this moment. The piles of timber had to be sorted and moved around, several times it seemed. The sole plates had to be carefully prepared, including the cutting and fitting of a plastic damp proof course between the wooden sole plates and the blockwork plinth (this membrane also forms part of our airtight envelope, so no shortcuts allowed) and the repair of various bits of blockwork that got knocked over in the last week while we were all concentrating on shifting the timber.
The house is principally being constructed from engineered timber: long 'I-beams' that have a profile of a capital I with flanges of finger-jointed solid wood and OSB (oriented strand board) in between. These are much more stable than solid wood, cut down heat losses across walls because of their narrow centre, and are easy to handle on site.We are using 300mm wide I-beams because we want wide cavities in the walls which we will fill later on with Warmcel insulation. All sustainably sourced, of course, mostly from Scotland.
There are four of us on site: foreman Adam Wilkinson and his Touchwood Homes team-mate, Love (in the pink hat), plus cousin Tom, showing off his yoga physique, and me. It's a good team and we are all enjoying raising the walls and wielding the evil nail gun. Bang bang bang: not a pleasant noise but it makes putting up a ready-cut wall a doddle.