Strawbale House

This blog is intended to chart our progress through the self-build process, from half-hearted plot-hunting through to completion of the build. The twist is that we're building the house from timber and straw (hence the blog title).

Click on the image at the end of each post to see that day's photos.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

June 7th - Digging

Things seem to be hotting up. I'm sitting waiting for a call from Gregor Walker to tell me he's on his way to the plot to start digging the foundations. Mal and I marked them out a few nights ago, and decided to make allowance for an additional post in the kitchen to hold up the big beam supporting the first-floor joists. This, of course, involves an extra concrete pad.
I've been frantically chasing quotes for the timber for the frame and the joists. After a long and detailed chat with Nick Grant from the AECB, I'm looking into the possibility of using I-joists in the ground floor to minimise thermal bridging and allow a lot of insulation.

Brian Carmichael at Doves is working on the design of this, and of the big upstairs beam. It's been specified by the engineer as a dirty great half-ton steel RSJ, but I'd much rather use timber. This will be a lot bigger (about 130 x 300mm in section, but at least it fits with the ethos of the build, and when varnished might even look quite groovy.

Building Control have said they're happy enough with the foundation design, but have just emailed to say that for prictical reasons, a wee bit of "scarecement" is recommended. What the dickens is that, then?!


Sound the trumpets and ring the bells. Work has finally started, a mere 10 months after tabling our offer for the plot! No word from Gregor by 3pm, so I jumped in the car and headed for the plot for a final measurement check. I had a funny feeling I'd find him there, and so it proved. He was busy marking the lines while his mate scraped away in a digger. I helped with the line-marking and took some photos. Tomorrow the digging begins in earnest.

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