Sunday, October 29, 2006

What I have learnt so far...

  1. Don't try and get too much done in a day. The first week we did 10-11 hour days and as a result we were exhausted, grumpy and we were starting to make mistakes. We have decided to stick to an 8 hour day and pack up before it starts to get dark. This has done wonders for our relationship (we've stopped hating each other now) and makes for a more pleasant working week.
  2. Patience, patience, patience. This lesson has to be relearned every day (several times a day actually). And it ties directly to lesson 1. Also, we have to be patient with each other which is very difficult some days.
  3. Girls can use power tools! Yes, it's true. I have learnt to use a drill, drop saw and a nail gun. In fact, when Greg was getting impatient with his crappy nailing technique on the deck, I decided to have a go and I was pretty darn good - the woman's touch cannot be underestimated boys!
  4. People are really generous. We have had so much help along the way. Our great new neighbours have lent us power, my parents have left their trailer and compressor in our care indefinitely and the lovely Vicki at the public pool across the road has let us use their showers and toilets for free. We have also had many other offers of help so thanks to everyone.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Framing progress

This photo was taken on Monday and shows some of our progress. The small decking area at the front leads to the front door. We have been getting accustomed to some new tools - notably nail guns. We have used a 'GMC' finishing gun on the decking and it seems to go through the decking and steel pretty well. The 'GMC' framing gun is also coping with the brittle cypress very well with much less splitting than if Greg was hammering by hand. These nail guns were at the cheap end but came with 2 year trade warranties so we decided to give them a go. The performance is really dictated by the power of the compressor. As the pressure runs down in the tank, the nailing power drops slightly but it comes right again when the compressor kicks in again.

The real work begins

Greg finishes the shed - we'll move it to the back corner when we start landscaping.

Dad (left), me and Greg enjoys mum's excellent cooking and a nice cold drinkie.

The last week or so has gone by very quickly and we have made good progress. On our first weekend of 'work' we had lots of visitors. On saturday, city slicker friends Gary and Connie brought a beautiful bottle of NZ sauvignon blanc to share and we spent a couple of hours lounging about on our new floor having plenty of laughs and feeling (slightly) guilty for doing no work at all.
On Sunday my parents arrived with a fantastic picnic lunch and once again, work was put on hold - what a shame. We also had a visit from Renata and Andrew.
At least 20 different people have stopped to talk to us about our house in the last week - no exaggeration. On Wednesday we had 5 'pop ins'! Everyone is fascinated by the steel frame and the speed that the structure went up.
Number one question? 'How much is it costing you?' How rude!! And this from people who we have never met before and who have never bothered to introduce themselves.
Anyway... we started on our decking at the beginning of the week while we were waiting for our framing timber to be delivered but didn't get too far - there is quite alot to do - about 35 square metres. Still, the section we finished looks absolutely beautiful. Well done us!!
The timber arrived on Wednesday. We are framing with cypress - so combined with a steel subfloor and poles we will have a VERY termite resistant home without using any chemicals.
Later in the week we erected a shed in the backyard to give us some storage - not the easiest task despite the 'simple to erect' promise on the brochure. It took us all day saturday and a couple of hours on monday to finish.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hair Raising Roof Raising

The amazing unfolding roof with help from a very tall crane.
Passers -by are all frowning and scratching their noggins at this stage - what on earth are these people building????
So there it is - our steel structure has a roof. Just a few things for the builders to finish today (ridge capping and verandah roof) and it's all up to us. Yikes!! After the roof raising, I supplied our builders the traditional 'roof shout' and everyone was happy - Yay! By the way, it pays to ask what they like to drink because none of the guys were beer drinkers... they preferred the hard stuff.
This could be the last post for a while - we are taking the tent and the barbie up to the block and staying for a few days. First job is to install all the decking - about 34 sq m and then the timber framing and bracing. So if anyone fancies a sticky beak we'll be there over the weekend. See ya!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Building has begun (Monday 9th October)

Ezy Homes is erecting the poles, floor and roof. It's called 'built to roof on'. By Thursday we'll be on our own and we'll start on the extra framing, the cladding, windows & doors in etc etc etc.
Monday morning, we arrived around lunchtime, thinking that there wouldn't be much to see but the guys had wasted no time!
Apparently the roof will be hoisted up with a dual gib crane - Thursday morning. I'll be there to take some pics - can hardly wait!!

Water Tanks & Septic Tanks too, Oh My!!

It's time for my happy dance - tank you, tank you tank you!!

The crane lifting half the water tank into position.

A semi and trailer carried our tanks up the mountain. The water tank is in two pieces because it is so stupidly big! The tank on the right is our septic system.

Our beautiful block has a couple of disadvantages. There is no town water and no sewerage either. That's just par for the course up here but it means that building has a few extra complications (and a few hefty extra expenses).
Our water tank is 7000 gallons (over 31,000 litres) and is buried nearly 4 metres in the ground. Our septic system (or HSTP) is also buried in the ground with substantial trenches for the treated water. That's alot of soil to be moved people!!
In fact, the site works for the tank installation is so extreme that we had to have it happen before we started building. There just isn't the space otherwise.

Site Works - September 18

Concrete Pour. Note the handy concrete vibrating gizmo that Greg is using - what a great gadget! Really helps more concrete go down the hole and brings big air bubbles to the surface - brilliant! Dad was a great help on the day too - thanks!

Greg gets 'down and dirty' in one of our footing holes.

Before we started building.

About Ezy Homes

We have chosen a kit home from Ezy Homes.
They specialise in steel pole houses for sloping sites. Our design is based on their Islander design but we have made a few changes, notably added a back covered deck and kicked out the front on one side to add more living space.
Why did we choose Ezy Homes?
The designs really interested us. They are modern and clever but also have character - more of a beach house than a typical suburban house. We had just returned from a beach holiday in New Zealand and fell in love with modern beach houses known by kiwi's as a 'bach'.
We had looked at heaps of kit homes and were frustrated and disappointed that we couldn't find a design that was energy efficient, modern, not too big and had character. So we were very happy to find all those things when we stumbled upon the Ezy Homes website one sunday. Yaay!!

The House - Plans & Elevations

A bit small to see clearly, but you get the general idea.
Basically, this is what we are building:
  • A steel pole house about a metre off the ground
  • Supplied as a basic kit to 'roof on stage' (all steel components, flooring, decking, roofing & guttering.)
  • 3 bedrooms or 2 + study (all upstairs). High ceilings upstairs.
  • Shadowclad 'grooved' plywood cladding, stained and sealed.

A house on Tamborine Mountain

We have decided to leave the big smoke behind and live in the paradise that is Mt Tamborine, 30klms inland from the Gold Coast, Queensland Australia. Follow our story as we build our own modest home with only minimal assistance from those blue collar millionaires (aussie tradesmen). You'll laugh, you'll cry (no wait, that will be us!) you'll shake your heads and mutter 'crazy buggers'. Stay tuned...