Saturday, 25 June 2011

End of week twenty (ten weeks to go?)

Well, all things being equal we are now counting down to the end of the build. You can't spot a lot on the usual views but look at where the orange ladder goes through the scaffolding at roof level and you might get a clue as to what's happened outside this week...

... yeah, it is a bit tricky to spot so here's a close-up for you:

The roof is getting its slates and the square plates are for the solar panels. Near the pitch of the roof you can also see what looks like two black pipes - these are apparently the cables for the thermal solar panels for the hot water To the right of that, in the gap between some of the branches, there's thinner wire visible which is for the photovoltaic panels (at least I think it's that way round). What's the difference? I hear you cry. Well, according to the internet (and why would it lie?) photovoltaic panels convert the sun's energy into electrical energy, there's a nice diagram of how they work here. On the other hand, thermal solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it to heat energy. See - that GCSE physics revision did come in handy!

Inside the house the wire is still being installed and this sight made me smile this week - 

imagine how much wiring an eco-unfriendly house would use!

On the north side the rooms are being created and here's the view through the bay window on the eastern wall.

As one reader said to me last week - this is beginning to look like a real house!

Friday, 17 June 2011

End of week nineteen

The window glass is still going in but both the long frames are now in place. I happened to be out cutting the grass when the longest window (on the left in picture four) was being lifted up and it was quite a business as it needed to be attached to the quarter landings of the staircase.

Earlier in the week I got a tour of the upper floors. It was the first time I'd seen the inside of the rooms at the top of the house and you can see the special insulating membrane that lines the inside of the roof. Essentially the membrane works on the same principle as the stomata of leaves, with tiny holes opening and closing in response to moisture in the atmosphere. It's all extremely clever, so if you want to know more check out the manufacturer's website.

The ducting for the electricity cables seems to be complete and this picture shows the cables runninng under the joists for the wooden floors on the north side and then passing in to the main body of the house. The electric cables are part of the green spec as they are free of PVC, unlike most cables. If you want to check out quite how nasty PVC is then look at Greenpeace's website, that will scare you.

As we approach the last ten weeks of the build the site is now busy with carpenters, electricians and plasterers - watch this space for next week's visitors!

Friday, 10 June 2011

End of week eighteen

We have windows!


All week experts from Germany have been installing our windows and they have got a few days to go. The windows are triple-glazed and consequently very heavy, which has meant that the installation is not a quick job. The glazing on the south side is now complete, as you can see from the third of the photos but the long windows on the west side (last photo) have still to be done - they are saving the best task till last! The house looks quite different with the windows in and the triple glazing already makes the rooms much quieter.

Inside the house these steel tubes have been going in for the electrical wiring. The floors in some rooms now look like a gigantic circuit board but this will all be covered up when the flooring is laid. All the sockets at the end of the tubes have been put on the internal walls as I mentioned earlier which will rather determine where we put the furniture.

In the corridor section on the north side of the house the floor joists are now all complete and it looks like the boarding is going in for the floors. They are going to be wood in this section which will look very nice indeed. The view up to the roof from the ground floor is rapidly disappearing so I'm glad I took the photo last week.

Friday, 3 June 2011

End of week seventeen

The house may not look very different from the usual views but check out these two pictures and you'll see what's been added this week:

Our roof windows are now in and very cool they look too.

At the moment it's possible to see them from the ground floor of the house as well, which is rather fun.

The photo also shows the joists being installed for the floors; the top floor ones are all in and the metal brackets to the left show when the middle floor joists will go next week.

This morning a lorry arrived from Germany with our windows. Don't ask me why people don't make tripled glazed windows in the UK but there's another trick missed.

The windows will start being put in next week but you can have a sneak preview now.  Peeping out from the covering on the left is der Windfang (

I'm amused that the country that brings us the mighty Playmobil also supplies windows as a flat pack.......

Ah the memories!