Building involves a lot of dirt, and groundworks is expensive and slow. This was a full week of the team digging footing trenches, some through rock. On Friday they poured the perimeter footings. They will use these footings to build a retaining wall, and then our floor slab goes on top of that retaining wall.
We looked at our aspects again from inside, and Michael's study will have an unexpectedly green view down the street. It will be hard to get much work done with such a nice window behind his computer screen, but he will need to keep it up to pay for all this concrete!
This week the steel posts that will permanently hold up the house were concreted in, and most of the timber blocks removed. Once the diagonal bracing was welded to the steel posts, we climbed up a ladder and got inside to check things out. Our city glimpse is still a glimpse, but it was lovely watching the sun set over the mountains.
The digger was on site all week digging trenches around the perimeter of the ground floor slab for the retaining wall footings. I found a pet rock, which was really the highlight of the week. Or perhaps it was my game of high stakes Jenga.
After it rained for the first two days of the week, the crew finally started moving the house forward on Wednesday.
No high-tech hydraulics here, just good old bar soap. They got the house up on the jenga blocks, and then they rubbed bar soap on the top block to lubricate it, so the steel beams could slide along. The house was pushed forwards by an excavator, and it’s as simple as that!
It took two days to move the house forward into the correct position, it’s a large square house so getting it to move in a straight line would have been difficult.
The raise happened all in one day! We’re lucky that our neighbour across the road allowed us to set up our iPhone for a time lapse video of the raise.
It’s so tall! We had to take a photo next to it for scale. We can’t wait to get inside to see the view of the city and out to Mt Coot-tha.
I think that once the sleepout on the right hand side is re-built (it fell over) and the carport is attached, it will look better, at the moment it looks comical.
On Wednesday this week Michael and I went out to IKEA to look at some options for storage, and got to thinking about our walk in wardrobe layout. We’ve currently got a U-shape, which means there are two corners in a relatively small space. We got out the tracing paper and came up with some different options that allowed some more usable space. The framing hasn’t been done, so hopefully this is an easy change to make. It will also mean that the door to the ensuite will line up with the vanity, which will make for a more elegant entrance. I think we’ll end up buying IKEA wardrobe units and fitting them in to make them look as custom as possible, much more affordable than having the fittings tailor made. We have to pay for that roof somehow!
I think the next thing to happen will be the downstairs floor slab, and steel posts to hold the house up.
The house raising crew have been busy installing the steel beams under the house all week. This is the first delivery of the project, up until now it has all been demolition, so this is very exciting.
Part of the plan is to move the house forward on the block, to create a bit more space by the pool. On Friday we realised that there was an error in our plans that meant the surveyor had marked out for the house to go too far forward. It took a few panicked phone calls from me on Friday at 5.30pm (which is not what a builder wants) to come up with a plan to fix it. We’re just lucky that we noticed before it became an expensive job to move it again into the right spot.
Our air-conditioning plan is driving us nuts – ducted air conditioners sound great but they are not as flexible as we’d like, and they use a lot of power if we just want one or two rooms to be cooled at night. I think we’ve come up with the best solution, but it will be a hit to the budget. Hopefully we can recover some of that through lower running costs.
Hopefully the new steel beams will make it feel a bit safer to walk around in the house, with a few less creaks and groans from the floor.
Our builder has been pressuring us for paint colour decisions. Painting seems impossibly far away at this point, but they want as many decisions as possible made in advance, so we don’t hold them up down the line. I think we’ve narrowed down a colour palette.