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The Chips Are Down (And Other Progress)

Posted by Crofter , 05 April 2016 · 5,009 views

The Chips Are Down (And Other Progress) After months of little obvious signs of development, the last week has seen my field suddenly turn into a little site.
I have, of course, been fairly busy- the concrete piers were poured in three stages, interupted by frosty weather; the drainage system got the OK from building control, the windows arrived (rather ahead of schedule but nevermind), and the access was washed away in a storm and then rebuilt with a lorry load of crusher run. Oh, and we did have a baby, in true Grand Designs style :)

The most obvious visual change is that the footprint of the house is now covered by geotextile and crushed stone. This is a pretty superficial covering but if nothing else makes for much more pleasant working conditions, as it was turning to mud. I didn't have access to a dumper so the chips were transported down to the site by a digger carrying them in one tonne bags, and then spread by hand.

Over the past few days the big Douglas Fir beams have gone up. These will eventually form a complete ring beam around the perimeter of the building, but for the moment the gable beams are not in place. I will wait until the joists are on site and thus check that everything is exactly the same length. The gable beams are essentially giant joists themselves. The brackets have slots rather than holes so there is scope for some adjustment in the width between the main beams.

The Douglas Fir sections are 75x300 and I paired them up to attempt to cancel out bowing and twisting, with moderate success.

Once I am happy with the final positions of the beams, I will lock down the galvanised brackets that join them to the piers, and then I have some serious drilling to do: each bracket will have a 20mm through-bolt going through it, and this will be what holds the whole building down. If I were ever to exercise my theoretical ability to move the building, the eight bolts would be withdrawn (via access hatches underneath the floor) and a crane should be able to lift the whole thing cleanly off. I am extremely unlikely to ever do this but by complying with the definition of a 'portable building' I am exempt from building regulations. Perhaps one day in the far future we may relocate this building and put a larger house on the site.
I could have pre-drilled these holes but knew that I would never be able to drill through the wood exactly square with the beams in place on the piers. So I have one side drilled, and will have to do the opposite side in-situ.

Tomorrow, I am off to Inverness to collect my JJI I-joists. Going largely against the advice of the forum I have built a trailer out of a scrap caravan; it already managed to get the Douglas Fir beams back here in one piece so fingers crossed it has one more trip left in it.

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Looking great! Can't wait to see this progress. It's amazing the sheer variety of builds we all have goig on at the moment!
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I am surprised you find it economic to make a trip to Inverness to collect your wood, rather than let the merchant deliver it next time their truck is going your way.
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There's always some excuse for a trip through to the big smoke so the c.£30 fuel cost is shared. I'm only doing this for certain items- the bulk of the timber will of course be delivered. The cara-trailer survived the trip intact, somewhat to my surprise.
I'll have some shopping to do tomorrow, with about £1500 of osb and 6x2 to buy (ouch).
For framing up, is it most economical to go for rough sawn untreated? I've bought plenty timber before but never this kind of quantity so just took what I was given.
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Remember your 3mm gap between the OSB - we missed it on a couple and there is a very slight lip now where it must have expanded (we fitted them in sub 5degree temperatures).

Get a decent quality stapler as well for your breather. And quality staples!

Oh - and if you've not already got them, these plastic plasterboard carriers are tremendous for OSB, worth every penny of the tenner or so from screwfix!
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Thanks for the tips! Does that mean I should be putting studs at 603mm centres then?
I've got a compressor-fired stapler already so will see if I can get stainless staples for it.
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It's a good question. I don't think to - because if you mount them standing up, then you'll have, across 3 studs, a centre of 1206mm!

Make sure when you order your OSB, it's the right size - they sometimes come in 2440x1220 (and will never fit 600ctrs, or 2400x1200 - and will fit - but without a gap!

We didn't quite make them match - hopefully you can avoid the same! So if you get 2400x1200, and leave a 3mm gap, should it be a 601.5ctr?

Don't take my word for it - we did get it wrong but sometimes it fries your brain trying to work it out - despite it seeming so simple! T&G boards are much easier - you don't need to worry about aligning the edges with the studs or the gaps, unless it's a long run.
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Yes OSB already ordered- 1200 wide it is.
If I knock it all together on a damp day (damp? On Skye?) will that do?
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Aye, just fine! here's a build going on near here - steel frame with timber infill (like our upstairs) - the OSB has been exposed for days and it's been raining.

I wouldn't have dreamed leaving the OSB exposed overnight never mind for days...ah well.
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Spoke to a joiner about this question, and he said "oh yes you must leave a 3mm gap!", so I asked him if 600 centres actually means 601.5mm in real life and he looked very puzzled, then admitted that that would make sense. Then he said that in the real world nobody bothers about the gap, but if you think there's a problem you just run a circular saw up the joint, set to the board thickness.
Conclusion: it's not a big deal, I think :)
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I'm so glad you said that - we didn't leave a gap for some and I decided if it was an issue, I'd run a circular saw up it! Glad it wasn't a silly idea! Happy days!
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Cracking on with the framing... well as fast as is sensible for one person who has never done this before... measure twice, cut once :)
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23 Apr 2016 01:56 PM
Congrats on the baby, by the way! Hubby always moans when watching Grand Designs; almost everyone seems to get pregnant - its the main reason he wouldnt let us go for the Grand Designs tv prog on the Graven Hill site. I'm a little too old really but he wasnt taking any chances.
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That looks like Edinbane in the background.....we're self building just up the road from you at Kildonan!
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Well spotted - pop round sometime if you like! These frame panels aren't going to lift themselves... :)
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