Saturday, 26 December 2009

Finally, some action!

After the wettest spring since 1945, summer has finally arrived in New Zealand. The job that we’ve been waiting three months to be able to do – digging the holes for the verandah posts – is finally complete and our building morale is on the up.

Timing is very important when you’re digging in heavy clay. If we’d tried to dig the holes for the verandah posts too early, the ground would have been like blancmange, the holes wouldn’t have held their shape and the inspector wouldn’t have approved the footings. If we’d waited too long the ground would have set like concrete and we wouldn’t have been able to get the spade into it.

Me wrapping the frame in builder's wrap

Luckily, by the time this year’s window of opportunity came around we were living up on site, and we managed to get all six post holes dug within the course of a couple of days. Before we could pour the concrete we had to get the holes inspected. At the same time, we asked the inspector to give the frame a quick check. Because it’s spent such a long time being exposed to very wet weather, we were worried that the wood might be too far gone, and we might have to pull it down and start again. That would have really sapped our morale, dented our pockets, and set the build back to square one.

Fortunately both the footings and the frame passed muster, but the inspector said we needed to get the building wrap and the roof on as soon as possible. We were a bit surprised, because the official frame inspection (which we’re not ready for yet because we’ve not built the verandah) is called the ‘pre-wrap’ inspection, so we’d assumed that you couldn’t put the building wrap on before the frame had been inspected. We really wish we’d known this because we would have wrapped the frame up months ago.

 This ugly duckling will emerge as a beautiful swan some day. Or at least, a passable duck.

 We put the building wrap on the day after the inspection. The roof can’t go on until we’ve completed the framework for the verandah roof, so we got some black plastic sheeting and made a temporary roof out of that. The random pieces of wood you can see in the photo are emergency storm-proofing measures to stop the roof lifting off during the inevitable gale that blew up within a few hours of covering the roof. The house doesn’t look great, but at least the frame now has a chance to dry out at last.

Gratuitous yurt shot. I love our yurt!

Now the inspection is out of the way and the house is protected from the rain, our next job is to build the verandah. Getting the verandah posts in the right positions was fiddly but not as difficult or as time-consuming we'd been anticipating - it only took just over a day. Pouring the concrete was even quicker- just three hours! I'm really glad Iain treated us to a concrete mixer for Christmas!

Iain and the verandah posts pre-concrete

Now the concrete is poured we have to wait for it to cure for a few days before we can start building the framing for the verandah roof, so tomorrow we're going to start work on the deck for our yurt.


P.S. A trivia question for you: From which computer game is this post’s title taken?