the first Certified Passivhaus in England, by Seymour-Smith Architectsthe AI PassivHaus

2nd February 2009

Snow frustratingly puts a stop to any progress on site.

The barn (top centre) seen from the village of Barton-on-the-Heath.

6th February

View of the village green.  No work or school today (again), and definitely no progress on site...

7th February 2009 

Once more, not a bad view, eh?...

You don't get beautiful un-touched snow like this in London...

18th February 2009

Wesley and Mike bravely battle the cold to carry on with re-building the gable.  Although the snow melted a few days ago, it was still too cold for the lime mortar, or indeed the small amount of outstanding Heli-bar grout to set.

19th February 2009

We take a quick break from the relentless cold and mud on site for a visit to the Sto factory in Germany - an truly iconic building, and the most modern paint plant in Europe...

Architect Richard Walker kindly gave us the grand tour, accompanied by the Grand Designs crew.  We had great fun playing with their acoustic ceiling tests, seeing their self-cleaning paint in action, and trying to make dents in their rendered external wall insulation with an axe - not possible!

We also experienced the hilarious Karneval in Stuehlingen (cameras not rolling at this point thankfully!)...

And we visited an inspiring PassivHaus development in Vauban, near Freiburg...

as well as an adjacent Energy-Plus development - taking PassivHaus one stage further and adding enough renewables to generate more energy than they use.

24th February

Back on site, there is big excitement (and nail-biting) as the first underpinning bay is tentatively broken-out.

The metre wide underpinning bays are measured with a laser and marked on the inside of the barn walls.  All the "A" bays are done first, then the "B"s, etc, so that not too much of these crumbly old walls are unsupported at any one time...

25th February 2009

Sand blinding and polythene form the base of the underpinning, with steel reinforcing mesh and cages on spacers.  Once adjacent bays are cast, the reinforcing bars will be drilled through to make the reinforcement continuous.

The same bay seen from inside the barn.  Reinforcing rods have been hammered into the ground to hold the ply formwork in place.

Concrete is then poured in and well compacted - easy!

26th February 2009

The next bay, ready for shuttering and concrete.