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

7th January 2009

Day one on site, with Cotswold Structural about to start the Heli-fix work to consolidate the barn.  Fantastically exciting to be finally getting started, despite the dodgy access.

8th January 2009

Ian and Mark  tentatively begin cutting slots in the 300 year old crumbly stone walls.  Window and door openings are being blocked up temporarily to increase stability.

13th January 2009

The groundworks contractors, BAHull, have started on site.  The ruined part of the barn to the right is being carefully dismantled (to be re-built later as our walled kitchen garden), and much needed work has begun on the access track. 

14th January 2009

A beautiful crisp winter morning...

Close-up of the Heli-beam coils which wrap around the whole building to consolidate it.  Extra strong grout holds the coils in place (it will be continuous once a bit of stone patching-in has been done in this case), and the grout will be pointed over eventually with lime mortar.

Another Heli-beam coil, not yet grouted in.

Looking North towards the barn, with three counties visible in the background.

But it was all going too well...  Complete disaster as the North gable wall of the part of the barn that was to be retained collapses.  We're mainly relieved that nobody was hurt.  We could though potentially lose our planning permission over this.  Particularly gutting since we had already spent a lot of money preparing that wall for the Heli-beams.  So, on to the friendly local planners to hope they will see we haven't gained from this collapse - and a nervous wait for the response...

15th January 2009

The roof covering has now been removed, leaving some of the purlins for temporary stability.  The stripes in the stonework show the location of some of the Heli-beams (more to go up the gable).

The digger behind the barn is clearing away the rubble from the collapsed wall (stones to be used for re-constructing it).  And just look at that view...

16th January 2009

The Grand Designs crew missed the dramatic collapse, but have come to film the intended parts of the demolition...

Jonathan, Johanna and Joe film the demolition derby, with Nigel of BAHull looking on.

The unsafe ruined Northern end of the barn is demolished, to be re-built as our walled kitchen garden once the structure below is complete.

The central gable wall is also demolished to make what will become the office open-plan.

And the sun finally comes out at the end of a very long (and cold) day to reveal what's left of the barn.  Not much, admittedly, but the principle of keeping this part intact was instrumental in our gaining planning permission.

21st January 2009

A reinforced concrete strip foundation has been cast to re-build the ruined gable wall on (assuming we are allowed to...), and Ian and Mark take a break from the all-consuming mud at ground level to work on the inside of the Southern gable.

26th January

Phew...  An enormous sigh of relief as the planning department confirm we may proceed as long as we re-build the gable before the big dig...

Wesley and Mike get on with the gable wall re-buildng.  We're using light weight concrete blockwork internally for benefits in speed, cost and weight, and because the interior was to be insulated and plasterboarded anyway.  The outside is carefully pointed in lime mortar.

The Heli-beam work continues, tying the new wall into the existing.