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

1st July 2009

Now we get to the really exciting (and extremely heavy) bits of the building being lifted into place...

This piece going in really starts to make it look like a cool piece of architecture (well, we think so, anyway...)

it's actually starting to look quite big too...

The first of the hollowcore roof planks starting to go in is caught on camera.  Hollowcore slabs get their fabulous strength and ability to span long distances from pre-tensioned steel strands which are embedded in the high strength concrete. Continuous voids in the planks reduce their overall weight and reduce their environmental impact.

Having siliconed around the base, Luke and Simon make good use of a Sprite bottle to pour high-flowing grout into the dowel holes in the concrete panels that sit on top of, rather than in pockets in the slab. 

2nd July 2009

The next enormous piece of precast is lifted into place, this time above the garage and main entrance.  This one weighs 11.5 tonnes (the heaviest one is 20 tonnes).

Joints between the hollowcore floor / roof planks are sealed with expanding foam, ready for grouting...

and more roof panels are installed above the gaarage area.

It's great to finally see a "lid" being put on the building.

and to see some more of the really exciting bits of the building being installed...  This piece above the main living space will serve as an upstand to stop people falling off the grass roof, as well as supporting our large array of PV panles.

and this piece completes the upstands - we're thrilled with the result.

3rd July 2009

Premier Precast's last day on site is spent installing the remainder of the hollowcore floor slabs.  A whole house built in two weeks - not bad, eh?

4th July 2009

So, there's our house.  We're pretty chuffed...

6th July 2009

So, now full speed ahead with the team from SJS grouting the joints between the planks.

7th July 2009

The screeding follows on.  This has the dual purpose of tying the structure together, and providing a slight fall to aid the drainage.

8th July 2009

Following shuttering around all the edges, the screeding continues apace.  The use of an additive called Duremit 50 has enabled us to reduce the cement content of the screed whilst still achieving exceptionally high strength.  As soon as each section is complete, it is covered with polythene for a few days to slow down the curing process and prevent cracking.

10th July 2009

We can really start to appreciate the geometry now, as well as the contrast between the existing barn and the crisp new structure.

And SJS are able to crack on with the waterproofing of the walls.  The product we're using is Fosroc Proofex 3000, a cold applied flexible high performance membrane incorporating a cross laminated HDPE carrier film with a polymer modified bitumen compound.  It's good stuff anyway.  This is one of several layers of defence to prevent water from entering the building...

21st July 2009

The progress was frustratingly short-lived though, as we are faced with the wettest July since 1914...

27th July 2009

Still raining.

In fact, it's been raining for so long and the ground is so wet, that our first delivery of concrete blocks gets stuck on the now very muddy track.

We're very excited to see these blocks arrive though (as much as one can be excited by concrete blocks!).  They're Ashlite "Waste not Warrior" made by Lignacite, and have an impressive 90% recycled content (ash, glass, ground granulated blastfurnace slag and recrushed concrete).

28th July 2009

Wesley and Dan get started building the first few internal partitions, so that we can measure up to order our windows.

30th July 2009

Still grey skies and raining most of the time - but we're trying to make the most of the odd sunny spells...

This great expanse of mirror-smooth precast concrete looks so wonderful it seems a shame that it will eventually be covered in rendered insulation...

Although the barn is now fully supported on the new concrete structure, we are keeping the steel frame in place until we have more permanent support in place for the precariously leaning barn walls.

31st July 2009

The rain has finally abated for long enough for our field to be harvested, which once more completely changes our surroundings.

The rain this month has certainly held things up for us, but all the local farmers have been just as frustrated.  Ah, the great British weather...