Snow, snow and more snow. The first half of January was dedicated to snow management. They say that we haven't had this much snow in 15 years.
By mid January we were able to begin work on the south side beam between Level 3 and Level 4.
Once it was installed, we had to install the supports for the top level seacans that would span the shop opening from north to south. We use a lazer level to make sure that the supports are at the proper elevation, then measure the distance to make sure that the corners of each can to be placed, will sit properly on the supports.
Needing more light in the area, we decided to cut one of the windows into the L3 south can and install the window framing. Making sure to keep the weather out, we installed poly over the framing.
We then began fabricating the north beam between Level 3 and Level 4.
We completed the installation of the L3 - L4 North beam, then used a wire brush and metal primer on it and the west and south beams. All of the beams on this level are now complete. Bill also welded the steel supports on the base of the Level 4 cans to support the top layer of sea-cans.
Our new solar panels have arrived. The new panels are 235 watts, the earlier ones we installed were only 135 watts. Although the price is coming down considerably, we will still be using the older ones. Due to the exterior of the house not yet complete, we set about building frame supports on the ground so the new panels could be mounted. There are a total of 16 new panels, along with another charge controller.
A steel tubing wall has to be fabricated between the TV room and the sewing room. This is to give extra support between Level 2 and Level 4. There is no post support below in the 40 foot open span on Level 2. When completed, there was no drop or sag at all in any of the north cans.
It's time to install a door on Level 3 for easier access. Before we can start the door opening we built a ramp from where the door will be installed to the top of the hill on the south side of the building, spanning where we still need backfill. Bill and Kala built the framing for the 3 doors on this level while I cut the opening.
Details of installing the windows and doors will be soon posted under a new heading.
With the temperatures warming up it is time to cut in the window and door openings in Level 3. We use cutting discs and steel blades to cut the openings. Once the openings were cut, the rough framing for the openings were installed. The framing is secured in place from the inside of the cans in each of the outside ribs.
Above the openings, we installed 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" steel angle (sits between the top of the frame and can opening and cut to sit flush to inside), and secured to the inside ribs. The framing and steel angle was then siliconed completely around the perimeter then grout was poured into the void between the angle and the can to stabilize solidify the cut out openings.
We also got the strapping on the exterior of Level 3 - South side installed.
We managed to get 3 walls framed between a bedroom, ensuite and laundry room on the south side and also finished framing the wall between the media room and the sewing room on the north side.
To ready the last of the sea-cans to be placed on the top level (Level 4) we need to fabricate beams for the bottom of 4 cans. These cans will free span an opening of 24' over the garage/shop area. The beams consist of 1 - 1/4" X 10" flat plate, 2 - 1/4" X 2" X 3" angle iron, 2 - 2" X 2" X 1/4" wall tubing and 50 - 2" X 4" X 1/4" steel shims. Each beam weighs approximately 530 lbs.
Three (3) more beams were fabricated for the last of the sea-cans to be placed on the top level. To move the beams outside and manouver them into place, Bill built a 2 wheeled dolly to make the process easier for the 3 of us. We used an engine hoist to lift and lower one end of the beam onto the dolly and eased the other end out the door. The beam's outside end was then secured to the Kabota, and slowly lifted, then pulled the beam out the door and moved into place alongside each of the seacans.
A jack was used to lift the beam to the proper level on the sea-can frame then they were welded into place.
We measured and cut the openings for the 3 doors that will be on Level 3. Then we installed the framing for the doors, installed and secured the steel angle above the doors and poured the grout into the angle above them. To make sure no-one falls through the openings, we put 2" X 4" cross bracing across the openings and insulation on the exterior to keep the weather out until the doors are installed.
Our windows and doors have arrived. Bill and Kala were able to set one window in place in the south-east corner of level 3. Once the tarpaper was installed around the framework. Before we can install the rest of the windows, we have to complete the strapping of the ribs on the outside of the cans, then install the insulation and OSB to the exterior. First and foremost, we need to wait until the ground dries out around the house.
The first two (2) pictures refer back to previous months when we installed brackets and angle to the top side of the Level 3 cans. The last 5 seacans for the main structure (on Level 4 - the top level) will be set on these brackets and angle. The purpose is to add extra support and stability to the top floor system for when the entire interior walls are removed.
Removing some of the panels before lifting them into place, has given us not only instant access but also a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally the last can is lifted into place. The main structure is complete.
We cut out nine (9) more steel panels from the interior and began marking out where the door and window openings will be on the north and west exterior walls.
Next on the agenda is to complete the exterior wall opening between the tower and the main structure on the north-west corner. Bill installed some of the tubing and framed in the window opening for the Level 4 north landing.
Along with the construction, spring is here and we also need to make time for tree planting, the vegetable garden and mowing. It was a full month.
29 Sea-cans in place completing the main structure.
The steel for the roof truss system arrived. We have been fighting the rain, but the delivery of the steel came with a break from it and we were able to get the steel lifted onto the roof before it started again.
20,000 lbs of steel sitting on one (1) can. We erected a brace for the inside of the can just to make sure it was well supported, but it shows just how stable the seacans are.
Bill managed to complete the north tower wall, getting the balance of the tubing and panels welded into place.
He also completed and installed the middle landing for the staircase that will eventually lead to the roof level. We will have complete access from basement to the roof in this north stair-well. The second last set of stairs is also ready for installation.
Bill fabricated a mobile crane for the roof to move the steel into place for the truss. On the back-side of the crane, he built a platform for any counter-balance that we may need. This rig was a major back saver.
In the top of the north tower, we had to cut through the one side of the corner wall tubing to make way for the staircase to the roof level. More steel tubing was welded into place around the opening to maintain the integrity of the steel framing.
We will have a flat roof on the building. This will allow for complete roof access. Kala wants to put a hot tub up there.
The roof truss system was engineered to have a 38 lb/sq.ft - dead load, and 100 lb/sq.ft - live load, with a 3 ft ventilation space between the top of the seacans and the underside of the roof.
Bill hired a welder (Dillon Johnson) to weld the truss system as the mig welder does not work very well when open to the elements.
The truss itself, consists of a bottom rail, uprights, top rail, cross bracing and top bridging with a concrete stop around the perimeter of the roof.
We completed the roof truss and got it all primed.
Bill built the last set of stairs that leads to the roof and we used the roof crane and some slings to set it in place. We now have full stair access from basement to roof.
We rented a manlift to get some of the exterior work done. Bill put the solid insulation between the Level 3 and Level 4 cans then started to install the deck support bracing for the upper deck.
Before starting the deck supports, we had to figure out a way to lift the steel into place to be welded. Bill designed and built a small winch that gets mounted on the outside rail of the roof truss. This winch worked extremely well and is very portable. We also used the winch to lift some of the removed panels onto the roof for the decking.
Flat bar was welded into place first, then the angle was welded over top along with the deck bolts. This was then siliconed and primed. On the east end of the south side of Level 4, steel supports for some of the solar panels was installed below the windows.
Silverboard insulation was installed between the exposed ribs of the south tower, then blown-in insulation was sprayed in over the silverboard. We also installed the insulation in the top of both towers.
While Bill was busy with the exterior, I was working on the interior of Level 4, removing some of the wall panels to open up the inside. There are still 28 panels to be removed.
For the last couple days of the month it rained again. We need it for the garden and trees. This gave us a chance to get all 12 of the Level 4 window frames built.
With the removal of the rest of the panels on Level 4, we can finally start to picture how our main living space will look and the room that we will have when complete.
Favourable weather conditions allowed us to continue work on the roof. Solid 4' X 8' X 1" insulation was installed on the roof deck between the truss tubing in the crawl space, then blown-in insulation was sprayed in over the silverboard. At the same time that the insulation was being done, we began installing the previously cut out wall panels onto the top of the truss system and welding them into place. The top decking will be later poured with concrete to seal the roof area.
We hired a crane to lift the balance of the removed wall panels and the rebar onto the roof system. We also used it to lift the steel roof hut framing into place to be welded. The roof is now ready for concrete.
The roof hut (as I call it) sits on the top of the house for easy access to the roof and will also serve as a mount for the windmill. A handrail is being constructed and welded into place on the roof of the hut.
A friend of ours, Terry, arrived to give us a hand for a few days, with some of the exterior work. We managed to complete installation of the strapping, insulation, osb, and windows and doors on the south side, Level 3 and 4 and also most of Level 3 on the west side.
We also completed cutting and installing the window frames for the rest of the building. All sides are now ready to receive the strapping, insulation, osb, windows and doors.
Here's to hoping that we can get the building sealed up before the weather changes.
With October came a drop is temperatures, some rain and a lot of wind.
The rebar had to be laid out and tied on top of the hut and roof decking in preparation for the concrete topper. We can't get concrete until the first week in November. At least we are ready for it. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.
We then completed installing the steel railing on top of the roof hut, the steel handrail along the stairway opening, and the steel landing off the Level 4 North door opening. We also installed our temporary rail posts and handrail around the perimeter of the roof. Safety first. These will be later removed when we are ready to build the permanent solar panel mounting brackets and handrail.
Work also continued on the exterior. The strapping, insulation, osb, windows and doors will be an ongoing project until we get it done. We were constantly battling high winds so it is touch and go most days, but we did manage to get most of the east side complete and a small portion of the north side.
When the winds were too strong to work on the siding, we managed to get most of the garage floor area backfilled. The backfill has to be tamped to 98% compaction to hold the garage slab. We still need another 3' (three) feet of fill to bring it up to grade level.
Last for the month, but not least, our electrical friend, Wade Rankin, came to help us get power to Level 4. He always gives us a charge.
With the change in the weather (rain, wind and snow) we took the time to get the garage door opening formed and rebar installed. If we can get the door apron done then we can get hopefully get the garage door and mandoor installed before Christmas.
While waiting for the weather to change, to get the concrete poured, we continued with the exterior insulation and OSB. We completed the east side and started on the north side. Inside, we began grinding down the floor edges of where the wall panels were removed. We have to grind them down so that the sharp edges will not cut the tubing for the infloor heat.
The concrete was finally poured on the 22nd of the month. The mixture that we went with is 35 mpa, Type 50, air entrained with extra calcium and polymer and 3/8" aggregate. With this mixture, the concrete will wear better and be more resistant to water.
We used propane heaters to keep the underside of the roof warm so that it would set up properly. Type 50 concrete takes a longer time to dry out so the boys worked well into the night getting the roof trowelled properly.
The roof is finally complete! Hopefully the weather for the next couple weeks will cooperate so that we can finish the outside insulation and OSB.
The beginning of December brought us some mixed weather, with some very windy days, but above average temperatures.
We continued to work on getting the exterior insulation and OSB installed. By mid December, the north side of the building was enclosed.
Bill and our neighbor, Mike, managed to get 2 of the roof hut walls framed in, boarded up and window installed. The north side is 100% complete now.
We continued on around the north-west corner of the building and a good start on the west side. On the west side, there is only the top level to complete, but it will be a major job as we have a large bow window for the kitchen and a double garden door for the living room area to install.
We took a break over the Christmas and New Year holidays. We hope that everyone had a joyous holiday and we wish each and everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year.