BUILDING A SOLAR HOUSE IN FRANCE - WEEK 6 - floor beamsand pots ('poutrelles' and 'hourdis')
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Wednesday 9th May - a week later after the second public holiday work started again after the delivery of the floor beams and pots ('poutrelles' et 'hourdis' or 'entrevous' ).
The floor beams are precast prestressed inverted 'T' concrete. they started with the floor over the cellar.
The 'hourdis' are insulating polystyrene as the 'cave' will not be heated.
I regret having to use any poystyrene in an ecological house, but to date there is no economical alternative for an insulated floor with underfloor heating. A heavy timber construction is possible at twice the price. This structure is so standard and quick to build that for our budget it was the only choice.
To avoid cold bridges, the polystyrene pots bridging between the beams have tongues under the beams to cover them and give an uninterrupted surface of polystyrene in the cellar.
Over the rest of the basement story ('sous sol' ) the pots are made of 'ceramique' or fired clay, like the monomur walls and partition briques. Also the 'poutrelles' have a fired clay tile facing on the underside.
'Poutrelles' spaced out with 'hourdis' at each end. At this stage I had to check that the spacing was right for the pipes and electrical conduits that later would pierce the slab.
Closeup the 'poutrelles' and 'hourdis'.
View south from inside future spare bedroom.
Friday morning - all poutrelles in place and 'hourdis' over cave nearly finished.
View from future studio towards double door to hall. Far end the area with heating system : 1000 litre insulated hot water cylinder heated by the Godin woodburning fire with a back boiler in the living room. The underfloor heating and a few radiators are fed from this.
All the 'hourdis' had been set out by Friday afternoon, and reinforcing placed around the perimeter.
On Monday morning I cut and placed extra polystyrene edge insulation around the perimeter. At this stage it is hard to be involved 'hands on' with building work on site, as most of it is in the Faye contract, but now I have built up a good rapport with him, Francis finds me jobs like this to do, which may be part of their contract, but if I help, will be useful in negotiations about extras later on.
The state of play by Monday afternoon. Another job I took on was to place poystyrine blocks at exact positions where pipes and conduits will pierce the slab. The plumber and electrician, Claude Desvergnes, had previously agreed the ideal positions with me the week before This is in fact something that is better for me to do than to hand the drawing to Francis to do, because almost every single block involves a decision about which side of a precast beam the hole must go when it falls in the middle, and he would have to consult me or risk making the wrong decision.
Francis filling the vertical 'raidisseurs' or stiffening reinforced concrete columns inside the block and monomur walls. Concrete mixed on site.
The shuttering to form the hole for the staircase down to the sous sol. Dimension over the foot of the stair critical to have correct head room. Finished on Tuesday afternoon.
My polystyrene blocks wired into place - a total of 11 holes in all. After the slab is poured it will cover the blocks with a very thin layer, which will be cracked off to reveal the places where the holes can be drilled through the fired clay pots with a diamond hole cutter, without any danger of hitting a prestressed beam or reinforcing rods.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, Francis started to form the concrete channel behind the retaining walls which will be waterproofed. A pipe will be laid in the channel before the earth is backfilled.
On Wednesday morning the readymix concrete arrived and was conveyed onto the slab in half cubic meter buckets by the crane.
Bucket being filled.
The drain around the south corner finished.
Slab being levelled and surface finished by CÚdric, the young apprentice. (Confusing when Francis shouts for CÚdric to bring him something)
View of house from bottom corner of the land. The slab was poured and finished by luchtime, a little later than expected because the second concrete lorry got lost and a search party had to be sent out to find him, cruising around the neighbourhood. He had turned off his mobile phone, and didn't think to phone Francis on the site.
The final 'blockhouse', on Wednesday afternoon. Tomorrow is yet another public holiday, and Francis and his team will disappear for about a week to give the concrete slab time to set properly, before carrying on with the monomur exterior wallpanels on which the oak frame will rest. When the earth that has been excavated is pushed back around the retaining walls to form the terrace, it will blend into the slope of the site. Photo taken from the top of mound of earth as high as the roof ridge.
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Album last updated on May 18, 2007 - 07:21 PM