Above the ground

Meanwhile all the major activity has stopped for 2 weeks as I prepare to lay the first couple of courses of blocks above the damp proof level. This is a labour of love cleaning out all the concrete spillages in the castellations of the bricks so that the next course fits properly on top. By the time I'm finished every castellation will have a name and they will all be 4 letters long! 2/08/06

The weather has deteriorated markedly and protective clothing equals full oilskins. The estimated windspeed has been approx 50mph on a few days and, when it is that windy, even handling a single brick is tricky. You have to wait for the wind to die down before setting it on the ground. There was a 'wind sock' but it was making so much noise it had to be taken down. Take my word - it was horizontal!

The objective has been to get the first layer of bricks above the damp course fitted properly because the upper layers should then fit very easily. Because of the damage to the castellations and the proportion that had gratuitous concrete deposits the cleanup took 3 man weeks on sore knees.

A useful feature with BECO is that, if you don't like the way the wall fits, you can move it to get access to the problem bits. Try that with breeze blocks!

This is the South wall of the garage which seems to rock on the damp course level where most damage was done. We took it off several times before convincing ourselves that the problem was one brick at the corner which is too low.

The cleanup and the gradual building of the walls to cill height took till 16th August and, at that point it looked like this.

NB Working late again!

The North wall has been propped prior to pouring the all-important first 2 and a bit courses to minimise the possibility of the wall bowing.

and here's the string line that we will use to align it before poring the concrete.

This next bit might yet go badly wrong but we seem to have too many 250mm BECO bricks so I decided to have a go at making wet room 4 out of BECO. We had always hoped that it could be BECO but there were communication lapses during the planning permission/building warrant phases and the submitted plans showed wet room 4 as internal partition walls with plasterboard. The BECO version should give us a stronger internal wall than the intended partition and we can tile directly on the BECO removing a problem sourcing waterproof plasterboard.

The white bit is the wet room. 20/08/06

Here's a view you won't see very often.

It's the 30th of August and we have had a bit of a growth spurt. Apart from the Teleporter hydraulics going wrong this morning and costing us most of it, things have progressed well and the current state of play is as follows.

The garage has lintels but they aren't filled with concrete yet.

The North wall looks like this but again the lintels have yet to be poured.

The West end minus feature windows ....

and the view from the kitchen is

The roof trusses have been delayed and it's beginning to look like we need to get some more BECO bits (and send some back!) so things will probably not be visibly different for 10 days or so. Keep looking.