Timber Frame PLOT 1

Red Kite


An auspicious crane day as a Red Kite flies in front of our crane as it is installing the Timber Frame for Plot 1 🙂1978977779_RedKite.thumb.jpg.ba859b0a8855514b7c277debcd7deaab.jpg


Its been a while as life has been really hectic and keeping up with things on site have meant little time for the blog. This one is exciting and the video shows the MBC Timber Frame for Plot 1 (our son Joe's house) from start to finish. We have cut this to be chronological and cut out the days MBC were not on site so the build looks continuous.


The build sequence is that they fit the sole plate to our Beam and Block (apart from one manageable problem it fitted - big sigh of relief - whew!!)  and then unload all the materials for the ground floor and internal walls onto the site. Then they build the put up the big silver panels for the ground floor external walls and then crane in the internal walls and rest the joists onto the walls. This is pretty much the end of Day 1 and they can then send the crane away. Day 2 sees the joists set out and the internal walls for the ground floor put in and the Ground floor is pretty much complete.


At this point we had them stop and allow time for the fitting of the Under Floor Heating for the first floor (a separate blog entry on this later - and yes there is a school of thought that says you really dont need it).   This UFH consists of plastic pipes that sit in/on aluminum plates between the joists and needs to be fitted before the floorboards go down. We had our M&E person lined up for this but he was unable to meet the long communicated and long committed dates for the installation of these and was suggesting approx 10 days delay which was unacceptable. For this, and quite a few other reasons we parted company with him, and though he owes us money (which we think may be hard to recover) it is in many ways a relief because we had lost confidence in his ability to deliver and complete the project. So plan B for the UFH :- we ordered the alu plates and pipe on next day delivery and the three of us amateurs fitted all the UFH in two days. There was a complication because even though all the MBC drawings showed single joists at 400mm centres, when the arrived on site they were double joists at 400mm centres. This makes for a better building but meant every single plate had to be ripped down the length so it would fit. Juliana did a great (but very noisy) job of this with the trusty bandsaw and the job was done reasonably painlessly (with the use of ear defenders) . A bit naughty of MBC to spring this on us but we managed, worse was that the exposed feature glulam beam that runs across the entire building was 'adjusted' with a sledge hammer and left a series of very ugly and visible dents - MBC will face with a thin glulam to cover the dents - but a bit of a blow!


Next MBC came back with a new Irish crew who are much more careful and meticulous and they laid the floorboards and then the next day another crane and lorry with the second floor and the roof. Same again :- unload it all, put up the external walls, crane in the internal walls, then the roof joists on top and place all the materials where they are needed. At the end of a busy day the crane leaves and everything is ready for the subsequent internal walls and the roof joists and the roof deck. The roof is simple in that it is flat, but has a complicated oversail detail that took a long time to get done.417351296_MBCRoof.thumb.jpg.ebfdf32b25253b4eb7b76df6a303981f.jpg


So in total 8 working days and MBC had the entire shell of Plot 1 done - a testament to the hard work and long hours the MBC crews put in. It is so exciting to see so much progress in such a short time. Fantastic to see the form of the building we have lived with on paper for years finally take shape in front of our eyes. The split level design is so neat and clever - it makes great use of the sloped site and the circulation space is very efficient.


One tricky thing was getting between the four split level floors - so we knocked together 3 flights of temporary stairs using material from the skip that make this a dream - as soon as MBC have finished the last of the internal walls we can fit a handrail and safety barrier which will make them much easier and safer!!!! But amazing what you can do with bits from the skip - think its called up-cycling. Oh and we made some temporary garage doors (complete with rainbow) to give us some storage - bit wet inside at the moment but when there is a dry house above that should be fine - one of the problems with waterproof concrete is that water doesn't drain away!)


When we have time a separate blog on UFH and Plot 2


The latest video is called  Plot 1 Timber Frame plus all the older ones can be found here :-



MBC Stairs.jpg

MBC garage.jpg

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Looking good, and some excellent upcycled stairs there. Fingers crossed that it’s plain sailing from here on in after your early problem with trades.


Regarding the damage to your glulam, sometimes MBC ought to just slow down a bit it would save them time and money in the long run. We had several return visits where they had just not taken the time to do it right in the first place, but they never quibbled about returning and fixing things. 

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