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ONE (WO)MAN DOWN ...... (and an upper floor wall built)



I’ve been meaning to  provide an update on the progress of this build for a while, and I find myself with a spare couple of work hours 🙂


At the end of December 2021, we left you with 95% of the lower floor walls complete, and looking forward to getting the first set of steels installed. Of course, last winter’s weather, including some furious storms, had a thing or two to say about that, which included me going down at short notice and staying in the local Travelodge (other chains are available) ready for the inevitable turmoil that would greet me after the 90mph storm. It turned out not to be too bad, with only limited damage to the caravan awning, and some items moved around the plot.


In early March we decided to make our first visit since that storm, and were greeted by a lovely surprise - the first set of steels were in place. I am still amazed at the lack of communication from some building industry people, but as I am told by the locals “its Cornwall”.



It was time to order the next set of materials to get to the upper floor stage, which we wanted to get done by the end  of June/mid July  (it’s always good to have a target even though you won’t meet it 🙂 ). This included joists, flooring, the next set of Nudura and wood to create partition walls.


In the meantime, we got started with applying the over-specced, and over-engineeed waterproofing scheme that our “professional” had stated we needed after deciding that their first spec was not up to the mustard. 

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Can I just say at this point - there is an awful lot of discrepancy with what we self-builders are being told is required, and even after asking a lot of dumb questions, it’s almost impossible to get a straight and consistent answer, even from the same person sometimes. This is where having some common sense mixed with an engineering/technical background does come in extremely handy. Suffice it to say, that I have ditched some of the “uprated” waterproofing spec on the basis that logically it was overkill for the build type and soil conditions. Some will question “what about building warranty/guarantee” which is fair, but on the basis that we are not intending to sell and to live there for many decades to come, we are prepared to take what is a very small risk on this.


Come early May, and with careful planning and scheduling I had 3 major deliveries lined up for the same day. The careful scheduling went South of course, and everything turned up within an hour of each other. 3.5 non-stop hours of handballing Nudura ICF, webjoists and floorboards, a 150kg, 6m long glulam beam (more of which later) and enough wood to build an ark (at least that what is seemed like at the time), I was a gibbering wreck, only fit to nurse a mug of tea and a heavily bruised thigh (did I mention a glulam beam?).



For 5 weeks between the end of May and the beginning of July, supporting partition walls were created and installed, joists hangers and joists put up and some flooring. This work also included the installation of that 6m glulam beam which was a one day job on its own. 

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So finally, at the beginning of July we were ready to miss our end of June/mid July target date but roped in some family members to help get us cracking on doing the second floor Nudura walling (the pic of the family is from July 10).

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We were still on for an end of July concrete pour, until …… I would insert some pictures, but cannot take responsibility for any impact they have on the squeamish and faint of heart.


Neither we, or any of the medical staff who have been involved with the treatment, can put our finger on where the infection came from but shortly after that July 10th picture of the family, the wife was struck down with Cellulitis that turned into necrotising fasciitis, which could have led to sepsis. If you read the link, you will realise that building a house suddenly becomes the least important thing on your mind. However, I am happy to report that the first operation saved her foot, and quite possibly her life, and the subsequent 3 operations to clean and repair the foot have been traumatic and very worrying. She is now on the mend but ….. I AM DOWN A LABOURER.


Thanks to the NHS, however, and the enforced hospitalisations, and visiting being taken care of by other family and friends, the wife was able to send me to Cornwall (rather than Coventry) and I managed to get the walls finished and the concrete pour took place on September 9th.



Now to wait for the second set of steels to go in, and I can order the roof joists. We might be semi weathertight for the winger 🙂


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The concrete fill in the icf looks very neat and the walls look nice and straight.  No grout runs or bursts.


Do you build studwork against the walls for services and plasterboard?

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Such a good job, well done, so sorry to hear about your wife and hope she is on the mend. It’s times like those that puts life into perspective.

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' ... the wife was struck down with Cellulitis that turned into necrotising fasciitis, which could have led to sepsis....'


And what you don't say is that she could therefore easily have died. I really deeply , from bitter personal experience, hope she is on the mend. Really. deeply ....


In my case, a cat bit me. A favourite, much loved playful cat.

Cant take a joke? Dont keep a cat


Edited by ToughButterCup
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On 23/09/2022 at 16:27, Mr Punter said:

Do you build studwork against the walls for services and plasterboard?

Decision to be made. There is a post somewhere about hot knifing pipe and conduits runs into the insulation. In fact I think I volunteered the site for someone to make video about it 😂

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On 23/09/2022 at 16:27, Mr Punter said:

No grout runs or bursts.

Some minor things I noticed when taking down all the bracing yesterday but nothing major

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1 hour ago, ToughButterCup said:

she could therefore easily have died.

I didn't want to over dramatise  😂 but yes, the first of the 4 ops she has had has been marked up by the medical staff as a life saver

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Wishing you both all the best - that sounds like a truly frightening experience. We are down at the mo, and will be down regularly now until our build finishes. Do give me a shout if there's anything you need. M

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On 27/10/2022 at 22:36, Omnibuswoman said:

Do give me a shout if there's anything you need

Used shuttering boards at the moment 🙂

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