Week of December 25-29, 2006

This was winter break for us but we kept the project moving by putting in the outside and interior perimeter drain tiles. Usually builders put in weep holes in the bottom of the walls to let in water from the outside of the building run underneath the basement concrete slab. The Building Science Corporation however thinks it's a bad idea to introduce water underneath the house which makes sense. We also ran on interior drain around the entire inside of our basement. The idea is to capture the water outside the house and have that water be transferred to the interior piping and to the sump well to pumped out. In this manner, we hope to eliminate most of the "free" water under our house.

Another feature of our house build is that we put in a filter fabric on top of the gravel to keep the soil from filtering down and clogging the gravel and thus not letting water reach our drain pipes to be piped away from the house.

We also use polyethylene piping from Advanced Drainage Systems. A lot of times, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping is used. The manufacture of PVC is very bad for the environment so we are working to keep our house as PVC free and and "green" as possible.

Putting in the piping was very muddy and wet. Randy, our plumber, also hooked up our water tap.

Excavating the cave-ins around the bottom of the footer where our exterior drain pipes will be placed.

This is a view which shows the excellent water proofing done by Edwards, Mooney, and Moses. Without any prompting, they came by and checked the job and noticed that some of the waterproofing got a little thin because of the rain. They came by without being asked and reapplied the waterproofing.

Also shown is the filter fabric which will help filter out the pipe clogging mud.

Here is the backfilling taking place. In the background is a "slinger" truck. This truck can carry soil or rock and can "throw" the stone right where you want it. Since our house is on a typically narrow turn of the last century city lot, we couldn't get any heavy machinery in to backfill every side of our house so we used a slinger truck to shoot the material in where it was needed.

In the foreground shows our water service pipe coming out in a white sleeve. The water service pipe goes to the street and connects to what is called the water box where the city water comes off of the water main and connects to our water service pipe.
Week of December 18-22, 2006

This project started late in October 2005 and there has been a tremendous amount of work to get this project off the ground. Now our efforts are finally showing as we are now out of the ground which is fantastic!!

With the footers put in place last week, our concrete walls went up.

The concrete wall forms being put up for the walls. The ones that haven't been used are in bunched together in the middle.

Our beautiful finished walls - finally!

The first class scrapes off concrete form ties on a very cold morning.

Alex is down in the "hole" scraping off the footer top in preparation for the water proofing spray which will be applied by Edwards, Mooney and Moses. We spray the top of the footer not just the wall to add to our chances of keeping our basement dry.
Week of December 11, 2006

Work was being done on site this week in preparation for us to begin.

The sewer line was connected to the tap. Our excavator didn't have to go into the alley to make the connection so we saved about thirteen hundred dollars.

Steve Hoy surveying came out again and set our surveying stakes because the machinery for the excavation destroyed the old ones. http://www.hoysurveying.com/ It seems like the excavation machinery including trucks, are really "surveying stake seeking missiles" in disguise.

We made our first trip to site on Thursday and saw the excavation of our basement and we could see that a trace of the original 1917 house. Ray Prendeville gave a very good talk on the history and mission of the Columbus Housing Partnership and we also toured two homes. One home was a rehab across the street and the other was a house almost exactly like ours will be.

On Friday the footers were formed and the concrete was placed in them. Notice the plastic around the footers which is part of our green, high performance building strategy(Nathan Yost of 3-D Building Solutions who is also a consultant to this project http://www.3-d-buildingsolutions.com/projects/default.htm) . Nobody in Columbus has done such a thing. Later we will cut the plastic away from the sides and leave the plastic only on the bottom of the footer. Water can wick up about 1000 feet in concrete and the plastic will help prevent the walls from being moist and help prevent mold. According to Betsy Pettit from The Building Science Corporation who is a consultant to this project, http://www.buildingscience.com/ located in Massachusetts, "Implementing strategies like this is actually about reducing probability." This should make sense to people in construction because managing commercial construction is about managing the probability of risk.

Our building partnership believes that managing that risk should reduce the probability of: being hurt financially by rising energy prices, not being able to afford the aggregate cost of the home over the life of the mortgage, building failures, unhealthy buildings which adversely affect the health of the occupants, and the effect of our consumption on our planet.

Implementing proven, high performance building strategies that are being used in other parts of the country but that are new to an area is both exciting and exhausting. We will keep you informed about those strategies as we progress with the build.

On Friday, we had a very low key groundbreaking. Just great people getting together with a picture or too and no speeches. Many people were at the groundbreaking including former students from a long time ago, city officials, CHP (Columbus Housing Partnership) officials, friends, Green Energy Ohio members, our mentors http://homebaseadults.blogspot.com/ Columbus Green Building Forum members and a lot of others. Tom Wymore and "D" were there from Contract Lumber and Framing and made it a point to work out the some framing details with us and we greatly thank them for that! http://www.contractlumber.com/
Week of December 4, 2006

For the coming week, our sewer tap will happen on Tuesday and Wednesday and the substructure consisting of the footers and basement walls will be started on Thursday.

We have scheduled a very low key ground breaking for Friday December 15, 2006 at 12 noon. even though the excavation machinery should be doing that on Thursday. It will be more of a gathering because we are starting on site rather than a true ground breaking. We are not putting out any invitations but if anyone wants to be there, feel free to attend. There will be nothing to eat or drink. I'll put in the time for this on this blog later in the week so check again. Our formal red carpet start will happen in January when our floor deck is on and we raise up our first wall.

This week we finished framing the side walls of our garage. That makes for only the back wall of the garage left for us to modify a bit. We initially thought that we could move 22' walls if we had enough people to help move them. Experience in framing the back wall all in one piece showed us that this really couldn't be done so we need to separate the back wall and make it into two sections.

Squaring the wall using tape measures and equal length diagonals.

After squaring using tape measures, the wall is also squared with the sheathing as it is nailed on providing for a second check for wall squareness.

We thank Phil, our mentor for helping us.
Week of November 27, 2006

We took a big step forward this week when:

1. We Signed the contracts that will finally allow us to begin the utility and foundation work for our building. The picture to the left shows the surveyed and staked lot done by Hoy Surveying this week that locates the house and garage on our lot.

2. Lisa F. and Meera P. of the Columbus Green Building Forum, Home B.A.S.E. students, and a Home B.A.S.E. teacher met on Saturday to work on the interior details of the house. We want to make this 1,500 square foot house a handmade jewel with exquisite interior design detailing to showcase outstanding green, energy efficient, and high performance affordable housing.

3. We received confirmation from American Electrical Power (AEP) that our application for the electrical grid tie-in for our solar panels was approved. That means that the electrical output that is generated from the solar cells on this house will be sold back to AEP to reduce the cost of the energy consumption for our home.

This is the second class framing some of the last interior walls of the house.

Click on the picture to enlarge it so see the quality we are building into our walls.

Some studs were a bit too long in the bathroom plumbing walls of our house. Here is Megan helping Anne cut them to the correct size to re-frame the entire wall. Learning how to spot an error, understanding that these are only errors and not mistakes, figuring out a strategy to fix it, fixing, and moving forward is tremendous internal strength to develop. Some Home B.A.S.E. students who commit to the class learn to understand, internalize, and practice that character trait in a supportive learning community during the course of the year.

We are very proud of the work we have done so far. Behind these students, except for just a few walls, is an entire panelized house ready to be taken by truck to our site when our foundation is complete.

Phil is our really wonderful mentor that helps us be successful beyond our current abilities http://homebaseadults.blogspot.com/2005/09/phil-starting-his-first-build-with-us.html

We are keeping all of our short scraps to be either mulched and returned back to the earth as compost or used in our house somewhere thus keeping our environmental footprint as small as possible