It's September 2007
After taking a weeks break we got back into the swing of things...

by working on the electrical plan. We had completed most of the kitchen, the inglenook and the entry. Now we had to do the guest room and the upstairs. With the slab in place we were able to map out the rooms with sticks and walk through as we pondered the location of lights, switches and outlets.

Click on (most) images for a larger view.

Thursday September 6th
We thought it would be easy to plan such things given how we had a clean slate to work with but faced with all the freedom in the world the choices can become stifling. After consulting the electrical code and familiarizing ourselves with the basic requirements we took a pragmatic approach. We decided to divide lighting tasks into three categories: a) safety lighting, b) mood lighting and c) task lighting. After selecting all the task lighting we need we discovered that properly placed this task lighting could also function as mood and safety lighting saving us lots of duplication. 

Not only will this make the wiring job less costly but it is also environmentally less taxing since we will use less copper. We anticipate the effects to be stunning and inviting, drawing the eye instantly to the visual highlights at the end of long sight-lines. this should have the effect of making the space seem larger than it is even under artificial light. We also plan to incorporate LED and florescent lights as much as possible to keep energy consumption to a minimum.

As part of our plan we had to develop a solution that would allow us to maintain power to the old house while we build the new one. When we presented this to the electrical inspector today for his approval he actually felt that an earlier idea, which we had discarded, would be better. Now we know what exactly we need to do to prepare our service entrance for hook-up and so have paid the fee to have Hydro install and underground service box at the property line.

Time to install the 4" perimeter
drain and 3" rain leaders. We also need to reconnect the storm sewer to the old house

First we assemble the tree and attach to the town's storm sewer using a compound angle joint made with 2x22.5 degree elbows.

Next we attach all the branches using adaptors from 3" to 4" as required.

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Then we start measuring to maintain proper slopes. 1/4" per foot for the rain leaders and about 2" on each side for the perimeter drain.

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There it is on the right. The old storm sewer to keep the old house dry while we inhabit it during construction
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To properly remove the water from the perimeter of the foundation requires careful thought and measurement.
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Laura said it looked like a dog's breakfast. I was amazed that we were able to get it all to fit so beautifully
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As the rain leader rose above the perimeter drain we were able to bring it progressively closer to the foundation.
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Sunday September 9th

We finished plumbing the perimeter drains and rain leaders today. It was more complex and time consuming than we anticipated but the pride that comes from a job well done was bubbling over as we cleaned up the site this evening. The 4" perimeter drain is sloped slightly but lying flush on solid clay to allow for good drainage. The rain leaders are measured to be 3" off the foundation walls to facilitate mounting on the outside of the rain screen and siding envelope. Cleanouts are strategically located and all is fed into the storm drain on the north east corner of the house. We also reconnected the storm drain from the old house and it feeds into the system downstream as the lowest branch of the tree. Finally we replaced our temporary water line with a permanent 1" thick walled municipal supply. After we turned the water back on a couple of fittings needed an extra twist to stop the odd drip and then all was complete. We took the night off and spent the evening having dinner with Laura's mother.

Here we did something different. To facilitate the replacement of the water line should that ever become necessary we imbedded a PVC pipe with a big radius elbow into the concrete. Then we threaded the 1" municipal water line through it and into the house.     wpe14.jpg (71680 bytes) wpe16.jpg (69963 bytes)
Monday September 10th

At eight this morning the slinger arrived with 11 tonnes of drain rock. Instead of slinging it directly over the pipe we had them dump it onto the slab in piles strategically located to allow us to backfill by hand. Andre came by later in the morning to inspect our drainage system and gave us the thumbs up to backfill. We decided however to focus instead on preparing for the arrivals of our glulam beams and our FSC certified roof decking. Both are a bit ahead of schedule so they need to be properly stored while we commence framing. We also took the opportunity to scour the site for some unwanted concrete remnants and other inert items we could use as fill around the pillars of the front porch.

Alas our roof decking was delayed by a couple of days and so we did end up changing gears again and started the process of backfilling. We decided to use landscape cloth to protect the drain rock from silting up. A little excessive perhaps but to us it made a lot of sense. Having the drain rock on the slab worked well however it did  mean we had to shovel 11 tonnes of rock and another five or six of sand, carefully placing rock, sand and soil in just the right sequence to facilitate proper water flow.

the first shovel of drain rock in place

landscape cloth to prevent silting

carefully maintaining the slope.

gravel on one side sand on the other
Wednesday September 12th

After a little delay and some confusion as to how our roof decking was transported from the finishing mill in Horsefly to our chosen freight company the crane truck arrived this afternoon with both orders. Now we have our roof decking and our glulam beams stacked and wrapped in the driveway. Before we can proceed with framing we must now select the right stain and application method, apply the first coat and then store them safely out of the wind and rain for the next few months. Since the largest of the Glulams weigh in at over 175 pounds it was good to have an extra set of hands to help us move them around.

September 19th ( Happy Fall Equinox)

Some of the work we do takes place out of sight, in the hidden office or on our computer. We have just spent some considerable time researching stains and finishes for the glulam and roof decking. The challenge was to find something environmentally responsible and still capable of protecting the wood. We wanted the true nature of the wood to be enhanced and no off gassing. The stain also needed to be effective on the parts of the timbers that extend outside and are exposed to the elements.

We found a product made right here in Vancouver BC, CBR Products, and ordered some samples. Then the challenge was to pick the right tint. Laura finally decided on Sequoia and ordered a five gallon can.  

While waiting for the stain to arrive, we put the finishing touches on our electrical plan. This involved another meeting with the electrical inspector to receive clarification on a few points and confirm that we had the procedures and protocol right. It seems that the inspector was satisfied with our diligence. although we only had two meetings we have been able to demonstrate that we are taking every step to not only comply with the letter of the code but also insure safe and careful installation of all services.

Building, Plumbing and Electrical Codes and regulations are there to protect us from our own oversights. We are thankful for the inspector's feedback and corrections during the planning phases. Then when we actually complete the task it sure feels good when we have a successful inspection. It's one thing for a friend or neighbour to tell us how wonderful our work is. Its quite another to be told by an inspector that our work rates right up there with the best of professionals. 

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The unveiling of our first glulam...
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sanding the first glulam...
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5 gallon pail of stain...
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hand-rubbing the stain...

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first glulam done, 30 to go!!

September 28th

When the crane dropped the glulams and roof decking in the driveway we knew they could not stay there. Not only will that be the delivery point for all the framing lumber but it will also be the location for the crane when the time comes to lift the glulams up onto the top of the second story walls. The longest of the glulam beams are 21 feet and weigh upwards of 180 lbs. So the first task at hand was to figure out a way to move these beams onto a finishing rack. You can read all about this process next month... 

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