Lets face it, building isn’t always easy. Each house has its own problems and the builders have to deal with the weather.
Things do go wrong . . . so the measure of a good builder is how they resolve the problems.
Here are some excuses you shouldn’t have to hear. . . . together with some suggested responses from me.
“That’s the way we always do it” - Response “Well why did you do it differently in the show house?’
“You don’t understand.” – even “You’re a women you wouldn’t understand.” - Response – “I didn’t think you needed to be a brain surgeon to get a job as a builder, so explain it to me.”
“The Regulations say its got to be like that.” – “Response “Show Me the Regulation” This one was tried on me. After the Site Supervisor heard my response he said “OK it will be fixed tomorrow.”
“The delay is due to the weather” – Response - “As the standard contract requires you to make allowance for bad weather you had better show me the records the weather has been worse than usual.”
“We build them outside in all weathers – not in cosy factories” - Response – “I thought you were an experienced builder familiar with the problems of working on site”
You can’t get good tradies around here, so quality suffers. - Response – “You contracted to build to that quality so it sounds to me you are just trying to save money by not paying the going rate, and/or not supervising them properly.”
What excuses have you heard?
Too many excuses and it could be worth getting your own Building Inspector involved
Like this set of unusual shelves I saw on the Dornob Site?
Well furniture like this doesn’t have to cost a packet!
This unit was built using components from standard Ikea Flat Packs assembled in a different way.
Interested . . . . well there are several sites like Ikea Hackers that have lots of ideas for furniture.
For more Unusual Ideas have a look at: What the………………….?
Unfortunately brickwork overhanging the slab like this is more common than it should be. . . . but it’s often not the brickie’s fault.
How it Happens
Normally the problem is that the slab has been constructed smaller than the required dimensions.
This wouldn’t be a problem, but for the fact that most houses come with prefabricated frames which mean the frame is too big for the slab. If the frame components aren’t ’adjusted’ to make them smaller they will overhang the slab, and as a consequence the bricklayer overhangs the brick to maintain the wall cavity.
How Much Is Too Much?
The Building Code of Australia (BCA), Part 188.8.131.52, Edge Rebates, states ‘Exterior masonry must not overhang more that 15mm past the edge of the slab’.
Interestingly the maximum overhang permitted for the frame is only 10mm from the edge of the slab.
To my mind the best solution is to bolt a steel angle to the slab using masonry anchors.
The reason the masonry anchor is 50mm from the top surface of the concrete is to prevent it breaking out.
I have heard of people suggesting pouring concrete, or a cement grout I wouldn’t recommend that. To do it properly would require dowel bars to be drilled into the concrete and reinforcement fixed before trying to bond a thin piece of concrete to the slab.
I want to have a ‘Conversation’.
You don’t just move into a new house, you will be moving into a Community. So what sort of community do you want to live in?
- What are you prepared to do to make your community stronger?
- Who can help You to make your community better?
Well one organisation that works to improve local communities is Rotary International. Your Local Rotary Club is always looking for new members who will help them strengthen the local community, and can help you achieve what you want to do. Click on this link to find your: Local Club and Continue the Conversation with them.
If your new home will be in the Hoppers Crossing, Werribee or Tarneit Area email me at email@example.com and Continue the Conversation, or have a look at our web site at HoppersCrossingRotary.org.au
Getting Married Soon? . . Why not come along to our: Bridal Fair
Rendered Foam walls are becoming much more common, particularly in the upper floor of 2 storey homes. They offer a real advantage in situations where it would be difficult to provide adequate suppport for a heavy brick wall (For example when the upper floor needs to be set back from the ground floor)
If you are worried about strength you need to be aware that the real strength of the house is in the frame. (see: House Construction – The Frame)
- The Foam boards, which are manufactured with an external mesh face, are fixed to the frame with special galvanised screws that incorporate spreader washers.
- Joints are sealed with a polyurethane foam and have mesh jointing tape.
- External corners are reinforced with metal strips.
- A minimum of 5mm of acrylic render is applied, normally in a three layer system.
There are 2 different types of foam used in this construction method:
- Expanded polystyrene( EPS) – Good thermal performance but limited impact resistance/structural strength.
- Extruded polystyrene (XPS) – Similar thermal performance and looks similar but the production method is different which results in increased impact resistance and structural strength. Higher cost
Insulation values for the various board thicknesses are:
- 50mm - R 1.2
- 75mm - R 1.8
- 100mm – R 2.4
The advantage of masonry on the lower part of the house is that it is less likely to be damaged by the bumps and bangs of daily life. Once the wall is above head height damage becomes less of an issue and the rendered foam board should be fine.
I’d prefer XPS to EPS.
Although the insulation values are good the builder will most likely want to save the cost of the insulation batts in the frame. If you ask for the wall to include insulation batts you will have an exceptionally well insulated wall at very little extra cost.
For similar posts see Insulation
For more about house design see Choosing a House . . . A new E-book for only $4 to help plan your new house
How small can you go?
Well this is the Optimal Traveling Independent Space(OTIS) It’s a 6.7 square metre “living system” that can be towed on a trailer.
The pod-shaped tiny house includes indoor ‘plumbing’ in the form of a composting toilet, a rainwater collection system.
It also has a single 120-watt solar panel to provide electricity and a wood burning stove!
Want to know more? . . . go to the Tiny House Blog
For more Unusual House Photos, and Fails, have a look at: What the………………….?
For the typical modern house with slab on ground base there are two minimum heights above ground level that need to be considered:
- Next to the building.
- Distance of 1m away.
The reason for these minimums is to keep water out of the building, including the structure and foundations.
Next To The House
Floor level above external finished surfaces must be a minimum of:
- 50 mm above impermeable (paved or concreted areas) that slope away from the building
- 100 mm above the finished ground level in low rainfall intensity areas ( 5 minute intensity of less than 125mm/hour for a recurrence interval of 20 years -see: Rainfall Intensity to check your site), or sandy well-drained areas
- 150 mm in any other case.
Distance of 1m
The external finished surface surrounding the slab must be sloped away from the building, for the first 1m by a minimum of the following:
- 25 mm in low rainfall intensity areas for surfaces that are reasonably impermeable (such as concrete or clay paving)
- 50 mm in any other case.
Normally in clay soils I would allow another 15-20mm to allow for any ‘Soil Heave’. (See:Building on Clay Soils)
To meet the Building Code the range of total heights above ground will vary between 75mm and 200mm depending on circumstances. If you want a smaller step between inside and outside (for reasons such as Better Accessible Design) you will need to talk with your House Designer about a detail which meets the intent of the Building Code (Keeps water out of the house).
You might have heard of Liquid Limestone as an alternative paving material…….But what is it?
Really its just a different type of concrete.
The differences between Concrete and Liquid limestone are:
- Instead of standard Portland ‘Grey’ Cement it uses White Cement.
- It uses crushed limestone rather than other types of rock gravel and sand.
- Quite often a plasticiser is added. This means the mixture can be poured without having to add too much water.
Various patterns can be applied to the surface as the concrete sets (see above photo)
As well as the standard limestone appearance the supplier can add various pigments. If you want a strong colour I think you would be better off just going for coloured concrete.
Because it can be laid in large slabs like concrete there are less joints than in conventional brick or concrete slab paving. (There will still need to be some joints. For joint spacing see: Concrete Joints 1)
With the lighter colour it can be cooler underfoot than other pavements.
To maintain its appearance liquid limestone will need to be sealed around a week after laying.
For posts on on getting your paths and driveways correct see Concreting