Saturday, December 11, 2010

This photo was taken on Sunday 5th Sept 2010, the day after the 7.1 earthquake. At daybreak on the 4th we tentatively peeked down the road from the driveway of our rented house, as you can see the house was still standing. Better than that, there has been no damage at all from the earthquake despite be 20km from the epicentre.

Our wastewater system is an Autoflow system, which is unusual in that it has separate black and grey water tanks, the water drains into the 3rd tank, so that the toilet waste is composted with the aid of worms!

Progress on the roof cladding - which I didn't do - got the pros in to install as I sure didn't have the time to do it.

Underfloor heating manifold and pipe. About 900M of it for the whole house!

We have floors, yay, Went with concrete in the end after thinking about doing earth floors. We added terracotta colouring to the top when bull floating. The floor is a bit dirty in the photo.

What, I'm working on right now, casting the window sills.

Trying out a clay slip for fun.

The house today. If you look you can see the cut-outs for the window sills at the base of the windows. I cut them out with a diamond saw blade on an angle grinder and a chisel.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finishing off an archway

Bella, my assistant

Starting the bond beam pour

Bond beam again. Helpers on standby to move ladders and scaffolding

Me after vibrating 10 cubic M of concrete

The first roof truss going on

Lifting the attic trusses into place

All the trusses are up, still got the rafters (at the other end) and the verandah to do.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update at last

Due to popular demand, here's some more photos.

The whole picture. When the sections we are currently working on are complete, we will have 40% of the walls done!

Carpet skirt, keeping the walls moist, to avoid shrinkage cracks.

The kitchen and living room.

The View through the garage doors or actually the space where the doors will be.

Kane mixing the mud.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Starting with the garage, I've done the first pour and I'm in the process of setting up the formwork for the second lift.

Going up. The formwork is almost ready for the 4th out of 5 pours.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


All the boxing in place ready to pour the foundation walls. There is about 800M of 200x25 timber.

Lots of rebar to support those heavy walls, in earthquake prone New Zealand.

The resulting foundation walls. I was stuffed after a day of removing boxing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Building our house

I've taken 2 months off work to construct the walls of our earth house. I hope I can get it done in
that time otherwise I'm going to have to ask for more time off, which will mean a bigger mortgage!

One of the reasons I'm writing this is that there is plenty of info on earth building, but not so much on poured earth.

Our house wall are constructed of "poured earth" or "poured adobe". This is where formwork is set up and mix of earth and some cement is poured into the formwork. Poured is not quite the right word as the consistency of the mix is more like stiff porrige, so it must be tamped or vibrated to remove any voids. If the mixture was actually runny enough to pour then the shrinkage as it dries would be too much and there would be cracking.