Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back to work!

So things have been a little quiet around here the past couple of weeks, but not because I've been sitting idle - quite the opposite, I've just not had time to sit in front of the laptop and write! :) Being back at work and not on site full time certainly doesn't help...

This is where I left the building on the 6th. I'm pretty happy with how much I got done over the Christmas break! :)

The past two weeks have been spent making little visible progress at all. On the one hand there have been a couple of scorchers, which really make work impossible after about midday with the heat, but the tasks I've needed to complete are pretty much invisible anyway.

When we put the trusses up, we quite literally threw them up there and fixed them more-or-less in place, leaving the fiddly business of aligning and tying everything down to me, which are jobs which don't need the extra manpower we had available. So that's what I've been doing.

Firstly, all the bottom chord ties needed to be installed to space the bottom of the trusses accurately, then the truss noggs went in to space the tops. Then, the cyclone ties went on to fix the trusses firmly down to the wall top plates, and before you know it there's a day gone. Nailing with a hammer sure is slower going than using the gun...

Next up was working out a system to fix the trusses to the post & beam frames. The truss manufacturer simply specified universal trip-l-grips for this, but I'm not happy with these for a couple of reasons:
  1. We've got these heavy duty, imposing logs holding up the roof structure, and using these flimsy little 0.8mm thick steel fixtures just wouldn't look the part.
  2. The 40mm nails used with these grips would barely reach the hard heartwood of the logs, so over time as the sapwood aged the fixtures would weaken.
  3. Big logs need serious fixtures!
So with that in mind, I've devised a system which will certainly exceed the tie-down requirements, and also look right against the imposing log structure.

For the trusses, I'm using 50x50x5mm steel angle, cut to 250mm lengths and bolted to the bottom chord of the truss using M12 allthread. The other end is fixed to the log using M10x75mm coach screws.

To fix the beam to the poles, I'm using 100x5mm mild steel plates cut 250mm long, checked in and fixed to the logs using M10x75mm coach screws.

I started cutting all 50 or so pieces of steel using the chop saw, but it was just too slow going and so I broke out the oxy set again and made short work of it all. Even so, half a day later... and I still have all the drilling to do before I can fit them all in place. I have a drill press here at home which will make it much easier than drilling hand-held with my cordless, so I've brought all the steel back to Melbourne.. hoping I can get it done before next weekend!

So in the meantime, I set about finishing installing the plywood to the dwelling roof.

No major drama's here, with the minor exception that after about the third sheet in the first row, the trusses are slightly off square which means the edge of the ply doesn't land in the middle of the truss properly, requiring a slight adjustment with the circular saw. This however means that the rest also need adjusting a little.. which is a royal pain in the proverbial. Lesson learned for the garage trusses: Make sure they're perfectly square and spaced accurately!

In any case, with perseverance and a day later:

Happy with that! .. although my knees are starting to object just a little bit...

Next day with the threat of rain showers I thought it best to protect the ply until the roof can go on, which won't happen now until the Hebel panels are erected. I have plenty of leftover concreter's plastic lying around, and so I dragged this up onto the roof, gave it a bit of a clean and secured it with roofing battens. These battens will remain in place permanently, and I think I'll just cut the plastic away when it comes time to install the Anticon blanket and roofing tin. Or not, I'm undecided yet. The approved BAL-FZ roofing system obviously doesn't include a plastic membrane over the ply, so for the sake of adhering to the spec I'll probably remove it.

So that's where I left it last weekend. When I'm back there's a metric buttload of work to do - my brother Gareth is coming down for the Australia Day long weekend to help out, and with his help I hope to begin installing some of the Hebel cladding which means I've got a lot of prep work to do in not very much time at all:
  • Buy and install the sisalation / wall wrap;
  • Buy and install the top hat battens for the Hebel;
  • Figure out what / how much Hebel adhesive we need;
  • Plan the set-out of the Hebel panels to minimise the number of cuts required;
  • Finish the garage truss tie-down;
  • Get plumbing services roughed-in to the cavity between frame and Hebel;
  • Figure out what damp-proof / termite-proof course I need to use;
  • Figure out how the Hebel is going to interface with the BAL-FZ roof system in a way which complies;
  • Probably a dozen other things I haven't thought of yet.

So, business as usual then...

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