Staff training WARM style

Staff training WARM style 6… Professional carpenters please avert your eyes.

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM style 6… Professional carpenters please avert your eyes.

Staff training WARM style 6… Professional carpenters please avert your eyes.

I would like a curved shepherd’s hut roof without the curved beams, and I can only use the wood and the Coroline sheeting which I have just bought on the assumption I was going to do a monopitch roof… I feel like those guys on the Apollo 13 mission who had to fit a square peg in a round hole with just cardboard and duct tape. But look at the result!  (Unless you are a professional carpenter who is a dab hand at curved beams, in which case please avert your eyes). “curved” beams… Roof insulation goes in. The EPS on top of the sheep’s wool is to stop the sheep’s wool blowing around. Carefully cutting the EPS. It’s a race against time as the rain starts and the sun sets…   I used regular galvanised screws and washers from e-bay instead of the Coroline fixings that you are supposed to use to get your Coroline warranty. This was partly because the Coroline fixings are nails and I wanted to use screws, and partly because the Coroline fixings are really expensive. The main difference in quality of the caps was the flexibility of the plastic. I’ll just have to wait and see about performance. Blog written by Caroline Martin...

Read More

Staff training WARM style 5 … You’ve been framed

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM style 5 … You’ve been framed

Staff training WARM style 5 … You’ve been framed

You’ve been framed   I’m not sure how, but as I was running around giving instructions, making cups of tea, and trying to keep tabs on my toddler, this happened… I only got concerned once, when I saw Mike and Pete heading towards the panels with lump hammer and pick axe… but apparently that was all part of the levelling process. I opted for no ring beams on the grounds that, in a bid to save waste material, I was using the full height of OSB panels for the walls, which meant the space was already quite tall (2.4m). This was a good decision on that account, but it meant that the panels had to be levelled individually, a time consuming task that apparently required the use of pick axe and lump hammer. After lots of anguish over fixings I opted for self-tapping screws, these being easier to take out than nails, if we ever dismantle it. At one stage I considered coach bolts but after putting the screws in we felt the structure was secure enough without them. A well-earned tea break. Blog written by Caroline Martin...

Read More

Staff training WARM style 4… Tyred out

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM style 4… Tyred out

Staff training WARM style 4… Tyred out

Tyred Out – this week’s blog is a photo story…   Thanks to everyone’s efforts (apart from Rodney the pig, who’s curiosity wasn’t very helpful – although he did provide some light entertainment), you’ll be delighted to hear that the officenotashed now has an incredibly well insulated floor and is longing for some matching walls.  The jury is still out on whether we would recommend tyre foundations, ramming the earth in them was very hard work.   Blog written by Caroline Martin @cazzam2...

Read More

Staff training WARM Style 3: … Dud studs

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM Style 3: … Dud studs

Staff training WARM Style 3: … Dud studs

After some careful calculations and lots of confusion with the various different lengths that panels and studs seem to come in (why are OSB3 panels 2440mm long whereas OSB2 panels are 2400mm long?). I finally placed an order for 73 no. 89mm x 2400mm long timber studs and 18 no. 2440mm x 1220mm OSB3 panels. I opted for OSB3 rather than OSB2 because surprisingly OSB3 uses more environmentally friendly glues. I left for work on delivery day leaving strict instructions with Rowan to check the order when it arrived. As instructed he conscientiously counted all the items and checked for damage (incidentally 3 panels we’re unusable due to carelessness of packing buy delivery people, no wonder there is so much waste in the building industry!). And so the WARM team all rolled up on a Sunny Saturday morning and we built the frames. It wasn’t until the last frame was carefully finished and stacked on the pile that we realised Wickes had delivered the wrong sized studs… So back to the drawing board to achieve our u-values… New panel build up is to be: 18mm OSB – 1220mm x 2440mm framed with 38mm x 63mm deep studs. 75mm sheeps wool compressed into 63mm deep panels 20mm wood fibre board 22mm woodfibre sarking board   XPS national shortage The UK has run out of XPS insulation and I think we may be partly responsible. Last week I paid a site visit to one of our Jobs; Leicester University medical building.  They are busy constructing the basements which are completely lined externally with XPS insulation…and look great. Unfortunately this means that I need to rethink my design again. I came across a possible alternative at the AECB conference – cork! One of the samples was a 150mm thick slab of cork. I quite like the concept of having an office built on cork. The folk on the marketing stall seemed to think I was slightly mad when I asked for the cost of a 200mm slab of cork. Suffice to say it was a lot, and the time scale for delivery was a bit too long… so  the final solution looks to be two sheets of 100mm thick EPS, which I can buy off the shelf from B&Q. Not quite as elegant as XPS or cork, but it will have to do. Performance wise the EPS isn’t as effective as XPS if it gets wet but with our design the EPS will actually be above ground resting on the tyres so the likelihood of it getting saturated is low.   A family outing to B&Q   The forecast was rain, a perfect day then to go to B&Q. The forecasters were wrong, it was a beautiful sunny day… a terrible day to spend in B&Q and we did spend the whole day there… 2 hrs of which were spent entertaining a 1 year old while Rowan used the fancy self van hire system to deliver all the goodies home. To make matters worse, a week later we got a £100 parking fine for staying in their car park more than 3 hours. Obviously most people are a little more decisive than us…   So after a bit of confusion with B&Q staff, who couldn’t quite cope with the concept of a female with one year old on hip ordering large quantities of building materials and asking difficult questions about insulation, we are now proud owners of: 6 sheets of 100mm EPS 8 Sheets of Coroline roofing A cheap PVC glazed door (might swap this for a better one once we have calmed...

Read More

Staff training WARM style 2: … What is a noggin?

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM style 2: … What is a noggin?

Staff training WARM style 2: … What is a noggin?

Noggin: a person’s head.   “it hit him squarely on the noggin” a small quantity of alcoholic drink, typically a quarter of a pint the top ridge of a Devon Pasty Any of the above definitions (one of them is made up) could have applied when Bill Butcher was talking about noggins in the Carbonlite structures training course I attended last year, but I am pretty sure another definition must exist…  In the context of timber frames, it appears that a noggin is the horizontal bit between your vertical studs. But how many you need and at what spacing, seems to be a dark art.  My question is do I need them at all on my tiny little office?  Word on the (virtual) street is you don’t need them to prevent racking (sideways wind load causing a square frame to turn into a parallelogram), the OSB board does that, but you might need them to stop the studs twisting as they mature… and if you live somewhere prone to earth quakes you need lots.   So to minimise timber I opted for zero noggins … I may regret this. I opted for medium thick walls with around 100mm insulation. This was a compromise between performance and cost. With the walls this thick I decided that the i-beams didn’t give enough of a performance benefit over standard studs to warrant the additional expense. With the much thicker insulation that you would need to meet Passivhaus targets (say 200mm) i-beams would give a substantial performance benefit and are much more likely to be worth the extra investment. As we wanted to make the office easy to dismantle I opted for panel construction even though this gives a higher timber fraction than stick frame (new lingo – stick frame means a frame built on site).   So panel build up is to be: 18mm OSB – 1220mm x 2440mm framed with 38mm x 89mm deep studs. 100mm sheeps wool compressed into 89mm deep panels 22mm sarking board screwed onto the outside Blog written by Caroline...

Read More

Staff training WARM style

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Staff training WARM style | Comments Off on Staff training WARM style

Staff training WARM style

Grand designs at WARM    Since starting working for WARM last September, my knowledge of low energy building design and the fabric first approach has increased hugely, however with a background in building services and building physics I recognised at my last training review that there was a gap in my knowledge… hands on construction… what actually is a noggin? how do you fit a window? What kind of screws do you use?  How sticky is air tightness tape really? After spending a few evenings researching construction training programmes I couldn’t find anything I felt was appropriate. In parallel to this my husband (Rowan) and I had been throwing around the idea of building our own low energy house. After watching many episodes of grand designs, avidly reading books on self-build and speaking to the planners, we decided to downscale our plans somewhat to a more modest garden office. This was not only considerably cheaper than building a house but also avoided any planning issues and for two novice builders felt a bit more manageable. Then over lunch one day at work, Sally and I came up with an ingenious idea….and so it was that our latest in-house staff training scheme has taken the form of designing and building a garden office for Rowan using a fabric first approach.   The brief for Rowan’s office (not a shed): 1. We don’t own the land so the office needs to be dismantleable and not have permanent foundations 2. Rowan needs to be able to work (and be comfortable) all year round. 3. Our Garden is in a deep dark damp Devon valley. 4. We want to minimise construction waste (construction waste contributes to about 1/3 of the UK’s annual waste). 5. Use low embodied energy materials, recycled if possible and recyclable. 6. Use materials that are nice to work with. 7. Electricity & Internet access required (but need to minimise electricity consumption as property already at its limit). 9. Budget £3000 ish 10. Timescale – 5 weeks… going on 10.   The concept   I give all credit for the initial concept to Nick Grant who described it to me last May whilst we were taking a boat from the Carbonlite training venue at Plymouth Aquarium to an evening social event. As it was after two days of teaching the Carbonlite building services module and was followed by a few glasses of wine, some of the details are a bit hazy. But the general gist, as I interpreted it, was: get some slabs of xps insulation; lay them on the ground; put something heavy on them so they don’t blow away; lay some sheets of osb boards on top; Make a frame using ibeams; fill with sheeps wool; line internally with osb and externally with sarking board; use similar construction for roof; stick a window and door in; clad it. Enjoy your lovely new office….      Blog written by Caroline...

Read More