Ok I’ve caved. The next post was going to be from Luigi which is apparently written and on his laptop, so drumroll for it being posted next. The subject is why we are doing an EnerPHit certification project in the first place and frankly, at this stage, I am gasping to read it myself.
I also realised I haven’t put the floorplans up here yet so showing some high level ones – not to scale but they give an idea of the new/old layouts and the changes. I’m quite excited by the extension. It hasn’t got all its walls yet and it already looks pretty awesome. Its definately the new heart of the place.
Lots has been going on the last weeks as we chug between nothing-moving/now-frantically-busy waves of activity. Its picking up pace daily now the eco-modelling is complete. One observation about building to EnerPHit is “don’t bring in the builders to start work until at least 3 months after you’ve started design work and modelling with your architect/design consultant and the eco-consultants (and interior designer)”. The eco-models and architectural designs need to be relatively mature or you’ll frustrate the heck out of your building team, particularly as during the early design phases it all iterates a lot between model and design, and that means differences to details like thickness of insulation and wall cavity depths. Fair enough, this is all new and we’re working things out as we go, hopefully it will be much more standard for future renovators. We’ve had several points where there’s not been enough detail or instructions for the builders to get started/complete a build activity so they have done other tasks while waiting for updated designs. In our case there were even more design cycles as the eco-consultants worked with the PassivHaus Institute to verify they would certify our building against our models (yes!). A few times jobs were completed only to have to rework them. Nothing too serious so far although a doorway I am particularly fond of disappeared for a while.
I have to say the team consisting of our design consultant, eco-consultant, interior designer, main contractor, foreman, build team and Luigi is almost perfect – they have such a fantastic dynamic with this project. Everyone has teamed up to figure out how to wrestle this old shop into an EnerPHit house and worked through the frustrations to come up with new ways of doing things. It’s a steep learning curve. For anyone considering a similar project, make sure you get a team onboard where absolutely everyone – designers, subcontractors, apprentices, pizza delivery guys – are signed on to do things a different way. In our case, everyone in the project ‘gets’ what we’re trying to do. The atmosphere is buzzing.
Our blog is lagging from where we are at now but that’s not such a bad thing when trying to explain what we’re doing for EnerPHit (we don’t always realise at the time anyways). For the sake of progression I’ve put some photos to this post that show what the place looked like in June. With the start-stop timing of the work its all happening in fairly obvious (when viewed in hindsight!) stages. We’re finding that with EnerPHit you don’t do things in traditional renovation/building order – eg: services/security/optic fibre cabling has to go in before the walls are sealed to be airtight. We’ve had a few surprised installation engineers turning up to the site. The Virgin guy didnt say outright but I’m sure he thought we are either ridiculously optimistic on completion dates or very impatient for cable internet. He’s not wrong on either point.
The photos with this post show the stage when the stripping stopped and internal reconstruction began. Its a lot like onion layers being added, going from the outside-in. Have a look at how deep the windowsills are constructed as an indicator if the stacks of insulation don’t grab your eye. And the taping. OMG the taping! Stuff of legend. Every gap, every join, every nail-hole, every joist – you name it, its been sealed, either with expanda-foam or tape, or both. Its wonderfully quiet in the house already but now we are looking at it all wondering if there’s going to be a condensation problem.
We’ll work that bit out later.