A Reason to Celebrate!
The waiting is over. Less than a week ago we received the official green light for the Doighouse Build. All those weird ways of constructing a truly unconventional house have been thoroughly evaluated by high ranking pencil-pushers, until they were found acceptable for the local building code. This is a significant step forward, not only for Tony and Susan, but for everyone else who wants to build a similar sustainable house in BC.
Are We Gonna Be Done This Year?
As happy as we are about finally being a legal construction project, it is hard to ignore that it’s almost August! We were hoping to have this paperwork done sometime in May. By now any hopes of having the roof up this year have been completely surrendered to realistic thinking. Instead, we want to get as much done as humanly possible, and focus on the bond-beam instead. That concrete beam poured on top of the last course of tires will tie the weight of the structure together, so it can be buttoned up neatly for the heavy rains of the winter season. So sure, one would think all we’ve gotta do now is pound, pound, and pound some more tires, but things are not that simple. When playing by the book, there are a number of hoops prepared for us to jump through, in form of building inspections.
Ready for the First Inspection
The first inspection looks at the foundation, and we’ve done everything we could to prepare for it, even before we got the permit. Fortunately, the tire wall is exempt from this requirement, as it doesn’t involve a concrete pour. However, we could not proceed further than the third course, since all the subsequent courses will require a backfill, and before doing that we need have the drainage pipe inspected that will be laid behind the tires. Before that second inspection, however, we need to have our concrete footings inspected first. So once the third course was up, we started building and installing the forms for the footings.
Following the very detailed specifications on the plans to the letter, we placed the forms (10 inch deep, 16 inches wide or 25 x 41 cm) with two horizontal rebars running through it, and a vertical one sticking out every 16 inches. The forms had to be well braced to prevent them for bursting, and perfectly leveled so the concrete won’t spill out. It will be brought in by a mixing truck. Not that we couldn’t mix our own concrete, but since each batch has to be tested individually, with samples sent in for examination, we’re saving ourselves a great deal of headache this way.
So now the plan for the next stages looks something like this: the footings will be expected and the pour will be completed. Next, we’re going to lay the drainage pipe (with gravel, etc.), have that inspected, and start backfilling the berm. Following that, we can continue with the next course of tires. After that, the only additional work is installing the water cisterns and cooling tubes. Finally, there are about five or so more courses to pound.
If we can get all this done in the remaining 4-5 weeks I’m still here, I would be super happy. If we are really good – and lucky enough to have LOTS of additional hands showing up, we might even get to the bond-beam. This notion is not that outlandish, as Susan has started advertising on all her networks, as have many of the volunteers. After all, now that we are fully legal, a press conference seems appropriate. So please, tell everyone you know to visit this wonderful place on Vancouver Island for some great hospitality and some righteous tire-pounding.
If you like this project, please visit the other posts I have published in my Doighouse Series:
- Earthship and Permaculture - Introducing the Doighouse Series
- Shower for the Earthship Build
- Complementing the Earthship: The Permaculture Garden
- Essential for the Helping Hands: The Volunteer Kitchen
- Preparing for the Earthship Build: Milling Lumber
- Week of Volunteers - Getting Started on the Tires (finally!)
- The Most Annoying Part of the Build: Satisfying the MAN
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