Monday 5th September 2011
Once erection of the timber frame was completed, we needed to get the structure weathertight in preparation for the first Build a Potton Barn Open Event which was held between 17th and 20th August.
One of the benefits of timber frame construction is that the roof of the building can be felt and battened immediately after erection which allows inside trades such as the electrician or plumber to commence work at an early stage. As such, a carefully planned Potton timber frame build can be completed in just 12 weeks from the time the kit is delivered to site. Getting a high level of airtightness is part of Potton’s ‘Fabric First’ approach to achieving level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Kingspan Kooltherm rigid board insulation is factory fitted under quality controlled conditions, and Potton’s Logic Plus wall system ensures that the building fabric is as thermally efficient as possible, minimising the need for renewable energy additions such as solar panels or heat pumps.
Whilst the roofers were finishing off we were able to add the high performance vapour control layer directly to the internal walls of the property. This reflective material helps to ensure that the building is as airtight and energy efficient as possible, as well as helping to reduce heat loss through the walls.
As can sometimes happen with any construction project, we found it necessary to make a small design change during the build. This entailed the relocation of an internal soil pipe to increase the utility room door opening size to comply with the Lifetime Homes design guidelines. Thankfully, it was relatively easy to accommodate this change due to the fact that we had opted for a beam and block floor supplied by Floorspan of Wisbech. With this type of floor it was easy to break out one block, move the pipe and then reinstate the block. It wouldn’t have been possible to do this with a concrete floor.
Making this property Lifetime Homes compliant will future proof the dwelling for anyone moving in, regardless of their age or personal mobility needs. . In addition, it assists in meeting the requirements for Code 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, earning credits under the “Health and Wellbeing” category.
The Lifetime Homes guidelines set 16 design criteria that can be applied to new homes at minimal cost. Each design feature adds to the comfort and convenience of the home and supports the changing needs of individuals and families at different stages of life. For example, at least one window handle in every room needs to be low enough for someone in a wheelchair to open and all the bathroom walls need to be reinforced with plywood so that a disability grab handle can be installed at some point in the future if needed. The final things on the ‘To Do’ list this month were to place orders for the underfloor heating pipes from NuHeat and take deliveries of various goods onsite including the roof tiles supplied by Sahtas and the acoustic floor material from Screedflo. We were fortunate to be able to do this because we have plenty of space. On many self build sites there just isn't very much room for storage, so delivery of materials needs to be carefully coordinated as space is often at a premium.
We then focused on the finishing touches for the Open Event which was hugely popular. We had over 270 people attend over a four day period. Guests were given guided tours of the barn and the Potton factory which provided an opportunity to see both the barn show home under construction and understand more about building a sustainable home. It was such a success that we will be holding another in mid October. We also plan to run a series of features on ‘Costing your build’, ‘Building an energy efficient home’ and ‘Designing your barn style home’ which will be run over the coming months. Details will be posted on the website.
Click here to watch the video update by our Project Manager, Brent Ackerman.