Here is a quick outline of the process for my last building.
Kirrah and I first discussed her ideas for the building on the 10th of November.
She told me that she wanted a weather-proof place that was screened from mosquitoes for her clients to rest after their sessions. It also had to be beautiful and made of wood.
I had free reign with the design from there.
This back and forth process can take a while if the client wants creative control of the building or isn't clear with exactly what they want.
I went to the site I wanted to build on and finger sketched a design on my iPad.
I then took those ideas and made a scale model in google sketchup.
This was a simple building. The process to get the scale building plan and itemised building materials list took about 7 hours.
My rate for this work is $35/hour, so this would cost a client about $250.
Most of the materials that I needed were sourced on site.
I harvested round poles, removed the bark and dragged them up the hill:
I couldn't be bothered with mixing and pouring concrete foundations for such a small building.
I sourced some recycled concrete pads from a friend that had salvaged them from a house restumping.
- measured out the site,
- squared up the corners
- dug out the topsoil
- poured a layer of compacted gravel
- dropped the pads on top
The floor frame was going to be independent of the roof. So I laid that out and squared it too.
The weather was fine and this was going to be a quick build, so I took the unusual step of laying the floor before the roof.
This isn't normally recommend.
I used a ply wood for ease and affordability. If this was to be a more lived in structure I would have got to the extra effort and expense of using hardwood floor boards.
The first posts went up easily.
I drove in a star picket first and had my impact driver ready so that I could single handedly use a roofing screw to hold it up once in place. Then I drove the other axis star picket in and did the same.
The post was now secure at the middle, but not yet tied to the foundation.
I dynabolted a gal bracket to the foundation and batten screwed it into the post. This should stop the bottom from sliding out.
The next milestone, all the posts are up and it's starting to look like something.I didn't cut them exactly to size yet.
Next time around I would do this on the ground first, operating the chainsaw up on the ladder is tricky and probably unnecessarily dangerous.
There can be variation on the ground level though, so this way I can use a water level to make sure the tops of the posts are in exactly the right spot.
I built some wall frames on the floor to support the centre beam. These needed to be braced later to take the wiggle out.
Next step was the round beams and roof rafters. The rain beat me after all so I had to cover the floor with the bits of colour bond roofing.
I needed help lifting up the round hardwood beams.
I made a cradle shape in the top of the posts with the chainsaw so they would sit nicely.
Then I drove a long 150 mm batten screw down through a predrilled hole tying them together.
The rafters were cut on the ground. I measured the distance from the top beam to the bottom beam.
I cut them so that they sat flush and then attached them to the beam with 100 mm batten screws.
I used my new 18v Dewalt cordless drill and impact driver for this. They make climbing around on a roof a lot easier without getting tangled up with power cords.
I then cut off the rafter overhang and screwed down the clay painted ply ceiling.
This was covered with sisalation to protect it from condensation and if it rained again before I got the roof on.
Then I laid the battens out and got to work attaching the roof.
I've wondered in hindsight if the whole timber roof frame was really necessary.
Perhaps I could have just attached the roofing directly to the beams.
I will experiment with this in a future building project.
The roof is up!
With all the extra weight of the steel and timber, I had to make some bush bracing out of some timber poles I had lying around.
The next step was to attach the fly-screen. I have previously bought a long roll of aluminium fly screen, so we used this.
I also began to attach the hardwood wall lining boards.
These are held on with 50 mm batten screws.With the walls up, it's deemed completed!
All up the building took a week of 7 hour days.
I am a deliberately slow builder. I take the time to breath with my movements, listen to birds, stretch my body, take photos and think about things.
Because this isn't very economic for a client and I don't like the process of building without these things, I haven't ever built for money.
The bill of materials so far is:
$100 – floor
$180 – 1/2 the roof
$180 – roof battons
$40 – foundation pads
$20 – wood oil
~$100 – misc (fasteners/bolts/screws/sanding pads/chainsaw fuel)
$300 – Wall lining
The 2×4 frame and rafters was made from a sling of wood that I already had here – so it was a sunk cost and good to turn it into something. Probably worth about $500.
The wall lining was a lot more expensive than I expected. $7.70 a meter for 1" x 8" dressed hardwood boards.
So all up it's cost about $1420.
The building was complete by 20th of December.
Credit to Kirrah Holborn from Traditional Wisdom for some of the photos.