Another Friday on the building site went pretty well. Attendance was surprisingly high, the weather nice and we also had our favourite structural design teacher with us this time, who provided his thoughtful insight and also marked some of the things that could have been done better.
When we came, the building was already topped out, if we can say it about a home of this size. Actually, the practice of topping out can be traced to the ancient Scandinavia so we can say they invented this ritual. Originally, the tree or a branch with leaves was placed on the topmost beam to appease the tree spirits displaced during construction. This tradition migrated to England and further to America. Nowadays, we can hear about topping out of most of the high-rises, as a public relations statement.
Anyway, let’s start with minor missteps. On the next two images, you can compare, how the neatly drawn roof anchor is in reality put somehow in the centre of foundation block. This causes two things. The roof anchor might be affected by the water, which may find its way into the cavity from time to time and it makes hard to properly insulate the cavity since you have to stuff the mineral wool both behind and in front of the anchor. This does not influence the building in a short term, however, proper placement of the anchor could prolong its lifespan by years.
And since there was not anything particularly interesting, I would like to comment on other construction detail we have seen. On the next image, you can see the wind beam. Its role is to support the masonry. The bricks could be affected by severe winds and cracks might appear between them. Thumb rule is that if the brickwork is supported from three sides, the area should not exceed 10 square meters. If the area is supported on four sides, it can be up to 20 square meters. This beam therefore fully support the brickwork affected by the wind.
Here we can see the radon pipe. Radon is a noble gas that is harmful to people and can rise from the ground to the building. Horsens and its surrounding is an area with a high radon danger. One of the solutions to counter radon danger os to establish pipe below the ground slab, which traps the rising gas and leads it to outside. Another solution might be the use of a radon membrane or the concrete slab of a thickness of minimum 100 mm is also considered radio tight. In reality, I would suggest placing at least one more layer of protection, since there might be microscopic gaps in concrete, which might develop during drying of the concrete.
And our personal favourite. I already wrote about this part here. And we can see that it has not yet been dealt with. But that is no surprise since the showers are still without concrete as well, so we assume that they will do these two together. Or there is a possibility that they had forgotten about it completely and the will just cover it, since this opening is not openable.
On the other hand, here we can see a nice detail of carpentry work. This is a corner of a tool shed, which will be clad in wood. Notice the piece of a ventilation strip which ensures proper drying of the cladding after rain.
The longer we spend on that building site, the more missteps we see. It makes me wonder. If that happens on a building site of this size, what happens on building sites which are hundred times bigger? On the other hand, bigger building sites, have permanent site intendants making sure that all those involved follow the plans. I hope next semester we will get access to some of the bigger building sites so we can uncover more mysteries.