Wednesday, November 24, 2010

West Virginia Holiday Closing, Yet We're Still On Target (ha) For Turnkey Completion!

Last week was exhausting! We wanted to take advantage of the good weather, so we worked every day through Sunday. By end of day Sunday there were several rear ends dragging, including mine. We got a lot done, though, and by end of week we were setting panels like the proverbial well oiled machine. We did not work Monday, which is a sacred day in WV with the opening of the gun deer season. I've never been much into hunting, but the rest of the crew are, and they were looking forward to it. We needed the break, although I hated to waste such a beautiful, sunny, mid-70's day.

 The only panels we have left to set are one end wall in the Great Room and the roof panels of that room, after we set the trusses. That is going to be a real challenge, as the roof panels are the biggest in the package at 8' x 24'. You could never do this kind of building without the extendable boom forklift. A crane would be better, but your site has to be right for it, and the expense can be significant.

Tuesday was a wash out and I am hoping that we can make some progress today (Wednesday) on the last panels. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and rain is predicted again Friday. Looks like we'll need to make a push for Sat-Sun-Mon to get the panels all set. Once done, although things can get cold, at least we won't be at the mercy of the rain in making progress. Things should move along. Windows, drywall, wiring, HVAC, paint, siding, etc. etc.

There is still a lot to do, but I think we are within the 30 - 45 day range to turn-key!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) Arrive For the Prefab Cottage Kit!

Our structural insulated panels for the house arrived on Tuesday, 11/16!
As Mr. Murphy would have it, it was the first rainy day in over a week, and as previously mentioned, the day was an exercise in overcoming obstacles.

First, getting the flat-bed tractor trailer backed into a pretty narrow, not completely straight road was nerve wracking. I'm sure the neighbors, whose porch was missed by inches felt the same. The driver did a great job, though. Next, because of site conditions and obstacles our first attempt to unload a bundle of panels was a real problem, with the extending boom fork-lift getting stuck. It took us over an hour to get it loose, and we had to hand carry the BIG panels that it had gotten off of the truck. We moved to plan B, which necessitated unloading on hard top road and using the extending boom to set the panels down on the empty lot. Took us around 4 hours to unload 6 bundles, but thank goodness we got it done with little panel or people damage.

Richard Lloyd of Cardinal Building was there, and he sprained an ankle helping us man-handle the first bundle, and we pierced one panel's outer skin with the forklift. Sorry I don't have any pictures of this operation, but I didn't want to fry my camera in the rain, and besides, I didn't really think of it until later due to the intensity of the day's activities.

We did get the garage built while waiting on the panels, below. It is a pole frame building, and goes up fast. It is also cost effective, and an excellent system that has been around for thousands of years. I would like to combine SIP's and pole (really squared posts) framing at some point.

I am close to being ready to order our windows, which will come from a WV manufacturer named Wincore. Keep it local when you can is my motto. That is one of the reasons I am still undecided on the Energy Recovery Ventilator to install. If you are not familiar with an ERV, it is an appliance that exchanges inside air for outside air, preserving most of the energy that you have used to condition your inside air. It prevents the bane of earlier super-insulated homes, stale, unhealthy air. A company in Ohio manufactures an excellent unit that outperforms most others, but costs appreciably more. Other units do an acceptable job, so if it were purely economics I'd go with one of the others. However, the others are manufactured elsewhere and the Ohio unit is made here. American jobs, and a clearer conscience, as well as a better performing unit have it in the lead right now.