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Adventures in Timberland


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Today was "Ground-Breaking Day" and the sods were removed from where we will be putting the footings for the house. On Monday the guys will start to dig the foundation trenches and we'll also have some guys prepare the area for a driveway so that we can lay 4 - 6 inches of crushed rock in readiness for the concrete truck. The footings for the house will require over 13 cubic metres of concrete and until we have our well dug there's no water on site so a "one-bagger" couldn't be used. Besides which, it is better to pour the foundations all in the same day from a strength and integrity point of view.

 

This first photo was taken just inside the property in the centre of the driveway. The four stakes, with sod cleared around them, marks where our garage will be and the house is to the right. We built an 8 x 8 foot Balay-Balay as somewhere where our workers can seek shelter and eat their lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

You can see more of where the house will sit in this second photo:

 

 

 

 

 

The third photo shows more of the scenic outlook we will enjoy. Unfortunately rain clouds were gathering so you can't see much of the mountains in the distance and Mount Apo is completely obscurred by cloud. The small black thing sitting on the bonnet of our car is the American Cocker Spaniel bred by one of LinC's admins in Talisay and is just over a year old.

 

 

 

 

 

The house you see in the above photo belongs to M60man and it was framed by Aber Crabnasty (who has his back to the camera in the first photo). Our land does not adjoin M60mans, there's 23 metres of rather marshy land between his lot and ours.

 

 

 

 

Mark

Edited by Markham
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When are you looking at building? Dying to see what the outside looks like!

Our permit has been applied for and we should receive that shortly - but there's a lot of preparatory work yet to do before we actually start to build.

 

The outside? We are hoping to use brick as the weather-proof "facing". I really don't like vinyl or sheet metal siding; I'm not convinced that the former will last any length of time here due to the high levels of ultra-violet light we get here. I lived in Phoenix Arizona for a while and never saw a house with vinyl siding - that's not to say they don't (or didn't) exist, just that I never saw one personally.

 

There are several buildings in downtown Davao that are brick-built so brick is available here and I know it's available from suppliers on Luczon. I'm hoping a very good friend of mine whom I've known for 40 years in the UK, himself a master builder and a former teacher of bricklaying, will come here for a few weeks to train an already quite competent block-layer the art of laying bricks and how to do pointing (of the mortar between the bricks) correctly. Fortunately Holcim does produce a good grade of cement that's ideally suited for use as mortar in that its fairly elastic (ie crack resistant) and has good waterproof qualities - but it is a bit more expensive than their regular Portland cement.

 

 

 

Mark

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  • 2 weeks later...

I placed an advertisement for a bricklayer in the Classifieds Forum and one of the replies was this:

68 bricks a hour is asking a lot from a local tradesman if you can even find a local guy able to lay bricks .

On average a good tradesman back home will do around that number depending on what kind of joints you want .

Most guys I hired in Canada have trouble getting over 50 per hour . I was happy if they could lay 500 in a 10 hour day and that was with experienced helpers . As for teaching a guy on how to lay bricks in a week or 2 not very likely it takes a lot longer to learn how to do it and make it look nice . Just look at the work being done with the hollow block I have yet to see a guy here that can lay a block good enough to make it to lunch working for me . I,m sure there must be a few guys around that have the skills good luck mark .

 

I love the look or brick if done right . have you picked colors yet ? What kind of design are yo going for ?

Friends of mine own construction companies in the UK and they expect their bricklayers to lay at least 100 an hour - I have watched as a Master bricklayer laid four bricks a minute and he kept that rate going for 30 minutes before taking a short "smoke" break! Generally, each bricklayer is supported by two helpers: one to keep the brickie supplied with enough bricks close to hand and the other to mix and distribute the mortar at regular intervals along the "run"(s). But I take your point, even 60 or so an hour may not be do-able here with local labour. And that;s if I can find someone suitably experienced. If I can't, I may have to fly a brickie in from the UK.

 

 

 

 

When I placed the advertisement, I had only been able to locate a supplier of 8x4x1 inch bricks - hence the 40,000 brick estimate. The company that manufactures those bricks has now confirmed that it can supply the more standard 8x4x2 inch variety at around 1 peso additional cost and this brings our overall estimate down to a mere 23,000 bricks. Judging from the sample 8x4x1 brick they gave me, the quality is very good. The bricks are very dense and hard - the sample weighs about 2 pounds - and is very similar to "engineering" bricks that used to be used to line sewers and for factory chimneys in the UK. I have to say, I'm impressed.

 

As for colour, you can have any colour you like provided you choose a rich dark reddish brown! But in the stack of bricks at the suppliers, I did notice some slight colour variations so that adds to the interest factor.

 

The house will look something like this:

 

 

 

 

However, you will need to imagine that the exterior walls will be brick rather than the white lapboard siding generated by the program - it doesn't know how to render brick walls. Also, we plan to have a white concrete sill beneath each window - abutting a Mahogany sill on the inside and the window drame will straddle the two. These sills will protrude 4 inches from the surface of the (brick) wall upon which they sit. The windows will be uPVC, made to a British design, and be double-glazed using Argon gas between the two layers of glass.

 

The four inch thick brick walls will sit approximately half-an-inch away from the six inch frame wall which is formed from 6x2 lumber with half-inch marine ply. The inner surface will be standard Gyproc plasterboard and skimmed with finishing plaster. We will insulate all the main walls with at least 2 inches of rockwool (or fibre-glass) insulation and the outside of the plywood will be faced with 5mm foil covered foam. With main walls almost one foot in thickness, I think this should be a well insulated house.

 

Excavation for the house footings is almost complete and today two of the workers were deployed to start digging the septic tank which will be located twenty feet away in front of the house. We aim to commence pouring the footings on Monday by which time all the preparatory work will be completed.

 

 

 

 

Mark

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Nice size house of 2,304 sq. feet total interior space :thumbsup:

 

But, the depth (front to back) of the house is only 24 feet vs the side to side length of 48 feet.

 

While the overall sq. floorspace of each of the 2 guest bedrooms upstairs is certainly large enough (approx 192 sq. feet for each bedroom), because of the narrow depth of the house of 24 feet, it's limiting those 2 guest bedrooms to only 9 feet across from front to back.

 

The house just seems very narrow from front to back considering the overall floor space of the house. Are you space limited as to the depth (front to back) of the lot?

 

Your house is 24' x 48' giving you a total interior floor space of 1,152 sq. feet on each floor (2,304 sq. feet total both floors)

 

Had the house been lets say 30' x 39' you would have 1,170 sq. feet on each floor (2,340 sq. feet total both floors) .... and you could have eliminated the narrow 9' dimension of the guest bedrooms upstairs.

 

Just a thought

 

Ron,

________________________________________________________

 

 

EDIT: Just wondering ... is the street facing the front door (narrow) side of the house, or is the street on the wide side of the house that faces the living room, office and storage room?

 

.

Edited by Turbota
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Davaoeno

I notice that to go from kitchen to dining area [ or back] you have to open and close a door- not ideal to me, especially if you have your hands full. I recently removed my similar door and am very happy with the result.

 

You are definitely a fan of hallways and doors. Keep us posted so how it goes.

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I notice that to go from kitchen to dining area [ or back] you have to open and close a door- not ideal to me, especially if you have your hands full. I recently removed my similar door and am very happy with the result.

 

Good point .... And that arched open space you created looks nice!

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Davaoeno

I agree- wish I had done it a year ago! And it makes the kitchen feel so much bigger now. [ just remember to use the dirty kitchen when cooking smelly things ]

 

I notice that to go from kitchen to dining area [ or back] you have to open and close a door- not ideal to me, especially if you have your hands full. I recently removed my similar door and am very happy with the result.

 

Good point .... And that arched open space you created looks nice!

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But, the depth (front to back) of the house is only 24 feet vs the side to side length of 48 feet.

There's a good reason for that, Ron, I'm governed by the lengths of dimensional timber that are available. In general, you can't get lengths longer than just over 24 feet, so that limits the depth to 24 feet. It would be possible to increase the depth but the cost of the extra materials required - double the number of 6 x 2 floor joists would be required as well as reinforcing plates - placed where two 6 x 2s are joined to form a single joist.

 

EDIT: Just wondering ... is the street facing the front door (narrow) side of the house, or is the street on the wide side of the house that faces the living room, office and storage room?

The street is almost perpendicular to the 24-foot wall with the front door. The lot is a parallelogram in shape and the house lays parallel to the side boundary line which is about 10 degrees to the left as viewed from the road.

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Markham ...

 

This is an interesting thread, and I hope you keep posting photos of this unique construction method you will be using.

 

I just have to ask as to why you are not building using conventional building techniques used here in the PI such as hollow blocks, cement, and rebar?

 

Keep the photos comming

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SkyMan

Nice size house of 2,304 sq. feet total interior space :)

 

But, the depth (front to back) of the house is only 24 feet vs the side to side length of 48 feet.

 

While the overall sq. floorspace of each of the 2 guest bedrooms upstairs is certainly large enough (approx 192 sq. feet for each bedroom), because of the narrow depth of the house of 24 feet, it's limiting those 2 guest bedrooms to only 9 feet across from front to back.

 

The house just seems very narrow from front to back considering the overall floor space of the house. Are you space limited as to the depth (front to back) of the lot?

 

Your house is 24' x 48' giving you a total interior floor space of 1,152 sq. feet on each floor (2,304 sq. feet total both floors)

 

Had the house been lets say 30' x 39' you would have 1,170 sq. feet on each floor (2,340 sq. feet total both floors) .... and you could have eliminated the narrow 9' dimension of the guest bedrooms upstairs.

 

By comparison though, there's about 150sq ft of hallway upstairs and 120 down plus a big entryway and a big chuck of real estate on both floors taken up by the stairs. An open design could have the same floor space and a lot less hallway. But if you don't favor open designs you get a lot of hallways and doors. To each there own.

 

Will there be any rebars in these bricks or will you have free standing 2 story brick walls?

Edited by SkyMan
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I just have to ask as to why you are not building using conventional building techniques used here in the PI such as hollow blocks, cement, and rebar?

I am, Ron, I am! It's just not a normal method here.

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By comparison though, there's about 150sq ft of hallway upstairs and 120 down plus a big entryway and a big chuck of real estate on both floors taken up by the stairs. An open design could have the same floor space and a lot less hallway. But if you don't favor open designs you get a lot of hallways and doors. To each there own.

The hallways are deliberate and actually form spaces in their own right. The entrance lobby forms a natural reception area. The upper and lower hallways are intentionally wide to allow pictures to be hung and viewed.

 

Will there be any rebars in these bricks or will you have free standing 2 story brick walls?

Rebar no, brick-ties, yes.

Edited by Markham
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Interesting. Does the house sit on footings, or on a floating slab? About those "brick ties"; do they have some sort of seismic rating?

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Interesting. Does the house sit on footings, or on a floating slab? About those "brick ties"; do they have some sort of seismic rating?

Footings and a stepped foundation. The timber framing will be fixed to steel plates that are firmly anchored to the inner foundation which will be about 2 or 3 brick courses higher than the outer foundation step onto which we will place the bricks.

 

The brick ties are coming from America and are, I believe, made of galvanised steel. Timber-built houses generally fare better than those built from concrete block or concrete alone - such houses are normal in rural Japan (there are many in urban areas too), a country that gets more than its fair share of earthquakes. Were we to have an earthquake and depending on its severity, I would expect the mortar to crack long before any of the brick ties sheer. The timber house is a much more elastic structure than its protective brick facing wall and I need to strike a good balance between maintaining that elasticity and providing integral support for the bricks. Too many ties between the two will provide a very rigid structure, possibly too rigid.

 

 

 

Mark

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