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Natural Building & appropriate technology’s blog 14

Article 14 of Natural Bldg and Appropriate Tech Internship

 All right, we are building two sleep-outs. We come from various place around the world and various backgrounds. One of us is a builder, the other one, me included, we are not. We all learned a lot since the beginning of the internship. But very often we were told what to do and it is totally fine.

 Simon suggested that we really dive into the project and the plans. Basically the plan is there but it shows the walls and the roof how it is supposed to be. It doesn’t show how to put in place the wall, how to set up the roof. And this process is up to us. Now we have to figure out how to put all the bit and pieces into place. Lots of hypothesis, lots of theory, a little bit a frustration and heaps of thinking.

 going through plans

 Going through the plans, all together.

 It is a little bit like the puzzle into the Kinder Surprise. There is always a few seconds of unknown where we just don’t know what is the top and what is the bottom. So imagine for a whole house, even if it is small, the plans are complex. Especially for people like me who have never looked at this kind of paper.


 Thinking a little bit more, on site.

 But the collective intelligence is here and slowly, step-by-step we all begin to understand what we are going to create. A big step was also to get familiar with all the specific words on building. Here are a few: top plate, stud, girt, brace, bearer, etc… I will not go through the entire list. But we made one and it helps a lot. Coming from Switzerland and speaking French as my mother tongue, I really struggled with all this vocabulary. My head was steaming!

 Big Ben

 Big Ben drawing a side view of the building.

This has been a long process and all the steps have not been detailed enough yet. But we definitely made a step forward towards to the understanding of the big picture. We also learned a lot about what we could have done differently like first surveying the available material and then create the design of the sleep-out instead of the inverse. One more time, we can always do a better job.

To be honest, even if we all understand the importance of this step, we went through a bit of frustration. This type of learning process suite some persons, but not every one. It is highly theoretical and needs a lot of visualisation in the head. The group kind a split up into two between the own highly passionate about it and the other one who just want to do something more physical.

It is worth to mention that we all feel closer to the project. We can all picture what it is going to be from the general up to the detailed. Anyway, let’s go back on what we have achieved in these two days.The bond beam is done! Beautifully done, strong, and fitting the local council regulations. We are happy!

 fresh bond beam

 Being freshly taken out of his box.

 A team did a survey of all the wood that we have and made a list. With this we know what goes where and we marked all the wood to be able to access it faster.

  surveying timber

 Surveying the timber.

 After all our thinking of Monday we decided to first set up the back wall. And to do so we are going to fix together the stud of the back wall horizontally before raising it in place.

And let’s not forget an important step in our journey! The strength test for the poles.

alright, it will hold

 It’s all right, it will hold. 

 ~Oscar Morand, 12 March 2013, Natural Building and Appropriate Technology Intern

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