This will be a regular feature with updates on our progress at building a new house from reclaimed materials.
So the conversation started a while back, when I said to an architect and an engineer that I wanted to build a house from 80% reclaimed materials and no concrete, believing that this is the only truly green method of construction for a new building.
Eighty percent because there are areas, that in order to conform to building regulations and achieve an energy efficient house, we will need to use new products. The windows, insulation, drainage etc will be newly manufactured.
The existing building, which we are converting, has a beautiful polished concrete floor, some of which we will maintain, but, in order to create a first floor, we are lowering the level at one end of the house.
It had been suggested to me that it would be possible to cut the slab and lower it whole. The architect and engineer looked very sceptical at this point, but the engineer came up with an ingenious idea of cutting the slab into blocks and using these as underpinning for the steel frame.
We have been thwarted however. Unfortunately the slab is reinforced and much thicker than expected. We have nothing that will cut it.
I am reverting to plan B, where we will try and cut up the exterior slab and use this for the same purpose.
We have also failed in using the foundations from our old workshop. This was to be crushed for the base to the new limecrete slab on the extension, but we could not get it crushed in time. The next best thing, we bought in hardcore from the A11. The crushed concrete will get used elsewhere in the project.
I’m sorry to say that we have used new blocks in the new footings under the ground, this was a pragmatic decision, primarily to enable us to get these built quickly as they are the party walls and we want to keep our very tolerant neighbours happy.
On the other side of the building, we have removed carefully the concrete blocks and these are ready to be used for our internal retaining walls, which is very fortuitous as they need move only four feet.