BUILDING A SOLAR HOUSE IN FRANCE - WEEK 4 - crane and monomur walls go up
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Week 4 began after a delay of 4 months - christmas and new year, then waiting for the monomur briques to be made and delivered, took us to mid February, but then Francis Guinot got involved in another job that had complications, we went to UK for a week, and agreed a resumption of work in March. But sorting out the other job took longer than anticipated and finally we extracted a promise to be back on site straight after Easter. On Tuesday, Francis phoned to say that he was bringing a crane onto the site to speed up moving materials. But he said that ideally he needed a 3 phase electricity supply.
We had already bought everything for a monophase temporary supply but delayed asking for the EDF (Electricité de France) to connect so save having to pay until it was required. I had made a weatherproof wooden box to house our part of the equipment (which itself was in sealed waterproof cases). Above are the units in the box before connecting them.
We then found out that we had to have an additional totally sealed box approved by the EDF for a 3-phase supply which was locally not in stock. We would either have to go to Sarlat or wait for it to be delivered. More delay. More expense. Total to this stage 790 Euros.
Without the crane in action, blocks were carried down the hill by the Manitou tractor shovel, and Francis and his men started to set out the monomur walls of the sous-sol (basement and cellar).
The monomur wall on the south west side.
Close up of a palette of monomur. 25 cavitiesin a flattened honeycombmade of extruded fired clay. They are supplied made to fit the plan exactly like Lego, interlocking without mortar, glued together using a special roller to avoid filling the cavities.
Without the crane in action, blocks were carried down the hill by the Manitou shovel, and Francis and his men started to set out the monomur walls of the sous-sol (basement and cellar).
Frankly I am not convinced that a crane is really necessary or will save much time, plus the amount of aggravation we are having in getting the electricy supply done does not improve matters. Its only advantage is that it uses less energy and is quieter. But we pay for the energy rather than the contractor. I think that Francis loves his machines and this is a new toy, and we are the guinea pigs.
The crane was then set on its little platform - the level of our terrace - before being unfolded.
The process of unfolding the crane begins. A temporary electricity supply was borrowed from a cooperative neighbour, Mr Levallois. In the meantime I had gone off to Perigueux to buy yet another box to meet the EDF requirements. Cost mounts to over 1000 Euros.
Unfolding took 2 hours with snags as the crane hook tangled and it had to be folded again.
Finally it was up, towering above the trees. It was really because we did not want to cut trees near the house to create a prairie in which to build the house and leave lots of space for materials to be parked and vehicles to circulate, that Francis used to persuade me that he needed the crane at no extra expense.
The crane towering over the neighbourhood. A bit over the top for our our little house.
Fully erect and loaded with counterbalancing concrete blocks (10 tonnes)
The monomur walls rise on Tuesday morning
Margaret with her finger in a hole in the monomur (to be later plugged with insulation).
An adjustment to the height of the blockwork retaining wall.
Cedric fitting the temporary electricity supply box to the pole, Tuesday afternoon.
Francis using the remote control of the crane bringing down a palette of briques.
I am now convinced that the crane does speed up the job considerably. All the blockwork and monomur could not have gone up so fast with only 2 men without it.
Rolling the glue onto the briques immediately before placing the next one - much quicker than laying concrete blockwork.
Some briques still have to be cut despite the 'prefabrication' .
The final boxes and contents for the temporary electricity supply, on Wednesday morning.
Laying the 9th course Wednesday PM
Friday morning - laying the lintel course. The leaves on the trees have come right out in the last week - compare with photos taken a week ago.
Lintel 'briques' ready for concrete to be poured around reinforcing.
Briques at window opening. The hole is for vertical reinforcing.
View of North West wall on Friday - complete to receive the floor beams on Tuesday when the concrete block retaining walls are up to the same level/.
Sliding the forks into a pallette of 'briques' - the crane is operated by the remote control on Francis' belt.
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Album last updated on Apr 21, 2007 - 06:21 PM