A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell

The house exterior walls are going up

Coming back from a week's holiday, we discover some of the rear external wall has been built.

It's nice to come home from a holiday - to see what's grown in the garden, or see what post is on the doormat - but it's always going to be more exciting to discover what's been done, when you're having a house built.

We knew the builders were going to be starting on the walls of the house while we were away, but I wasn't sure how much they'd get done. I must say, I thought they might be able to get more done than they have, but looking at what's involved, I'm pleased with where we're up to.

They have 5 internal courses (of 140mm blocks) and 4 external courses (of 100mm concrete blocks). These skins have been tied together using the glass fibre eco wall ties, which I have sourced myself from Ireland - something which these particluar builders haven't used or seen before, so they're having to get used to working with them. They're more rigid than standard stainless steel wall ties, so they're less forgiving when it comes to sliding the external blocks inbetween them, when constructing the outer skin.

You can see also in the photos, that they have laid 3 courses of the blue engineering brick all around the rear and some of the side walls.

Back alley

It feels quite strange to walk behind the house now, along the 700mm wide alley. Once the house is complete I think this will be quite a dark place to be, as the roof and boundary wall opposite will be very high on each side (probably over 3m). We might end up using it as storage for something like logs.... only time will tell.

Half way down the alley, there is an expansion joint in the house wall. This follows the expansion joint which runs down the retaining wall and across the concrete footing. As the retaining wall and the house share the same foundation, the structural engineer has required us to give the house some flex, so things can move a little over time. Hopefully it won't be needed, but it will help prevent any cracking in the walls and surface finishes, should things start to shift.

Starting the internal walls

When building the inner skin of the rear wall, the interior walls for the main bedroom and the spare bedroom have been integrated. This is the first time we've been able to see the actual size of the rooms from the inside. It's early days, but they feel like a fairly decent size so far.

Next entry: House walls (going up)... rain water drainage (going down) (Wednesday 3rd September 2014)

Previous entry: Preparing the ingredients for the house-building recipe (Sunday 17th August 2014)

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