Owner Builder Forum
May 09, 2014 6:31 pm
I am currently designing and building a house in the Southern Flinders Ranges.
This house is quite modest as I want to build it myself so a large 2 storey house would not be practical.
It will be used as a weekender. The house has been rated at 7.6 stars.
I designed the house to be solar passive, optimised for Autumn - Winter -Spring (as I will not be spending much time in it during summer).
The main living areas are double brick to provide some thermal storage as there are usually large temperature variations between day and night. The remaining rooms are insulated timber framed.
The site is in a high fire risk area - BAL 29.
I had previously designed and built a house near Adelaide 35 years ago,so I thought this present build would be relatively straight forward, especially considering the current house is much smaller and simpler to that I built in the 1970's
However I did not factor in the difficulty in building is a relatively remote and isolated location.
Building also needs to be planned around farming activities. For example labour is not available at harvest time and outside work is not practical during summer, in particular concrete cannot be placed at this time.
Sourcing building materials and arranging deliveries is a challenge. None of the local sands are suitable for bricklaying so my brick sand came all the way from Adelaide.
My first obstacle was to get an all weather track constructed that satisfies Country Fire Service Requirements.
As I am building 600m from the nearest public road this involves providing passing lanes and turning circles that suit a fire truck,
Next, I needed a level building site. A considerable amount of dozer work was required as my property is steep and undulating with no level areas.
I chose the flattest part on the spur of a hill but hit bedrock at only one metre.
As I hit bedrock, it would not have been practical to excavate any further for sewer pipes or foundations so I built up a building platform using about 500 ton of quarry stones.
We also need fire fighting water as the house is in a high risk bushfire area.
This is the building platform ready for excavation where I marked out the walls with Roundup (as I did not have any spray paint and there are no shops nearby).
Digging last pier (I hope)
Enough digging. Time for a glass of wine or two.
This is the excavations completed for the slab.
This went perfectly due to careful site preparation.
Reo placed & formwork installed ready for concrete.
Waiting for concrete.
There was a significant delay as some of the trucks made several return trips to the concrete batching plant with a round trip of about 2 hours.
Only issue was that there were only 4 concrete trucks available.
I needed 8, so there was a significant delay waiting for some of the trucks to make several return trips to the concrete batching plant with a round trip of about 2 hours.
Only finished trowelling at sunset.
Day One of framing.
Cutting first Stud
Day One of framing.
Laying out timber for first of the wall frames.
Another beautiful day in the office.
Day Two of framing. First wall erected.
This was a bit tricky working by myself. The rest should be easier as I will have an existing wall to clamp onto.
External wall frames up. Now to order roof trusses & install them. Then I can get onto making and erecting internal wall frames.
Internal brick walls going up.
Note the extensive propping. Glad I did this as a few days later there were 130km/hr winds.
Several of my neighbours came around to check on the house to see if it was still standing
View of the house taken for the other side of my property.
External walls up
Scissor roof trusses delivered.
Roof Trusses Up! Now I can complete the internal walls.
Roof Trusses Up. Internal wall frames finished.
Septic Tank Installed. After a lot of digging through rock we now have a working toilet. Just need a bucket of water to flush it.
Temporarily lined the toilet walls with foil sarking for privacy, but this does obstruct the views.
Re: Owner Build in Soutern Flinders Ranges2
May 09, 2014 7:55 pm
I guess the water pipe extends from near the house to a dam somewhere not all that far away ?
Do you have a pumped based at that dam, or are there facilities for the fire brigade to put one of their pumpers to connect up to send the water to the house ?
Re: Owner Build in Soutern Flinders Ranges3
May 09, 2014 8:16 pm
There is a large SAWater dam a few km away and also a SAWater header tank.
However I still need to provide a dedicated 40,000 litre steel tank (i.e. non-combustible) with CFS fittings, an engine driven pump, also fire hose reels to reach all around the house because mains water may not always be available during a major bushfire..
Re: Owner Build in Soutern Flinders Ranges4
May 09, 2014 8:43 pm
It's the sort of thing that those much closer in to town never think about, because they already have a lot of things already in the ground at their front gate.
I guess a concrete tank would also qualify, but a steel tank would be cheaper to bring in and install out there.
Re: Owner Build in Soutern Flinders Ranges6
May 11, 2014 1:13 pm
It's great to see how the landscape changes with the seasons. From a few scraps of dead grass to deep luscious green grass.
We are looking forward to sharing in your build.
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges7
May 12, 2014 10:38 am
That is a top location!
I've been through the Flinders Ranges region only once before and loved it. It sure wasn't that green back then though!
I marked out the walls with Roundup (as I did not have any spray paint and there are no shops nearby).
Ha. Who needs termite proofing when you mark out with a pesticide !
I look forward to seeing the rest of the build.
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Wall Framing D10
May 23, 2014 9:20 pm
More photos uploaded
Love checking out the photos, but they would've been better in a new post, rather than edited in to the first post because then we have to find them.
Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Weatherboard Cladd11
May 24, 2014 4:54 pm
Starting installing weatherboard cladding - 150mm Linea Scyon
I found the boards (16mm thick) difficult to cut. Saw blades were wearing out in a couple of hours. I tried both cheap blades & expensive genuine blades. They all wore out quickly. The genuine blades did last a bit longer.
In desperation when I had run out of blades one weekend, I tried an old rusty +40 year old blade. It worked a treat. I was able to complete all the remaining cladding using this one blade. (Its teeth are different to the new blades. There are 2 rows of teeth)
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Weatherboardin12
May 24, 2014 7:04 pm
16mm thick, no wonder it was chewing through your blades so fast.
Hope you were wearing a dust mask whilst chopping them up.
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Weatherboardin13
May 24, 2014 7:22 pm
Hope you were wearing a dust mask whilst chopping them up.
No, a respirator, goggles and ear muffs.
New blades are designed so they don't make much dust, but this old blade did make a lot of dust.
Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Weatherboards14
May 26, 2014 6:59 pm
Weatherboard cladding finished. The last 4 rows of boards were the worst. I could not manage to work off my extension ladders so used used some scaffolding instead. Took me 4 hours to collect & erect the scaffolding and 10 minutes to install the last 4 boards.
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - Weatherboardin15
May 27, 2014 12:10 pm
Took me 4 hours to collect & erect the scaffolding and 10 minutes to install the last 4 boards.
Maybe Beetaloo but it beats being out of action for 6 weeks with a broken leg or worse if you fall off the ladder.
I know what I'd prefer ( and I bet your family feels the same way ).
Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - FIRE16
Jun 02, 2014 7:55 pm
FIRE & FLOOD - 2 of owner builders worst nightmare.
I experienced both.
At the end of January 2014 a fire was started by lightning in the Southern Flinders Rangers near Bangor. Bangor is about 60 km from my property.
The Bangor fire started in largely inaccessible sparsely populated country. This fire was initially not taken seriously as there was little risk to life or property.
What initially started as a small fire, flared up and continued to burn throughout February for 30 days (largely uncontrolled) until a thunder storm cooled the fire. It then continued to smoulder for another 30 days until Autumn rains finally put the fire out.
The total area burnt by this fire was nearly 100,000 acres with a perimeter of 180 km.
Initially I was not too worried as the fire was 10s km away from my property and there were fire breaks/control lines in position, however on day 20 of the fire there was a change in wind direction and the fire jumped containment lines.
At this stage my house was undefendable. The house was not yet protected from ember attack.
Roof flashings were not installed, external doors were not installed, ember screens to windows were not installed, ceilings and wall lining were not installed (to protect roof trusses and timber stud walls).
Water was not connected, nor was fire fighting equipment (tanks & fire pumps not yet installed).
On day 20 of the fire, I was working on the house when there was a change in wind direction and I saw smoke building up and moving directly towards me.
As the house could not be protected, I stopped what I was doing & jumped in my car & fled.
Once I was clear of the immediate fire threat, I stopped and took this photo:
My house is somewhere behind all that smoke!
I spent the night in a neighbouring town.
This photo was taken by a photographer later that night looking towards my property.
I returned the next morning to check on my property & put away my tools (as I had left in a hurry).
The fire approached on 2 sides and came to within 800m. In both cases a sudden change in wind direction pushed the fire away.
Re: Owner Build in Southern Flinders Ranges - FIRE!17
Jun 02, 2014 10:27 pm
Jiminy ! At least you were sensible and left at the appropriate time and didn't leave it to too late as a lot of people do.
It makes you realise what all the new CFS rules are for.
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NeedamoneytreeWe're going to build on the Southern Highlands, NSWWe're going to build on the Southern Highlands, NSW
Happy house hunting. The Barrington home on display in Renwick is beautiful if you get a chance to look.