3rd August 2011 / posted by KimJack
Kim's Big Adventure in Cambridgeshire
What a pleasure it is to be able to get out of the office for a few days to erect an oak frame and enjoy the clients delight of watching their house go from a block and beam pad to the skeleton of what is to be their dream house, and in addition to that, having great weather. With it being the beginning of the school holidays, site crew back up is a rarity; I was given the call to go to site on a Tuesday to cover for a member who had to return. I am the first to jump at the opportunity to get out from behind my desk for a short respite.
Floor beam, post and brace flown in as one unit.
I arrived on site in a village outside Cambridge called Cottenham, which I am reliably advised by our clients Debbie and Gerard has the longest High Street in Britain at 4 ½ miles long. Saso, our site foreman and his crew had erected the frame to first floor level by the time of my arrival. The following day was spent completing the frame to wall plate level, swiftly followed by the trusses, purlins and ridges.
Glazed frame being craned into position
Oak glazing frame made and ready to be craned into position.
Being the Project Coordinator for Oakwrights, I oversee all the projects that we have and am responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly from Sales to Design, to Production and then to Site and all in good time. As a result I am constantly liaising with all the departments and clients to make sure we arrive on site with each of our projects in a timely manner. With up to 50 projects on the go at any one time this can be a very interesting balancing act trying to keep everyone happy.
Saso and Gerard topping out the frame
The final part of the oak frame to be built was the face glazed frames. These frames are incorporated within our WrightWall Natural walling system. This is a very well insulated encapsulation system that is breathable and made up of natural materials, such as Hemp batts and Wood fibre insulation boards. These glazed frames will be fitted in between the wall panels as each of these panels is installed. They will then be clad with oak weatherboarding.
We had one special visitor make an appearance on site a few times. Her name is Cookie. And what a sweetie pie she is. She is a rather large Newfoundland, who at two years old weighs in at a measly 12 ½ stone. Good luck trying to stay upright when she jumps up at you. In reality what you do have to watch out for is the slobber!
Gerard who missed the oak frame going up now taking control of the BBQ.
We were privileged and honoured to take part in the spread that was very kindly laid on by Debbie and her family, our crews are always very grateful of the offer of free food and drink.
Luke tucking into a burger before his trip back to Hereford.
Gerard, Debbie and the kids. Frame up, ready for the WrightWall
Cookie with Kim and Luke in the background.
On our final day on site, we were treated to a wonderful BBQ, which was beautifully cooked by Gerard, whom had been away most of the week so was unable to see the majority of the frame being erected. Gerard and Debbie had invited several of their friends around for the BBQ and to celebrate in our topping out ceremony.
BBQ with family and friends.
Not many people get the opportunity to build their own house, let alone an oak frame house, so our site foreman do their best to find an oak branch, including climbing trees to get just the right one. It is then tradition to get the client to nail this branch to the frame and take some happy client photos that will be remembered for the many years to come. Another happy Oakwrights family.
You can follow the full build experience on Debbie’s Blog at bananabuild.blogspot.com
You can also view the full planning experience; and view designs of the house and the oak frame here.