To celebrate the airing last week of Mr & Mrs Hasted’s Self Build Story on ‘My Flat Pack Home’ we are revisiting a blog written last summer by Oakwrights Frame Designer, Jo Young. Jo visited the site in Hampshire to help the site crew erect the frame that she had designed. The television crew were ready and waiting when Jo arrived on site and with a little background, here’s how the experience unfolded…
Hi my name is Jo Young. Originally from north of the border, I have been working my way down the country, first stopping in Sheffield to study Architectural Technology and now I have found myself further from home in Hereford after being offered the opportunity to join the Oakwrights team a year and a half ago as a frame designer. Part of my initial training was to spend 6 months in the workshop, where all the oak frames are assembled in 2D before they are sent to site. This is an important part of the training as you see first-hand how the oak frames are assembled so when you are designing you can visualise how a frame comes together.
Mr & Mrs Hasted lending a helping hand
The house is a three bed, two storey post and beam oak frame, with a WrightWall Light encapsulation system. The frame is beautiful in its simplicity and not over complicated, perfect for this build where Mr and Mrs Hasted wanted to create a light airy home with high ceilings to create the wow factor whilst sitting in their lounge.
The Skeletal Post & Beam Frame
Post & Beam frame under erection
Once my 6 months was up I moved into the design loft and with the mentoring of head of design, Roland, and the other senior designers I was soon starting on my first projects. At first they were quite small to ease me into things, such as garden rooms. Then I had a larger frame that was for a swimming pool, and that lead me nicely into my first house for Mr & Mrs Hasted. When I first got the project, back in the depths of December, it was hard to imagine that I would be going out to site in the middle of summer as part of the team that would erect the frame, but here I was on a glorious Monday morning in Hampshire, full of excitement and anticipation at my first house being built.
Central Aisle of Frame
The site was originally an old cow barn and, due to planning regulations, two walls of the barn had to be retained. This generally raises some issues as usually old barn walls tend to have a mind of their own and are rarely ever straight. When I was designing the frame I had to keep this in mind and kept a ‘buffer zone’ of 100mm between the existing wall and the frame. This would then give the client enough room to insulate and plasterboard. As it turned out the wall was not as bad as I had originally envisaged it to be, perfect!
I arrived on site and was greeted by my very excited clients Mark and Cath and the camera crew that would be filming for the TV show ‘My Flat Pack Home’. I have to say I was a bit nervous about the camera crew and I just hoped that everything would run smoothly.
The Frame with WrightWall Light Panels Fitted
Once the lorry was unloaded it was time to crack on. Saso who was the site foreman for this job is very effective in the way he works. Assembling parts of the frames in 2D on the ground and craning them in makes the frame erection task a lot quicker, easier and safer than assembling piece by piece.Also seeing the part assembled frames fly through the air is quite spectacular.
Post & Beam Frame with WrightWall Light Encapsulation
We had a perfect day for it; there was hardly a cloud in the sky and as the sun baked down on us we had half of the frame up by lunch, which consisted of lovely bacon and sausage butties prepared by our onsite chef, Cath. At this point everybody, including myself, was quite amazed how quickly the frame had gone up and by the end of the day all that was left to do was to put the top section on.
Day two and the camera crew had left us as they had enough footage from day one. We finished putting up the remaining oak and once pegged up, Saso checked the frame was square and he uttered the words I had longed to hear ‘millimetre perfect’. I sighed with relief. The frame had gone up without a hitch, this made me realise that all the work that goes into planning, designing, liaising with architects and clients is a vital part of a project to ensure that when on site everything runs according to plan.
Jo Enjoying the BBQ
Once all the walls were in position they were fixed into place and we could take a step back to look at how much we had accomplished in 4 days. Just in time for Mark to fire up the BBQ and pass out the beers. Just like the start of the week the sun was beating down on us, a perfect way to round my first full house project off. Happy client, happy builder, happy oak frame foreman plus team, and a very happy oak frame designer - Me!
The remainder of the week was assembling WrightWall Light, and this being my first time installing the walls I was keen to get stuck in. Once we prepared the sole plates and they were in position we could get the first set of walls in. After a bit of shuffling they were in position and we could get them prepared for the next level to go in on top of them. Seeing the walls go up just as quickly as the oak frame was impressive not only to me but to the builder, who in the morning left the site with just the oak standing and came back in the evening to see the walls up and the house starting to take shape.
A Happy Team; Oakwrights Frame Erection Crew Together with the Clients' Building Team
The Home Channel can be found on Virgin 265 | Sky 246 or visit lovehome.co.uk