With a cured slab, bricks on order, door frames and window frames ready for delivery and the brickies raring to go, marking out the slab was the beginning of a crazy couple of weeks on site.
Before we started any brickwork for the project, Dad helped us mark out the slab drawing all the internal walls and door positions with permanent marker and chalk lines using old school levels, squares and profiles. It was also an important process to allow us to double check that everything was square on the slab and was measured out correctly. Pretty much millimetre perfect, so well done to the grano workers!
With the house plan literally now drawn onto the slab, it was another one of those “ah” moments where the reality of what we were undertaking set in. We were pretty much experiencing a virtual walk through without all the fancy 3D graphics around us, but there was just one niggling thought running through both our minds… every room was looking rather small.
Well, apparently we had nothing to worry about according to Dad – “They’re plenty big enough,” he said, “…wait until you see the walls go up!”.
We didn’t have to wait too long for that moment.
As soon as the bricks were delivered, Dad and his team were straight into it. With both door and window frames already on site, we officially starting bricking up the house on the 26th of March 2014. Working around the perimeter of the slab first, the house literally started to take shape from the ground up, as Dad and his team moved around the house laying the external brick walls at lightning speed.
Brick by brick, the outer walls started to form and watching the walls take shape was just awesome. The icing on the cake however was seeing the window frames being plumbed up and set into place. We could actually start to picture each of the rooms and the vista from each of the windows.
In addition, the external door frames were also being placed and bricked into position – we chose to install aluminium framed hinged doors to complement the window frames for all our external doors. The only external door we used a timber jamb for was the front door – where a double feature door (1.64 metres wide) will be protected by the front porch to create, what we hope, will be a striking entrance to the home.
Using Midland Brick’s Maxibricks with a 15MPA rating, the team bricked up approximately 21 courses high right around the outside – essentially, trying to go beyond this height makes it a little tricky and tough on the arms. Once internal walls are complete to around the same height, they start to bring in scaffolding, to bring the walls up to slab height.
Watching the way the brick up unfolds is quite fascinating – there’s a definite method to the madness and the way they create walls and drag and drop a lift of scaffolding around the house. You notice things in a very different way when you’re an owner-builder – like the way wall ties are placed into the internal brickwork to signify where an internal wall will connect in – as well as just how neat and tidy and precise the brickwork was.
Actually, speaking of Dad’s team, we’re pretty lucky to have them working on our site. Three of them have been working together for 30 plus years and over that time have built some pretty incredible homes around Perth – we can’t even begin to imagine how many hundreds of thousands of bricks they’ve lovingly cemented together over that time.
Thanks Dad, Sid, Phil, Shaun and Matt… you guys are the best!
Anyway, we digress.
In just under two weeks, most of the brickwork was complete… external and internal walls, with just a few big little bits to finish off. We even hit the jackpot with our internal bricks, where Midland Brick were kind enough to supply us with their super sound absorbing Acoustic Maxibricks that will really help with the noise reduction between each room. Dad and his team were not so happy though because they’re a pretty weighty brick, which really gave their arms a work out. Couple that with the fact that we’ve elected to have very high ceilings in our house (as in 34 courses to slab height), it was a challenge. Oops!
Our home was really starting to take shape… still a little weirded out spatially, as it’s hard to comprehend just how big the rooms are, but we were definitely feeling a lot better about it all. What we did get though was the feeling of height – so glad we went as high as we did with the bottom floor ceiling heights. *
Always make sure you communicate clearly with your window supplier to ensure timing is spot on for the delivery of frames. They can take up to six weeks to manufacture, so don’t leave it until the last minute to get your frames sorted.
And ALWAYS keep your brickies on side. Deliver them coffees and treats at 9am to get them through to lunch, and then back it up mid-arvo with a delivery of cold drinks.