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!

Marking out the slab in preparation for the brick up

Marking out the slab in preparation for the brick up

Chalk line markings to help guide the brickies

Chalk line markings to help guide the brickies

 

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.

Midland Brick have been great to deal with and offer Owner-Builders a fantastic discount on their project

Midland Brick have been great to deal with and offer owner-builders a fantastic discount on their projects, including free estimating services

Brick delivery stands proud on the immaculate slab

Brick delivery standing proud on the slab

Laying some of the first lot of bricks on the ground floor slab

Laying some of the first lot of bricks on the ground floor slab

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.

 

Dad and Matt get cracking...

Dad and Matt get cracking…

External walls go up and windows go in - the windows are held in place by profile props whilst the cement hardens

External walls go up and windows go in – the windows are held in place by profile props while the cement hardens

Details of the external walls and windows being held in place with profile props

Details of the external walls and windows being held in place with profile props

A view to the outside world... our Avanti window frames get installed

A view to the outside world… our Avanti window frames get installed

The laundry taking shape, as is the garage at the back of the house

The Laundry takes shape, as does the Garage at the back of the house

More window frames in the dining and living space - we love natural light and we should have plenty of it with all the windows on the north facing side of the house. You can also see the external door that leads into a powder room

More window frames in the Dining and Living space – we love natural light and we should have plenty of it, with all the windows on the north facing side of the house. You can also see the external aluminium door that leads into a Powder room

The external box of a shell - soon to be filled with rooms

The external box of a shell – soon to be filled with rooms

 

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.

The external walls around the perimeter, up 21 courses high

The external walls around the perimeter, up 21 courses high (NOTE: 1 maxibrick = 2 standard bricks in terms of height)

The internal walls start to adjoin the externals

The internal walls start to adjoin the externals

Internal walls and timber door frames going in - looking into the Guest Bedroom with the stairwell just sneaking in at the front right

Internal walls and timber door frames going in – looking into the Guest Bedroom with the stairwell just sneaking in at the front right

Sid starting to brick up the internal wall between the front Study and the Activity in the foreground

Sid starting to brick up the internal wall between the front Study and the Activity in the foreground

The Guest Bedroom and Ensuite along with a separate Powder Room with access to the outdoor pool area

The Guest Bedroom and Ensuite along with a separate Powder Room with access to the outdoor pool area

The front of the house taking shape, including plumbing storm water into the columns that will conceal the gutters from the top porch roof

The front of the house taking shape, including plumbing concealed into the columns for some top floor services, verandah and gutter services

The front entrance now bricked up, with a view into the Guest Bedroom which will also feature a double door

The front entrance now bricked up, with a view into the Guest Bedroom, which will also feature a double door

A view into the Study from the front entrance - also featuring double doors

A view into the Study from the front entrance – also featuring double doors

Marie was gracious enough to stand in the stairwell area :)

Marie was gracious enough to stand in the stairwell area 🙂

The stairwell was dropped 2 courses under the house slab to enable us to create a workable under-stair storage area - access via the door frame you can see on the right

The stairwell was dropped 2 courses under the house slab to enable us to create a workable under-stair storage area – access via the door frame you can see on the right

The main dining space from the kitchen which looks out to the pool and walks out into the alfresco - large format windows and sliding panels will create "walls" for this entire corner

The main Dining space from the Kitchen which looks out to the pool and walks out into the Alfresco – large format windows and sliding panels will create “walls” for this entire corner

The view from the Kitchen - with Scullery on the far left, fridge recess in the centre with a view into the open Living space on the right where the double storey void will be

The view from the Kitchen – with Scullery on the far left, fridge recess in the centre with a view into the open Living space on the right where the double storey void will eventually be

Our open plan Living space will feature a full height double storey void over the entire area as well as a double-sided fireplace that will extend the full height of the void. The sliding panel door to the right will open up onto a mini deck in front of the pool area

Our open plan Living space will feature a full height double storey void over the entire area as well as a double-sided fireplace that will extend the full height of the void. The sliding panel door to the right will open up onto a mini deck in front of the pool area

The Laundry now complete, with the hallway leading to the Garage on the right

The Laundry now complete, with the hallway leading to the Garage on the right

 

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!

Midland Brick's Acoustic Maxibrick - you can see a wall tie too, which is used to connect and strengthen adjoining internal walls

Midland Brick’s Acoustic Maxibrick – you can see a wall tie too, which is used to connect and strengthen adjoining internal walls

The full height of the 34 courses is now evident and a little exciting!

The full height of the 34 courses is now evident and a little exciting!

34 courses high to slab height...

34 courses high to slab height…

The front brick columns also taking shape - you can see the provision for storm water jutting up the top - these will go all the way up to the roof line and assist with removing water from the large section of roofing that extends over the top floor verandah

The front brick columns also taking shape – you can see the provision for storm water jutting out the top – these will go all the way up to the roof line and assist with removing water from the large section of roofing that extends over the top floor verandah

The two end columns also have some plumbing in them - these will become floor wastes up on the top level verandah to help remove any water that might come in

The two end columns also have some plumbing in them – these will become floor wastes up on the top level verandah to help remove any water that might come in

 

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. *

 

HANDY TIPS

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.

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