Having filled the floor space with recycled glass foam insulation the next task was to lay out more railway sleepers as a base for the internal walls. These heavy sleepers will spread the weight of the internal walls evenly and provide a much more solid foundation compared to the glass foam pebbles.
Strings were carefully measured and tied between the footings. Using these as a guide, we began work digging out shallow trenches which the sleepers will sit in.
Digging a shallow trough below the guide strings for the sleepers to lie in
The complex web of strings at ankle height make navigating the build site more interesting
The sleepers were also laid across the four concrete blocks in the center of the foundations that will eventually support the roof columns. As these blocks were not 100% the same height and and the thickness of the sleepers was also not consistent it turned out to be quite fiddly to get all the sleepers laying level.
Peter delicately adjusts the thickness of a sleeper so that it is level when placed on the concrete support block (foreground)
Nino digging out a place for the sleepers to lie. As the sleepers were laid directly on the insulation it was important to dig to the correct depth. Needless to say this involved placing and re-placing sleepers a few times to get the depth right
Digging progressing well
Peter checking that the sleepers are level
Laying out the final sleepers. Once level, more pebbles were pushed in to fill any spaces running along the sleepers and ensure a nice even floor surface.
View from the front through the “front door”. For the first time the unique entry corridor featuring walls that taper inwards is apparent.
The posse stops for a tea break
Sleepers in place, Sylvian wraps up the guide strings ready for the compactor to come in
Compacting the recycled glass insulation in between the sleepers
Finishing touches. It was important to rake the pebbles as flat as possible before compacting to achieve a level finish.
There was a real sense of achievement once the sleepers were all in place. It had been a tricky job involving a lot of trail and error and maneuvering of heavy sleepers but the result was worth it. The internal layout of the rooms is really starting to become apparent. Once we has finished all that was left to do was cover this layer with another sheet of the same geotex membrane that we used below the recycled glass.
Unrolling the waterproof membrane
The geotex is permeable allowing water through but keeping the insulating pebbles and the earth floor that will sit on top of it separate
The building’s pentagonal shape means some unusual trimming was necessary
Peter cuts a hole for a sewage pipe
Damien inspects the (almost) completed product
Sharpened hazel stakes lying dormant beneath the surface of the geotex. Hopefully we will have more luck catching unsuspecting passersby who come to look at the site
For the next post click “Wall plate”.