These days we design everything in 3D software such as AutoDesk Revit, and sometimes Sketchup. For us the main advantage is that it allows us to more easily communicate with clients.
The old 2D drawings worked very well for the experienced specialist, but for everybody else 3D is easier.
We haven’t seen any HoloLens augmented reality goggles on our building sites yet, but laptops are common. We still think it is a bit risky to open your 3.000 euro MacBook in the dust and the dirt, but hey, you need to check this 3D window connection thing so…
But even with all this 3D stuff some challenges remain. The engineer behind his super 3D CAD station can place a foundation pole to the millimeter in his drawing, but there is no way the guy that runs the drilling machine can place that pole to the millimeter. With wood we can work almost to the millimeter, but foundations have a much bigger construction tolerance. So once on the building site we may find the foundation to be slightly different from what we expected. Now what?
Easy: we use a pencil and a piece of wood, and we fix it. No AutoCAD, no 3D Revit, no HoloLens, just a pencil. Works fine.
Of course there is a risk to it. The flexibility that you get from fixing things on the building site might be offset by the introduction of construction errors. It is exactly this disconnect between the 3D design from the office and the actual implementation on the building site, that made a multi-level car park collapse at Eindhoven Airport.
But for simple things like the windows installation in a log house we feel confident that we can fix it with a pencil.
We are currently building a house from cross laminated timber. Cross laminated timber, or CLT, is a bit like multiplex but then more complex. You take wooden planks 40×40 mm and glue them together into a board, en then you take a second board and glue it on top of the first one. And then a third, and a fourth, until you have the desired thickness. Instead of 40x40mm you can also use 30×30, or 25×25, but the end result is always the same: a massive wooden board that you use to construct walls.
Not too far from LegoLand in Denmark we are building an Eric & Flo, but then bigger. Much bigger. And modified into an L-shape with car park under the main roof.
Little patience please, this photo needs a few seconds to load …
And since this is Denmark, the insulation requirements are extreme. But the basic concept is still the same. Traditional logs, connected with traditional dowels, lots of insulation, damp-open and larch on the outside.
We started with another new log house in The Netherlands. Construction is, as always, very traditional, with dowels to connect the logs together and big beams in the roof. Today we visitied the building site with our client and afterwards he sent us some photos. And guess what, our client likes the massive beams as much as we do, because they were on each photo.
In Friesland we are currently building a house in the Sneek-area. We are now two weeks before hand-over, and as usual with frame houses there are foils sticking left and right from the house. Does not look very appealing, but in two weeks all will be finished and you will see a beautiful wooden house. More photos to follow. So why to publish this photo now? Because of the view!
The living room has a full glass facade, 8 meters wide, 7 meters high, and on the other side is Frysland (Fryslân [ˈfrislɔːn]), green and blue with white cumulus and black-and-white (in the distance, most are in the barn…).
Nowadays houses must be draft-free and air tight. We used to place foam strips between the logs, this took care of the draft but it was not fully air-tight. Today we take a more rigorous approach: we completely wrap the house in an air-tight foil. Damp-open, but air-tight. We started wrapping yesterday, at the same time we are placing the main beams on the roof. These are maybe a little over-dimensioned, 60 kilos each, fully laminated, they will never bend.
main beams for the roof, air tight foil around the house
We are being asked regularly if we sell kit homes. For a kit home we would deliver one or more trucks or containers with building materials, a clear manual, and off you go. Like an IKEA-house.
No, we don’t deliver kit homes.
The Sears Catalog Home
But why not? Building a house is not rocket science. In the USA the Sears company has been delivering the Sears Catalog Home for years. Those were not garden sheds, those were full size houses for permanent living.