Our House Diary# 65, If All Goes Well – 3, Feb. 9, 2017

Well, so far, the “if” part of this post title has become a “went” because all went well today. We closed the parking lot, lifted the modules and moved 2 more outdoors. We then lifted the last of them up and onto “candles” so that the building is about 40 inches off the ground and ready for transport tomorrow!

The 10 ton jacks worked like a charm and the 45,000 lb. units “floated” off of the foundation blocks we had made for them about 5 months ago

After the truck backed in under the units, the driver actually lifted the module off of the jacks and hauled the module into the great outdoors!


Since we had closed about one half of the parking area off, the driver found a temporary place for the module until the next phase tomorrow. What we are looking at is the ground floor and the rear of the home.

Then, with a lot of will power, after placing the next unit (ground floor, front) on wheels, we pushed it so that it was centred in front of the garage door for the next pick up. Many hands make light work!!

Once more, the jacks came into play, and this unit floated off of the wheels so that the truk could back in.

Then it was a question of moving this second ground floor unit outdoors to find its own temporary resting place in the parking area.

After shifting the last unit over, there was a photo op!

The jacks were placed for the last time and this unit, too floated up and was lowered onto the candles for tomorrow’s big day.


Now the room seems huge with only one unit left!



Tomorrow, two trucks will return and ferry the modules over to their new “home” where they will get an official address number and become part of their community….if all goes well…..


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Our House Diary #64, If all goes well – 2, Feb 7

Well, the last post was “If All Goes Well….” and, well, it went!

Actually things are fine with the exception of the weather, which is something none of us has control over, so what the heck! High winds have caused the crane operator to postpone the operation until Friday the 10th….if all goes well!! (ha!)

We have been taking advantage of the extra time to accomplish some unexpected tasks, like storing materials to be used on site in the modules, verifying all of the drywall screws, cleaning up each room and preparing tools and equipment for the move as well as closing up the modules for the big move.

We also took photos of the roadway through the parking lot at the IGA in case of a dispute after the fact and went one more time to the slab for cleaning of snow and preparations for insulation of the perimeter of the sill plates.

If all goes well, we will move the modules at the end of the week. I expect there will be one more post before the move, but you never know!



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Our House Diary #63: If all goes well….Feb. 3, 2017

We are in the last stages before the big move day of Feb 8. If all goes well, there will be one more post prior to the move, and then you should be able to see the Our House being transported and placed on the slab…..I have to admit, I am a little nervous!!

We are tidying up loose ends and accomplishing some tasks previously not planned for, so I suppose that is a good thing.

The bathroom cabinets have been installed:

…with the countertops:

We have also been making and installing cupboard shelves:

….and the final touch-ups are done by Stephane:


…we made gable stud walls to facilitate a fast installation on site:


…and we have been covering the units without roofs to make them as waterproof as possible for their sojourn outside before the transport to the site:

…using insulation that needs to go over to the build as temporary ridge poles and re-using the tarps from the other stages of the build.

I believe my last post before move day will be on Tuesday as I document the initial preparation for the tucking. We will move the units outside so that they can be easily picked up by the transport company on the big day…..we hope, there are weather concerns that have to be taken into consideration.

Cross your fingers!! I am!


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Our House Diary #62, More Details! Jan. 30, 2017

“The devil is in the details”, or so the old expression goes! In fact there is some truth to it in that there is so much to remember to do and so little time to do it in!!

This past week was busier for more students on the Our House – the Interior Finish group was working on finishing up the last of the drywall in Unit 1:


(nice perspective, Evan!!)

….the electricians were having a final go over and tidy-up, pre moving day:


…..we took the opportunity of extra hands to finalize the stringers and rough treads and install them, using up a lot of scrap and crappy materials where possible:

….the wall extension that will define the stair well between flights was built and tested:



….and the RTC grads were diligently working on the bathroom cabinets with the goal of installing them by the end of this week:


I also spend some more time shovelling on site….*sigh*; hey, someone’s gotta do it! Looks like I will be back there this week too!

This is the last full week the modules will be in the centre: I hope to finish off all the last details and load up the units as shipping containers for materials needed on site.

Stay tuned!



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Our House Diary #61, All the little details, Jan 26, 2017

As the big move date draws steadily closer, the push is on to get some of the final details finished that will assist in a smooth transition from the shop environment to the “real world”: namely cold and precipitation!

There are some things that we have to do that will be impossible to do once the units are installed on site: install the ventilation ductwork, do some of the exterior finish details that will be hard to do in the cold, finish the plumbing hook ups as far as we can, complete the drywall finish, bathroom cabinets and close-in the top of the ceiling structure where the ductwork is being installed.

We made great progress over the past few days.

Most of the  ducts are in:

and the intake and exhaust hoods installed:


This work then permitted us to finish the ceiling:


The ceiling structure is finished on the top with a layer of OSB to prevent racking when the unit is being moved.

Over the past few days, a number of us have cleared the slab of snow once (actually, three times!!) again….a fairly thankless task, but someone has to do it!


Tomorrow we will see our electricians from LBPSB on site to tidy up the last of the loose ends….it will be great to see them again, and we will miss their positive presence on our “job site”.  The price of progress in the end of the job and although many of us are looking forward to the time when our tasks revert to “normal”, I know we will miss having the opportunity to work on a fairly innovative project.

Thanks to everyone who participated!


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Our House Diary #60, Grunt Work Sometimes Necessary! Jan 20, 2017

Sometimes, as carpenters, we have to do things that are not, “strictly” speaking, “carpentry”. Usually there are the tasks of sorting, organizing  and cleaning that occur throughout the typical day that none of us loves, but we all recognize as essential to the good performance of our more skilled tasks.

This time, as we move closer and closer to the move date of the Our House modules, the non-carpenter work was cleaning the concrete slab of snow and ice. We were assisted in this unpleasant work by nice, mild temperatures that helped loosen the grip of the accumulated ice.

And what makes unpleasant work more palatable? Why working in a team of willing and positive participants. In this case, the group in the “Scaffolding” module lent their muscles and willing spirit (with coffee and Tim-bits provided by yours truly) to do the clean up:


Within 90 minutes:

And a final group shot at the end of the work:


Even though the job is not that much fun, working together can make the best of an unpleasant situation!

Thanks to everyone for helping achieve the goal…..now to keep it clean for the next few weeks, especially with this forecast on the way:


Hmmm…..I guess this won’t be my last trip to the site!

I am looking forward to handing responsibility off to Habitat!!


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Our House Diary #59, Back to the grind! Jan. 18, 2017

It is the the second week back after the break, and work is still moving along fairly slowly. We have been getting all of our ducks in a row as we wait for materials to be provided by Habitat for Humanity.

In the meantime, we have met with the trucking company and the crane operator and have communicated with our engineer/designer, and, after making some modifications to our lifting points we are ready to go. The new wooden blocks are similar to the original prototypes, but are a little thicker as per the recommendations of all the experts. There ar two models, depending on the placement of the siding, which is really what we are hoping to protect. Here is what one model looks like, it is for the ground floor modules:


It will be installed under the siding using long lag screws:

and after installation:

The straps will be deflected by these blocks away from the siding…..we hope!!

The other model after installation looks like this:

We managed to pick up the units by a 22,000 lb.-rated strap, so we are getting more confident of a stress free move!

We also managed to use all four of our 10 ton jacks to lift unit 2. It went very well and we are certain we have the necessary strategies for the move day to get these units on the trucks….after that, it is up to the pros!

Meanwhile, we also took advantage of the warm temperatures to try and clear the drains on the slab where the home will be going. We were able to find them and now there is a clear path for the melted snow.

By the end of this mild week the slab will be clear of free of snow and ice….then we will have to keep it off until February 8th, the move day!

We should have materials necessary for the rest of the pre-move planning by early next week, so we’ll get ourselves in gear for the final prep!


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