• ICF house build in Adelaide

    G'day everyone.
    I am an owner builder in Adelaide, building a large ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) house, using a system from Danish Constructions Insulbrick
    After seeing sundancewfs ICF extension project thread I thought I better start my own rather than hijack his.
    I will start with a few pictures of the work to date and go from there.
    If anyone has any comments or questions I will be happy to discuss them with you.
    So here goes.




    The start of the first slab, sewer trench cut and mid level main beam (27/8/2007)


    Bottom level slab (2/10/2007)


    First two beams in place, formwork stripped off drop piers, first row of blocks started


    Walls up to row 5 ready to be poured (6/6/2008)


    Ready for pour to full height (2/10/2008)


    Veranda columns and beams up (3/11/2008)


    Dwarf walls, ready for Bondek between slab on ground and suspended slab.


    I am true owner builder and I am doing as much of the construction myself as I can. These are the braces I made (50 of them) to hold the ICF in place until the concrete has been poured and set. They have already be hired out to 3 other jobs since my pour, so they are now paying for themselves. The material cost to make them was less than the hire cost in the first place so I think the time was well spent.


    Lifting steel beams using a 2 tonne chain block and a gantry frame that will eventually be cut down into veranda columns.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ICF house build in Adelaide started by Belair_Boy View original post
    Comments 115 Comments
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Now I have the pictures back in order it it time for another update.
      Although things slowed down over Christmas, I have been finishing off the few sections of the middle level ICF walls that were not filled by pump.


      After stripping of all the shutters and extra temporary support for the blocks I discovered a corner where the two lowest blocks had split.
      I was not even aware of this during the day of the pour as my additional corner support had done exactly what it was supposed to do.
      This would have been the least accessible part of the wall at the time of the pour and being 3m off the ground would have been a nightmare to repair in a hurry. The time and effort to support the corners was worth its weight in gold in this instance.

      The East wall of the laundry, kitchen and meals required the most attention as this section was only filled to window sill height.


      In this instance the ICF wall between windows extends a short way past the steel column supporting the kitchen window lintel.
      As I was concerned about a slender column of concrete against the steel column remaining in place, I welded a vertical reinforcing bar to the steel column.
      Same on the other side of the window opening.

      With the two sections of wall between the windows filled by hand, the lintels could be tackled. The meals lintel is ICF where as the kitchen and laundry are steel T.
      The kitchen lintel sits on the two steel columns where as the laundry one sits on the concrete wall.


      The lintel over the meals window is an ICF one with 2 x N16 bottom, 2 x N12 top and R6 ligs @ 185 centers.
      The photo is of the reinforcing cage before it is lowered in to the ICF lintel block.


      The gable end of the AV room is formed from 170 blocks sitting on top of the 240 block wall below.
      Vertical bars were chemset into the wall below as the cell spacing of the 170 blocks does not correspond to that of the 240 blocks and hence the 240 block vertical bars could not continue into the 170 blocks. All the 170 blocks that do not require the roof slope to be cut into them have been placed and filled with concrete.
      The East wall of the AV room has also been continued up another 6 courses, with the end where the 240 blocks meet the 170s and the transition between the 240 blocks and the 200 blocks filled with concrete. This just leaves two straight sections of wall with no complications to be filled.


      The laundry lintel has 2 x M16 threaded rods at each end cast into the wall below. Once in place the lintel height was set with the laser and grouted into position
      The vertical web of the lintel splits the concrete above down the center and not one to do things by half, I welded some left over SL92 mesh down each side to reinforce these sections of concrete. This lintel has had the blocks placed and filled. The kitchen lintel has had the same reinforcing treatment and is due for filling on Monday.


      As well as finishing the middle level walls I am preparing for the lounge room exposed timber beam. The beam will sit on the chimney at one end of the room and on the gable end wall at the other. I have fabricated two brackets to support the beam and anchor it to the walls. Both are welded from 10 mm plate steel and galvanised. The holes in the vertical plates are to take M16 threaded rod through the timber beam and into the concrete of the wall. The hole in the base plate are for M16 vertical rods which will be cast into the concrete and once the brackets set for height, grouted in place.


      This is the current state of play. The next few tasks are to hand fill the kitchen lintel, add two more course to the chimney and cast in the threaded rod for the bracket. Place the ICF blocks on the two north lintels and the western gable.


      I will shutter the two garage door mullions and arrange a pump to pour the remaining ICF blocks (about the 11th Feb if I keep to scheduled)
      Next big pour will be the upper level suspended slab ... stay tuned.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Spoke too soon
      In trying to be clever I have lost two photos and the time to edit has expired
      Here they are ..... again


      Quote Originally Posted by Belair_Boy View Post

      After stripping of all the shutters and extra temporary support for the blocks I discovered a corner where the two lowest blocks had split.

      Quote Originally Posted by Belair_Boy View Post
      I welded a vertical reinforcing bar to the steel column.
    1. Gaza's Avatar
      Gaza -
      getting closer to the finsh, amazing job whats your ETA till you finsh the house,
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Thanks Gaza
      My wife wants to have Christmas (2013) in the new house
      I have been working on a new build scheduled for this year and it is looking feasible to have the roof on by September!
      Having ceilings for Christmas remains to be seen but we will be eating Christmas dinner at Belair house one way or another.
    1. jatt's Avatar
      jatt -
      It can be a bit isolated working by myself for so long and having to deal with the "so is the house finished yet" comment from people who have never attempted a project of any size in their life.
      Yeah can relate to that. We all get them. For some a small chookhouse in the backyard is a major building project... ooh I picked up a power drill today Get the odd visit from a couple of mates who do a few small tasks on the way thru. Always have an awkward 2 person job set aside and supplies at the ready for when they show.
    1. Acrowman's Avatar
      Acrowman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Belair_Boy View Post
      Thanks Gaza
      My wife wants to have Christmas (2013) in the new house
      I have been working on a new build scheduled for this year and it is looking feasible to have the roof on by September!
      Having ceilings for Christmas remains to be seen but we will be eating Christmas dinner at Belair house one way or another.

      Hi there:

      Its nice to see someone who knows how to build properly. Maybe you could run a course for some of these monkey house builders.

      Sorry to get off track but...

      Have you got 30 X 2 to 2.5 metre Acrow Props you want to sell cheap or hire cheap.

      I need to pour a concrete slab at home and have noticed that there does not seem to be an abundance of these things laying about.

      It may take me a few months to set it up and pour it with work commitments etc.

      If i rent them for this time it will cost more than buying them at $60.00 a prop.

      I remembered reading in one of your early postings, that you went to Melbourne to get them at the right price.

      I assume you will not be pouring your roof on this level and probably won't be using them.

      I suppose that is a big assumption.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Acrowman View Post
      Its nice to see someone who knows how to build properly.
      G'day Acrowman, thank for the big complement, I do things the way I think they should be done and to a level of quality I am happy with.
      Probably overkill for most but it is my work and I have some pride and a lot of satisfaction in doing a good job.

      I assume you will not be pouring your roof on this level and probably won't be using them. I suppose that is a big assumption.
      Sorry but your assumption is incorrect. My next step is a suspended concrete slab over the half of the middle level for the upper level floor.
      It is 168m2 with about 70m2 off form and the rest on Bondek, all of which needs propping and thus the acrow props are still needed for a while yet.

      The big plan is to have the slab poured in May so giving time for curing the props should be available in July.
      Not sure if this fits in with your plans but I would be open to a good hire rate for anyone needing them after this.
      My neighbor is using about half at the moment and I have started using the other half so none free at the moment.

      I agree that it doesn't take long to pay for the props at a weekly hire rate (hence buying my own).

      Pm me if you want to discuss this further.
    1. Acrowman's Avatar
      Acrowman -
      Belair boy:

      Thanks for your prompt reply.

      I found your thread when I was Googling for Props.

      After I sent the request I was looking at your photos and I noticed some starter bars on top of your "I" Beams and thought, you will be needing your Props.

      Props are a bit of a hot item that maintain their value and no one wants to sell them once they have them.

      It seems that second hand props are only available in ones and twos at a higher price than what they are new.

      Keep up the good work.

      The way you keep your work-site is a credit to you.

      Most people don't realize the difference it makes to work on a clean site without tripping over piles of rubbish on uneven ground.

      I built my house in the same meticulous manner as you.

      I wouldn't let any of those monkey building companies within 100 metres of my place.

      I'll keep an eye on your thread and wait until you are finished with your Props.

      Then I will contact you if I still haven't found any at a reasonable price.

      I will not need them anymore once I have completed this slab.

      That's why its so hard to bring myself to buy them.

      Good luck with it all.

      If you are putting in a Pool / Firefighting Water Tank and you need any advice please contact me anytime.
    1. shauck's Avatar
      shauck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Acrowman View Post
      If you are putting in a Pool / Firefighting Water Tank and you need any advice please contact me anytime.
      I was told recently (as I thought of using fire fighting tank as a pool) that chlorinated water or salt water will damage the fire brigades equipment and so is not allowed to be used as one, where planning permission requires a tank on site. Is this true?
    1. Acrowman's Avatar
      Acrowman -
      Quote Originally Posted by shauck View Post
      I was told recently (as I thought of using fire fighting tank as a pool) that chlorinated water or salt water will damage the fire brigades equipment and so is not allowed to be used as one, where planning permission requires a tank on site. Is this true?

      Shauck:

      I am a pool expert, not an expert on water storage for the use of the MFS or the CFS.

      I was actually referring to water for your own use with your own firefighting equipment and sprinkler system.

      If you run an ozone pool that is balanced correctly there would be no detrimental effects to any pumping system whatsoever.

      In actual fact, i'm pretty sure that the CFS don't care where water comes from when it comes to saving their own and other peoples lives and property.

      They would be happy to use dam water if they needed it.

      The MFS would probably be a bit funny about it especially if it was salt water.

      I figured that being in the hills, Belair Boy would be more concerned with bush fires and would be more likely to be supplying the CFS with water or using his own Firefighting Pump.
    1. shauck's Avatar
      shauck -
      Also sorry for the hijack. I figured you were meaning for self use. In some cases around here, you are required by planning/building permit to put in a water tank specifically for CFA (kept full all the time) to use if ever needed and I wondered if there was a way around the issues described.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Well it has been far too long since I posted here so I better remedy the situation.

      First of all, Yes I am still alive, for any of you who were wondering.
      Secondly, progress is still being made on the Belair house, although I am not quite at the projected progress point I predicted earlier.

      The upper level suspended slab pour (scheduled for May) has not been done, however it is close.

      Before the progress report, a little comment on the discussion about water tanks and pools etc.

      I am required to have an independent water supply for bush fire fighting purpose, and have a 22000 litre tank specifically for this purpose.
      In reality, the chance of ever seeing a CFS fire appliance on the property in a bush fire is close to zero. The large number of houses compared to the small number of fire appliances means they will be allocated to high priority buildings such as the local nursing home / retirement village etc and so I will be on my own.
      In such circumstances any water is valuable and pool water will help put out a fire just as well as tank water. I believe that the BCA allows a pool to be used as the source of water in Tasmania at least, so potentially it could be argued in other states/councils. The local fire fighting supply shop sells a pump and hose reel on a trolly specifically for using with a swimming pool.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      OK, to resume the story, before the upper level suspended slab could be started there were some lintels to be hand poured and the sections of wall above 3m to be prepared for filling.


      The chimney had another couple of courses filled and the threaded rod for the beam bracket set in. The vertical reinforcing had the next few metres added on making the placing of more blocks too difficult until the upper level floor is poured and the scaffolding can be moved up a level (as each corner block needs to be threaded over the top of the reo rod).

      The laundry and kitchen lintel were hand filled as there were only a couple of courses to fill and there were reinforcing cages to get the concrete around. Things can get a bit hectic during a pump pour and the last thing I wanted was voids in the lintels.


      Similar reinforcing was welded to the dining room and North meals lintels. Due to the amount of concrete needed for these two lintels, it was decided to pump these, along with the Garage columns, West gable and AV room wall extension.


      Threaded rods were set in place to be cast into the AV room wall to fix the top plate and associated roof member brackets to. Again small pieces or reo rod were welded to the ends of the threaded rod to make sure they never come out.


      Shutters were placed around the two garage columns and held in place with blocks and threaded rod to resist the hydraulic pressure of the concrete. I used a vibrator when filling the columns so no shortcuts here.
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      Some extra photos prior to the final middle level wall pour.


      North lintels shuttered


      Scaffolding for AV room extension


      Scaffolding for lounge gable
    1. Belair_Boy's Avatar
      Belair_Boy -
      The pumping of the extra bits on the middle level went with problems.
      It was only one concrete truck and was all done in quick time.


      With a couple of mates to help with the final leveling, some family to assist with the pumping and yours truly on the hose it was time for beer and pizza before you knew it.


      After the pour with all walls on this level filled.


      Top of the AV room wall, filled and nicely troweled off.


      The AV room wall after the scaffolding had been removed, 4800 to the top.


      The lounge beam bracket in place and grouted onto the gable wall.


      The 7 metre long ~800 kg narrow leaf red iron bark ridge beam for the cathedral roof in the lounge room ready for the final carpentry.
      The pockets for the exposed rafters have been roughed in with a router, ready for the final fitting for each corresponding rafter.
      The gantry and chain block are a must for working on this big stick.


      The start of the edgeform for the upper level suspended slab and associated temporary safety balustrade (the bracing uprights are being used again) prior to the Bondek being placed.
    1. SlowMick's Avatar
      SlowMick -
      Good to see you posting photo again Belair - I really enjoy your work and attention to detail.
    1. woodbe's Avatar
      woodbe -
      Quote Originally Posted by SlowMick View Post
      Good to see you posting photo again Belair - I really enjoy your work and attention to detail.
      +1

      Your AV room is going to be awesome, 4800 high wall !!

      woodbe.
    1. Armers's Avatar
      Armers -
      Good to see you're alive and pumping.,... What i would do to have an av room like that

      Cheers
    1. sundancewfs's Avatar
      sundancewfs -
      Spectacular!!!