Preparing for Winter

To permit the installation of the residential electrical panel in the utility building, this non-canary building was dried in to facilitate the continuation of construction.  Despite the winter weather, one subcontractor was able to continue work on Patient Chickadee.  To achieve and exceed required building code exterior wall insulation value, an additional 4” of ICF block was affixed to the …

Concrete Pour Before Winter Freeze

Construction of the vertical exterior walls of the house continued as Fall turned into Winter through the month of November 2021. The push was on to complete the exterior walls so that a concrete pour could be accomplished before winter freeze set in.  Once the walls were completed, it became a day-to-day assessment.  After two failed pour days, two days …

The Mechanicals

Much thought went into where to place the mechanicals and electrical so as to minimize their impact on the life of a canary. For this build, we decided on a completely separate utility building. This building will house the electrical panel, the telecommunications panel and devices, the radiant floor heat distribution panels and manifolds, hot water heater device and water filtration requirements. The building is approximately 10×12 and sits 8’ away from the house itself. Placing the mechanicals in a separate building maximizes the reduction of impact to canaries. But the services still must make it into the house even if the devices are situated outside of the house.

Pipes Everywhere

Before the backfill process, many drainpipes are installed. These include drainpipes around the perimeter of the foundation wall, drain pipes throughout the interior of the foundation, drain pipes to daylight, drain pipes for the bathroom, laundry and kitchen fixtures. Of course, the plumbing drainpipes are all pressure tested for leaks.

Building with ICF Block

ICF block, short for Insulated Concrete Block is an EPS foam form with a middle structural core that rebar steel and concrete are placed. A 6” core results in an R value of 22. Placing the first course of the lego style building block is critical. As the first foundation layer, it is critical to attain a level and square …

Preparing for the Foundation Wall

Once the excavation was complete, Maine requires a footer be at least 4’ below grade to protect against frost/freezing during the winter. This depth varies around the country. For instance, our safe home in North Carolina only required an 18” depth. And in Texas, we are told they merely scrap the top layer to remove the organics. Special attention was …

Structural Fill

Having placed the foundation in the gully, excavating began. We were presented with another challenge. The earth below the 2’ foot organic layer was particularly rocky. Rocks were multiple sizes, a few of them very large! Though easily excavated, the resultant fill was not suitable for structural fill around the future foundation, either inside or outside the wall. It was …

Building Plot

What you Find when you Clear the Trees – Topographic lines on a plan may say it all, but there is nothing like physically removing the trees (called clearing) and seeing what you are presented with for your build site. Once the trees were cleared, the placement of the foundation for Patient Chickadee took on new challenges. The site designated on the plans was relatively flat as indicated by the topographic lines, but it was closer to the eastern boundary than originally laid out. To move the location to the west 50’ or so, put the foundation in a slopping gully.