Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brick by Brick

Principle 7: Design from patterns to details

I managed to access my brick supply again with the new neighbours. The 'low hanging fruit' had already been picked, so the collection was much slower going than earlier on (took about twice as long). I moved a massive pile of bricks in order to find unbroken ones to clean. In a deal that I made with the neighbours I put aside the best bricks for them (the solids) collecting only the 'wire cuts' for myself. Wire cut bricks are more brittle than 'solids', but are fine for the job I have in mind. I've collected and cleaned about 2800 bricks, hopefully that should be enough.

The last load of brick delivered on site, thanks to the help of James and Liam.


Now that the footings and cellar floor are in place we can start laying bricks. Thankfully Peter knows what he is doing, even though he's never trained as a brick layer - just learnt from others. He's passing on his knowledge to Quentin and I so that we can do some of the grunt work.

While the basic plan is in place, we are figuring out the details as we go.

Peter sets up the corner bricks, ensuring they are all level and square.


The work progresses, the southern side is left open so that we can access the area with wheelbarrows.


Stringlines are a key to keeping brickwork straight. The idea is to lay the mortar down and tap the bricks into place, to the height and line of the string without touching it. You can see how crooked the insulation line is, we will have to figure out how we can link that with the insulation that fits on the brickwork later.

Outside skin almost complete, now the inside begins. The metal bars sit between the brick skins, and will tie the concrete into place when it fills the gap.


Nearly done. You can get a pretty good idea of the size of the living / dining area now. The low winter sun streams across the entire floorspace - good passive solar design.


The sump got tested out the day after we poured the slab, seems to work well.


Peter set up a jig for the brickwork for the cellar, so that we get a nice even circle.


The sleeve that holds the horizontal bar in place is adjustable so that the height of each course can be set level all of the way around.


Peter sets up four piers within the walls for added strength.



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