The bone dry weather has serious outcomes for the Bay Area and California, but for us the lack of rain has helped us. So far, we have been able to continue building the ADU. Where we sit on a bluff, strong winds have been more problematic.
Still, there are many other challenges. A two-person crew, trained as architects, are learning to become builders. They must make many decisions about basic construction– how to organize the means and methods of building, order materials and equipment, and master the tricks of the trade.
Problem-solving on the spot may not happen as quickly as expected, particularly as each choice affects the next task or decision. Building a new structure connected to an existing residence requires complicated tie-ins and repair to areas where the exterior skin and window were removed. Eventually, solutions surface and we were able to move forward. Teamwork and collaboration are the keys to working toward a common goal, along with communication and trust among team members.
Recap of First Floor Walls
As you may recall from the previous post, we had completed the first floor wall framing. The video walk-through below gives you a real-time sense of the space from the end of the unit, containing the Office, Living Room and Dining Area. You can also see the small window along the north side in the kitchen and the view of the entry into the unit.
Architects think of building systems as analogous to those in the human body. Plumbing systems are similar to our digestive system, electrical systems are like our central nervous system, and ventilating systems are like our respiratory system. The beams and columns form the structural system, just like our bones do. So yes, creating a building from scratch can feel like a powerful act.
As we continue on our journey to build and complete the ADU, we will be referring to these building systems as they are developed throughout the construction process.
The Second Floor Framing
Wood construction uses many of the principles we learn as children when we played with blocks and legos. But the actual joining together of materials and elements require some additional skills. It helps to think three dimensionally and have a sculptural understanding of shapes and planes. A complex structural design to address an irregular shape and site configuration raised the bar for these skills.
After last month’s challenge constructing the wall framing for the first floor, the next hurdle was the floor for the second story. Referred to as a “diaphragm”, the combination of plywood sheathing and floor joists stabilizes the walls below when the two vertical and horizontal planes are joined together. They now form a box that work together.
In the video above, you can see the walls of the first floor below. They support the upper floor. At the edge, a 3 foot cantilever extends over the first floor walls to provide more floor area for the second story above. It will be one of our last opportunities to “see through” this space before it is covered up.
Completing the Floor for the Second Floor
With the plywood sheathing attached to the floor joists, we finished the second story subfloor! The 3/4″ plywood is keyed with a tongue and groove system so they attach and seal together at the edges.
In the video, you can see that the wall framing for the north wall of the second floor Master Bedroom has been built on the ground. The completion of the second floor provides a usable work surface for building the exterior walls before they are tilted into place.
This is the latest photo of the second floor exterior wall erected yesterday morning. The master bedroom window frames a view of the Golden Gate Bridge above the tips of the 50-year old junipers!
Foreman Felix continues to watch from his control tower, except that now he can see his crew directly in front of him at the same level. He joins the conference on the mound while having a refreshing mid-afternoon snack.
Foreman Felix had time to get away every now and then from the job site. He managed to raid the kitchen pantry and found a treasure trove of tasty new toys hidden within.
Stay tuned as the story (the second story) unfolds!! Don’t forget to write home!