Week 6: June 17th & 18th
This week I had the privilege of working with a volunteer group called “The Disciples.” They were a great group to work with because they have been volunteering with LHFH for many many years now and are very experienced. They were able to put up all the framing and structure of the house in a matter of days after countless hours of work. After the framing and trusses were put up, we nailed styrofoam blue board and house wrap over the OSB plywood, which helps with keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer from weathering. I also helped insert the windows into the house, which is done before the siding can be put on. To attach the windows to the house, a heavy duty glue is put around the part of the window that will be resting against the house, then once it is in place the window is nailed to the framing opening. It requires enough nails that are about a couple inches apart from one another around the entire window. It is important to make sure the window is firmly attached to the house so that air cannot easily seep through any openings. Another great part about this day is that the owner of the house was working with us. It is awesome being able to actually work with the people that will eventually own these homes.
The next day I went with the Construction Director to get a building permit from downtown Lexington for a couple of the other building sites they are going to start working on soon. There are many requirements that have to be completed before a site can get a building permit, such as getting in contact with the water company to make sure there will be access to water at the site approved from the water company. When getting the building permit we were required to have a driver’s license and to sign in because it is a very secured building. Even though you usually do not think about all the permits and licenses needed to start building on a piece of land, these are one of the most important parts of the building process. I had never even thought about all these little details required for building a structure.
Week 7: July 9th
Today I went in on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday. I worked with another volunteer group this day. It was Schneider Electric Company, who were volunteering as a company retreat. We worked on a different site that one had a couple of the exterior walls up and none of the interior walls up yet. Our job was to nail together the remaining exterior walls and place the on the inside of the house so that all we had to do was push the wall up to connect it to the others. The picture below shows the last exterior wall getting ready to be put up.
It took a lot of man power and people to get the wall up but the most exciting part is putting up the last exterior wall. I took a video of it fitting into place completing the entire exterior of the house, but the video would not upload unfortunately. After the exterior walls were put into place we set up all the interior walls. During this time I was able to use my knowledge from Lindsey’s Construction Systems class. The volunteers were putting together one of the walls that would have a door and a window. While setting it up, the volunteers did not really know the difference between the jack stud, king stud, joists, and headers. While the Construction Manager for this site was doing something else, I noticed the were putting the header and jack studs in upside down and they were starting to nail it together. I got the Construction Manager and told him what they were doing and he came over and I had been correct. If I had not noticed they were putting the jack studs and headers in upside down, they probably would have nailed the whole thing together wrong. It definitely helps knowing how the construction is supposed to be put together. This was a great group to work with as well. The last thing on this day we did was put OSB plywood partially over the CMU foundation wall and under the blue board to help make it as weather resistant as possible.
Week 8: July 15
After the Tuesday Construction Crew meeting that I attend, I went with one of the Construction Managers to his site to help him work on the house. I got to actually get on the roof of the house that just had plywood on it. I was a little nervous at first, but once I was up there it wasn’t so bad. I help him nail the rest of the plywood onto the framing and trusses because he had to get all of the done before the roofing crew could come to put the roof on. He made it clear that the more the nails you use the better, because it is very important to make everything as sturdy as possible. I also helped one of the other Construction Managers on his site. He needed to make a vapor barrier in the crawl space of his house. It is a good thing I am not claustrophobic because the crawl space we were working in for hours was only about 4ft tall. The vapor barrier is a big black tarp material that is taped on the entire floor and walls of the crawl space to help keep the water and vapor out of the crawl space that has electric, HVAC, and plumbing inside. It took a long time but it helped him having another set of hands to get it done in half the time. It was important to make the tarp as flat and secure as possible, but we were able to do this pretty well.
Week 9: July 22
Today I got to work with AutoCAD all day. One of the houses needed a ramp off the side door for ADA requirements. I was taken to the site and we drew up on a piece of paper the dimensions the ramp needed to be and where it would be located on the house. After drawing it all up, I pulled up the entire Construction Documents on AutoCAD so that I could add the ramp on. I added it onto the Floor Plan of the house and also to the Elevation. I was the only one out of the Construction Crew that knew how to use AutoCAD so it really helped them out. I added the ramp with three different lengths. The lengths that I did were a 24ft. ramp, 16ft. ramp, and a 12ft. ramp. I liked being able to use the skills I have learned in the University of Kentucky School of Interiors this past year. It took a little adjusting to remember all the different commands on AutoCAD but they all eventually came back to me and I was able to get done what they needed. Below is one Elevation and one Floor plan in PDF form for the updated Construction Document. It is really hard to see because it is so small, but I added the 24ft. ramp on the Right Elevation and then also on the Floor Plan, shown at the top of the border of the house. I also added the 16ft. and 12ft. ramp on.
Week 10: July 29
I worked on a little AutoCAD today in the beginning of the day. I had to make a few adjustments and was asked to put the documents on my flash drive so that I can put all the updated documents into one binder PDF. After finishing up on AutoCAD, I went to one of the new construction sites. It was ready for the CMU foundation to start, but the problem was that it had just rained. Where the ground was dug up to start construction, there were puddles of water in them. This prevents the construction from starting, so our job was to get all the water out. We used a suction device that is set into the deepest part of the hole and it drains the water into a tube to be pumped out to a higher elevation. We did this at several different spots of the dug out part. Unfortunately for me, I was in charge of plugging it in which is right where the tube connects to the suction device and it shot off and I got completely covered in mud and muddy water. It didn’t happen once, but twice. I just laughed it off because I came into the job knowing I would be getting dirty. It’s cool getting to see the construction and getting dirty side of putting a structure together. We don’t get to get that physical interaction and experience when we are on our computers designing spaces, so I am very glad I got to experience and understand how everything comes together and needs work together to be a successful structure. Here is a picture I took of my muddy clothes, but it definitely does not do it justice. I looked 10x muddier than the picture shows and it sure was funny.