Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are computers supposed to make life easier?

May 31, 2014

Nothing like a 8 hour computer issue to ruin the days productivity.  Today was the day to completely move my network out of the house.  This is accomplished by using the EnGenius LAN wireless bridge and setting parts of the system up at the neighbours and also an out building. I had been using this wireless bridge already, but I introduced a second one into the system because my neighbour also connects to the network for the purposes of backing up to my server.  Well this sent the whole system into a tizzy. Did not help that a 50ft cable worked fine for an hour or so and then decided to never work again. Then there were IP issues, and DHCP issues, and just plain computer issues.  Problems started at 11 AM and continued to 7 PM.

But all is generally working now(still some connectivity problems with part of the neighbours system).  Spent the rest of the evening striping the non-containing ceiling tiles in the office and some general cleanup.  Tomorrow morning will be the second trailer load of garbage to the dump and then a trailer load of metal to the recycle station.  My nephew is going to come by for a few hours in the afternoon and we will move the salvaged cabinets from the shipping container into the shop out back, in preparation for moving the container to the front yard once part of the house is down, and then move some salvaged wood from the house into the container. Then a few hours of final cleanup inside the house and attic and we are ready for drywall removal.  I believe Monday will generally be setup including building a tunnel from the house to the garbage container.  Unfortunately, because this is asbestos containing drywall, it cannot be recycled and is going to a processing station in Alberta.  I will try to figure a way to setup the roving camera inside a protective bag so that we can watch the proceedings.

Thanks for visiting.

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We have liftoff!

May 31, 2014

Very short note today.

I can report that my permit application was accepted yesterday with very little fanfare.

I am so great-full for Tacoma and especially Heather for the huge effort getting the engineering package ready for yesterday’s deadline.  A special thanks also goes out to Eric at Triforce for getting my floor truss package in order.  Without the efforts of these two individuals, I would have never made the cut-off.

Finally, I want to thank Murray Frank of Constructive Home Solutions and Jun’ichi Jensen, Senior Codes Administrator for BC, for weighing in on an interpretation of the Braced Wall Panel density requirements.

I have been advised that I will have a relatively fast permit turnaround and so I now become the bottleneck in the process.  Tasks have not overlapped to the extent I had hoped and most of the purging I did over the last few weeks should have been done before we moved out, but that time was spent engineering and drawing.  So instead of taking down the house, I have been purging and drawing.  End result, I am at least 2 months behind at this point.

Ideally I would take the weekend off to recharge and regroup (not to mention clean our suite), but the Asbestos remediation starts Monday so I have to get rid of all the scrap metal and finish off taking out all the light fixtures and trims in the house.

Thanks for visiting.

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Remidiation looming

May 28, 2014

Been another busy day.

Had a couple of updates to do for Tacoma and should receive another set of markups tomorrow.  That should almost complete the engineering and design.  Should be in good shape for permit application meeting Friday afternoon as long as I can get the signed and sealed floor truss calcs out of the local vendor.

Received the quotes for the asbestos remediation.  One was  $8700 + tax and the other was $6800 + tax (if I remember right – it was a verbal at site and I still have not received the formal quote by email).  I am going to go with the higher quote because I got a better feeling that it was going to be done right and because I have had previous dealings with the vendor (I recommend them to my home inspection clients and they have also prepared articles for an industry newsletter I used to produce).  And they seem more willing to let me do some of the work to potentially bring that higher number down.  I may even be able to help with the remediation (with the right gear of course).  This is considered a ‘High Risk’ remediation because of the ceilings (risk of fibres falling) so a full containment must occur including a walk through shower area to get to the outdoors again.  We will need to build a ‘tunnel’ from the front door to the container that the crew can walk through.  This way they do not have to double bag inside the house.  They can go right to the container and it saves some costs.  The drywall then goes to an approved facility in Alberta.

What was interesting to note was that up until a year ago, places that took in drywall for reclaiming the gypsum have not been ensuring the waste drywall had been tested to not contain.  SO some of the drywall returned and reprocessed into new drywall would have contained asbestos.  Now the concentrations would be so very low it would not pose much if any risk to home owners, it did mean that the receiving facility workers were being exposed and their is now apparently class action law suites over this exposure.

The problem with asbestos is that the fibres have barbed hooks on them.  This prevents the body from expelling them like other foreign entities.  They get sucked into the lungs where the continually cut the linings. This forms scar tissue and if enough of an exposure occurs early enough in life, a few decades later this scar tissue forms to the extent that the person can no longer get enough air because there is not enough healthy surface area of the lung left to absorb the O2 out of the air.  It is a horrible way to die.

As I have mentioned earlier, I could have actually done all of this work myself, BUT I am not positive I would have been able to properly dispose of the removed product AND I would have probably contaminated all the rest of the products I actually want to salvage out of the house once the removal was complete.

I did have one scare when the vendor informed me they wanted to start Friday.  I was pretty sure I was not going to have time to finish emptying the house by this point especially since I need to finish off all the drawing edits before the permit meeting.  Fortunately they are able to accommodate a Monday start date instead.

On the camera front, I am working with someone in the USA that is trying to help to get some script working that will run on the server and capture the images I will use for the time lapse of the build.

This brings me to the final comment I have for the night and it is a bit of a rant – OK a lot of a rant!  People picking up free stuff can be VERY inconsiderate!  I am over 125 ads for free items.  I cannot believe the number of people who respond stating they want the item and asking for the address.  They then make arrangements to come at specific times but never show after stringing it out for days.  Or if they do show they are hours or even days late.  I am disappointed with humanity right now.  Do these people think I have nothing better to do then site around all day hoping they will show up???  BUT – what really annoys me is the people that think they can just walk around my yard and take what ever they see that they like (I often leave the item they are coming to get at the front door so they can get when they want and I do not need to be there, but because I have a LOT of stuff I have purged their is always multiple people coming each day). Over the last week I have had 4 people that have taken other things including items in some cases were MINE and not being given away.  I have generally been able to catch them with the camera feeds I have and have blasted a couple of them by email. But REALLY, are people that ignorant? I will soon have signs up that state the property is under monitored video surveillance and that all theft will be prosecuted.

Sorry for the downer – but I needed to vent and you all are available for the abuse 🙂

Thanks for visiting.

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What a difference a day makes

May 26, 2014

Well, it has been quite the world wind day.  Started bright and early at 8:30 (Trust me, this is early for me – I am more of a night hawk) with someone coming to pickup an old Poly Iso panel another builder had given me in case I could use.

This was followed by an email from the engineer responding to one I sent last night advising what updates I had made over the weekend based on the new bracing % requirements (allowed me to open up the basement braced wall band a bit to make the rooms on each side more accessible, and allowed me to centre the south living room window again).

The wonderful news was that we were on track to finish up this week.  So right away, I called the District and tried to book a permit application meeting.  Due to holiday schedules they were booking June 20!  This would have been another 3 weeks delay.  I contacted the actual plan checker and bless her heart, she is able to fit me in THIS Friday at 3 PM.  So it looks like we have a deadline to get the engineering finished that we really need to keep.  Heather at Tacoma has been working feverishly including into her evenings.  I owe her big time!

I also informed the local TriForce floor truss vendor of the schedule and that I would need the sealed calcs that Eric at the factory and I worked on last week.  There were two late day changes that were needed but Eric turned them around even though it was 8PM his time (Must be something in the Ontario water – both Heather and Eric have been awesome!)

Around this time Michael from arrived to go through the house and get the data he needed for an estimate.  I am not looking forward to receiving it.  His comment was that I have a LOT of drywall.  He would like the floors and wood wall panels to be in place when they do the remediation but I need to remove any trim, cabinets, hardware, fixtures, etc.  Most of this work is already done but I will have to hustle to complete this, finish emptying the attic, and clean the remnants of possessions out of the house except for the master bedroom which does not have drywall on the walls and the ceiling was replaced by me in 1998 when we took possession.  I am hoping he can do this work early next week.  Because there is ceilings involved it is one of the higher classes of danger and they will have to even set up a shower in the transition room.

I then had a lunch meeting with Graham Finch from RDH and Jason Teetaert from SMT where we discussed the instrument package for the Building Science lab and also to be incorporated into the main structure.  I will provide more of an update on this once it gets further along, but lets just say it is going to be COOL!

After a quick doctors appointment where I got to see my Uvula and inside of my throat through a scope, it was back home to answer some emails and then go and do some more destruction across the street.  I managed to gut most of the bathroom in a couple of hours.  I am leaving the tub and surround as there is no drywall behind. With the bathroom gutted, I have completed all of the cabinetry in the house.

So it is looking like the planets are finally aligning and letting me proceed on this project.  Lets see how the week goes and what other challenges are in store for me.

I will also work on the camera system in the upcoming days.  I know the roving cam has not been updating (you can manually update it by pressing F5).  I am trying to find someone to write the PHP script I need to automatically capture the images for the time lapse and then I can set it to operate the same as the other three cameras.

Thanks for visiting!

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Some Progress – But further behind.

May 25, 2014

I can’t believe it has been ten days since my last post.  It has been two steps forward and 1 step back for the last couple weeks.  A few of you have been antsy and asking where I am at.  Instead of taking the time to answer each of you individually, I will provide an update.

I have had some progress, but not nearly enough.

The biggest progress was on the floor truss package.  TRIFORCE has an agent and engineer in the Vancouver area that they were wanting me to communicate through and have produce the floor calcs.  I have been trying to get accurate calcs on and off since last October.  On the 16th, the local engineer passed the task off to the truss designer in the factory (Eric Pendland) and from there it was smooth sailing.  Eric issued two revisions of the truss calcs on Friday alone and then through the week of May 19th we were able to fine tune the package and my drawings including review from my engineer.  They have now been finalized and should be sealed off by the local Vancouver engineer early this coming week.  This was great progress but did eat up about three full days of my time.

The next most significant progress (but still disappointing) was with the demolition.  I finished emptying the laundry/utility room and the stripped out the cabinets, boiler, and hot water tank.  I also was able to lift the floor in full plywood sheets with the VA tiles still attached.  The plywood assemblies are stored outside waiting for the asbestos hazmat team to address when they do the drywall in the house.

I also finished emptying my old office and taking out the cabinet work.  I have had three trailer loads to the dump so far.  Two of garbage (painted wood and the like) and one of separated unpainted wood which is treated as green waste and chipped into compost and sold back later as soil.  I would have like to salvage more of the painted wood, but it was fastened together in such a way that it just split apart as I took the cabinets apart and off the walls.  But all in all, this is significantly less waste than is normally created in a demo (I will create a spreadsheet at the end of the process showing the total volumes that have gone to the various locations).

While this is progress, by now I was supposed to have all the drywall out and the electrical and plumbing removed and be working on removing the floors and sub floors.  But I cannot do most of this until the drywall is removed.  Actes Environmental is supposed to come Monday morning to provide a quote but as of yet, they have not confirmed.  I will need to work with them on the best approach to the drywall removal.  I am not sure if they would prefer to do it before the floors and wood panelled walls are removed or after. Hopefully I will find out tomorrow.

I have also been steadily purging items on Craigslist and at the street curb.  I am now up to 103 postings this year alone.  I have to say, as a person who does not like to get rid of anything I think would be useful down the road, this mass purge has gone quite well and I have offloaded probably 75% of the stuff I previously felt was important.  I think part of what makes it easier is 1) I am out of room in the storage locker and shed and 2) I know that by giving away the stuff it will be used and is helping people who may not be able to afford to get the items on their own.

What has been interesting is the wide assortment of items I am purging.  Many were not originally mine.  You see, when we bought this house in 1998, it was an estate sale.  The previous owner had passed and the sons were selling the place pretty much as is.  We struck a deal with them that we would take an earlier possession in return for being responsible to clean out the house and shed.  So I ended up with all kinds of weird items including pottery glazing compounds, saw sharpening clamps, buckets of ‘T-Bar’ ceiling installation hardware, etc.

IMG_0266 IMG_0268

I posted these to Craigslist and was informed that they are clamps to hold a hand saw for sharpening.


Yesterday while cleaning out a part of the attic I had paid little attention to in the past, I came across this sign.  This was the original owner and builder of the house.  It was a cool find and I will keep and probably mount somewhere in my new wood shop.  I have learned a lot about Keith from the neighbours over the last 16 years we have lived here and I believe we would have been friends and that he would approve of the process I am now going through.  He was innovative builder for his time and clearly took pride in his workmanship.  He was also a pack rat just like me and kept everything that may be of use down the road.

IMG_0269 IMG_0271

Two other items in my eclectic list of items given away.  I have no idea where I got the diving spear gun.  I have had it most of my adult life but do not dive.  The blow dart gun on the right was given to me by an Indonesian client when I used to work at a chemical engineering company.  This puppy garnered a lot of response from the Craigslist ad.  I had over 50 requests to take it off my hands.  I settled on a family, who’s daughter is doing a school project on Indonesia.

The part that has been most frustrating is the general structural engineering and the new requirement to follow Part C of the CWC guide.  My engineer continues to work through the design.  I received the first set of drawing markups on May 19th and was able to get the drawing edits back to them the next day.  The rest of last week seemed to surround the truss package review and edit and so we have not made enough progress on finalizing the rest of the structure. We were initially supposed to easily finish by the 15th of May, so these delays become frustrating and a large source of stress for me.  I have hope the drawing package will be completed this coming week and that I can finally book my permit application meeting for the first week of June.

Part of the issue is getting everybody up to speed on the new seismic requirements (including me).  I found out Friday, that one of my fundamental understandings of the code (required braced wall panels per storey) was incorrect.  I always worked off the understanding that Basements were always 75% requirement, grade storey 40% and upper floors 25%.  My engineer had first raised this in one of her mark-ups, and I had just dismissed it as wrong.  But on her pressing, I checked with the code officials in Victoria and they gently advised that I was wrong but asked for comment from Murray Frank (Murray created the guide that was used in the HPO training courses provided to the construction community regarding the new seismic requirements of the code).  Murray provided some information and clarification (thank you Murray! – on his weekend no less) that showed that it was not a clear cut  answer and depended on the configuration of the basement.  But in the end, MY dwelling had a requirement of 40% basement and 25% for the above grade floors.  While this meant I was wrong, at least it was in the right direction. These percentages were less restrictive for both the basement and 1st storey.  This allowed me to open up the basement wall providing the braced wall panels to make better use of the space and also re-centre the south living room window.  Not big changes, but ones that would allow us to enjoy the space better.  The rest of the design was still restricted by the larger min. panel size required by the Part C of the guide

Well, that is about it,  I hope to empty the attic out today and will hopefully start either the floors or the siding on Tuesday.  Mon will be some meetings including with members of my Building lab team to discuss any instrumentation that we are going to want to embed into the foundation.

Thanks for visiting!

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We have Asbestos!

May 15, 2014

Just a short note tonight as it is late and I am tired.

I have been thinking about a tool that I envisioned would allow me to do flush cuts to aid in removing the hardwood floors and also the cedar siding.  I was talking with an inspector friend of mine and he mentioned he had an adapter for his Saws-All.  This led to some Google research which turned up the below adapter.  Ordered mine today.  This should make the job a LOT easier.

Flush Cut Adapter for Reciprocating Saw

Flush Cut Adapter for Reciprocating Saw

Yesterday was spent going through the final items in the utility room.  Now everything has been sorted and moved into its appropriate spot. Tomorrow I should be able to take out the boiler and HWT and strip the cabinets.  I also want to get my temp power pole completed so I can call for inspection.

Today was a day of errands and a lunch time BCBEC seminar.  I also received the results of the drywall and other samples I took throughout the house.  The ceiling tiles do not have asbestos, but the drywall and utility floor do.  I will call to come in and remediate.  I am allowed to do this myself as long as no other person would come into contact (no subs), but I promised myself I wouldn’t if it was in the drywall.  I will continue stripping the house down to the point that only drywall is left.  I am fortunate in that most of the walls in the home are wood panelling.

Still working with engineer to confirm my plan meets Part C of the Guide. I had to move one of the upstairs windows a few inches and make it narrower to comply.  Hopefully this will be the last required change.  I am also waiting for the floor truss vendor’s engineer to provide correct truss calcs.  The first set I got did not have point loads identified.  Unfortunately, this engineer is extremely hard to reach on the phone and does not answer email.  They were due Tuesday, but that came and went without the needed updates. By tomorrow, this will probably represent the critical path on the project and any further delays from them WILL impact the schedule.  I need my engineer to check over these calcs so that they can sign off the drawings in prep for a building permit app, I hope to initiate next week.

Today was garbage day so I turned the following pile of paper and cardboard


into this


As always – thanks for visiting!

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Are we done yet?

May 14, 2014

Well day two of deconstruction is behind me and I am asking myself, “Are we done yet?” 🙂  I am using muscles that have not seen the light of day in a very long time.

Yesterday saw the last of the kitchen removed including the stove and sub floor. Today will need to be spent finishing to empty the house including finishing sorting through the utility room and also moving my camera network out of the office and into one of the outbuildings.

When I put the shipping container at the side of the house, I did not anticipate how big the excavation would need to be once you took into account the required bank slope.  The resulting hole would be right up to the base of the container and as it is against the property line, I would have no way to get from the front of the property to the rear once the hole was dug as the north side of the dig will be right up to the neighbours foundation.  So the container will have to come to the front again and get tucked away in the front side yard.  I do not want to start loading supplies into the container so cannot take down too much of the house at this time.  So by removing about an eight foot slice off the south end of the house, I will have enough room to move the container back to the front of the house (It was moved to the back before the tree protection fencing and temporary power pole were erected.

Tiles and Sheathing being removed in one

Tiles and Sheathing being removed in one

PS: I had someone contact me while watching the street cam concerned that I was cutting these sheets of plywood with the tiles attached.  They were concerned about asbestos.  Rest assured, these tiles do not contain asbestos.  They are authentic linoleum tiles made from linseed oil.  They are totally organic and are able to be composed or burned for energy.  Unfortunately, there was no location in the lower mainland that was set up to receive these products, and I have no way to chew them up for compost.  So unfortunately, they must go to the dump.  I spent about 20 minutes calling 6 different organizations without joy.  This is one of the dangers of the green building movement in my opinion.  Designers will often choose a material that may not have specification that make it as durable as other options in return for the ‘promise’ that the material is reclaimable at the end of its life span.  But if there is no program to reclaim the product, it is going to end up in the landfill just like the more durable product.

Old School Construction

Old School Construction

Floor consisted of tiles attached to plywood nailed to thin tar paper (a vapour barrier of sorts) covered ship-lap nailed to 2×3 sleepers placed against the concrete slab. Foil covered cardboard was stapled to create a ‘radiant barrier’.  I can tell you this barrier did little good in areas with heavy air flow like near the kitchen sink.  The floors were always stone code in this area during the winter.

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The problem with this construction was that it was a supper highway for ants and we battled the little buggers for many years while living there.  Just as you were able to poison or move off one nest, another would appear in a different part of the house.

Sub-floor removed - just some cleanup remains

Sub-floor removed – just some cleanup remains which was finished before the end of the day.

I will not be getting any more meals out of this kitchen

I will not be getting any more meals out of this kitchen

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Deconstruction has started!

May 12, 2014

Today was the first day of the deconstruction process – Yeah!

In roughly three hours*, I was able to remove most of the kitchen cabinets and counters including kitchen sink.  I was going to try to save the wall cabinets, but due to how they were built and the size of fasteners holding them into the walls, this was not possible – the wood just kept on splitting.

* This represents 12 times the length of time needed to demolish a small bungalow like ours with a tractor and is roughly equal to the time to demolish a house and truck the waste off site.

I have to say, it felt bitter sweet tearing what has been my kitchen for the last 16 years of my life, to bits.  I realized that while many people of torn apart a house, very few have torn apart THEIR house.  On one hand, I have always hated that kitchen, the homemade cabinets have always been ‘rough’ and no spit and polish could ever make this turd shine. But it is still my ‘home’ and it just feels wrong to rip it apart.

Figure 1: Before

Figure 1: Before

Figure 2: After

Figure 2: After

There was a bit of a surprise when I took one of the sill and returns away from one of the windows.  The lower edge was filled with mould.  When you look at the mechanics of it, it really was not a shock.  The aluminum window frames were always condensing and this moisture just flowed behind the return for decades and caused some mild grief.   Glad it was not worse, this was a south wall, so I am a bit nervous to look at the North window that did not benefit from solar drying.

Figure 1: Black Border I always though was disintegrating window putty actually turned out to be mouldy wood

Figure 3: Black Border I always though was disintegrating window putty and aluminum frame actually turned out to the only indicator of a more significant problem below.

Figure 4: Heavy AL frame has been condensing for years with the moisture travelling behind the surround.

Figure 4: Heavy AL frame has been condensing for years with the moisture travelling behind the surround.

The window situation was made worse by the fact that the builder had used Arborite counter-top as a ‘shim’ between the original window ledge and the new built-in surround.  The just trapped the moisture within the sandwich.  Was wa amazing was that there really was not a clear indication of this problem from the surface.

The home made cabinets did have some neat features built-in including a bread dough rolling board and a pantry drawer with a tin liner AND a lid that slid into place when closed.  These were built in an era when builders thought about the use of the spaces and ensured that they would meet the occupant needs.

Figure : It was many years of living in the house before we found this rolling in board

Figure 5: It was many years of living in the house before we found this rolling board

Figure : Tin Lined drawer with lid that slid into place when drawer was closed.

Figure 6: Tin Lined drawer with lid that slid into place when drawer was closed.

I also had some good news from the engineer – they have continues checking my plans against Part C of the Guide and have not found any problems and were starting to mark up the drawings I drafted last week.  So i looks like we are on track to finally put this stage behind me late this week or early next.

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Moving Day – Part 2

May 11, 2014

While we moved into our basement suite on March 2, the vast majority of our stuff was left behind in the old house.  I have been working on the stuff that was left over the last 2 months and today, most of this effort came to a close.

We have given a LOT of stuff away on and the free section of Craigslist.   I have also put a lot of stuff out beside the road where it has generally disappeared. Finally I took pretty much a full closet of clothes and several boxes of house wares to the Thrift Shop.


Figure 1: To date I have posted 69 Craiglist ads!

While it is hard for me to get rid of things I think I will one day need, I just do not have room to store all of the stuff and it has felt better than expected to purge!  Even if the item was something I knew we would need, if the value was relatively low I thought why not help out those that may be less fortunate than I.

This process took a lot longer than expected because I generally abandoned working on it while I was figuring out if the project was going to continue (about 4 weeks), and then when I did get back to the task, I was not just packing stuff up, but also going through everything figuring what pile it went into (trash, suite, shop, storage, give away).  Most of this was accomplished over the last week culminating into the big move to the storage locker today.


Figure 2: Trip 1


Figure 3: Trip 2


Figure 4: How to fit half a kitchen of cabinets and about 100 boxes and misc bulk items into a 80 sq ft and still have lots of room left over

Storage1 Storage2

Figure 5: Well Planned Storage Locker

A tip for those moving, you can get free boxes from shoe and liquor stores.  These end up being very convenient because they tend to fit things better so that you are not needing a lot of packing material to protect the contents and they stack extremely well.  I used the shoe boxes for delicate items like kitchen items and the liquor boxes for heavy items like books.  As you can get an unlimited supply, you will be surprised at how convenient they are.  The biggest benefit is that none of the boxes will be too heavy to lift!


Figure 6: Liquor store and shoes boxes stack well and can fit into small spaces including the inside of used kitchen cabinets waiting for a new house.

Other than stuff that has to go to the shop out back or piles of stuff to go to the recycling centre, the house is basically empty except for some final sorting to do in the utility room which I hope to complete in the next few evenings.  Tomorrow I should be able to start with the DESTRUCTION!




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A week of waiting and a Braced Wall Band Blunder

May 9, 2014

It has been an emotional roller coaster yet again this week as I wait for confirmation from the engineer that my structure complies with the ENGINEERING GUIDE FOR WOOD FRAME CONSTRUCTION 2009.

There were significant concerns earlier in the week until the engineer was able to review the code in detail including appendix and saw the design was in compliance.  The benefit I have is that I have taken at least 4 seminars on this topic and know the individual who was teaching the courses very well and have been able to correspond with him over the last year and a half on this subject.  As a result, I know the language and intent quite well.

Then on Tuesday there was a concern that stuck.  One of my braced wall bands through the interior of the structure did not have a panel starting within 2.4 meters from the end of the Band. As you can see in Fig. 1 below, The band encompassing Braced Wall Panel FBWP9 did not have any panel within the first 2.4m of the bottom end.  This was a requirement of Part 9, and I am not sure how I missed it.


Figure 1: Braced Wall Band missing Panel within first 2.4m

This was not straightforward fix and represented a significant blunder on my part.  It took half a day to figure out a fix that worked.  I had to make the door into the bathroom smaller (I will probably have to give up being SAFERhomes Certified as a result unless I can eek out another 4″ of width while framing the door opening) and slide it tight against the bottom wall.  This increased the size of the panel between the door and the stairwell.

However this was still not large enough for a standard panel, so I had to switch to the alternative method in Part C of the Guide to calculate a Narrow Braced Wall Panel. But my highest opening was 9ft or 100%.  This would have required a total panel percentage within the band of 88% which was more than I would have.

This required some creative thinking within the confines of the code.  I remembered from one of the seminars that a Band is allowed to be ANY width up to and including 1.2m as long as it encapsulates the walls providing the Panels.  There is times where you want the Band to be as narrow as possible, but this was a time that you wanted to maximize your Band width up to the limits provided.  By making the Bands perpendicular to each end of this wall their full allowed width you are able to shorten the length of the encapsulated Band of interest.  This of course then also decreases the total length of Panel required.

But this was still not enough.  I had decreased the length of my Band from 331 – 1/8″ down to 299″, but this still meant I needed 263-1/8″ of Braced Wall Panels and I was only able to eek out 221.5″.  I needed a way to further reduce the required total Panel length. I needed to reduce the highest opening height.

I had planned on a 8ft ceiling at one point in the hallway, but ended up deciding I did not want to bother having the extra framing. But I was not adverse to a lower ceiling in this area.  So what I came up with as a fix is to include a ‘bulkhead’ across the foot of the stairs and across the hallway in line with the Braced Wall Band. In order to comply with the prescriptive path in Table C2 of the Guide, I needed to bring my total percentage required down to 74% or below (in contrast, if all my Panels were standard size, I would only need 40%). In order to meet this table setting, I needed an ‘opening” height of 2.4m or less translating to 7.87Ft.  So I will need to frame in a bulkhead that reduces the opening height in this area to no higher than 7.87’.

I will see what it looks like during construction, but what I may up doing is framing the ceiling of the family entrance to the right of this bulkhead to 8ft and then the bulkhead would less pronounced. Fig. 2 below shows the work-through of this issue.


Figure 2: Braced Wall Band now includes Panel within first 2.4m and complies with the required Panel percentage prescribed by Table C2 of the Engineering Guide to Wood Frame Construction

The rest of the week was spent waiting for people to show up to pick up stuff I was giving away on FreeCycle and Craigslist.  I have been very disappointed with this process with probably 2 out of 3 people not coming when they say they will come with some not coming at all.  You would think that someone getting something useful for free would be a bit more respective of others time. But I have been able to divert a LOT from the land fill which of course is the goal.  I am a week behind the NEW schedule, but it is my goal to have the house empty by the end of the weekend and then start disassembling next week.

As always, thanks for visiting.

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Look at all the stars!

May 6, 2014

This is how I have been feeling lately



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Revised Drawings Drafted

May 1, 2014

I spent the last couple of days revising all of the drawings to show the revised braced wall panel lengths and locations. I got these off by noon yesterday and spent the rest of yesterday and all of today drafting up new drawings for the Braced Wall Band and Panel layouts. The panel plan is quite similar to the layout I had previous, but I have separated the Panel plan into each storey to make it clearer.  These are now in the engineer’s hands to review and markup.

Now that I have a clear and affordable path forward, it is time to get started again on getting the house emptied out and taken down.  Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I will generally have the place cleaned out including all my ‘stuff’ in the utility room and garage.  This would allow me to start taking the place down next week. Most of the give away stuff is now gone by means of and the Free section in Craigslist.

For now I can only do items that would not require a permit like taking out the cabinets, hardwood flooring, and siding.  I still need to finish my temp power pole and have it inspected before I can have the power to the dwelling cut off.  I had been holding off until I knew we had a clear way forward.  I will need to get on this now soon as well.

I will also take some samples to the lab next week to see if we have any asbestos about.  As an owner, I am not bound by Work Safe regulations on this topic as long as there would not be any other individuals on site.  But I still want to do it properly and will have professional remediation if I find asbestos in the drywall tape and mud.

Thanks for visiting!

S13 - Braced Wall Band Plan 001

S13 – New Braced Wall Band Plan

S14 - Braced Wall Panel Plan 001

New Braced Wall Panel Plan


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