C.H.O.I.C.E. House

Tripping Walls

And we’re back! After a very merry break, the team is back and ready to get the new year rolling. With little time to waste, the girls finished framing the interior walls. Now we can experience the living, sleeping, and bathing space live, in person, and in three dimensions. Exciting stuff! Once the walls were up, we went back and installed blocking. These small, horizontal pieces of wood installed between the studs will support things like grab bars in the bathroom and cabinets in the food prep space. We also added extra blocking in unit two so that C.H.O.I.C.E. can have two fully accessible units in the future if needed.

As soon as walls went up, we turned our attention to the doors and windows. With some extra elbow grease from 5th Year Ashley and a little bit of Steve Long Know-How, all of the windows and doors were fully installed in just a couple of days!

A couple more cans of window sealing foam and we’ll officially be dried in! And with that, we’re ready to start plumbing and wiring. Back at the drawing board, Davis has been working on some lighting studies to set the mood for our electrical plan while simultaneously putting plumbing in order with a shopping trip to follow soon after. Let’s hope he didn’t get his wires crossed after all that screen time.

Next time y’all hear from us, we’ll be high and dry; roof metal installation is coming soon! ‘Til then: keep making good C.H.O.I.C.E.S!

We Don’t Want to Freeze

Around these parts, Kermit isn’t the only green guy movin’ right along! Keep reading to see how our team’s been preparing the units to leap into winter.

main units viewed from street

First things first—both the units and the third volume are fully sheathed! Having a fully enclosed “shell” to work in offers a couple advantages: As it gets colder, we can focus our efforts inside the units and away from winter wind.

In addition, we’re planning to take a couple weeks off at the end of the year to celebrate the holidays and spend time with family, so having a waterproof layer of sheathing protecting our wood framing offers some peace of mind during our hiatus.

We also had the privilege of receiving our first big group of visitors since last May’s Pig Roast. Each December, current 3rd- and 5th-years present their work to external reviewers for an end-of-the-year critique. To kick off the day, students, faculty, reviewers, friends, and family alike caravanned to our site for a quick look at our headway. Some of our visitors hadn’t seen the project since it was still on paper, so it was exciting to share our progress.

AC presents to visitors

Getting right back to work, we installed the fascia and wrapped it with metal flashing. The width of the fascia gives the appearance of a thickened roof plane or “hat” that reveals itself under the porch as an assembly of thin layers. How’s that for a detail you can hang your hat on?

Moving inside, we poured both units’ showers. With those last two pours, all of our interior concrete is done. That means as soon as we return in January, we can dive right into framing our interior walls. 

Now, the team is signing off for a much needed break. Make good C.H.O.I.C.E.s, and we’ll see you all in January.

holiday card from the team

Someone Get the Drill Out of the Rain

Howdy, folks. It’s time for another C.H.O.I.C.E. House roof raising roundup. Y’all know the drill, so let’s jump right into what we’ve been up to since our last post.

end of day site progress

It’s been a long time coming, but we are happy to finally report that trusses are up! Thanks to our friends working on Patriece’s Home and the expertise of “Crane Shane,” we raised all 25 trusses in one day. Everyone was pleased to see our 8:12 gabled roof make its way off paper and onto the streets of Uniontown as well as a first look at our big hit, the porch!

After truss day, we wasted little time moving right along to bracing and purlins. The bracing helps connect the trusses to each other and offers some more stability while sheathing the roof is in progress. Purlins are horizontal support beams that support rafters in the roof. We also installed hurricane straps as another layer of protection against future severe weather events.

Purlins were a multi-day adventure. For our readers looking to put up some purlins of their own, the process looks something like this. First, harness up (safety first!) Next, install the sub-fascia along the East and West ends of the units. Use the sub-fascia as the starting point for your first purlin. Make sure the purlins that are exposed under the eaves are painted gray before you install to ensure a coherent detail language. Alternatively, locate a younger student and hand them a ladder and a paintbrush. Begin moving up the roof! Adjust your harness as you climb. As you ascend, use the previously installed purlin as a step stool for placing the next one. Brace yourself against the wood to nail in the next 2×4. Take a moment to ask yourself: Why you didn’t wear knee pads? Finish nailing and make a mark for the next board at two feet on center. Repeat process until all purlins are installed.

On top of purlins, we also took some time to raise the trusses for the third volume with the help of Steve and the “Bob crane,” a.k.a. our Bobcat with a crane attachment. In the next few days, we’ll get the third volume sheathing going just like the roof of the main units.

Back at the main units, we’ve moved on to sheathing the roof. This team knows that the girls are capable of some tough stuff, so Hailey and AC have taken over the roof and turned it into a girls-only zone. Next time you see us, we’ll be dried in for winter, allowing us to frame up our interior walls without worrying about winter wind and rain. 

hailey and ac sit on roof

In the middle of all of this progress, we even took a day to dress up and check out the current 5th-year projects at Halloween Reviews. I guess you can say we think we’re hot (and spicy!) stuff.

Fall Means Walls

One month since we last posted, and our site is practically unrecognizable! It’s been a productive few weeks out in Uniontown, so let’s catch up.

sheathed units

South Street’s newest slab was just itching for some walls, so we started by installing pressure-treated sill plates. Using a powder actuated nail gun, we shot nails through the lumber and concrete, giving our walls a solid connection to the slab. 

sill plate installation

We then framed up all of the exterior walls, attaching them to the sill plates and bracing them back against the ground to keep everything plumb and level. 

After bracing the exterior, we turned our attention to the porch and ramp where there was yet more concrete to be poured. We built formwork for the column base, porch caps, and ramp edge. Over the next couple of days, we hand mixed and filled the formwork. Mixing the concrete ourselves allowed us to work at a slower, more careful pace and finish the pours to our satisfaction.

ramp edge without formwork

Then we were seeing green – green ZIPS panels that is. Thanks to the fine folks at Huber Engineered Woods, we started sheathing our walls to make them more rigid before raising the trusses.

ladder framed by window

And now we’re ready to raise the roof for real! Our trusses are on site and ready to be raised within the next few days. Until then, Auburn’s basketball team won’t be the only ones practicing their crane skills.

trusses being delivered
crane kick meme

All in Good Form

As Summer winds down, the C.H.O.I.C.E. House team is heading into Fall with a shiny new slab, but how’d we get here?

finished slab pour

Picking up from our last post, we trenched for plumbing and put a pipe puzzle together, making sure that all of our pieces were properly placed before pouring concrete. A big thank you to this week’s guest stars on site, our friends Elisia and Caitlyn.

In the past couple of weeks, twenty new faces arrived in Newbern signaling the start of a brand new academic year. With the new year comes “Neckdowns,” and our team was lucky enough to have a whole crew of helpers throughout the week. Continuing with our prep for “The Big Pour,” our new 3rd and 5th-year friends showed up to place rebar and grout our CMU cells to further strengthen the foundation.

After the pipes were buried, we brought in gravel as the next ingredient in our slab sandwich.

Vapor barrier and mesh then followed, as well as formwork for the showers. Because the shower needs to slope to drain water, we built formwork that will allow us to do the showers as their own pour. The maintenance closet also gets its own pour, so we prepped for that too.

Once we got everything placed, plumbed, and tied, we were ready for the main event: “The Big Pour.” Once again, thanks to the crew from Crosby Carmichael for the concrete. With the help of our concrete finishers, we got the whole pour done in a morning, and we were able to use the extra concrete to set anchor bolts for the porch.

Who knows what these next few weeks hold? We do, actually.

Our trusses are ready for delivery, and by the time this is posted, our lumber package will be on site. We’re also taking some time in studio to explore new details for the windows and the porch, so we’ve got plenty to nail down before our next post, literally and metaphorically. 

girls in matching coveralls
In honor of New York Fashion Week, the ladies wore their matching coveralls, an homage to the SS20 boiler suit trend.