NBAU Blog Takeover – Week 9

Self Reflections


I’d like to start off by saying what a profound appreciation and admiration I have for this project. It has given me and other people from minority backgrounds a great opportunity. Seeing people who are of African descent in the field has giving me great hope that there is a great future ahead of me and will only grow further. I have not only met fantastic and ambitious people which I will keep in contact with but I also learnt a substantial amount along the way. I have gone beyond my comfort zone in the best way possible and reached new limits I wouldn’t have thought was possible gaining indispensable experience as a foundation year student, going onto first year. Having mentoring sessions has helped me answer the questions I struggled to get answers to and I have gained clarity on the journey I have chosen to embark on, whilst strengthening it. I am looking forward to utilising all that I have learnt in my education, career and personal journey.


As the ten weeks of the official programme draw to a close, I have been reminded every day what an incredible opportunity this has been. Although I am looking forward to going home, I am very sad to be leaving the project. I have learned so much, and on top of that I cannot imagine whether I will ever get to build a house again. The group of people here have been incredible, and I feel so privileged just to have met them all. I know I am going to miss them all so much. This has definitely been an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.


Week 9 – Decking, panels and Medite installation

16/08/2021 – 20/08/2021

Monday -16/08/21

It is the last official week of the program and we all decided to give it our all for the last few days, with great support from Wilf Meynell – Co-founder of Studio Bark.


We split into groups as per usual to do various tasks:


Ceiling panels:
The ceiling panel team was quick to start on their task continuing from last week. We calculated which panels would not interfere with the light wiring or air ventilation pipes and went ahead closing them. Once we did as many as we could, we started insulating the end of the roof boxes (300m end box), slotting panels to close off the insulation and then screwing on the ceiling panels for that section.


Decking and window reveals:

The outside decking was also continued from last week. By this time, we were mentally and physically prepared to work full speed ahead making huge progress, also serving for a significant start with the courtyard decking, positioning the timber to be drilled into place which was cut down to size by the saw cutting team.
While that was all going on in the courtyard, we managed to finish off the window reveals. It was truly satisfying gazing at the courtyard come to live.


Medite preparation:

A new role came into play – Medite installation. It would sit just on top of the decking drilled to the wall, allowing no weathering to breach through from the lower part of the house giving it more resilience. This called for precise measuring and calculation as we have limited mediate with little to no waste.


Dare I say… most productive day yet? Nevertheless, a great start to the week!


Tuesday – 17/08/21

Today we go again but even harder, especially with the help of the morning pep talk and briefing. It’s a continuation from yesterday with a slight change in teams giving us a change of roles allowing every one of us to be involved with the whole process of the build.


We had a team completing some of the internal walls:


Torquing the top and bottom of the internal wall boxes to the ceiling and floor respectively.


Putting insulation into the wall boxes, remembering to drill in mini screws to the back of the wall to hang the top part of the insulation, preventing it from sagging.


Installing and closing off wall boxes.


The outside decking is starting to take shape as we are more than halfway done, allowing you to walk from the south end of the decking to the west at ease.


Wednesday – 18/08/21

Today, we continued the decking around the south and west walls, and in the courtyard. By the end of the day, we had finished the L-shape of decking, after working on it for almost a week.


There was a huge pile of cladding wood to sort. If a piece of timber is sap wood, or if there are dead knots in it, then we can’t use it, as it will start rotting quicker than the rest of the plank. The chop saw was used to start squaring the ends of the good cladding boards, ready to go on the house next week.


It was a bit of a challenge to screw on the rest of the Medite strips for the courtyard, as we had to continuously climb over the joists that had already been installed for the decking.


A drainage trench was dug in the ground on the south side of the building, and then filled with gravel.


Roly (from Atamate) was here, so lots of progress was made with the electrics.


When we returned to our camp at the end of the day, we were very surprised to see that all the hay in our camp field had been baled, and we enjoyed trying to jump on top of the bales.

In the evening, we went to the pub for food, as we had been saving up our food budget for the last 10 weeks. It was really lovely to spend some time with everyone when we weren’t working, and to experience the huge portion of fish and chips!

Thursday – 19/08/21

Today was the last full day of work whilst everyone was here. We started the day by moving hay bales into our barn. It created some great seating, although our clothes were covered in hay every time we stood up.


Some people spent the day on the roof, screwing on another layer of membrane over the parapet boxes, using thin strips of Medite. The decking in the courtyard continued, while someone was working hard on the chop saw as always. Terri made a frame to go around the IR heat mats, and Matt drew up the plan for the kitchen worktop. Sleepers were placed and levelled outside the main door on the south side of the house, ready for the decking to be built on top of them.


In the evening, Francine and Stephen very generously bought pizza for us all, and we had a great night partying with them, celebrating the last night with everyone on site.

Friday – 20/08/21

Today was just a day for tidying up and discussing what will happen next week. We had a later start in the morning, which was much appreciated after last night. A few people left, and we had some emotional goodbyes.


A note from Studio Bark

No Building As Usual is an ambitious student build project running for 10 weeks over the summer of 2021. The programme addresses the climate emergency, diversity in the built environment professions, and the need for cross-industry collaboration.

Many thanks to blog and NBAU project collaborator NMITE

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