NBAU Blog Takeover – Week 2

Self Reflection

I joined this project partly due to my passion for sustainable construction and to gain a better understanding of the practical side of construction, to experience first hand the gap between engineers, architects and workers on site.

Over the first few weeks I learnt that a design and construction project is never as smooth as it seems to be in theory, there’s a lot of problems and unforeseen challenges along the way that really tested and helped improve my problem solving skills. These problems could range from subtle design flaws in the U-Build boxes to battling the wind and rain, especially over the course of week 2.

In addition, working on site helped me gain a diverse range of knowledge when learning about the different fields that interact with the construction industry, such as the basics of plumbing, electrical engineering and how cables are laid out in a building and energy generation by using solar panels in the most effective way, which may otherwise not be covered at university.


Week 2 – Floor, Walls, MEP First Fix

28/06/2021 – 02/07/2021

Monday – 28/06/21

We started the first working day of the week an hour later after a short lie-in, building wall boxes and finishing the floor was priority in the morning. Five teams were on building wall boxes while the rest helped with bolting the floor components down. We also received a large sheep’s wool insulation delivery in the afternoon. We ended the day slightly later with a few teams building the remaining floor boxes and the rest almost finishing bolting down the entire floor.


Tuesday – 29/06/21

In order to plan for the busy day ahead we split up into small groups carrying out a variety of different tasks. One group worked on the shelter on the campsite, placing and bolting down sleepers into position and ensuring they were level. Another team worked on building the few remaining floor boxes, whilst a group bolted down the floor boxes and another group started working on the walls surrounding the courtyard. A team also began building window and door reveals, while the final team devised a way of making an alternative waterproof structure, and designed a creative solution using metal trusses and rolled up tarpaulin that would sit on the central wall structures. We ended the day early by lifting the tarpaulin truss structure and locking it in place.


Wednesday – 30/06/21

We started the day by completing the floor boxes and ensuring they were all bolted down. An external consultant team visited the site to figure out the best way to install the first fix MEP system. A team of students was tasked with then building the remaining wall boxes, while the others worked on arranging the wall boxes around the exterior of the house, as well around the courtyard. After lunch, a group of students worked with Tim and Roly to lay out the electrical wires for sockets, appliances, DCV, lighting and sensor relay. We ended the day by raising the tarp structure and securing the tarp down over the floor and wall boxes.


Thursday – 01/07/21

In the morning briefing we split into 2 teams, starting by having one team carry on with box building and the others bolting down the wall boxes and organising the equipment and tools on site and in the workshop. Split into two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, each team had a solar workshop with Neil from NMITE. He covered the basics of electricity, how current and voltage is measured, explained the workings of a solar panel and how they should be angled and laid out for optimal solar energy capture. A small team challenged themselves to construct a two-panel solar support system ensuring it was strong enough and at the optimal angle.


Friday – 02/07/21

The last working day of the week started with a few of the teams completing the beam structures. The wall boxes around the courtyard were also bolted down, after which beams were put in place. Electrical cables were placed in trenches which were then covered up. A team also worked on stacking the cladding boards to allow them to dry out. We once again ended the day by securely tarping down the site to prepare for the weekend. As heavy rains and wind approached, we had to remain vigilant and active on and around the site to ensure there was no major water penetration.



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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