50. The devil lives here, allegedly

Stitching the house to the one next door involves some tricky details

30th October 2014



If I had a hat, I would take it off to Peter Smithdale, our architect, whose strengths include an intimate knowledge of the practical problems of construction and a determination to identify and overcome every single one of them. From the outset, his focus on the details of how The Orchard will work has helped to ensure that the build has been relatively trouble-free. There is a large and invaluable folder of drawings of details on site, some of which completely boggled me when I first saw them.

Today I have been working on perhaps the most boggling of his drawings (see below). This describes how the rear corner of The Orchard joins up with the corner of the adjacent building, Tree House. This is not a straightforward junction because, although the two buildings finish on the same line, The Orchard goes straight up but Tree House steps back at first floor level. There is a little roof at the back of Tree House made from timber shingles with a stainless steel gutter, rising timber boards and then a rendered wall, all of which we have to meet in such a way that the junction is properly weathered.

In the photo above you can see the front face of our brickwork at the back of the house, behind which you can just see the edge of the timber sheathing that the brickwork is attached to with metal ties. Perpendicular to this is the little side wall of The Orchard that rises above the Tree House gutter. This is finished in a layer of moisture-resistant plasterboard (for fireproofing), on top of which I have just installed a lead flashing. This laps over and into the gutter of Tree House, the edge of which has been extended vertically with a specially made stainless steel fin to give the flashing the requisite overlap. At the back of the gutter, behind the scaffold pole, you can see the Tree House rainwater downpipe in front of the cedar boards that clad the wall, which terminate in a new cedar board which has another flashing over it. Next week the renderers will install render board up The Orchard wall in such a way that it sits over the flashings, so that any water hitting this wall is directed into the existing gutter.

Got that? Actually, when you're on site and working it out in practice, it does all make sense. But it helps a lot if someone has thought it all through first. Thanks Peter!






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