23 Jan Resiliency in Construction
I’ve known for a long time that resiliency – the capacity to cope with whatever life throws at us – depends on personal characteristics and life circumstances. I am realizing now that resiliency helps a lot during construction of a house! Here are three examples.
From wood frame to ICF resiliency
We had long planned to do the foundation and main floor of our new house with ICF – insulated concrete forms – and the second floor with wood using airtight construction methods. That was the plan.
We were pursuing two builders specially trained in airtight construction. First one told us that he was no longer doing framing. That was fine. We were still in discussion with the second builder. But then we didn’t hear from him for a while, until he called one day to tell us he had developed a serious health problem and couldn’t do the framing for us.
What to do?! It was late in the process to learn this, and finding air tight expertise available in a short time wasn’t going to happen.
We had already considered doing ICF all the way to the top, but had decided against it for various reasons (mainly cost). The ICF crew were in place having done the main floor, so we fairly quickly made the decision to move ahead with ICF for the second floor.
Now, of course, we’re pleased that we did. This is what we humans tend to do when we make a decision: confirm to ourselves that it was a wise decision. It did mean we got airtight construction, and a very quiet house when it is all done.
Window position resiliency
This is more a story about relationship resiliency. We were (I was) appalled to learn – after the first floor concrete was poured – that the window opening meant for the landing between floors was not shown properly in the plans, and had therefore been filled with concrete.
I, of course, realized we could bring in a concrete cutter and remove the offending concrete. My husband, of course, realized the extra cost and was dead set against it.
We have a 40-year history of working things out, but this was a really tough nut for us. We discussed the pros and cons of correcting the position, for several days, on and off. It’s really hard to reach a compromise in this sort of situation: you either do it or you don’t.
We did, however, manage to boil it down to the height of the windowsill above the floor. Instead of the usual 32”, we would have the window sill higher at 48”. This meant less concrete had to be removed, resulting in some savings in the cost.
One of the things I appreciate about my husband is that he doesn’t hold grudges. We were soon back into our easy ways with each other.
Resiliency about roofing
Here is the third story. We are going to have a standing seam metal roof, which will provide a long-lived surface for mounting photovoltaic panels. There have now been three week-long delays in the delivery of the roofing. It is coming from the United States and winter storms have meant significant trucking delays.
This means that the windows can’t go in yet, the concrete slab can’t be poured, the siding can’t go on….. It’s one delay after another.
Where does resiliency enter this equation? Not worrying about it, coping with what is! We have absolutely no control over the weather at our end, and certainly none over the trucking situation. At some point, the roofing will arrive, the roofing will be put on, and other pieces will fall into place.
So, we carry on, fortunate that we live in a context that supports resiliency, such as family support, peer relationships, community cohesiveness, a caring neighbourhood, and a lot of life experience!