The cottage (build process)

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The evolution a rough idea……

When my wife and myself spent our first night camping on our newly purchased land we arrived around 1am. After a long commute (6 h0ur drive) we drove into the property having no idea where we wanted to set up camp and due to fatigue I drove straight to the first clearing i could see and switched the car off.

We quickly set about raising the tent and organising a bed. Once this was completed I took a couple of steps back to take in the cool breeze and look at the night sky which has next to no if any at all light pollution. While doing this i noticed the way the moonlight illuminated the camp site with blades of grass giving off a shimmer as the breeze swept through.

After a rough nights sleep which was expected when we where on a blow up mattress with two dachshunds that were not accustomed to being in the bush (a lot of growling/barking) we woke and heated the kettle on a gas cooker and made coffee. While enjoying the morning we noticed the kangaroos gathered across from our camp site and a goanna creeping about on the side of a tree. With all of this in mind and the fact that you could not see our camp site from the road we decided that this is where we would build a little cottage.

Gumtree kicks things off……

After discussing the build we decided that a steel shed frame was going to be the cheapest option for our cottage structure. This in reality was very far from the truth as after receiving 3 quotations from local shed suppliers the price for a steel shed frame and roof (note only the frame and roof) with no sides or windows or doors the price fluctuated from $11000.00 to $9500.00 this is a 9 meter x 6 meter shed im talking about so the brand new option was now dead to me.

This is where my relationship with gumtree started. While scratching my head and feeling pissed off about the quotes i had a look on gumtree for sheds initially there was not allot to write home about but then i discovered the “saved search option” and within a week or two of gumtree faithfully reporting back to me on a daily basis i had found a shed within a 20 minute drive that was exactly what we where after.

After some tense negotiations i was able to secure the deal saving (going off our cheapest quote) $8000.00 dollars the only catch was the seller request that i had the shed removed from his property within a week which seemed reasonable.

Yeah yeah nah mate i definatly underestimated the scope of works involved in this task. Upon inspection i quickly realised that the shed was fully fitted out to house a family of 4 and was completely lined from top to bottom with old dusty ass particle board and ply sheets not to mention a fireplace a kitchen and a ceiling cavity full of dead rats/spiders/snakes the list goes on.

Feeling flustered i assured the seller that this job was a “piece of cake” and drove home sweating bullets thinking of who i could conscript to help me slay this task like the beast it was.

The next afternoon i had finished work and arrived back at the shed determined to execute. Within minutes i was tearing at the kitchen then the fireplace then the roller door and before long i had removed all the internal furniture and fixtures. feeling chuffed i decided to start removing the wall and ceiling cladding over the next few days and this is where it gets dirty i had snake skins, snake skeletons, dead snakes “still fleshy”, dead rats, spiders and their webs and these chunks of white powdery substance that i later found out was snake s#%t all over me not to mention what i had inhaled.

Finally by the weekend i had the place completely gutted with all waste taken to the local waste transfer station and with the help of good friends we disassembled the frame and left the work site for the last time. Holy s%#t that was a long week and with that a few schooeys (schooners off beer) were drained at the local to cap it off.

The slab preparation

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Some time later we had saved some cash and decided to mark out the exact location where we would place the slab. Being a Formwork carpenter by trade this was no real task for myself and with a string line a few star pickets, friends to help/hold tape measure we were able to mark out, square up and begin boxing up the slab (installing the edge boards that holds the concrete in place).

Once this was complete it was time to back fill the area with dirt as their was a slight fall in the gradient of the land (this helps reduce the amount of concrete required as dirt is much cheaper than concrete)12316254_10153729993270797_3000535112145656734_n

Dirt is in place edge boards are up and the leveling begins. Once the dirt is leveled we then created a thickening around the perimeter of the slab by removing dirt from the edges this is to alow extra concrete thickness for the long (Dyna) bolts used to hold the shed frame in place.

Plastic is rolled out over the area (this keeps the concrete in and the ground moisture out) followed by reinforcing bar chairs (these keep the reinforcing steel mesh elevated in order to get concrete above and below the mesh) and finally the reinforcing mesh which is used to create strength in the concrete slab and minimise any cracking.

The following weekend the concrete truck was booked for 7am saturday and 12 cubic meters later the slab was in with the help of my handy neighbor who gave me the contact for the concrete placer and a day’s labour. While applying the finishing touches and inspecting the mornings work we shared a few frothy’s (beer in a can) and yarns (Conversation based on story’s) i got to know a little more about the area, my neighbor and his friend

The following day i made the relief cuts (a 30mm cut) into the concrete which allows the slab if needed to crack in a straight line eliminating large cracks. Packed my tools and embarked on the 6 hour drive home.

Now to bring the shed down from queensland!

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2 thoughts on “The cottage (build process)

  1. A brilliant find on Gumtree (even if you did have to suffer snake detritus in the process 😉 ) Did you get to keep everything inside the shed (that you wanted i.e. the fireplace)? We bought our 10 000 litre water tank and a spinning wheel from Gumtree at a significant saving. You guys must be getting pretty excited about the new build and finally moving to your bush block. I am sure the dogs will soon learn to love the bush. Our boys still arc up a bit whenever they hear a noise that doesn’t quite fit the norm but that’s country living for you and is part and parcel of living with dogs. Watching from the sidelines is great fun. Having to do the hard yards is not. Glad I am watching from the sidelines. Cheers for sharing your build with everyone. I am sure we will all learn heaps from the process 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes the excitement is high but slowly turning into torment as we still have renovations to complete before we can rent out our property in the city and escape to the bush. I find also that the excitement is mixed with nervousness as well due to the huge changes we will be undergoing in regards to employment and the unknown unknown’s that you will only encounter once you have taken the plunge however the benefits at this stage look to far out way the negatives i just like to plan for them ✌

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