With the NOAH under-floor inspection done, Michael finished up the floor and prepared for work on the walls next week. The floor is incredibly solid, and doesn't vibrate a bit. It's made of 5/8" birch plywood screwed & glued to the joists. The panel over the grey water tank will not be glued, so it can be removed for servicing the tank.
We had a bit of a break in major progress over the Christmas break as we decided to seek certification by the National Organization of Alternative Housing (NOAH). This is a new certification for tiny houses, and is quite different from the RVIA codes used for recreational vehicles. Being NOAH certified will allow us to get insurance for our tiny house when we take it on the road. We passed a trailer inspection on December 30, and today passed an inspection of the floor and embedded plumbing. Now Michael will seal up the rest of the floor and begin framing the walls. Woo hoo!
The floor cavity is six inches deep, so we're using regular fiberglass batt insulation for an estimarted R-19 . The walls of the house will only be 3 1/2" thick so we'll be using rigid foam insulation to get the same R-value. The sides of our trailer were extended by the manufacturer to widen it to 8 feet. This created some small areas along the side, Michael has closed these in with sheet steel to create waterproof bays. These will be insulated and will carry the water lines to the bathroom. That way if a line ever leaks, the water would not get into the main floor area and we could get in to repair it.
Closing it in...
The floor cavity is being covered by 5/8" plywood sheets, we'll sand and varnish these to create the finished floor. A narrow opening is left open for now next to the porch area, this is where water lines can cross the trailer.
Our architect/builder consulted with a structural engineer and they decided to strengthen the house's structure with "whale ribs". These are five U-shaped ribs welded from 1 1/2" x 3" steel box beam that will keep the structure from twisting on the road. Michael and his team have the "whale ribs" all welded into place, next the walls will be constructed in between the ribs.
Disclaimer: no whales were harmed in the making of this tiny house!
More construction pictures! After a brief lumber delivery glitch Michael had the wood for the floor, and the steel belly board and floor joists are in place. The gap in the floor is where the grey water tank will go, the belly board in that section will be lower to accommodate it.
Michael has attached the first of the steel "belly board" plates together, and has welded brackets onto the trailer to attach the floor joists. Next is cutting one of the cross members to make room for the grey water tank, and constructing a cage to support that.
And so it begins, not with a bang but with a flurry of design...
Our build is underway at last, we've signed the letter of agreement with our amazing builder, Michael Pearce of Carbon Vudu! Wednesday we went shopping and got the "belly board" metal for the underneath of the trailer's floor, like the bottom shell of a tortoise.
It's hard to define when a build begins. There's the obvious point when the first piece of material is attached to the trailer, but in our case many months of design and materials sourcing preceded that point. And there have been many important moments in the project -- getting the trailer, buying windows and doors, finding our builder.
In our case, our design has reached the final stage and we're ready to build, starting with the floor of course! We're calling this the start of our build since it's the first structural materials purchase (besides the trailer of course!), starting the process of turning the design into reality. It's a big moment for our little project, and it gives us pause.
We would never have made it this far without the help and support of friends, relatives, and new friends we've made in the many businesspeople we deal with and the many places we've stayed along the way. With very few exceptions we've been treated fairly and even more, with friendship and kindness, by the people who are helping us realize our dream.
We're grateful every day for your assistance, as they say it takes a village to build a tiny house. Thank you all, and we’re off!