When you have an outdoor event to attend in January, and in Wales you are fairly certain of any combination of 1) rain, 2) snow, 3) ice, 4) cold, 5) bleak. The 3 day Transitional Shelter Workshop happened to coincide with the week long snow we had, with sub-zero temperatures causing the snow, and toes and fingers to freeze. Actually, it was stunning, and I’m sure if the precipitation had been rain and not snow, we all would have had a different experience of the weekend.
So here we are in Powys, mid Wales, with a bunch of willing volunteers from many places, including Belfast and Dublin, to look at the reality of building a transitional shelter out of standard pieces of timber. The event was hosted by Shelter and Construction Consultants, and supported by Ty Afal.
Day 1 - Foundations and Floor
The image above shows the detail of the moulded footings, with timber legs that can be whatever length that is required, for example if the construction is on uneven or sloping ground, or to be high enough to minimise flood risk. The concrete 'bucket' is a precaste plinth with a 10mm rebar that fixes to the post and at the bottom into a concrete footing. If there are no storm issues the plinth is used for damp protection and ventilation. If there is wind load issues then a footing can be dug and the plinth with the rebar bedded into the wet concrete.
The group was split into two teams, whilst the basic structure was being constructed, others were preparing the 3 timber framed units that would become the floor, these units can easily be carried by a few people, and then connected into place. See image below. The floor sections overhang the 'footprint' of the legs, and are supported from below with bracing roughly at 45 degrees. The same approach continued, one team would now start constructing the timber frames for the four walls, as the other team connected the floor and prepared for the walls.
At the end of the first day we were satisfied with progress, and very much looking forward to a warm fire and some home cooked food.
Day 2 - Walls and Trusses
The snow fell fairly heavily overnight, and the first hour was spent removing snow from the structure and around. The timber frame walls were fairly quick to construct and even quicker to be connected in place.
The trusses were constructed in parallel to the final wall panel, again maximising team effort across two key tasks. The trusses were lifted up, and secured to the timber frame wall panels. Purlins were then attached between the trusses, for both structural strength and for connecting the corrugated steel sheets for the roof to.
Day 3 - Final Trusses and Porch Cover
The third day involved the installation of the truss at the very front of the structure, to provide roof overhang to give some outdoor weather shelter for the front porch area. porch roof was supported with vertical posts connected to the truss and the floor panel.
The structure is now ready for the roof panels, and timber steps from the ground up to the front porch.