|Carlos, the local Hulk, nudges this half tonne|
beam and lets the block and tackle
take the rest of the weight.
|Manuel, lead carpenter, 40 years experience,|
lining up first beam to go on the roof
|Piecing it together|
|Carlos, whacking out some indents to house the angled trusses.|
|Temporary brace for the end of roof... Hoping there's|
some kind of longer term plan for that one!
|Ilie understandably worried at this stage.|
|By day 4 or 5, looking more and more roof like...|
|What am I doing here?|
|Nikita in the thick of it. Learning.|
|First he cuts, then chisels|
|Then slips it into place. Nice|
This is the only hip-roof we're going to have on the building (alternative to a straight, gable end).
|More massive wood, oak this time|
to hold up East side of roof.
|And floor beams, almost 6m long, 30x20cm size|
for the kids bedrooms floor...
Roof coming over this next.
I have been amazed by the skills and confidence of this guys. I ask them if they have any young 'uns coming up behind them, learning their trades. They laugh, regard me as retarded, and explain that no young person wants to do this sort of thing. "People want to learn to design things on computer, not here for real, where it's hard work, takes years to learn". For sure, this isn't something you could pick up in a year or two. It's an art, a lifetime's work. And not particularly well paid.
"anyway" they add "everyone builds their roofs with cement these days". This is a whole other issue, based on a little common sense and no doubt serious financial gain for a few individuals in charge of the concrete industries. But how could the entire architectural and engineering professions have been sold out so easily?
Here's the story:
- Non-breathability. Cement doesn't let moisture pass through, so it can't “breathe”. A bit like a plastic bag. It keeps the rain out, sure, but it also keeps the moisture in. And if you think about how much moisture we generate in bathrooms, kitchens and just breathing around the house... We would need a fairly sophisticated ventilation system to allow all that water vapour out, without letting in too much cold air.
- Money. I have yet to find out how much it costs, per square meter to build a cement roof, but I'm fairly sure it's more expensive than wood. Though that depends what kind of wood you choose. We'll get to that later.
- Carbon Factor. We now know that to produce 1Kg of cement you will emit 1Kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Multiply this into the millions and you're talking a fairly major chunk of your national CO2 diet. In fact, buildings in Europe are responsible for around 40% of its emissions. So, you want to cut emissions, why not start there, in the building products themselves ? It really is a no-brainer. Trees are like solar panels: they grow with a happy combination of sunlight and water. Cut them down to make houses and plant more, plant twice as many. Make forestry a part of the building industry. Use local timber, not imported stuff from Scandanavia and you cut emissions further. Learn how to use local wood. Get young people learning about this stuff and you may just reduce carbon emissions. Or just screw the planet and build with cement. It seems there's overwhelming pressure around us is to do just this - so many people make so much money from the status quo. Why change it?