Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Jimmy Tait-Jamieson

Jimmy Tait-Jamieson is in his last year at secondary school in New Zealand and studying design technology - his chosen project is to design and build a semi-portable garden office for his mother, a journalist. He is still in the design stages but hopes to start building soon and finish by September. Jimmy is particularly keen to get feedback on his design so please do leave your comments below. He says:
"She wants an outdoor space that's both "out of the way" and easily accessible. It has to be big enough for a desk, chair, bookshelf etc... and peaceful enough to be able to focus on writing. The budget is under $2000 New Zealand dollars which I guess is about £800 pounds or 1,000 euros. As I'll be building it myself and as I have little building experience the design is simple and easy to build - timber stick frame resting on bearers.

"The design is essentially a simple lean-to shed of 1.8 metres by 3 metres with a small lean to addition of 0.6 metres by 1.8 metres. The walls on the north and south sides (the north side is the side with the door) will be only 1.8 metres high to keep the overall height low and make the building not be "in your face".

"The building regulations for a shed in New Zealand state that it must be under 10m2, not have any permanently connected utilities and must be further than its own height from the boundary. Due to the placement of the building, it won't meet the last rule. To comply, I'm making a portable, modular building that will be constructed in panels, will join together and rest on two or possibly three bearers. The long walls will be divided into two panels and all the panels will bolt together. As the shed is portable it won't be viewed as a permanent structure (I hope!). Framing will be 50mm x 50mm to keep the weight down and polystyrene sheets will be used as insulation. They supposedly have a very high 'r' value. This will be important as the thickness of the sheets will be limited by the narrow framing.

"The south and east sides will be clad in black onduline (long-lasting tar and cardboard based corrugated siding) and there will be either no or minimal glazing on these sides. The main roof will also be onduline. The north and west sides will be more open. They will be covered with plywood board and batten as for a beginner, wood is easy to work around windows and doors. I'll be using second-hand windows on the west side and on the north side of the addition. The roof of the lean to addition will be transparent corrugated plastic, essentially a skylight. There will be a wireless network connection and caravan style plug-in power. The interior will be lined with plywood as it won't have to be painted and will give the shed a natural look and added strength and solidity. The floor will also be plywood, with foil under-floor insulation."

1 comment:

  1. Cool project! Lucky mum.

    I've been renovating my (permanently sited) mobile home, which pretty much is built like a giant shed.

    I opted for sheep's wool insulation, partly because it breathes which helps balance out humidity and temperature difference. It has a good 'r' value, sound proofs well and performs even when wet. Because it's wool it's incredible easy to get it to fit every space. I've used polystyrene blocks before and one problem was that there were often little gaps at the edges. Also it caused condensation to run down inside the wall which eventually rotted the wood (long term) The wool can hold a lot of moisture then breath it out slowly. Of course, I'm making an assumption you can get cheap wool from an NZ farmer (needs to be cleaned and treated with borax to make it fire and insect retardant).

    Over here, Scotland, it's really cheap to buy unprocessed wool direct from a farmer, though if the budget allowed you can buy pre-made felted wool batts in differnt thicknesses from a few NZ suppliers.

    Another thing, cross bracing. I would definitely recommend cross bracing the back of the shed as they often develop a lean over time.

    Good luck with the project, I hope it all goes to plan and well withing budget, and that you and your mum get lots of pleasure from it.