Richtfest

On Saturday we had the Richtfest. In English this is known as the “Topping Out“. The house builder hangs a special wreath from the roof and then recites a poem punctuated with shots of schnapps. Then we climbed up on the scaffolding and said a few words. After that we partied.

Eigenleistung

“Kosten sparen durch Eigenleistung” = Trying to save a buck through DIY

In order to reign in costs, we have to do a few things ourselves. In the Altbau, this includes stripping wallpaper, knocking down walls, tearing out baseboards & window frames, hammering out old bathroom tile, etc. in preparation for internal isolation (Innendämmung). There will be pictures of all this eventually, don’t worry.

For the Neubau there is not so much we can do right now. Eventually we’ll be doing a lot of painting, wallpapering and a whole lot more. Last weekend we had a chance to save a few beans by painting four soon-to-be exposed rafters with paint primer. It didn’t save a lot, but the small stuff can add up.

Walls

So let me explain a little bit about how this house is being built. The Anbau will be built out of wood. The outer walls for the Anbau are being built in a big barn that the carpenter rented a few miles away. In the barn he built a large platform on which to assemble the walls.

The architect sends him the plans and we make sure the material is delivered. While the amounts of materials needed are generated by the architect’s software, he always double checks the amounts sent against the amounts called for in the plans. “The plans are only as good as the person entering them into the computer”

We stopped by yesterday and watch him and his colleague build a knee wall for the top floor.

When he is done with each wall piece, he lifts it up with a big forklift and brings it out of the barn.

When it is time to set up the house, the walls will be transported to the Baustelle and lowered into place with a big crane. It will take about a week to build up the 2 stories and put the A-frames up for the roof. Just in time for the Richtfest.

Starting the Foundation

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Matthew 7:26

Preparation is underway for the foundation. I was under the impression that building a house on sand was a bad idea. Well, that’s how they roll here. Actually, they put a bottom layer of compacted sand to smooth everything out, then they put a thick layer of reinforced concrete and other stuff on top of that. Maybe they do it like that everywhere now. I’ve never built a house before. What the hell do I know? I find myself saying that a lot lately.