Australia to Texas – Building the Shell of the Barndominium in Nine Days

Reader Contribution by Jim Christie
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Day 2 continues the progress and as you can see from the pictures, they are getting close to being done with the steel framework. It’ll be fun now to see the steel skin go on the building.    

The first and the third pictures are almost exactly six hours apart, so you can really see the progress made during the heat (and I mean heat) of the day. The third picture was taken around 3 PM local time and this crew seems to work about 12 hours a day. It now appears that the roof trusses are completely done and they are finishing the framework for the large porches on the north and west sides of the house portion of the Barndominium. The following pictures show the progress pretty much at the end of the day. They appear to be just about done with the porches as well. In one of the pictures, I see some of the galvalume that forms the roof.  It is on the ground in the foreground in the first picture, so it appears they’ll either start the roofing either tonight or probably first thing in the morning.The construction crew made a lot of progress on day one (other than knocking over a couple of mailboxes and letting the horse out of the gate).  

After two days of highly visible progress, the third days progress is a little harder to see. Mostly, what you see in the following pictures is a lot more steel in the large porches on the front and right side (as you’re looking at the front of the building) and steel for the wall of the main building which includes doing windows in the areas that are steel walls. This includes the windows in the master bedroom and bathroom which are the second and third pictures.

Family who are in the area tell me that it’s been 103-104 C every day and that the heat is now taking its toll on the workers.

As I’m typing this, exactly one week from now, I’ll be on a plane between Australia and California. I don’t know if they’re going to be working Saturday there, but even if they don’t, I figure that 5 more days of good work is sufficient to get the building done or at least done enough that we will be able to frame out the front portion of the building. That’s the area you see on the first picture beneath the porch. I’m sure you’ll see in future posts that the metal walls of the building will cover all but the portion below the porch and that we’ll build out with lumber to be the outside wall of the house.

Overall, days 4 and 5 of the build were on a slow weekend. It was Father’s Day weekend and I hope all the building crew spent a pleasant relaxing (and cool) day with their families. 

The building is pretty well ready for windows, doors and the steel walls. You’re looking at the North and West walls of the building. The large porch goes all the way across the front and is 52′ from, the corner closest to the camera to the edge of the porch down the west wall.  A very nice, large porch. All the area under the porch will not be clad in steel. Rather, we will frame that portion in to be part of the house.  Looking forward to seeing the walls go up next week. Heading out in five days!

After a hopefully restful weekend, the crew is back to work in earnest. Although it doesn’t look like they’ve done too much from the pictures below, they had spent (by 3 PM when these pictures were taken) a good 8 hours of welding, grinding, cutting and painting. The steel framework for the building should be mostly done and we should be seeing doors, windows, roofing and siding coming very soon.

We’re starting to see something other than just the framework of the building. Doors and windows are appearing along with a little bit of metal. In this picture, you’ll see that they’ve finished doing the welding and are doing the final painting of the framework of the building:

The large porch area appears to be done, including the roof of the porch. The possible exception is the corner of the porch closest to the camera. If you look at the picture, you’ll see that the entire porch area is in shade (that’s why they’ve parked the large Ford pickup on the porch – to keep it in the shade) except for the corner area where it looks like sun is still hitting the concrete through the porch roof. Other than that, the porch is done and looking good. The windows are mostly in and the “man doors” into the garage area are completely done. In one of the pictures, if you look in the far corner, you’ll see a bit of the metal for the exterior wall of the building going up. 

We had quite a rain last night and this morning, apparently. I had a couple of middle of the night phone calls (most people in Texas don’t know I’m in Australia – they just call my local number and I have it forwarded through Skype) from the Lowe’s delivery truck asking if I wanted the lumber and supplies delivered today as it was raining.  I asked if they could call back after lunch to see if the weather changed. A quick look at the radar for San Antonio (don’t you love the apps on an iPhone) showed me that the storm should be through the area by noon but I couldn’t tell if there was another behind it.

They called again four hours later and said they were going to deliver, so I called family and fortunately, they were home and could take these pictures. The first couple show that there’s been a lot of progress on the building walls. In fact, they appear to have the entire wall done on the east and south sides and only have the small open areas on the west side remaining. Notice the water on the floor. Since these pictures were taken midday, it shows there was quite a bit of rain last night and this morning, which is good since there’s only been less than an inch so far all year.

Not too long after these pictures were taken, the Lowe’s truck showed up. Rather than get the big truck through the narrow gate and down to the building, they simply left it parked up on the main road, unloaded their little fork lift truck and transported the lumber and other material down to the site. They put them on the porch on the north of the structure which gets the material out of the way and under a roof to protect from future rain. The forecast also calls for a potential for more rain the next two days.

Only 48 more hours now until I board the plane from Melbourne. With any luck at all, we’ll be on time Saturday morning. Can’t wait! 

On day 9 of the construction, the shell of the building is virtually done. The walls are completely up and you can see that when these pictures were taken, there was only a little of the ceiling left to cover. I’m sure that by the end of day 9, they will be completely done with everything but mounting the large overhead doors.  The opening for these doors is clearly seen in the pictures.

The previous few pictures were taken around 9 AM so they made good progress at the end of day 8 and early on day 9 to get the roof almost done. You can see in the following picture taken after lunch that they are down to tidying up the construction (see the worker on the roof of the porch). Also, note that the local doves have taken up a perch on the porch – like the building is now theirs to sit on.

After a very productive day yesterday, all the was left was putting the very large overhead doors into the garage portion of the barn.  They’ll finish that just in time as I’ll leave for the airport in an hour or so and be there late tomorrow.

Tomorrow when I get there, it’ll be pretty late at night, so just time to say “hi” to everyone, have a nice glass of wine out on the deck and then find a bed. It’ll be about 32 hours from now getting there so a very long day. When we get going Sunday morning, family will already have the tractor setup with a large trailer backed up so that we can load every conceivable tool we’ll need for the next three weeks as we build out the outside walls of the house. That’s where family and friends come in. I’m sure very quickly, we’ll build out our own tool set and already have more than a few, but it is very nice to have a complete workshop on the property next door so that we can move it in for this project. Thanks Bob!

Don’t you just love those old classic Ford 8N tractors? I think that one is Bob’s but mine is almost identical so they’re a little hard to tell apart. Getting excited now for the trip.