Getting the steel fabricated and installed has been a challenge.
The structural engineer that did the drawings did a half-ass job and he didn’t include critical measurements on the spacing of the footers, so the contractor had to do them. That took a lot more time and effort than was necessary to get the caissons laid out and set. While it wasn’t perfect, it was close enough to work. Great job Cary from Backcountry Builders!
Then we had an issue with the crane company. The crane broke down and delayed the start. With the delay, the welders that were going to fabricate the steel on site decided the winter weather was going to be too much, so they passed on the job.
Then Cary had to find a new crane and someone who would fabricate the supports offsite and transport them to the job site…which he did! We’re in the process of sorting out how to get nearly 40′ big pre-fabricated support beams (see image above) up road with several switchbacks. Who ever said this was going to be easy!
More updates as soon as we get the steel figured out. Once the steel is up, it should be relatively easy going then – just like building a regular house. Except this one is 40′ in the air!
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Sadly, one of our treehouse inspirations burned down recently.
It took about 15 minutes for the world’s largest treehouse—a 97-foot-tall wooden structure in Crossville, Tennessee, to be reduced to a pile of ash. The building was built in the early ’90s by Harold Burgess, who said in an interview that he had been called by God to raise the framework: “If you build a tree house, you’ll never run out of material.” And so he did.
Here’s an article about his work in Architectural Digest: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/worlds-largest-treehouse-burned-ground-less-15-minutes
We do think about fires – one has to these days. ZenTreehouse has been designed with as much fireproofing as possible – steel foundation, clearing enough space around the house per the fire department regulations, and building with as much fireproof material as possible. And just in case, we’ve thought about fire escape through the back of the house.
The back deck is roughly 40′ above the ground. So, if fire blocks the front door, where do you go? We’re going to build a trap door in the deck that you can only open from the top and that takes you down to our “maintenance platform,” which is a wire mesh floor that’s about 10′ below the house. This platform is so we can access the bottom of the house for repairs of the systems that run under the house (primarily the hot water radiant floor heating system). That platform will also provide an easy way to get out of the house from the back and to safety.
The 25 caissons are finally drilled, set with rebar and ready for concrete (coming tomorrow- more pics after they pour). This is what it takes to hold a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1600 square foot luxury treehouse 40 feet in the air.
The picture below shows how the contractors had to dig down to bedrock, drill into the rock (you can see the rock dust around the rebar), and set the rebar into the rock for this engineered foundation. VERY complicated.
The surveyors had to come out once to mark the foundation, again after the tubes were set to confirm the foundations, and then will come back one more time after the concrete is poured to determine the exact height of each of the steel beams that will hold up the treehouse. One reason why this is a very expensive way to build a tree house!
More updates next week on the concrete pour. The steel should be going up by early November, so we’ll see some real progress then. Exciting times!
If you like the blog and project, please share with your friends. Would love to get the word out more about this amazing build in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Cheers friends!
See the little tubes at the lower left of the picture above? Those are the where they will be putting the rebar and concrete that be the foundational support for the metal beams that will hold up the house.
The biggest effort with this was the surveying – to make sure all these were put in EXACTLY the right location so the support beams are in the right location to support the structure properly.
Here’s a few more pics of the work they’ve done and a little accident with the excavator. It’s a very steep site, so it rolled over. Thankfully, no one was hurt!
The foundation should be ready for the steel in the next week or so. I’m not sure that will be so interesting, so won’t be doing another blog post until the steel starts going up in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Big day today for the ZenTreehouse! Delinda and I met with the septic/well engineer (who is a geologist) and got the location for both squared away. Then we met with our architect and the structural engineer who will be figuring out how to get our treehouse 30′ in the air above the canopy of the trees. We reviewed the architect’s revised plans based on our feedback on the first cut of plans. We are getting closer, but still a lot of details to work out.
We repositioned the house a bit, enlarged the parking/turn around area, and added some area and a fireplace in the master bedroom. The new plans have a lot more detail and elevations.
We are planning to meet with our builder next week and get going on the well as a first step to starting construction on schedule in the spring.
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I haven’t posted anything lately because, well, we’ve been doing nothing but waiting on this to get done. I’m so happy to say that the Land Survey and Topography just arrived (after a six week wait)!
The survey is required by the architect in order to start his work. We have to know where the treehouse structures will be placed so we can then provide this information to the well drilling company and septic system engineer to begin their work.
The architect now has the survey and is starting. I’ll post his progress as he provides us with drawings, plans, etc. Things should start moving on this now..thankfully! I really had hoped we would be well into the conceptual design by now, but we are where we are.
Happy New Year everyone! It’s going to be a great 2018!