This was just a practise run, but we are very happy with the end result. – Lizamariè
To keep the project cost-effective, Sarel designed the cottage according to the standard size of the steel girders (9m-long I-beams, 200 x 100mm in size). “It basically works like a Meccano set,” he explains. The I-beams that Sarel used are not too heavy – two people can easily handle them. “One welder and a helper were able to erect the structure and then my gardeners finished the job.” Foundation As with an ordinary brick house, a foundation must first be laid. For this type of construction, the foundation consists of reinforced concrete ‘pedestals’ on which the load-bearing corners of the house rest. It’s very inexpensive and requires little digging. Walls The exterior walls are clad with Chromadek roof sheeting that clips together; this is used as is and no paint or plastering is needed. And it’s maintenance-free with a 20-year warranty. The couple chose grey sheeting, one of the standard colours, for their cottage.
The interior panels consist of ordinary 16mm Supawood (MDF) boards. Lizamariè says ordinary dry walling can also be used, but MDF is stronger and better for hanging items such as mirrors and artwork. Polystyrene and Sisalation were installed between the outer and inner panels for insulation and sound-proofing. Flooring Meranti was used for the flooring. Sarel says this was cost-effective because no filling, screed or tiling was needed. The boards were simply laid on top of the steel framework. Steel-frame construction allows you to lay the floors once the framework is completed and also to install electrical wiring, plugs and plumbing while everything is open and accessible – very convenient if you need to add another plug point or tap at the last minute. The roof consists of Chromadek sheeting; the ceiling is 30mm Isoboard polystyrene which resembles tongue-and-groove panels. This ceiling also provides insulation with an additional 50mm Masterline insulation for sound-proofing. “If you’re not used to a metal roof, you can get quite a fright when it starts raining!” says Lizamariè with a chuckle.