ICF build started - time-lapse videos

doubletaggerJuly 31, 2012

Thought that some might enjoy the time-lapse videos of the construction we started recently. I set my camera up on a tripod with a timer-trigger; in most cases the pictures are 1 minute apart, so you can watch a day of progress in a matter of seconds.

Our home is being built in the Wallowa Mountains, North East Oregon. It's a walk-out basement + main-story and will have a craftsman facade. But perhaps I'll post more of the plans and inspiration pics in a different thread, or followup here. It's made of Polysteel ICF blocks, all the way to the top-plate (other than a little attic / bonus-room on top, that will be stick-built; and the garage will be stick-built). More on the energy features, etc. in another post or followup, too. On to the movies:

excavation and site prep

foundation footings

walls (well, so far)

Hope you enjoy!

(Don Ross, Huron Street, for those who are wondering)

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OMG! I will check it out now...I plan to time-lapse. What kind of camera did you use? I was going to use an outdoor hunting one.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:42AM
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I just used what I have: a Canon T2i. A little overkill; I'd think it would make more sense to not exercise a real shutter so much, but buying, e.g., a micro-four-thirds just for this wasn't in the cards. I imagine it's a little difficult getting a point'n'shoot to do it. Basically, I set iso to 200, then used Av mode to get a shutter-speed for the depth-of-field I wanted (which I set in Av mode as f), then switched to manual mode and set that shutter/f combo. I normally notch the exposure down via shutter-speed if it's morning, so that mid-day it's exposed just right. I still occasionally make an adjustment when I check on it mid-day - it just looks a bit like a cloud covered the sun or something, when viewed in the "movie", so, it works well enough.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:18AM
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I want to do this too! Our build is in the woods, so I think settings would be tricky. As a side note, the av step you take seems unnecessary if you are going to be manually setting f stop, iso and shutter speed anyway. You could just set ISO, SS and f-stop on manual mode and save that tinkering :) I would be nervous to leave my camera there but I want to do this so badly.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I won't be at the build everyday and my camera is expensive so I will set up an outdoor timelapse hunting one. Maybe two for the front and back. They can be mounted to trees and they are pretty cheap at $100. Plus I can use them for other stuff.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Great idea. Loved watching the whole process. Please post more as progress continues.

Your building site is amazing! Incredible views!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 2:02PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Wow! what a gorgeous lot...that is a view you will never tire of. The time lapse is fascinating to watch and what a great record of how the house has been built. Thanks so much for posting.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Thanks for the encouragement, all. I will post more as things develop, indeed. Today, those walls you saw at the end of the 3rd video were filled with concrete. Tomorrow the sub-slab plumbing gets roughed in and the ledgers for the Insul-deck will be placed. At the end of this week, the stamped-concrete floors and the concrete slab under the wood floors will be poured. Next week the deck goes on, then gets poured. After the back-fill it'll be time to build the 2nd (main) story walls. It's amazing how quickly everything's been moving, though the excavation took some time, since it's so rocky.

Re: Av-mode: yes, since I get a meter feedback in manual mode, I could just use that to set shutter & f, which is actually what I do these days. But when one is getting started, and when one is used to shooting in Av or some more "automatic" mode, it's helpful. The main point is: once you're set, you want to be in manual mode so that you can keep the shutter/f the same, or essentially the same, all the way through the day.

A $100 hunting camera sounds like a good idea. I don't know anything about them; I guess they have a manual mode and timer-shutter (or you can hook a remote release to them easily)? Do you have a brand/model recommendation, for this kind of work?

Re: difficult settings in the woods: I wouldn't expect the settings to be too difficult - do you expect a lot of light variation or something, as the sun streams through between trees, perhaps? It might just come out looking like my moving-cloudy days, where the light flickers a bit, but the brain can tell that it's "normal". You'll want to set the exposure so that the brightest point isn't too over-exposed, but you can probably get that reading by going out on a bright day, at the sunniest point, and see what you get. Obviously if your variance is too great, you're right, it might just appear to "blink" - I suppose you could experiment with setting the camera in Av-mode and just setting the f, and letting it change shutter-speed every shot, to get a more "neutralized" lighting, but that might not result in a movie to your taste.

Re: lot: yes, we love the view.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 2:46AM
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Love the videos! We're also building an ICF Craftsman on a walk-out, but since I its DIY, we're on a much slower pace. I made a camera mount on one of the trees, but won't have enough pictures to do a video. I'm much to busy building to take pictures! I'm looking forward to the next installment!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 6:11AM
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Time-lapse video/photography updates on the build, for all who are interested:

The more complete version of the walls video:

The plumb-and-slab video:

For reference, the two previous I posted:

http://youtu.be/UN4wVsxexeA -- excavation and site prep
http://youtu.be/Su_3ZO68cbc -- foundation footings

Still more of Don Ross' Huron Street, for those interested.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:37AM
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We've been working with a Polysteel Builder. We're still in planning stages. Did you research any other brand? Did you price out stick built vs ICF?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:13PM
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We researched a few blocks. Iceblock and Polysteel were the ones who had some local experience behind them, which is important. We like polysteel b/c the pull strength on those steel nailers is so high, which can come in handy, e.g., in high-wind areas, with siding and whatever else. I'm not a tremendous fan of plastic, which is what all the other blocks' webbing is made out of, but I'm sure it's just fine.

Re: pricing stick-built vs. ICF, that's a classically challenging endeavor, for several reasons:

1) If you ask a wood framer to try to build an ICF house, it's going to cost a ton more, guaranteed; the learning curve and all of the different building tricks and techniques are very important to efficiency. You definitely want a builder who's done a few, even if as a crew member rather than GC/foreman. A good connection to help who has is only second best.

2) You can't compare apples to oranges; if you want to try to compare, e.g., material costs, you have to throw in not only the 2x6 sticks, plates, etc., but also the insulation and sundries.

3) All that said, concrete prices vary widely region-to-region, and metal prices (e.g., rebar) have done little but go up over the past 6 years, so there are definite $ hogs in the ICF mix.

Bottom line: it's possible to build an ICF house, with the right builder, for approximately the cost a stick-builder could build the equivalent stick-house (envelope), but usually it's slightly more. If you're like me and you're in it for the long-haul and interested in radiant-floor heating, solar gain and thermal mass measures, Inusldeck concrete floor, rocket stoves, water storage tank, and who knows what else, then you want the thing done right and you'll bite the bullet for the slight extra cost up-front for the payoff later. There's little competition among stick built options; thermally, sure, there's staggered-stud and some other variants, structurally: there's little to compete. But it has to be done right and designed well - you can't easily bust holes in your walls once they're full of concrete.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:43AM
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