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Walls, floors, roofs and insulation: Solar bach build kicks off

The First Light house is well and truly starting to take shape with the team describing the initial stages of construction in their latest blog. There’s also an awesome time lapse video that brings the process to life. 

After months and months of planning, construction on the First Light house is finally underway. Construction is taking place in a shed donated by Wellington International Airport Ltd, in Lyall Bay, Wellington. Mainzeal is overseeing the build with students helping out with construction. 

The house is being constructed into six separate modules which allow for full prefabrication which is necessary for the tight construction schedule of the Solar Decathlon competition. 

Our prefabricated solar house is the first of its kind to be built in New Zealand so it has required unique products and solutions. The house has to be transportable and must able to be assembled a number of times while maintaining a high level of accuracy. These considerations were very important in the choices we made about the products to be used.  

The first step of construction was to set up the steel foundations, made by MJH Engineering, to support the house. Steel was chosen as it provides accuracy, strength and adjustability which are essential in building this transportable house. 

JNL supplied the LVL for use in the floor and walls. Along with LVL, the walls will were constructed with timber and plywood supplied and manufactured by Carters.

We chose to use LVL and plywood as the primary structural elements due to their stability and resistance to deformation after multiple assemblies and varying climates. The roof, constructed largely of CNC cut plywood ribs and timber/LVL framing, was fabricated by Ferndale Furniture Ltd in Petone. 

The walls, floors and roofs arrived on site and the four layers of wool insulation from Eco Insulation were installed. After installation the floors were secured to the steel foundations and the walls and floors assembled on top using a forklift and man power.  

Now that the shell is complete we look forward to seeing other elements like interior and exterior cladding, the canopy, solar panels, plumbing and electrics, plus much more, coming into place. We will keep you up to date in the next blog on the construction progress! 

Take a look at the first week of the First Light house construction in the first of our time lapse clips: 

More from First Light 

We want woolly walls

A journey of miniature proportions

Take a 3D tour through First Light’s solar bach

Getting excited about solar design

Practice makes perfect

New Zealand natives in Washington DC

An actively passive house

What’s in a name? 

A team explosion (of size)

Showcasing Kiwi lifestyle to the world

How do you ship a house from Wellington to Washington? 

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