Marcel, the planning officer, came round this morning to do the final inspection that allows us to have our certificate of occupancy. And everything was fine. He really loves the house. And so do we.
So we are, in one sense at least, “finished”.
However, there is still a lot of work to do. Inside, we have to finish the Japanese room and build book shelves. Outside, we have to install solar panels, both solar thermal (which we already have, ready to put up) and solar PV (which we don’t have, yet), and there is landscaping and all kinds of garden work to do once the snow clears and the temperatures rise. And then we have to deal with the old house – we applied for a demolition permit this week (and there will be more about all that in future posts).
Chris and Anne from New Leaf Custom Homes came round today to do the final few thing we needed to have finished so that the house can be inspected by the local planning office. All that needed to be done was to have a cap put on the balustrade of the stairs to bring it up to code-compliant height and add a decorative finish; and to install the stainless steel handrail. We also wanted to have a cover put in the attic entrance, although that isn’t usually necessary to pass the final inspection.
The house is mostly made of spruce, but the shoji sliding screen doors and frames for the (still unfinished) Japanese room are fir, and as this room is the first thing one will come to at the top of the stairs, it seemed to be a nice idea to have the cap on the balustrade to be fir too. Eventually it will be stained the match the shoji. The stainless steel handrail and attachments came from Krystalyte in Quebec. It’s good to have a bit of industrial steel to offset all that rustic wood (much as we love the wood).
But the important thing for now is that we are ready to be inspected!
Framing the attic opening
Making the hatch
The finished attic hatchway
Looking towards the bathroom (foreground: pendant lamp shades for fiting)
We’ve not been posting recently because not much is happening. We’ve had and passed the electrical inspection, which means we can actually start to put in the light fittings we intend to live with (which are mainly European and Japanese and while perfectly safe, have not been submitted to Canadian inspection). Chris and Anne from New Leaf Custom Homes came round to discuss the few small things we need to do to get through the final inspection and get our official occupancy permit, which should get done over the next couple of weeks. Beyond that, we don’t have the money at this point to do anything else for a few months. So, the Japanese room, built-in shelving will have to wait, as will the solar array and home battery system.
We’ve had a few interesting and critical comments on aspects of the design from the edited reposts of earlier blog entries that are being published on the excellent Green Building Advisor site, and I’ve responded to those in the site, but the simple observable truth is that the house works. We’ve been in it since December now and even though this has been a grayer and cloudier winter than usual, which means the solar gain is less than normal, the house has still been maintaining an even interior temperature of between about 15ºC (nighttime low) and 21ºC (daytime high) without the wood or pellet stove that so many people insisted that we would need. Rainwater / snow-melt harvesting has also provided for all our water needs without any sign of getting low, although this winter we may have benefitted from the unusually uneven temperatures. Short version: whatever, we could have done differently, and indeed would do differently were we starting again, it’s all good. We already published some reflections on why we did things the way we did, last year, but I will do a more detailed post on exactly what we would change were we starting again, because that’s really what everyone else who might be considering this kind of house wants to know…