BBC TELEVISION'S Dream House series on the Integer Millennium house is nearing the end of its six-week run.
A showcase of eco-friendly and hi-tech construction techniques, the house was designed and built by the Integer consortium (a group of architects, designers, builders and housing authorities and associations) over 12 weeks at BRE's Garston site last year.
Presented by ex-engineer Carol Vorderman on BBC1 at 7.30pm on Wednesdays, the first episode dealt with the foundations, designed, manufactured and installed by contractor Roger Bullivant.
These consist of three main elements: the foundation, floor slab and the basement walls (the house is built into a slope). As the surrounding area is heavily wooded and some mature trees had to be removed there was some concern over heave, so the first job was to install 17, 180mm diameter driven steel piles up to 9m long, through the underlying desiccated stiff, silty boulder clay.
Precast pile caps were then placed on top of the piles. These support the nine ground precast rectangular and inverted T-beams to support the ground floor outside the basement area.
In the basement, four rectangular foundation wall beams, 600mm wide by 500mm deep, support the four 180mm thick, precast rectangular wall panels, typically 2.8m high and up to 6.5m long. Two form the back wall, with the two side panels manufactured with a sloping edge to match the ground profile. All are grouted into pockets in the foundation beams.
The final task was installation of 13, 150mm thick precast floor panels, typically 5m by 1.8m, supported on the ground beams.