SolarWorld solar blog

Team Florida Part 4: FLeX House Construction in Full Swing

Posted 25 July 2011 12:00 AM by Rebecca Hagen, Communications Faculty Advisor to Team Florida

We’re now into the second month of construction on FLeX House. And like every construction project, we’ve experienced a few hiccups–supplies arriving later than expected, parts not fitting quite as designed–but nothing serious. It’s amazing to see how quickly the house is taking shape.

Summer is rainy season in Florida (referred to as Monsoon Season if you’re a local) and it’s not unusual for the construction crew to stop work, tarp the house and wait for the rain shower to pass.

Architecture students continue to work on various parts of the construction process. After sealing a seemingly endless supply of cypress deck boards, we’ve moved on to deck framing. We’re also practicing the process of surveying and setting up temporary foundations. Since we only have about five days to reconstruct FLeX House once we arrive in D.C., a quick efficient foundation set up will be essential to keeping us on schedule.

While students and the Beck crew continue with construction, other members of the team have turned attention to preparations for our three weeks in D.C. In the last week of June, Robert Ries and Rodrigo Castro from the University of Florida were on site to discuss logistics. Finding a crane service to lift FLeX House on and off a flatbed truck has been high on our priority list of late.

The communications team has been busy pitching story ideas to our local media, as well as working with the USF documentary film crew. We’ve also been busy ordering team T-shirts, brochures to hand out during the competition and even FLeX House stickers for our hardhats.

Since our house will be open to the public during the competition, we’re also organizing a training session for designated tour guides. The guides must be cross-trained in all disciplines (architecture, engineering, interiors, landscaping) and if our experience at other events is any indicator, guides must be prepared to answer everything from “what’s your square footage” to “are solar panels recyclable.”

Tour guide training day will culminate in a chance to practice giving tours of FLeX House. We’re planning a Media/VIP Preview Party for mid August to generate even more public awareness, and to thank the generous donors who have made this project possible.

Next up: plumbing, interior finishing and the next round of Solar Decathlon document deliverables.

SolarWorld sponsored FLeX house construction
This little banner on the fence of our construction site identifies FLeX House and Solar Decathlon for all visitors to Beck construction. It's clearly visible from their second and third floor offices. Photo courtesy of Team Florida.

SolarWorld sponsored FLeX house construction
Team Florida architecture students are given an education on the safe use of the table saw by Beck's Peter Dayton. Photo courtesy of Team Florida.

SolarWorld sponsored FLeX house construction
FLeX House, July 7, 2011. Sliding glass doors are in place, and sliding modules for the front entry (shown here) and bedroom are framed up. Photo courtesy of Team Florida.

SolarWorld FLeX House sponsorship
Stan Russell, USF College of Architecture and Community Design, instructs Team Florida members on preparing deck framing. Photo courtesy of Team Florida.