Before heading to the University Farm to check out the Catalyst Blitz Build, I knew I would see about 50 College of Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management student-volunteers working together to meet one goal: constructing two transitional homes for Catalyst Domestic Violence Services in just nine days. And although the Catalyst Blitz Build doesn’t officially begin until Jan. 16, I knew they would be preparing for the project started Jan. 11 by prefabricating the walls.
But seeing the crew in progress was even more impressive than I had imagined. Within the pavilion at the University Farm stood the frames of two 840 square feet houses almost entirely constructed.
The plan for day two was setting up the walls and drilling holes for the electrical wiring and plumbing, explained Student Project Manager Christina Pantera. Next they would mark, disassemble and send the walls to the site, ready to be reconstructed Saturday.
On day one of prefabrication volunteers participated in an instructional session, said Pantera. The plans for both houses were laid out on the ground, and industry leaders and supervisors talked through the process, making sure everyone knew exactly what needed to be done. This seemed to have been a very successful session, as the volunteers worked together seamlessly.
Roaming the room with a hard hat and digital camera was Nikki Kanto, one of the students who worked on the project all semester. She was excited to see how much work they could do in just a day and a half.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “They just framed a whole house.”
Kanto wasn’t actually swigging a hammer but found plenty of work to be done during days one and two organizing tools, taking pictures and assisting the cooking. Although, she hopes to get more hands-on experience next week at the site.
With the walls almost completely standing, Pantera explained that they would wrap up prefabricating the walls in the early afternoon and then head to the site to prepare for bad weather by laying straw and bark to avoid mud.
On Wednesday and Thursday a paint station will be set up at the University Farm and everything from the trim to the doors will be painted.
And Friday, just one day prior to the official start of the Catalyst Blitz Build, the crew would spend the day learning from industry professionals about what exactly will need to be done to install electricity, heating, air conditioning and ventilation, roofing and more.