In our last blog we want to reflect upon the journey we have undertaken as a team. While most of us had been classmates this was the first time we had taken part in an event that requires collaboration and working to very tight timeframes. We knew Grace would complement our practical skills with her design flair, which is evident in the crazy design and the paint scheme.

Design phase:

We commenced the journey by talking to our client. At this stage we had a concept model as well as well as concept sketches and the paint scheme. This discussion was valuable in that we were able to sell the idea of the crooked house, complete with the vibrant colour scheme and additions such as the slide to the school.

talking to client

Grace, Corey and Brayden (Project Manager) presenting the concept


Jo, the Principal, showed us where she would like the project positioned. This presented a challenge as we had the contour of tree trunks and branches to consider. To ensure our build would be successful we built and tested a full size cross section profile. Grace confirmed that the full size model could be used to determine the measurements. In the end this proved correct; in the final image you will note the limited clearances.

Due to lack of access to the site we confirmed we would need to build the playhouse in kit set form.


testing profile

Checking out the site:

With the information recorded from our site visit and the full size cross section profile we produced scale framing drawings as well as detailed cutting lists which we provided on time to BCITO.

The image below shows Grace checking the profile. After some discussion it was decided to turn it through 180 degrees as this gave us better clearances as well as increased height for the door which needed to be on the left hand side looking at the picture.


Seeking and gaining sponsorship

Upon receiving BCITO approval we met and developed the content for sponsorship requests. Along with the Prezzie card from BCITO and the very kind donation of paint and associated equipment from Duluz we obtainedgoods and or services from:

Mitre 10 Palmerston North

ITM Palmerston North

Bunnings Palmerston North

Isles Construction

Programmed Maintenance Palmerston North

 We would like to publicly thank all our sponsors for their support. All firms approached got in behind us as they thought the idea of building a project for the community was a great idea. Our final task this week will be to write thank you letters to each.

Without their generous support this project would not have proceeded beyond the design phase.

 Time Activity Schedule

 We produced a time activity schedule, this document was referred to each Monday on a weekly basis and decisions made as how we might make adjustments in order to keep on track.  This document proved vital; at the painting stage we very quickly realised that we had to keep up a tighter schedule that the 4 periods we had on a weekly basis. We engaged some year 11 students to paintduring their class time. We were fortunate enough to have three international students, Sid, Riko and Jasper join our class. They were quickly employed as brush hands. This way we were able to get through the painting quicker and on occasions able to get two coats on sections in one day.

time activity chart



Taine with one of our visitors testing the doorway  height

Before we got to a stage of no return we invited our clientschool in. We asked they bring one or two taller students as we wanted to checkthe door opening and in particular the entrance to the slide. While Grace had referred to anthropometric data at the design phase as a team we wanted to check physically. With measurements confirmed we were able to proceed and complete the framing.

framing complete

Framing nearly completed

As you can see from the image there are a lot of single angle and compound angles; here the adjustable bevel was our friend as we were able to record the angles using the bevel and set the drop saw accordingly.

adjustable bevel

The adjustable bevel was used extensively

Once we completed the framing we commenced the cladding. We cut the tantalised ply into 150mm wide strips and primed the boards prior to fitting.


 We wanted to keep the ;crooked' theme coming few. So, as a result each piece had to be individually fitted. Once again the adjustable bevel was our friend. We took particular care in measuring the position of the nails to keep a consistent line. 

Taine and Leslie fitting boards: 


cladding cont

Sid and Riko, our international students learnt some new skills, fitting cladding


At the same time as cladding the iron on the roof sections was being fitted. Remaining safe was an important aspect throughout the entire build.


Braydon W cutting the roofing iron

As mentioned the painting took up a lot of time. Grace and the painting team took every opportunity to paint along the way.


This was the moment we were waiting for. Right on time according to our time activity chart we had everything in place.  Well done team, a proud moment as we right on cue.

final before pulling apart

We knew all along that we wanted to have the house located on site a week before the competition closed. At this time of the year the weather can be uncertain. We didn’t want to get into a situation where adverse weather would not allow us to have the playhouse reassembled on time.

Last Thursday with 10 minutes to spare, we disassembled the playhouse and stacked outside ready for the truck from Mitre 10 to pick up. Grace was a little bit sad; she didn't want the project to go.

Disassembly underway:


stacked up

 Ready for transporting:

Friday was a long day, the truck was loaded at 7.45am. We had normal class until 11.00am before leaving to reassemble the playhouse by 3.00pm.


 We worked hard, achieving our goal of having all the sections attached as well as the fittings such as the slide, interactive chimney (basketball hoop) and ladder.

On site we positioned the jarrah beams that would keep the sides and ends of the playhouse above ground level, We then started to put all the bits back together again.




Throughout the project we have remained safety conscious at all times. We have worn correct PPE, used the correct equipment,  and kept our work area tidy. We have followed sound practice when operating potentially dangerous equipment. For example when using the nail gun we have ensured that the work is secure, and noone is in front of the gun before firing. Scaffolding has been used to reach the higher sections of the build.

Logan fitting the barge boards in a safe manner:


At  Longburn School before any work started we had a briefing with the Principal. After going through the school emergency procedures we told her of our plans to have the site roped off for the build. She agreed, and offered the support of her staff to ensure the children were to remain outside the designated zone.

kids watching drop off

Children watching the drop off from a safe distance:

The children were brilliant; they kept behind the barrier,they asked us lots of questions and told us they really liked what we had built for them.

Once the chimney was up we showed them how it could be usedfor basketball shooting. They thought this was really cool.


Taine showing the students how the chimney is part of the basketball hoop (ball drops out of the blue section)

Below is a selection of images that show the project in all its glory, finished within the allocated time and on budget

From these images you gain a sense of the tight physical constraints we designed and built for. To shows how valuable the early design work is in getting the project right.

front view

side end view

facing paddock

Client Appreciation:

Our teacher received a phone call on Monday from the Principal. She explained how the children, staff, and parents were delighted at the Crooked House. They loved the colour scheme as well as the ‘fast slide’. From a personal perspective we can be very proud of our work and contribution to the school.

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