Eco-centre construction hit by overnight break-in
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
CONSTRUCTION of a new eco-centre at Teesdale Conservation Volunteers’ (Rotters) site in Startforth has been delayed after thieves made off with all the building tools.
Burglars broke in overnight on Wednesday, October 6.
The setback came after site operator Martin Bacon and his wife Jill had spent a week be laying the first of the special Isotex blocks that will make up the walls and had reached window level when the break in happened.
Their son, Philip, said: “It flies up with these blocks, it is like stacking Lego blocks.”
The blocks, which are manufactured in Italy, are made of woodchip bound by cement. Once in place, concrete is poured into cavities to secure the wall. Rebar is inserted into the cavities near door and window frames to reinforce the walls.
Martin Bacon said: “It is looking good and obviously for us building it as inexperienced people it is a lot easier than traditional methods.
“Jill has laid most of these while I was cutting the blocks. It took about three days to get everything up to window level.”
The area of the building is 121sqm and reaching window level is seen as a milestone because as this is when they will make their first concrete pour before continuing upwards.
Mr Bacon said: “We have to make sure everything is level before we start pouring.”
Once completed the centre will feature a host of environmentally-friendly technology to showcase which might work in people’s homes or businesses.
These include systems to recycle drain water for use to flush toilets and irrigate plants, and a variety of heating systems.