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Instructions for Neighbour Hub Construction

You've completed the workshop, chosen your design and now you're ready to get building!

Before You Get Started

Permitting:
Depending on your chosen location, you may need to contact your local municipality before you begin. Find out if the Neighbour Hub will be located on public or private land and review your local policy regarding permitting.

If construction on a boulevard, most municipalities suggest you call before you dig to see if there are any utility lines under the surface. It’s usually best to do this a couple weeks before commencing any project and remember; only use hand tools and follow the directions from the utility companies.

Site Prep:
Site preparation is crucial to any build. The ground should be level and sturdy so that you can secure your Neighbour Hub in place. A few options include; pouring a concrete slab, setting paving stones or pouring small footings of concrete under load bearing areas.

Site Prep Resources:

  • Sand, gravel concrete or paving stones

  • Sonotubes

  • Shovel and bucket to mix concrete 

  • Saddles or brackets to attach wood to concrete

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Step 1: Collect Your Supplies

Your design will determine what tools you will need. Based upon the complexity of angled cuts you might need to set up jigs. With that said every cut you need to make can be accomplished with a circular saw, a straight edge and clamps.

Materials:

  • 2x6 Lumber (preferably cedar)  

  • (2) Galvanized rods per connection

  • (2) Galvanized nuts and washers per rod

Tools:

  • Drill with 5/8th bit

  • Chop saw or circular saw, straight edge, clamps

  • Tape measure

  • Level

  • Grinder or hack saw

  • Crescent or socket wrench

Find the parts in your chosen bench design drawing and locate them here to determine the correct ergonomic measurements. We have designed the hubs to be modular. This means that based upon what your community wants or needs you can accommodate by changing out different components. Although you've already chosen a design, feel free to get even more creative and mix and match the parts below to customize it even further. 

Step 2: Plan Your Build

Bulletin Board & Solar Stands:

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Tables & Chairs:

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Loungers:

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Benches:

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Step 2 Example Drawing
This plan is for the Robson design. Laying it out helps determine what cuts to make.

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Step 3: Build Your Template

To get started cut one of each component to confirm your angles line up. This is done by laying your pieces of wood flat on the ground overlapping where connections will be. Make any adjustments to angles if needed. When you are happy with how everything lines up use 2.5” screws to secure your overlapping pieces together. This will become your template to cut all the pieces you need going forward.

Next up will be drilling holes in your template while it’s still screwed together. Threaded rod will be slid through the holes you are drilling. With that said it is important to drill as straight as possible. The threaded rod with washers and nuts will be what holds your Hub together.

We recommend using two 1/2" rods at every joint. 
The placement of these holes is up to you, two connectors ensures the joints wont swivel. Measure your holes and make centre marks, drill a 5/8” hole on each centre mark and pay close attention that you are drilling as straight as possible. Drill through both layers of wood. Drilling a larger hole than your rod will give you a little leeway when construct your hub.

Now Label the pieces of wood so they are easy to identify and unscrew your template.

Step 3 Example Template
This template for the Robson design shows how to label your parts and where to drill your holes.

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Step 4: Prepare and Assemble

Use these components and set up jigs to cut and drill 10 identical pieces for an average width. It is best practice to set up a jig for each stage and cut/drill all of your components for one stage at a time. 

To assemble, alternate the lumber so that there is negative space between each part. Thread rod through the 5/8 holes, and screw a washer and nut on each end, cut excess rod.

Step 4 Example Assembly
This assembly for the Robson design shows how the lumber should overlap and what parts go through the drilled holes.

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Step 5: Secure to Your Site

All Neighbour Hubs should be secured to the ground for safety and security. This is a general overview of ways to secure your hub to the ground.

Concrete will be used in all applications whether your team chose to pour a full slab or just footings. A slab is an area of poured concrete that has a larger footprint that your hub. A footing is poured concrete in a hole that will line up with point load of the Neighbour Hub. This is just a fancy way of saying where the majority of the weight will make contact with the ground. 

Footings: Measure out and locate some anchor points you will use to secure your bench. The top of these points should be level to each other. This means that you might need to remove dirt or other obstructions in the way. Next you dig out a hole- I would recommend at least 2 feet deep. Level your sonotube, A sonotube is cardboard rolled into a tube and used for casting concrete. It keeps a uniform shape and allows a little more Lee way in digging out the perfect hole. They are very helpful because you can level them quite easy by just back filling. back fill it and fill with concrete. 

There is different hardware to use that are called “saddles”. These are metal brackets that either get casted in concrete or secured after using concrete screws. The metal brackets secure the wood to the concrete.

Step 6: Make it your own

Affix anything from a bulletin board to a solar panel to the surface of the Neighbour Hub. You could even plant a garden around it.

Step 6 Example Accessory
This example of the Robson design shows a bulletin board being attached to the tallest part of the structure.  

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Step 7: Celebrate!

We suggest that you and your neighbours plan a block party to celebrate the unveiling of your new Neighbour Hub. We recommend food and music, the rest is up to you! It’s always best to create an invitation to the event and make sure everyone feels welcome to attend.

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Need a Hand?

If at any point your team would like to consult with the Neighbour Lab design or build team we are available to discuss anything from site prep, to installation. We offer this as an extra paid service and are able to meet with your team of neighbours on site. 

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