Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Weeks 7 and 8 - Blockwork to DPC

Phew, after a hectic week doing the foundations we managed to slow down and take it all in. After the concrete went off we checked the levels and are pleased to say we are within about 15mm of  level across all the foundations. Very happy with that.

Week 7 consisted mainly of utility companies digging up the pavement outside our plot and generally being a nuisance to traffic! We now have electricity and water to site, and the static caravan has all mod cons.

In week 8 we started on the blockwork from foundations to DPC (damp proof course), which is basically just two courses of blocks. If we had gone for strip footings instead of trench fill, we'd have had to do blockwork from a meter below ground level, really horrible to work in a trench and very difficult to get tidy results!

We're currently laying about 80 blocks a day, which isn't bad for a couple of amateurs! It's a bit fiddly setting out the first course and positioning the vents, but the straight runs can be pretty quick. Shame we're only doing a few courses ourselves before the blockies come in mid May. A 2+1 team of blockies should be laying about  350 blocks a day!

Inner leaf all completed ready for the precast beams to sit on, when they are delivered in a few days.Outer leaf completed for one of the walls, one course of blocks followed by six courses of bricks for the plinth.

The black plastic things are air vents which will connect the inner and outer leaves, and will allow fresh air to circulate in the void beneath the floor. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Week 6 - Foundation Dig and Pour

This time we used a 3ton digger to excavate - much more capable than the 1.5ton, and made light work of the foundation trenches in just over a day.


It took a twenty yard RORO (roll on roll off) and two grab lorries to get rid of most of the spoil - we still have a couple of tons left over...

The concrete arrives! We are doing trench-fill foundations rather than strip footings, more concrete but much quicker and easier when it comes to starting the blockwork. It's alarming how quickly the stuff comes out of the concrete wagon - tons and tons every minute, with the next truck waiting on the road outside. We had three and a half truck loads in total.


21 cubic metres of concrete later and the foundations are finished.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Week 5 - Exorcism of the stump

We had a free day's hire of the digger after losing a day last week (but they actually left it with us for the whole weekend), so Kai set out to try and dig out the massive tree stump which has been ailing us...
After numerous suggestions on how to tackle it (including setting it on fire, and coring a hole down the middle and stuffing a grenade down it), we decided to use the more conventional method of digging around and underneath the huge brute until it finally came loose.


We then had to get the root mass out of the crater. We tried lifting it out using the digger. However this doesn't really work if you are trying to lift a 1ton stump using straps rated to 500kg - ping!

So we dug a ramp out of the crater and dragged the mighty beast out kicking and screaming (I might be exaggerating a bit). Thankfully Matt and Rachel arrived at this point with life-saving cake!

Revived by tea and Chelsea buns, we returned to the digger to scrape back the turf from the footprint of the house, ready for setting out.

A delivery of 8tons of Type 1 scalpings will make the ground easier to drive around on near the site entrance, and stop the heavy concrete trucks sinking into the ground...


Et voila!

Felt and a door complete the shed, Kai's new hiding place.