Monday, February 20, 2012

Foundation Completion

It is time to write again. Much has happened since my last blog. Progress on the site has been good and the middle of February saw the building beginning to take shape.

 We are still pouring concrete in the foundation of the west half of  the building. Sort of in the centre of the picture is the set of water tanks. Each tank will hold about 20,000 litres of water for use by the residents. This water will come in part from the well on site and in part from trucks delivering regularly. In addition we will be setting up a rain water harvesting system that will add to the water supply.
 The water tank shear walls are almost formed and ready for concrete. It was a lengthy process getting to this point in the water tanks as it was a considerable amount of work with all the rebar, and then bracing and supporting the forms so they would hold the wet concrete.

While this was being done, other crews were building brick dwarf walls between the columns. Other crews are kept busy back filling the foundation holes where the foundation work is complete. We have had 30 to 48 crew men on site for the past eight weeks and all were kept happily busy.
 Just a better picture of the form work for the water tank shear walls.
 Ready to pour the concrete. Scaffolding had to be build between the shear wall forms and rebar to provide access for the wheel barrows of concrete. It is a very tight maize of pipes and blocks underneath. The pour took the better part of a day and two men were amongst this maize for the entire time spotting for any sign of form break down. The last that was needed was to have a form let go and empty a bunch of concrete into the middle.

 Once the west side of the foundation was poured we moved to the east side. Only we had one obstacle, a rock boundary wall that was neither straight nor only on its side of the boundary line. It encroached on our property in a few places. A little negotiation with the owner and we had permission to dismantle the rock wall. Both we and the neighbour will end up with a boundary wall on the property line but it will be straight and on the property line throughout.
It actually looks not to crooked here but it had at least a ten inch sway from side to side, like a snake slithering through the grass.

Boundary wall is gone, and the crews could complete the digging of the foundation holes and install the rebar mats and columns.

The concreting of the water tanks is complete, the forms have been removed, and jute cloth was draped over the walls so we could apply water and keep the concrete wet and cool so it would cure slowly.
Most of the rebar has been installed on the east (left) side and the scaffolding is ready to pour the first part of the foundation on the east side.

 A little bit of a closer look at the water tanks with the jute cloth covering the walls. Right beside the four guys you can see the brick walls that have been built between the columns. They still need to go about nine inches higher but that will happen a little later.
These crews are digging up the earth they piled here earlier during the excavation process and putting it back in the foundation holes (back filling). This is then tamped to compact it so as to prevent any further self compaction in the future. Water is added to assist with the compaction.

More digging up the excavated earth for back filling. This pile was about 12 feet high at the end of the excavation, and by the middle of February it had been reduced to about three feet high, in most places even lower than where the men are standing by about three feet.

This was the last bit of excavation. This is where we had been stock piling large aggregate for concreting as we had no other place to pile it. Now that we have back filled some of the foundation holes we have room on site to move some things around thereby giving us room to stockpile aggregate elsewhere. This trench is for the last strap beam connecting the last two foundation support column.

Earlier I mentioned that there would be a well on site to provide some of the needed water. This is the well that was hand dug. It is not completed in this picture as they dug another three feet down. It was at this point that they encountered this rock. The well is about eight feet deep and the camera is about three feet about the top of the well so that rock is about 11 feet down. It took ten men to lift this thing out of the hole. The well is dug to a 42 inch diameter. It may run dry as we pull on it for the concreting, and if it does, the well diggers will return to deepen it. We are now coming into the driest part of our year between March and June.

On the 4th of Feb we went to Thailand for a little break and rest. And a wonderful break it was. This picture is quite close to what the site looked like just prior to our leaving.


This is what the site looked like upon my return after nine days of work in my absence. On the left side you can notice a number of the brick dwarf walls up. Some just need to be finished to the columns which were concreted on my first two days back. Notice also a considerable amount of back filling on left side.
In the centre you can see the round concrete rings. That is the well from which the big boulder was pulled.
The right (west) side of the building has considerable amount of additional rebar. Most of the rebar for the tie beams that connect the columns to each other at main floor level has been tied in, and the lids for the water tanks have been formed in and rebar tied in. There is also more back filling that has taken place on this west side.
Within the next few days we will begin pouring the concrete for the tie beams as most of them have been formed up. Sorry I don't have a picture of that to share at this time.
So the building is now beginning to take shape.

The Diner
Finally I wanted to share this picture with you as well.
In order to keep working throughout the day one needs to have an input of energy. This is usually accomplished by eating some sort of energy laden food. Well, this is where we eat lunch. You are seeing the best side of this restaurant. Just to the left of the two white doors is an outside eating area around a round table. Right beside the round table is the outside washroom. There is sufficient seating inside for about eight people so if we get there early enough we eat inside, but if we are a little late the inside is too full to accommodate us all so we eat outside.
The window looks full and cluttered. The cooking area inside makes this window look organized and spacious. Yet, God has protected me from getting sick and I have eaten about every kind of dish they would prepare in here. The food is tasty and they make good tea.

Well, that is it for this time. We have just had a long weekend here due to a festival in honor of one of the Hindu gods. It was a good weekend to give the crews a day off so they can come back on Tuesday full of energy and ready to work.