Monday, March 12, 2012

Beginning of First Floor

March 12, 2012

We broke ground on Nov. 28, 2011. We have been working on construction now for 15 weeks with about four days of work stoppage due to various reasons, and that leaves us still with more than 14 weeks of days worked. Till now the hours of work have been primarily 9:00am to 5:00pm as these are the hours the sun is shining and keeping everyone sort of warm. The days are now longer as the sun comes up at least by 7:00am and sets after 5:30pm. That translates into longer and warmer days, and means the crews will work longer days now; the length of days is yet to be understood by me.

Every day now means a change in the way the building appears due to the progress of the previous day.
The water tank lids and the left (east) side tie beams were concreted and we were in the midst of concreting the tie beams on the right (west) side of the building.

Since then we have stripped most of the forms, and have done considerable amount of back filling. All of the area inside the forms needs to filled with earth to the top of the tie beams. In some places that means more than two meters of back fill, and in others as much as half a meter or more. All this back filling is done with manual labour. So far we have been using the earth excavated for the footings but that will soon be used up and then we will need to bring in more earth from else where.

 Work has begun to bring the building up to the first floor (Nepal terms; 2nd floor in Canadian terms). This means extending the columns to the underside of the first floor slab.

If you zoom in on this shot you can see all the columns on the east side completed to this level. This half of the building has a total of 18 columns.

One team then began building the forms for the 1st floor tie beams on the east half of the building. Once those forms are complete they will build the forms for the 1st floor slab.

You can see here some of that form work already in place. The men on the forms are about 10 - 12 feet above the ground beneath, depending on how much back filling has taken place, and the forms are 10 inches wide. Not a whole lot to stand on. The forms are supported in the middle by teleposts and become quite sturdy and safe to walk on.

At the same time there are two other crews busy on other tasks. The activity here is taking place on the west side of the building and involves two tasks.

Just on a side note, the building is structurally divided into two halves separated by an expansion joint from bottom to top. The footing however are joined together by a strap beam network (for those who like to know this kind of stuff. The rest of you can ignore these types of comments).

 The one task is the rebar work on the columns in preparation for forming and concreting these columns. This side has a total of 15 columns for a total of 33 columns for the entire building.

These two men are building the rebar for the columns, and no, they are not standing in mid air. Their feet are about six or seven feet above the top of the concrete. They insert stand supports, much like a hunter would construct a tree support. These guys are quite safe. Personal safety is of high importance to these men and they are quite careful to insure their safety. To date we have had no serious injuries in spite of the fact that we have had one man fall into a footing hole because he didn't realize how close he was to the edge, and in spite of the fact that we have had two pieces of scaffold planking break or shift causing one person in each case to fall through, all with just a few bruises and a bruised pride.

A third crew is working on the boundary wall. This trench was first dug by hand, a base of concrete poured on the bottom, and then the wall of bricks is built on top of that. It starts wide at the bottom, and is narrowed at engineered heights providing a strong, stable and earthquake resistant wall.

The forth crew continues to work at back filling.

 On Friday the forming crew began forming up the lower half of the ground floor to 1st floor stairs. This was completed along with the accompanying rebar over the weekend. So this morning we checked it all over and concreted this half of the stairs and the middle landing.

Her are a few additional pictures of today's concreting work.

And the completion. You can also note some of the form work for the 1st floor slab.

 This is about 2/3 of the 1st floor slab forming in place complete with all the telepost supports holding it up. The final portion forms will be built in the days to follow along with the second half of the stairs.

                       Pictures of what the site looks like today. An overall view at the top, and original ground level view on the right and bottom. Considerably different than it looked at the end of the last post.


Well, that is all for this post. Until the next time then.