Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Structural Completion

The concrete structure is now complete. The final concreting took place on July 25 and the day started at 6:30am with completion of concreting by 4:30pm. Trowel finishing the concrete took until 11:00pm that night, so all said, a rather long day. The process was smooth and trouble free except for a few attempts by the weather of giving us concern with rains. It did shower a few times but nothing that caused us any problems.
From here on is it finishing work. This consists of building the brick walls, stud walls, electrical, plumbing, doors, windows flooring, painting some more back filling leveling the outside.

We did erect some tarps over the concreting area as protection from the rain should it be needed, and it was helpful during the showers that did come.

This is the day after the concreting. The biggest responsibility this day is keeping the concrete wet so it cures at a proper rate.

We needed to test the concrete strength of a previous concrete pour so three core samples were taken and will be tested in a lab. The results should be back to us in a few days.

 Concreting is not totally finished yet. The sloped are you see is the cantilever roof that will dress up the outside of the building. This needs to be formed up and concreted, and then red tiles will be installed on top of the concrete. Short brick walls will then be built on the top of the cantilever roof to add height to the terrace walls. This will become clearer at some later point.

The brick masons are busy building the brick walls. There are two kinds; There is the local brick used to build walls that will be covered by plaster and then painted. This is the kind used in the stairwell as seen here.

The second is a fair faced brick that is a much nicer looking brick. On these walls the mortar between the bricks is covered with a coloured grout and then the entire brick wall is painted with a clear matte coating.
 It will continue to be easy to show progress with pictures during the time of the outside wall construction. The above work is the result of five days work. Fair faced brick is slow and careful work as the bricks need to be in excellent condition, and need to match each other in length and width. This may not sound like a big issue in your countries but here that can be a big task. We have received bricks from a few different locations to date and not all are exactly the same size. We have finally found one supplier that can give us bricks of good quality. Therefore we should now have the size issue also solved. Even so, we are discarding anywhere from 30% to 60% of the bricks received on site.
On the far end of the brick wall being worked on you can see a few door frames. These have all been constructed on site from over-sized rough timbers in the past few weeks.

This is the main multipurpose meeting hall. As mentioned earlier, it has a waffle slab ceiling. We wanted to keep it open for appearance and more importantly for sound quality. The concrete in the ceiling is being smoothed by applying at least three coats of a white putty. One coat of paint will be applied, then electrical will be completed, and then another one or two coats of paint will be applied.

This is the second of two soak pits. Sewage will be deposited into a two stage septic tank with the solids staying in stage one and the liquids moving into the second stage. From here the liquids will run into this soak pit and dissipate into the ground.

The electricians and plumbers are carrying on with their work trying to stay ahead of the other sub-contractors. The rebar/forming crew has been downsized from nine to three and the remaining three continue to work on the cantilever roof sections. The putty/paint crew will move to finishing the underside of the cantilever roof sections once they have the meeting hall ceiling complete.

Currently a few aspects are behind schedule but overall the project is still set to be completed by the scheduled completion date that is now six months away.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Last Stages of Terrace

June 30th has come and gone as has July 13th, and the final two slabs have not yet been concreted. This puts us a little behind schedule, however on other aspects we are moving right along on schedule. It became apparent that meeting the schedule of June 30 for the large concrete pour was going to be a difficult task leading to a hurried job that usually leads to less than quality work. As a result we postponed the large slab pour and combined it with the very small final slab to be cast on July 13th. This schedule was also missed for numerous reasons and we will now concrete both slabs on July 18th. That will put us one week behind schedule on the structural component. This will easily be made up as the other tasks are moving right along unaffected by this delay.

 This is the beginning of the end of the beam form work. The two men on the top are at the height of the second floor level - 6.1 meters or 20'. These men are extremely sure footed at heights and  on narrow platforms. The form base is about 10" wide and they walk around on it with ease and accuracy.

 The south portion of the east side is formed with the beam rebar in place. The north portion rebar is in progress with the form work to follow shortly.

 There is a third level. This level is comprised of the stairwell tower which will have a peaked roof, and the water tank platform which will be a flat slab with half walls around the perimeter. The height of this final slab will 8.5 meters.The columns will support the slab and the stairwell tower trusses.

 This is the final column being cast. Each column takes about 30 minutes to cast as the concrete needs to be carried up two flights of stairs. A great deal of hard labour.

 The form work is about 90% complete and the rebar work is rapidly being completed. Today is Wednesday, and by the end of tomorrow, the rebar and form work on this slab will be complete. The Water tank slab will take another two or three days to form up have the rebar installed. That work should all be completed by the end of July 15th leaving us the 16th for our final checks and approvals of the work. The 17th will be set aside for the concrete guys to set up their pump and pipes getting everything ready for concreting on the 18th.

As I mentioned, other work is also on going while the structural work is nearing completion.
On the left side of this picture you can see a row of bricks. The brick masons are construction our first exterior wall. The finish on this wall will be a mortar plaster, similar to stucco in North America.

The brick wall half finished. You can only lay bricks 2 meters high per day and must then let the mortar set, or the weight of the bricks becomes more than the wet mortar can handle.

And the completed wall. Now just the plaster finish. The two sections above the beam will be the same construction and finish as what you see in the middle. The bottom is the foundation wall that has been back-filled and compacted. Our site is that much higher than the neighbouring site.

The same wall from the inside.

 This is on the other side of the building. This side will receive a fair faced brick finish. That is a finished brick appearance as you see on the picture below. The brick masons were required to lay a small portion of wall for inspection and approval of quality of brick selection and craftsmanship.The metal workers were in a few weeks back and installed the angle iron around the outside of the building for the brick layers to install the bricks.

 All was approved with some minor notes and now they are building the wall. Currently they are at four feet high.

The electricians have also been busy. They have completed the conduit work on 75% of the ground floor and have begun work on the second floor. They need to wait for the plaster finishers to complete the meeting hall ceiling before they can move into that room to complete the conduit work.

The carpenters also appeared on site this week. They have begun cutting up the rough timber, planing it, and fitting it to make door frames. No such thing as prefab door frames. The rough timber has been on site for a number of months now curing.

The plumbers also arrived this week and have started the rough plumbing. Their work is coming along well.

This morning the plaster finishers arrived. Their first task is to create a smooth finish on the waffle slab ceiling of the meeting hall. This ceiling will be left open and visible so the concrete needs to look good. Once these guys are finished, the electricians will move in to complete the electrical conduit work

That is the work that has been taking place since my last blog. The site has suddenly become very crowded with activity on numerous tasks.