Saturday, 7 December 2013

Start of the Build

After nearly three and a half years of patient waiting finally we were at a point where we could start our build.

Ready to start the build.
The first stage was to set out the house site and check that the excavation was okay. After the topographer had defined all the key points that had previously been agreed and these were duly staked out it became apparent that there was not enough space, at the rear and sides for the necessary "working area". There was a lot of discussion between the topographer, the engineer and the contractor before it was realised that the siting of the house had been moved "forward" some 60 - 100 cm as a cost saving measure (see previous post) BUT this bit of information had not been passed on to the topographer who had naturally been working on his original measurements!!

The first key point gets marked up.
 By eye it was apparent to me that, even allowing for the move "forward" there was not a sufficient space been excavated for the proposed rear courtyard. I was however reassured that all was well.
The initial stage of the build was to seal, level and smooth the bare earth with thin layer of concrete. The contractor would therefore move the house "forward" when setting out the shuttering for this first layer.
After the builder had undertaken the the first stages of this setting setting out it became obvious that I was right regarding the excavation for the rear courtyard.
I was therefore not surprised when I passed through the nearest village the following morning to discover that the diggers that had been parked there when not in use on the site were gone but the support truck was there. Sure enough when I reached the plot the diggers were going full tilt removing another 2 metres of the rear earth wall.

Waiting for the diggers to finish removing the extra 2 metres.
As soon as this was completed the building team very rapidly started to get all the outline shuttering in place. They also pegged out, across the whole expanse, sets of levels to assist in the pouring and levelling of the first layer of concrete.

Marking out the perimeter of the build area.
Whilst this was being finalised a 45 metre concrete pump arrived on site, after getting stuck in a local village and having to reverse its way out back to the alternative route!, and managing to crawl its way up the hillside and was closely followed by the first ready mixed concrete lorry.

Work immediately started to get the concrete laid and continued steadily without a break throughout the afternoon.

The start of the concrete pour for the initial sealing/leveling layer.

Good old fashioned hand finishing.

With only about 10 - 12 square metres remaining to finish  the pump and what had seemed to be the last lorry of ready mix departed!!

After a whole series of melodramatic phone calls between the contractor and the ready mixed concrete company the plan seemed to be to make an early start the next day and finish off before moving on to the waterproofing.

Whilst I was subsequently shooing off the site a large flock of mountain sheep, that had decided to take advantage of the fences being down to allow the builders access, surprise surprise out of the blue another ready mix lorry turns up with sufficient to complete the job in about 35 minutes!!

The first layer is finally down.