Saturday 21 December 2013


 Having sealed and leveled the whole house build area with a thin layer of concrete the next stage was to accurately mark out the exact position of the house.

Start of the day
This was achieved using the earlier established reference point and modern topographic technology to locate the key points of the design outline and to then mark these points by driving in large masonry nails. Checking was carried out using tape measure and a good old fashioned right angle.
Using these reference points the foundation for the shuttering was constructed and the first few planks of shuttering built up.

Marking out the key points.
The basic process for producing a waterproof layer on top of the sealing/leveling layer of concrete was to lay a thin layer of fibre matting on top of the sealing layer, to protect the waterproof layer that was then applied, heat sealed to join the sheets, and then to apply another thin fibre mat to protect the waterproof membrane from the next layer of concrete.

Fibre mat as protection and start of waterproofing.
Whilst the shuttering team were working hard to get the shuttering completed a separate team were laying out the initial fibre mat, covering this as they went with the rubberised waterproofing material which in turn was being heat sealed using a special device that "crawled" across the overlapping portion of the waterproofing sheets heating and sealing the join as it went.

 I would have expected this sealing process to be a back breaking process but instead the machine, once set off, crawled steadily across the site with only the occasional nudge with a size 10 (46) boot to keep it aligned!!

Heat sealing the waterproofing.
Work continued steadily until the teams took a well earned break for coffee. The large area where the next concrete layer was to go (280 square metres) was still littered with debris from the mornings labours, a few of the corners of the waterproof layer sealing remained to be finished with the whole thing resembling a giant paddling pool with the waterproofing going up the sides of the shuttering as well as across the base. Everyone, including myself, seemed relaxed and very pleased with their progress.

Waterproofing layer down just the finishing touches required.
The large concrete pump and first ready mixed lorry could be heard trundling up the track and still no one moved!!

However, as the pump came down the the slope to its usual pumping position it was as if a starting gun had been fired.

Immediately work was started sealing the unfinished corners, the waterproofing layer was cleared of all debris and swept to remove any sharp objects and then another layer of the thin insulation mat was rolled out in sections across the whole area.

Fibre mat down to protect the waterproofing and the start of the concrete pour.
Meanwhile strings were being set up as guidelines for a number of "strips" about a metre or so wide across the site from front to back to ensure that the correct depth of concrete was achieved as it was poured.

Getting the level right on the guide sections.
The combination of the experience of the guy guiding the concrete pump hose outlet, the guy moving the pump and controlling the flow coupled with the energetic endeavours of the building team meant that rapid progress was made across the whole area.
Ensuring the integrity of this waterproofing process was an essential component in the house build given the natural spring run on the site and the mountain run off in the rainy season. The whole team appreciated this fact and were very mindful throughout the process to ensure the the waterproofing "sandwich" was correctly installed.

End of the day and all done.