Saturday, 4 January 2014

Marking out, Steelwork and Insulation

 With the waterproofing "sandwich" successfully installed it was time to mark out the position of the  major supporting beams (approx 60-80 cm thick). These beams, to be cast in strongly reinforced concrete were essential to distribute the weight of the finished earth sheltered house across the hillside, to prevent the whole structure sliding down the steep slope and to form the basis of the earthquake proofing required by the planners. Having experienced earthquakes previously in the South Pacific and, to a lesser extent and magnitude, in Crete this seemed like a good idea!

Marking out.
A team of reinforcing specialists arrived on site and whilst the marking out continued proceeded to assemble the reinforcing bars and cages into the specified designs and laying out the basic structure of the main beams.

Putting together the reinforcing "cages".
The team were also marking out where the reinforcing was required throughout the building. The engineers had devised a complex design and specification that addressed my joint needs for open spaces, high thermal mass and earth sheltering which, taken  together, significantly increased the weight of the structure.

The reinforcing for the main "beams" starts to be set out.
As the reinforcing team continued to set out the metalwork the building team started putting up the major shuttering for the external walls.
Once the metal work was in place for the beams the usual procedure is to fix shuttering in place, cast the concrete beams, remove the shuttering and then fill the spaces with soil. It was decided that by using blocks of expanded polystyrene to fill the spaces instead of soil a lot of time and labour could be saved making it cost neutral.

The principal reinforcing and the polystyrene in-fill shuttering in place.