Archives for posts with tag: concrete

Here’s today’s math question: what does 2 cement trucks plus 1 giant pumper truck equal? If you guessed 40, you’d be correct!

Yes, another day, another 40 yards of concrete. I’m nursing a nasty little cold, but couldn’t resist running by the site to hang out in 39 degree weather to say hello and check in with Misha and friends.

Lots of work today, and I couldn’t help but think of our contrasting work environments. You know those days when it’s 2 degrees cooler than normal in the conference room, and everyone complains and keeps taking breaks to get more tea or coffee? No more complaining. Like I mentioned, it was still very cold at mid-day, and Misha was covered in concrete splatter all day long. Very. Hard. Work.

One other thing. There’s something amazing to me about watching highly skilled people work. I have a picture of this below, but watching Misha detail the edge of the round sonotube was inspiring. It was a series of quick movements that looked so very simple. Yet were to try it yourself it would become quickly apparaent how much skill it requires. This kind of thing–mastery through repetition–is true for most things in life, but it’s still a wonder to observe.

The concrete forming marathon continues. The boys, with Carrie’s (not a boy) direction, continue to build away. The new day for the next pour is Tuesday (Monday’s a possibility), when they’ll fill all of the stem walls for the house, plus the first two feet of all of the retaining walls.

Out on the site, progress looks great. Walking in, the shape of the house is obvious. The entry sequence is apparent, and the scale of things is generally more obvious.

We’ve had a couple of challenges over the past week. Nothing to go into detail about, but I think it mostly comes down to a massive amount of form work, with a set of pretty technical plans that need to be built to a really high degree of accuracy. In other words, plenty of opportunity for disconnects.

There’s absolutely less flexibility when it comes to building with SIPS. If we were stick-framing–traditional construction using 2″ x 6″ lumber–we’d be able to make up an inch here or there if we ran into an issue in the field. Not so with SIPS. In the end a SIPS house will be great, but until then, lots of detailed work. As the saying goes though, it’s all good.

My friend Jake called today with a funny story. He popped out to check out the site and yelled down to one of the guys, “Hey, are you building a Wal Mart?”

The reply, and you need to imagine a thick Russian accent was, “No, not Wal Mart. Costco. I hope for free membership.”

If we get through this concrete work within budget, it’s free Costco memberships for everyone!

Bunch of pics today. Check out the photos with the giant pieces of rebar sticking up. Yes, that’s how tall the concrete walls will be.

I know I keep saying this, but progress continues. By Wednesday we should have stem walls poured, as well as the initial pour of the tall retaining walls. Not too much new to show between now and then though.

Walking around the site the other day I couldn’t help but notice the obvious: there’s a lot of raw concrete, basalt, metal and wood lying around.

For once I had a proper camera with me (no offense to hardcore iPhone fanboys/girls), so took a few happy snaps with my camera in macro mode. It’s fun to look closely at such “mundane” materials. Yes, those quotes are on purpose. The materials are beautiful when you look closely, and in this way far from mundane. At least to me.

If you’re into this kind of idea, here’s a similar sentiment written by the peeps at Build. And one of my favorite architecture books, from one of my favorite architects, has some stunning passages about honesty of materials, which is kind of what I’m getting at with the pictures below.

Check the title. The first 60. And yes, this means the first 60 yards of concrete. That’s a lot of concrete.

Last week I mentioned that I had blocked out how much concrete we’d use in this project. Well, I can’t avoid it anymore. So for those readers that relate to yards of concrete, and judging by the number of visitors coming here from the link on Build blog (thanks Andrew!), many of you will, we’ll use 325 yards of concrete. That’s a buttload (technical term) of concrete.

Misha and his merry band, with Carrie’s oversight, made tremendous progress today. And they worked very, very hard. I stopped by after work this evening, around 6, and Misha was still at it, and visibly more tired than at noon. I included a couple of pics of Misha today. Hard work, but good morale.

Carrie’s dog, Sambuca, was the only sad looking one on site, clearly unhappy that she was stuck on a leash while everyone else scrambled around.

Overall everything went well, although I was greeted by Carrie with the quote of the day: “Hi. So they had to bring the biggest pump truck they had to get a boom long enough, so we pretty much blew through our entire pump truck budget during the first pour.”  Not good, but not disasterous in the big scheme of things.

Up next are the rest of the house walls, then it’s on to the big-boy retaining walls next week. Good fun.

Lots of pics today. Enjoy.