Concrete has been a real headache. Lee was anxious to get back on site today and make some real progress to finish the job. So close!…only one more trench to dig out. Having a silo onsite would have been the alternative, but the guys thought that since the concrete depot is only a couple miles down the road that it would be easy to have pours on a as-needed basis. But with the extra depth of trenches that the warranty company wanted alongside the vagaries of supply and plant operation, it’s been a hassle. As lovely and accommodating as Lee and his crew have been, Nic will be glad to see the us out of the ground.
They’ll leave the garage trenches for access until the brick layers are almost finished.
There are two types of bricks in the groundworks: the concrete blocks and the reds. The blocks are laid first, then the reds are used to achieve the right levels. The level of the ground floor is the same as the street although it looks deceivingly high at the moment. The reds are used instead of the blocks because they’re easier to cut and don’t fall to bits. There is a pile of sand behind the bricks too.
They found a second well! It’s about 2.5 metres deep and full of water! Can’t believe it. We’d never known of it until they were mucking away the big pile of earth and the digger took a huge chunk out of it. It must have been under the grass…. Bonkers!!
The concrete deliveries have dried up today, so Lee and his gang can go home and sit in the sun. This is not a good thing, and even Lee didn’t want to leave. But the deliveries are few and far between despite having been booked for weeks. Apparently the Leatherhead Cemex site is shut, and the last few loads have come from Crawley. We’re a relatively small job, so if every builder in the area needing concrete is using the Crawley depot, they’ll decide to deliver to the big jobs first, and we’re just tiny fish in this pond.
There are only a couple more deep trenches out the front to go.
The test panel is looking better in colour. It’s incredible how much the mortar colour has changed and lightened up. We’ve decided not to go with the current bucket handle joint profile and have recessed or raked instead. Not enormously interesting as a detail, but it will make the bricks stand out more which is nice because in using engineered bricks rather than reclaimed, we’re losing the variation.
These two are West Ho and Bletchworth (I think!). We’re seeing if the mortar could be lighter (do we need to?), and if it could contain more aggregate. Here, it’s drying out in a high tech test environment so we can look at the colour properly.
Watch for an overambitious concrete delivery at about 0:23 below. The shuttering gave way and the guys had a heart attack. They managed to cut the pour and save the day before the whole thing went south. We’ve got a REALLY stable footing at the side of the family room!
Sometimes when I come round the corner and see how lovely the lane is, or see the neighbour taking a picture of a bird’s nest in some random place, I’m reminded that we’re so incredibly lucky to be building this house in this spot. This morning it was simply the steam coming off the road in the early morning sun that caught my eye. Mind you, the guys had been there long enough to be eating their toast before kicking off at 8:00 on the dot, that they could have appreciated it too, but they’re focussed on getting the job done and getting on outta here rather than waxing lyrical about steamy roads.