Groundworks are almost done

The last site update I did was on the 20th of October, so almost 3 weeks ago !

The stainless steel elements of the frame had been delivered and the site had had it’s last big concrete pour, for the west side retaining wall. Great to have got to those retaining walls up an in place with no problems to the neighbouring property.

The rest of the frame, which is wooden Glulam beams, have arrived on site:

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In the above photo, you can also see that the site is covered in a black poly sheet that is then gravel covered. There to prevent plants growing up under the house.

Before that was put down, the shuttering on the retaining walls was taken down and further footings have been poured. You can also see the start of the replacement wall between Silver Spray and Ramoth.

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At the back (south) of the site, they are in the home straight putting up the last bits of retaining wall:

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The small section of the west retaining wall, that is being built up with blockwork, is also almost done:

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Retaining Walls :: 1 step back but at least 3 forward

At least it was spotted. The black RIW double drain (black bumpy sheet with front white anti silt up sheet) that was wrapped around the garage wall was part buried before it was noticed that it was the wrong way around. It needed to be black thick plastic side to the garage wall.

Incorrect way around:


So Nigel and Sam spent 1 to 2 days digging a trench down to the bottom, in order to take it up and put it back in the correct way around.



And then repeat back filled, compacting every 20mm of in-fill.


Sam and Nigel (the only 2 on site for a bit over a week) dug under the wall of the neighbours (Kiephius) wall to expose their mains water feed from the street stop valve. This is so that we can replace it with a modern Polypropylene water pipe before it is re-buried.


They have also started building a small retaining wall, backfilled with concrete to better support the ground under Kiephuis balcony. Their property structures are going to end up better supported than they were.



The link wall between the front NW corner of the garage to the Kiephuis front wall has been built.



On Monday the 7th of October, the site team jumped from 2 (Nigel & Sam) to 6. The pace picks up and the current position of being behind schedule looks set to be redressed.

The main house retaining wall shuttering is coated to help it not stick to the cement before it’s put in place.



The steel work has a 2nd layer put inside it, with cross links.

When this first goes up the cover (distance between the steel and the outer edge of where the concrete will exist, so the distance within the concrete the steel will end up) of the steel looks to be a problem, but spacers are put in, to hold it at least 30mm in from the external earth, wood or chippings.




The shuttering going up, with the remaining steel mesh put up against the wall in the garage and the rest of the site cleared (note the back left (SE) ramp dug back) makes the site suddenly big again.




That’s a lot of material that has been heaped into the garage area.





Foundations and retaining wall progress

The foundations for the east and south side of the garage wall have been poured and the first section of the east and south side garage walls have been built and then filled with cement around the re-enforcing iron bars.

Garage Retaining Walls:

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There was a mistake where the vertical re-enforcing bars and wall return for the eastern edge of the garage (just visible in the above photo are the vertical bars to the left of Sam holding the vertical measure) was started about 1m short of where it should be. This was taken down, the steel bars cut. It means the eastern wall will need to be tied into the exiting wall and foundation later on. The communication error between the site team and the chap doing the site layout (Matt) has been highlighted to avoid a similar mistake later on.

The ground side of the eastern and southern garage retaining walls have been SBR waterproofing coated:

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Simon (project administrator) noted that some of the re-enforcing bars had insufficient cover (the gap from them to the inside edge of the external block wall), so the wall was taken down and the bottom block or two moved out at the bottom (a slight bulge of 1cm or so) in those areas.

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To reduce the risk of this in the next sections of retaining wall a weak cement mix blinding will be put down, so as to create a more level surface on to which the re-enforced mesh and angle bars will lie.

Ben, Nicky & Sarah on site to see the progress:

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Filling the garage retaining walls with concrete:

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The next section of the garage walls is going up:

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House retaining wall foundations:

Site excavation below “top of foundations” level for the retaining wall foundations:

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Blinding of a weak cement and sand mix to make a more level surface for the house retaining wall foundations:

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 There have been a chunk of autumn weather with lots of wind and quite a bit of rain. Evident from the blown up plastic sheeting and damp ground in the photo below. 2013-09-17 10.39.21_smaller

 The steel bars that are attached to the ground steelwork are a lot more lined up than they were for the garage retaining walls. In part helped by the blinding layer:

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When Simon arrived to have a look at progress pre the next concrete pour, he OK’d it all straight away and started discussing how high up the walls the retaining walls would go.

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Foundations have started

The steel work for the garage floor and retaining walls is being put in and the first bit of concrete of the job has been poured.

The site has had the first Cornwall Council Building Control inspection (all A OK’d) and also a mining engineer to check the lode (mineral bearing seam) checked (no evidence of ever having been worked, so OK to proceed).

Garage retaining wall base steel work going in:

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Garage retaining wall base and steel verticals:

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First concrete to be poured into the new buildings:

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“That’s it, first bit of concrete”.

Construction starts

Today, the  project changes direction.
So far it’s been de-construct, demolish, dig & take away from the site.
Today is detailed set out and the start of foundations. So materials arriving on site that will stay on site as part of the new buildings (house and garage).

The mini digger and mini site dumper truck in the foreground and setting out by the bottom road with sunshine and a small swell in the very background.

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Demolition and excavation starts

The arrival of a big digger suddenly rushed things along.

It made short work of the silver spray bungalow walls and footings. A bit of excavation to take out the old front garage before taking down the rear garage and then excavation. As much top soil as we could was taken to Jock & Emma’s place for their lawn-to-be area.

Digger delivery in the rain:

Digger delivery in the rain

2013-08 digger delivery + Miss P

The house comes down pretty fast.

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House is gone, rear garage next.

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At last some sunny weather.

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The “clean canvas” site suddenly looks very big.

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The ceiling / roof is gone

There now (late May 2013) isn’t any wood left in or on the building.

A whole lot of the wood has been put aside to make some furniture (a big dining table for starters) for the new house.

A chunk of wood is also making it’s way to other houses and projects including a play space / play room for the kids of Robert at ra-studio (who created the initial designs for this project).

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A bunch of the windows and doors have gone to new homes.

A bunch of the wood is either going into local log burners or being set aside for furniture etc.

A lot of the roof tiles have been set aside for somebody or to be made into place mats etc.

A chunk of the metal was taken to the scrap metal dealers, where the lead, copper and other metal got a bit over £200 !

Metal to the scrappie for recycling