Getting Grounded

A building with wobbly feet isn’t going to stand for very long… So the first thing I wanted to do is make sure that I was working off a solid base!
Due to the high carbon impact of cement, I wanted to minimise my laying of new concrete. Luckily, there was an existing concrete slab which I could use. It wasn’t the perfect shape and size but gave me a good start. Ground works are a lot of hard graft and luckily I have some incredible friends who picked up some spades, hammers and pitched in…
For the foundation areas which needed extending, we dug into the earth and placed around 200mm deep of rubble. This was available from a neighbour’s skip – all near site and free! Making sure that the top layer was sufficiently fine (hello Mr Sledge Hammer), we leveled out the surface.. Over that we laid concrete slabs.
I decided that the foundations where the walls rest, needed a bit more support than that. So I laid concrete along these strips. Generally this went pretty well. I created shuttering using chipboard I found in skips and driving in wooden pegs made from pallet wood. However, when the shuttering was over 5″ tall, this didn’t really hack it… I found myself, after pouring the concrete in, trying to wedge the chipboard back up and post supporting the shuttering… disaster!
 
Lesson learnt… get your prep right before laying concrete! The link below gives a good description of how you’d want to make your form work.
http://www.pavingexpert.com/formwk01.htm
Tying into some existing slab with cut off ends from bolts…
Where I needed to slice off some concrete,I found that a circular saw with a diamond edge blade did a cracking job. Keeping a hose on the blade to stop it from overheating and keeping the dust down, I proceeded (face mask on) to slice through the concrete (almost) like a knife through butter! Very satisfying. Nice slice, if I do say so myself…
To keep the wooden structure off the ground and help to prevent rot, I laid a two brick high dwarf wall using engineering bricks. Use of a line level and string between wooden pegs was really helpful to get the bricks laid level.
Check out the next blog to see how the structure went up!

 

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