Well, I continue to be wildly optimistic in my backfill schedule. Even with assistance, this process is taking a LONG time. I can certainly understand why NO ONE does this in residential construction.
I have averaged only one lineal ft every 4 hours (one lineal foot of the roughly 12′ deep hole represents around 45-60 cubic feet of backfill). I have 120 man-hours into the backfill operations (no dimple or insulation installation) and have only completed about 30ft of wall out of about 160ft. Part of the problem has been site access issues to wall with tractor, and working around the instruments. The most difficult portions are now complete and I hope to get another 30-40 ft done over the next week.
My mileage also has varied depending on the hired labour. Mr. J (my nephew) has been outstanding and we get a lot done on the days he is here. He absorbs instruction well, is strong (so has been able to run the compactor), and hustles. Unfortunately, he is only available one day a week. The ability to run the compactor is the most important as I really should not be, so I specifically requested a labourer from Embers for this coming week, that is strong enough to run the compactor.
With that all said, I probably would still do the gravel layer if I did this all over again in a wet region. In a dry region I would just drape the ROCKWOOL with the dimple and backfill right to the dimple. I looked at just backfilling my site with gravel because I have fairly steep banks that are close to the foundation, but each lineal foot still represents 45-60 cubic ft representing 300+ yards of gravel or about $20,000 – $25,000.
On the issue of compactor, I am afraid we had to say good by to George Jr. George Jr. decided that the enormous burden of compacting over 300 yards of back-fill in 8″-10″ lifts was more than he could bare and committed Hari kari. He accomplished this by backing off the bolts that held the piston connecting rod to the crankshaft. This action took out the crank, connecting rod, and both main bearings. There is a good chance when the heads was removed, that there also would have been damage to the head and piston. I had to go out and rent a unit to get through the week and then picked up George Jr. II yesterday from Sabre Rentals in Whistler. This is also where I bought the first unit (used) and Alfie my mini excavator. I have always found Dave very fair and indeed, when I told him the first unit had died, he made it right even though he had delivered the first unit back in July. As I only had about 30 hours of use out of it, he was honorable and helped me out. He did not have any 150# units left so sold me a 200# unit for $300 (half price). Even with the original $400 I paid for the first unit, I was still ahead of all the used units, of similar size and model, sold on Craigslist. The shop I took the failed unit to wanted $800+ to replace the engine and $300+ to repair the engine but would then not provide any warranty. When I checked on line, their part pricing was way out of wack. For instance, $120 for a connecting rod kit that I could get for under $10. If I had time, I would have repaired myself, but with rental costs coming in at $225 a week, I needed a new unit fast.
So, by the end of this week, weather dependent, I hope to have enough of the south wall completed so that Alfie can once again reach the back yard and the large stock pile of back-fill soil located there. I will spend any rainy days finishing off the waterproofing and insulation on the back south wall. I hope that by the end of the month all back fill duties will be complete on all but the north wall (which has to wait until the basement exterior walk-up stairs are formed and poured) and around the garage (that will need to wait till the garage slab is poured).
Thanks for visiting.