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Disappointment

Disappointment is the emotion most prevalent over the last week.  Now that all the floor assemblies are installed over the basement, it is dark – really dark.  So last Thursday I finally installed some construction lighting in the basement and I had quite a shock when I turned them on. MOULD! Or more specifically staining fungi. All of my engineered…

Suspended Concrete Slab - Complete

The suspended concrete slab for the garage has been poured! As hoped, I was able to push up the date and we poured at 11 AM on Monday.  Hi Def Concrete and F&F Pumping did a bang up job and by 12:45 the pumping was done and by 2 PM the fat lady had sung and everyone…

Huff and Puff

Well, I survived yet another wind storm but this one was close. I repeatedly cringed as I heard the tarp fill up with air and then I heard the sound I dread, staples popping off and looked up to see about 8ft of the seam between the north and south tarps open up.  If I was not there at…

All Barred Up

As hoped, the last week has gone quite well and I am very close to being ready for the garage slab and basement walk-up footing pour.  I am just waiting for some direction from my engineer in Ontario regarding the rooting of rebar around the walk-up landing floor drain.  I hopefully get the response and complete the bar…

Another First

Well, I could get used to this, it was another productive week that stayed on schedule.  In fact, things actually took one less day than planned so I was able to catch up on some chores and vendor follow up on Thursday. Monday to Wednesday saw the removal of the rest of the scaffold, the movement of excess gravel…

Video Updates

Hey folks, Just a quick update to let you know I uploaded a series of videos today.  You can access them by clicking links below or by clicking on my YouTube channel at the left of this screen. Roving Cam Time Lapse Videos August: Major activities this month include: – Complete gravel cover of perimeter drainage pipe – Continue installation…

Steady Progress

I just love times where construction actually goes according to plan.  They have been so few and far between in my experience, that when they do happen, it just makes life good. Such is the current situation with the garage slab forming.  You may remember the below plan I drew up for the planned form work.

Mud!

Hey folks, just a fast update as not a lot has happened in the last week. I got Alfie’s shoe back on last Thursday, but it was clear my soil screening days were over for the season.  Everything is now just mud and the soil is not separating from the rock.  No worries, I finished almost all of it…

Lost Track

The last week has progressed well.  It has been reasonably dry and I was able to get a lot of the backfill complete.  The back west wall is almost complete (put it aside to do other weather dependent things).  Mr. J was by on Friday and we were able to backfill the front garage wall to a height…

In the name of Science

Well. I am extremely grateful I moved Alfie to the back yard last Friday as by Saturday AM, about 4ft of the back-filled south bank had caved in.  If Alfie was still on the front bank, I would have had a lot of work to hand dig out the cave in and rebuild up till the ramp was…

Alfie goes for a stroll - At last!

Well, it has been exactly 13 months since Alfie was banished from the back yard due to the excavation activities last September 2014.  Today, Alfie was once again able to stroll into  the back yard (ok – it was more of a steep climb).  I finally completed enough of the south wall back-fill so that the my tractor…

Uncompacted Schedule

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).  …

Frozen

I have had a couple enquiries asking how today’s surgeon visit went so here is an update. While it does look like I have a torn labrum called a SLAP tear, I would not be surgical until at least the current swelling and tightness subside.  I have severely limited range of motion associated with a condition called frozen shoulder…

Water Leak - ✔

Well, I have not progressed yet to the backfill stage, but a lot has been accomplished. When I hoped for backfill operations last Friday, I did not account for how many operations had to be completed first and my significantly reduced work days. But enough whining, what did I get done over last week? – Top of foundation (formed top…

Image is everything!

Hey Folks, It is your friendly neighborhood cripple – OK I exaggerate, I am not that friendly :-).  Not a lot has been going on.  I had my MRI imaging of both the shoulder and lumbar spine on Sept 2 and now have a much clearer picture of the road ahead. I have a torn Labrum (SLAP tear) on the…

Back Again - Now What?

Well, today was to be the day I was going to start back at the jobsite. I had taken the last 2.5 weeks off to rest the shoulder to see if it made any difference. Instead of getting better, it continued to get worse, so I thought I may as well go back to work and get some…

Time for reflection

Well, if I have had anything over the last 1+ week, it is time.  I am sticking to my word with the medical team and not doing anything at the build site for a 2 week period (possibly more). My only activity at site last week was to move some backfill sand with Alfie on Wednesday as Diamond was…

A break for a break!

After having a conversation with a nearby resident who reviews my journal, I realized I had not explained why I was in a funk on my last posting.  Just as well, as the situation has changed dramatically again since last week. Over the last month or so, I have been coming to a realization that there would be no…

Coming out of the hole.

Sorry folks – I know it has been a while since the last update.  To be frank, I have been in a funk and have had a lot on my plate!  Lets bring you up to speed. On July 28th I passed my perimeter drainage inspection with flying colours.  To be honest, it was anti-climatic because he barely looked…

Drained

The last week has proceeded well and of this afternoon I have finished installing a perimeter drain field.  All runs have been routed and tied into the deep pump-up sump.  I was lucky, about 40% of the pipe was above the gravel fill in the bottom of the pit and only had to be back filled with gravel. …

Torched

Quick housekeeping: I have been asked by one viewer to be a bit more consistent and post my entries on the same day each week so they do not have to constantly check.  Good news, you can now subscribe (just enter your email to the top right), and you will be automatically notified when I post.  I cannot…

Transition

It actually has been a productive week despite my continued exhaustion (I have not slept through the night since breaking my shoulder 7 weeks ago). I finished repairing the bag footings by Tuesday (ahead of the schedule I had set at the beginning of the week) and then started cleaning up to prepare for the main membrane installation. One…

ShedCam Time-lapse Videos Complete - Finally

I finally put aside some time today (was too smokey to go outside due to the forest fires in the region) to start going through 10’s of thousands of time-lapse images I have been collecting from the various webcams.  My Roving cam was fairly up-to-date, but I had not started the Shed or Tree cams. So I spent…

B.A.T. Jr.

Well it is not the glory of last falls B.A.T., but b.a.t. Jr. should due the trick until I have the back fill complete and am ready to put up a new main tarp. Offspring…

Floor Installation - ✔

Steady progress has been made over the last week and a half, and I now have 95% of the first storey floor installed.  This has been quite the struggle with one usable shoulder and the unbearable afternoon heat, but I pushed forward each day as best I could. The process started with this impressive delivery by Standard Building…

Website Enhancements

Today the website was updated to add a search utility to the Journal as well as a subscribe feature.  Enter you email address and you will ensure you never miss the next instalment in my saga to build a energy efficient and sustainable house. Both of these new features are accessed through the top right side of the

I'm Floored!

Despite being one armed for the last 4 weeks, I have been able to progress the build enough to start laying down the floor deck and placed the first 4 sheets today! Since your last visit the following tasks were completed: finished framing the basement bearing walls (Ted came by one day and helped with the majority of the East…

Not all that it is cracked up to be!

I had my three week check up with the surgeon at the cast clinic today and got quite a shock.  Part of the procedure was to get a new XRay and this time I was able to see the results.  What I had previously understood was only a hair line fracture was actually the complete fracture off of…

One Armed Bandit

Yesterday was the first day back to the site since my shoulder injury 2 weeks ago today.  I was pushed to be productive by Ted who came by to lend a hand (or two). The next task was to level out one of the internal footings that had settled before the pour, so Ted graciously agreed to go with…

Windy House and Power Plants

Prior to tearing down the old bungalow I had the air leakage tested by H&H small space solutions.  I posted the full results of the testing on my Path to Sustainability blog. On further reflection of the topic, there is one addition reason I believe would be grounds for performing either deep energy retrofits or…

Just broken

Well I received the good news from the surgeon.  It was a clean break and there does not appear to be any nerve or tendon damage. So no surgery! Just a min of 6 weeks with no loading on the arm. I am going to lay low this week and already had a trip planned to…

Out for the count

The last week has seen reasonable progress in the ‘hole’. I finished cleaning out and re-attaching the bag footings on the inboard side of the foundation and then worked with Pat from embers to level the gravel for the first 48″ around the inboard side of the foundation to allow for the double thickness of sub-slab rigid foam. I then…

Rim Boards Complete

As hoped, the rim boards started to progress more quickly once I had the right drill bit. Friday saw the west wall and jog at NW corner complete before I stopped to pick my cat – Blackberry – up from the vet after dental surgery (two teeth were removed as he had broken them off in a fight with…

Trouble getting Anchored!

Well, so for this has been a frustrating week with very little progress. It started off OK Monday. Ted came by and we measured all of the as poured foundation so that I can update my AutoCad model with the actual dimensions.  We also finished prepping the pit for Tuesday’s gravel delivery. But Tuesday started a slide that continued to…

Curb Appeal

Now that I have finished stripping both sides of the forms, I have to say I am quite pleased at how well the top curb turned out using the ROCKWOOL ComfortBoard IS inserts.  They did not compress at all and created very nice pockets that will allow their re-insertion once the foundation has been waterproofed. Once again, these inserts…

Blowout Blues and My Friend Murphy

This week saw a return to the job site after spending ALL of last week catching up on the bookkeeping and preparing our taxes.  I was a lot further behind than I thought and had not reconciled the accounts since last August.  I also had some technical hurtles associated with the QuickBooks file crash in May of last…

Pre-Pour Site Visit

For those interested, I did a pre-pour site visit video.  Sorry for sound and video quality.  Did not realize it was so windy and also that I was so shaky that day.  I will also post in next day or so a compilation of snap shots of the pour process. Here is the pre-pour vid

Relief!

Yesterday the foundations were poured and I am relieved on so many levels. 1) Last Oct/Nov – I would have never imagined that my back would have held out while I installed the 50-100 lb ICF blocks (depending on water content).  But with the help of Dr. Akhavan at the Vancouver Spinal Decompression Clinic, I made it through that…

Where's the concrete?

I have had a few people today ask “what happened to the concrete?”  as today was my scheduled pour day. Well – what else – there was a delay 🙂 Last Sunday I knew I was not going to be ready for today and postponed till this coming Monday and now I am happy on two fronts that I did…

On the Level!

It has been a great couple of days. I have now received the sign-off on the structural inspection of the forms.  I had given Tacoma a heads up that Brian from Stantec was coming and needed a fast turn around.  Well within 45 minutes of getting Brian’s site report, I had Tacoma’s in hand as did the District inspector. …

Thank full for friends

It has been a reasonably productive few days.  On Friday Ted was by and we were able to install the crucial vertical uprights, on the outboard side of the foundation, needed to install all the whalers at the top of the formed curb that will sit on top of the last row of ICF.

Foundation Rebar Primer

I received some feedback to my journal posting yesterday that was suggesting I should look at the ‘other’ ICF manufacturers if I wanted to know how Rebar was ‘supposed’ to be placed.  I did and the result sure is scary.  Because you are allowed to install ICF walls without ANY engineering assistance (as long as you meet the…

Final Foundation Push

Sorry for the silence folks, I have been on the final push to finish off the foundation forming.  I have my structural inspection, and also my survey, scheduled for Tuesday the 7th, and will try to schedule the District’s inspection for the 9th or 10th latest. If all goes per plan, we will pour the foundations on Monday…

ICF is complete!

I hit a milestone this last week and finally have finished laying all of the Durisol ICF blocks.  I generally finished off row 9 last Friday, the majority of the required cut blocks for that row on Saturday afternoon, and the last few blocks above the basement doors yesterday.  Friday the blocks were saturated from recent rains so…

Altitude Sickness

This last week has been a mixed bag of activities.  I started Monday with the raising of the scaffold to the final pouring height, which will also be used to place the last two rows of blocks and to form the top of foundation wall curb.  I have been working on it all week and had the basic…

7 of 9

While 7 of 9 was my favourite crew member on Star Trek, it also represents my progress to date on the ICF courses.  I have row 7 about 75% complete and then will only have two more rows of ICF to place before starting on the top curb with all of the insulation inserts to prevent thermal bridging…

Sky-bridge open for traffic

This week ended up being ALL about scaffold.  I anticipated it would only take a couple of days, and 80% of it was finished by Tuesday PM.  But then I got into the cold room under the garage and the ‘tower’ I needed to build to get out of the pit, as I will loose my existing ladder…

ICF Rising

The last week has seen some great progress at the site.  By last weekend, I had all the forms stripped, all the form wood sorted and stacked, and had started the second row of ICF.

Goodbye

This morning I said goodbye to a kind and dear neighbour.  Joan had been with us for 92 years and right to the end was full of life, generosity, and a kind spirit.  She had a great sense of humour and was always welcoming to me and my wife over the last 16 years I have had the…

Stripping

This week is all about stripping – the forms that is! Ted came by yesterday and we got a good start on pulling up the rental stakes and I was able to return 100 at lunch time.  After lunch we continued pulling up the stakes and got all done except for those used on the batter boards. I continued today…

Thankful!

Several of you have been hounding me asking “So – How did it go?”.   I am thrilled to advise it went quite well and I am thankful for those that helped me get there! So let’s catch you up from your last visit.  On Monday I got the sign off from the Geotech for the bearing below the footings…

The Big Day has arrived - Tomorrow we pour.

I am far too tired to give a lengthy update and still have some instruments to finish preparing tonight that will be imbedded into the concrete, but I am pleased to say the day I thought would never arrive is just around the corner. Tomorrow, I finally pour concrete! At 1 PM the first of two trucks will arrive and…

Footing Forms

This week has been all about getting the footing forms finished so I can have inspected and pour this coming week.  Wednesday and Thursday saw the basic XPS forms in place for the internal strip and pad footings. Friday I lined the forms with Poly (rising damp barrier and air barrier) and started installing the lumber bracing for…

In the trenches

The last few days have seen lots of progress – unfortunately lots has been for the second or third time. It finally was dry enough Saturday to finish the sand overfill of the teck cable. As I had a morning back treatment and Saturdays construction hours finish at 5 – it was a shorter day but the work on…

Rub-a-dub-dub

Well today was a wash.  Nothing like 3″ of rain to ruin your plans for the day. Instead of finishing the sand fill over the teck cable and starting on the internal footings, I spent the day on emergency storm water duty.  I awoke this morning to a friend, who after looking at my webcams, sent an email stating…

Day by Day

Day by day, I am making progress, granted not the progress even a small crew would make, but I am after all 1 man. And if I am sick, injured, needing to do office work, or diverted to any of life’s other requirements on my time, I am obviously not going to make progress at the site.  I…

Alfie is free!

Today Alfie finally gained his freedom from the pit.  I hired Payless Towing to assist in Alfie’s extraction from the pit.  It only took about 5 minutes but was a very tense time.  The ramp slope was one thing, but with half the ramp washed out, it was now slightly too narrow and there was a strong urge…

Time Lapse

As feared, I succumbed yet again to illness. This has been a very unusual time for me.  I have not been sick like this since the mid 90’s and even then I would only get sick once and not back to back like this.  It is clear my immune system is very week which I attribute to living…

So far so good

Progress has continued at a reasonable to even a good pace. Saturday saw the balance of the garage south wall and most of the west wall ICF modules placed. Ted had come by in the afternoon which was fortuitous as it led to a conversation about door openings. I realized I had not allowed for one on the west…

Reboot Complete!

I am pleased to advise that I have ended 2014 and started 2015 with progress. On the 29th Ted dropped by for the morning and we worked on rechecking all of the previously laid out ICF modules for both elevation and alignment. I was pleased that only very minor adjustments were needed to the ICF modules. A…