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 task. Funny, it was not the heavy lifting that got me in the end, it was the constant position of being prone bending slightly forward while I did the rebar and insulation, that has caused a major regression in my back recovery.
2) Even though I delayed the pour a week, I still only finished the required preparation at noon on Pour day (we were supposed to start at 12:30 PM).
3) On Friday, I had my District inspection but was told they still had concerns and would need to ‘talk’ about it on Monday AM. This is despite me providing all of the engineering signs offs they had previously requested. They have a very STRONG prejudice against the Durisol ICF and have made it clear they will not allow on another structure in North Van until the manufacture gets a full CCMC report for the product, or the applicant uses the ‘alternative method’ (something I have not researched but am told there is a cost for). At 8:21 AM on the pour day, the District advised I could go ahead and pour (I believe they took pity on me).
4) I had concrete set up for arrival at 12:30. At 10:30, I received a call form Kask (div of Lafarge) advising my placer had put a hold on the concrete because they were delayed at their morning job. Unfortunately the pumper truck (Peter from F&F Concrete) was already on his way, so he ended up sitting around for 2 hours. We finally got started at 2:30 PM.
5) The crew from High Def Concrete did a fantastic job. Mat sent his very experienced father to do the placing and it went flawlessly. John was a pro and filled the blocks in a way that minimized the form pressures. I had zero blowouts and because I used plasticizers for the 8″ slump, there was not even any bleed water visible on the outside of the blocks. This will result in a very strong foundation. I was so relieved when the first 4 ft were poured and knew that the blocks were going to make it. I had a huge concern that the blocks could have been damaged in transit with the shunting of the trains, and the damage would only surface when pressure was applied to the cavities of the block.
6) My plywood form work for the top curb held! I had zero blowouts but I did have some healthy deflection of the plywood. In some cases it is over 3/4″. It made for a pretty stressful final lift as we quickly saw vibrating was out of the question and even rodding and light tapping was causing deflection of the plywood panels.
I should have used 3/4″ plywood, instead of 1/2″, for the inside face of the forms. But I was trying to use product I could re-use as sheathing later in the build. Interestingly, the outside face of the forms, that is covered over by the ROCKWOOL insulation inserts, had zero deflection.
The inside deflection will not really matter. The longest south wall does not have trusses attached to it and just needs blocking at 4′ centres. I may have to scribe the blocking for a tight fit, but that is it. The other walls that do have the trusses attached to, will just mean the truss rim board will need to conform a bit to a curve and again should not be a problem (worse case will require some light grinding). As the basement walls will be held off 1/2″ from the ICF face, they too should generally not be effected. So the end result was that I used a little bit more concrete. On the concrete volume, I had about 1.5 cu. meters left over which accounts for the extra metre I ordered and the extra .5 metre that the placer tacked on. This means my actual takeoff was VERY accurate.
Note for those new to ordering concrete, it is recommended that an extra 1/2 meter is added to account for spillage and possible blowouts and such, and there is aprox 1/2″ meter that the pumper truck cannot actually pump out. SO you should always order 1 meter extra.
7) It was awesome weather for the pour. Rain would have made everything some much more unpleasant for the crew.
8) I have awesome neighbours! Bahman (my landlord) even came over with a large chocolate cake to share with the crew! They were all thrilled. We ended the pour with all participants enjoying a small shot of scotch each that I provided thanks to a gift from another neighbours’ brother who had recently visited from Scotland after the recent passing of their mother.
9) I am most thankful that the bank’s appraiser will be coming tomorrow so that I can get me first construction draw and first advancement of funds on the project.
You will not see much happening at the ‘hole’ (as my neighbour Ron calls it) over the next week. I now need to catch up on general life including, a massive amount of book keeping and tax preparation, badly needed vehicle maintenance, outstanding commitments to neighbours, and just some down time to recoup. Next tasks will obviously be the stripping of the forms (no small task with an estimated 5000-6000 screws used in the forms and scaffold), and then the start of the basement bearing walls so we can get the floor trusses placed. I did help the stripping process by going over today and giving the top of the plywood forms a good walk to get a hairline crack between the plywood and concrete. This separates the two and makes removal a lot easier.
Thanks for visiting.
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