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Motorhome Travels - January 2012

13/01/2012

Shouse progress!

One of the big pressure points for the shouse project was the need to get the first inspection (footings and slab) signed off before the end of January 2012. The reason for this is that we have applied for a grant under the Queensland government building boost scheme. This is a $10,000 grant given to anyone who builds a new dwelling in Queensland. To qualify we need to have a first inspection signed off before 31/01/2012 and the final inspection and sign off within 18 months of that. That $10k is a very tasty carrot and we were very keen to meet the deadline.

Starting to dig the trenches for the slab and footings - [Click for a Larger Image]
Starting to dig the trenches for the
slab and footings

Drilling the holes for the piers (1200 deep) - [Click for a Larger Image]
Drilling the holes for the piers
(1200 deep)

Compacting the sand on the top of the pad - [Click for a Larger Image]
Compacting the sand on the top of
the pad

This involved about a week of very hard digging to get the trenches in place for the foundations. Large quantities of rock and some very hot weather made it hard going. One of the neighbors has a bobcat with an augur attachment and he offered to drill the piles for us (these are holes 1200mm deep and 350m dia that once filled with concrete, take the pillars of the shouse).  We then needed to build the pad up to the required level, add 50mm of fine sand and line the entire slab and beams with a moisture barrier (plastic sheet). 

The plastic is on and half of the reo - [Click for a Larger Image]
The plastic is on and half of the
reo

Wiring the last of the reo in place - [Click for a Larger Image]
Wiring the last of the reo in place

The pad is now ready for some concrete - [Click for a Larger Image]
The pad is now ready for some
concrete

After the plastic was in place it was time to cut and install the reinforcing steel. This was much harder than we expected it to be. Lifting 6m lengths of steel mesh into place is a three person job! It took a bit of innovating with some wooden planks for us to be able to manage it with just two.

With the reinforcing in place we were ready for that first inspection. We were a bit nervous when the inspector arrived - you think you have done it right, but the problem is that you don't know what you don't know! As it turned out we had nothing to worry about, he was very impressed with our hard work and could not believe that we had dug it all by hand (except the piers). After a few checks and measurements, he happily signed the documents and left. Mission Accomplished! Now to the concreting.

We had for some time been tossing up whether to do the concreting ourselves - it doesn't look that hard to me. After talking to a few (much more experienced) people, we decided do get some professionals to do the slab and we would do the remainder of the footings. Now I have made some bad decisions in my life and I like to think I have made a few good ones. Having sat by and watched the concreters in action - the decision to get professionals to do the job probably ranks as one of my best decisions ever! I honestly believe that if we had tried to do that ourselves, we would now have a $4,000 lump of concrete sitting on top of $1,400 of steel reinforcement while we decided who we should pay to break it all up and take it all away! Gavin's hot tip of the day "NEVER EVER TRY AND MAKE YOUR OWN CONCRETE SLAB!".

The first drop of concrete on the pad (7-22am) - [Click for a Larger Image]
The first drop of concrete on the
pad (7-22am)

Special bottle that was cast into one of the beams - [Click for a Larger Image]
Special bottle that was
cast into one of the
beams

The bottle of JD about to become part of the shouse - [Click for a Larger Image]
The bottle of JD about
to become part of the
shouse

Our day started at about 4:30am - we were up early and could hear sounds from above the fog that covered the hill - it was the steel boxing being unloaded. All three of the concreters were on site by 4:45am. Cain (the head concreter) had arranged for the first truck to arrive at 7am and the second and third at half hour intervals after that. The boxing took no time to erect and they were waiting for the first truck to arrive by 7am. When it did arrive and began dropping the concrete, it became immediately clear that there had been some kind of  miscalculation in the batching of the concrete (some 100km away from us). It was much thicker than expected and was well on the way to becoming solid! To make matters worse the second truck arrived just a few minutes later followed a few seconds later by the third.

At this point I think I recognised a mixture of determination and sheer panic in the eyes of the concreters! For the next two hours they battled and worked like their very lives were at risk (while muttering obscenities to the truck drivers about the product they were delivering).

It was just amazing (and a little frightening) to stand by and watch as they did battle with the rapidly hardening concrete in what had now become 42 degree heat. By 11am it was all over and we were removing the boxing and cleaning up the tools. There was time for a few cold beers and few more comments about the parentage of the person that batched the concrete and they were gone. Mission #2 accomplished!

13-The second truck arrives - [Click for a Larger Image]
13-The second truck arrives

The third truck has now been here for about an 30min - [Click for a Larger Image]
The third truck has now been here
for about an 30min

The date is cast into one of the pillars - [Click for a Larger Image]
The date is cast into one of the
pillars

The next step is for us to complete the footings (about 2.5m of concrete) - we are mixing and laying this ourselves ... so that will be fun!


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It costs quite a bit of money each year to keep the Hobohome site running. We have decided to allow advertisements on selected pages of the site to help offset the costs involved in maintaining and hosting the Hobohome website. You can read more about how this works by clicking here. Thanks and happy Motorhoming and Caravanning - Gavin & Tracey.




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