The Foundations

It is 24th June, the first consignment of BECO is almost a week behind schedule, and it appears that we are to get 2 artic lorries full of bricks and lintels on consecutive days. If there is a gale the whole lot could end up in Brora or Denmark. Watch this space! - 24/06/06

The next task was the strip foundations and, in this kind of shale/rock that can be pretty tricky as the walls keep collapsing so the trenches end up getting wider to allow the walls to collapse and still maintain the required width of found.

 

Meanwhile the Readymix driver was under-utilised for a while.

but it takes more than a few crumbling walls to deter Johnny & crew!

and how's this for a way to dump a tonne of concrete and never get your hands dirty.

until, after a couple of days the founds were finished.

At this point BECO turned out to be about a week behind schedule so we all went home for 6 days until....

and when the contents were unloaded they filled - literally the old croft building.

Then as the saying goes, the tough got going..

until at roughly the end of day 1

 

In setting out the bricks there is a lot of trigonometry and vast numbers of measurements so when Johnny and Andy went home out came the calculator and the laser distance measurer.

and 3 days later.

Note the stones and breeze blocks to stop it all lifting off in the euphemistic Caithnesian "good drying breeze".

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There's still some alignment and levelling to be done before concrete is poured and the next milestone - in about 2 weeks should be the concrete floors. That's if I can resolve the underfloor heating requirements in time.

 

And the barn started to look a lot fuller with the miscellaneous BECO parts delivered in Artic 2.

That bandsaw is turning out to be a Godsend - the cut edges are excellent and when a buildup of 1mm makes fitting bricks tricky that's important. 2/7/06

Sorry to everyone who has been waiting for an update and nothing seems to have happened - it's been a while but, for many days, work progressed without it looking like a lot had happened.

Over the next week we poured concrete into the under-building BECO blocks using caveman techniques. We had built a 'hopper' - fundamentally a rectangular funnel - out of some gash wood - and then lined it with polythene.

 

For something so crude it worked surprisingly well with a little encouragement from a broom handle and largely avoided getting concrete into the castellations.

Now it gets a bit trickier.

Because the site sloped significantly in 2 dimensions the underbuilding was up to 7 courses of BECO bricks I really did lose count of the number of steps in the strip foundations. As the tops of the bricks were almost 2m above the deepest strip founds and, as the surrounding earth wouldn't support a scaffold tower, we reverted to the method shown above of standing on the tops of the bricks which inevitably damaged some of the castellations and required some remedial work There is a photo later.

The main fill was followed by several centimeters of waterproof concrete which we will paint with a bituminous paint as well. That's called belt & braces!