Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Curing Time

The plumbers came this week and checked out the pipe that we'd found and it was suitable indeed. It was the old one that the downpipes had been draining into - yea!

So the trenches are now all gone and mounded dirt fills the holes. I continue to hose the slab in the hope it helps. And all the pipes are now new and locations known and at the proper depths for once.

So now it is a waiting game as I am off on R&R as of Monday - R&R being RailRoading! I am heading over to the USA and will ride a few trains around and have a nice break for 6 weeks. Rough plan is:

LA-Vegas-San Francisco-Denver-Chicago-Seattle-LA-Williams-Grand Canyon-Williams-LA

Until then the chooks will be looked after by Sharon upstairs.

When I get back at the beginning of October it will be hands to it again and clean out the old brick shed and move what needs keeping into my car garage. Then I can get the old one pulled down. In fact I think I can get the bobcat pilot to do the deed for me.

Mind you the new shed goes up just before I pull down the old one as I am booked in for erection of the Titan shed on the 19th October :o)  I think the cleanup of the old one might take about a month. It would be good if I can get the old one down by say the end of November, as I could then get council inspector sign off before the EOY. That would mean I could start electrical fitout and lining and insulation of the old shed in January.

So until I come back from the US of A - choo-choo.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Trench Warfare Arrives

As mentioned in the last few posts, there was a clay pipe that got broken. She'll be right, we can fix that later as everyone knows how pipes are laid out in the ground. Famous last words and words that were handed to us by Mr Murphy.

That one little ‘ol collapsed clay pipe has caused a ruckus. We can't find where it went. It appears all the house rainwater downpipes went into this one little pipe via some very very dodgy piping.

So the slab is down and the plumbers arrive to redirect the broken downpipe to the other one. Turns out neither went where we thought.  At the bottom left of the photo is where one downpipe comes in and at the middle of the almost top of the photo is where the other downpipe comes in and it was not a straight line joining them at all - it was a mess.

They eventually joined after a lot of underground turns and writherings and then headed off to the right to where we suppose it joined a stormwater main. When these pipes were put in, they weren't done by any licensed plumber - that's for sure! There were clay bits going into plastic bits and then back to clay, then plastic etc - what a bodgy job.

Here is a typical inline join in the plastic pipes.

That's right - just slot the pipe lengthwise a bit and then squash it in and push into next pipe. No proper joiner or glue even. There was a good layer of dirt in the pipe for a long time by the looks of it. The boys digging were amazed - I just told 'em it must have been some sort of new ag-pipe!

So as one guy fixed my actual downpipes which needed replacing anyway, the other went digging trenches in the hope of finding this illusive creature called the exit pipe. Trench after trench was dug around the newly laid slab. Here is the one started going down the yard lengthways.

Here is the one at the back corner where we were certain it had to be - almost would have bet my left one - luckily I dont bet!

The last trench to be dug for the day was the one to join up across the back of the slab at the join at the cloths hoist. If this didn't find it, we were pretty sure it wouldn't, we were going to call in a machine and trench up the length of dirt next to the fence to see if the pipe had taken a right hand turn and headed into the neighbours yard. If the pipe wasn't found there, I would have had 2 choices. (1) wait 3 months until the old brick shed is demolished (and pray for no rain) and put in something like a 3m x 3m x 2m gravel pit or (2) dig across the neighbours yard until we got to the big council stormwater main - costly either way!  So here is the last trench before we needed to go get a machine.

Notice the misalignment of the trenchs? Sort got away from us. Anyway, there was only a small block of soil left between both trenches and we all pretty much agreed they'd be back next week with a big machine to dig more and dig deeper. But as all good blokes are, they'd started the job so they dug that last bit of dirt away so as to finish the job! And bugger me if the pipe was laid bare!

So now the boys will be back on Monday to tap into the pipe to make sure that (1) it is the pipe we are after and (2) if it is (I'll now bet my left one) hook my rainwater downpipes to it. Luckily there is already a big trench in place to lay all the new pipes!

Mr Murphy - where would we be without you? .......

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

7am and it is Day 2

Another fine "crisp" winters day dawned in Brisbane and I slept in a little later this time. The guys that would be doing all the hard yakka today started arriving at 7:00am.

The first order of the day was to load the old water tank onto a ute and choof it away. That freed up a bit of space. With the boys jockeying for position in the sunlight like a bunch of lizards, the day's work was sketched out and coffees consumed. I honestly don't know how some blokes can stand around in single digit temperatures with only shorts, singlets and thongs on! But that's the Aussi Builders way I suppose - me I got my jeans, singlet, flanny shirt and thick jacket on and thick woolly socks and boots!

So the first real work for the day was the boxing. Large lengths of timber were offloaded from the trucks and laid out and all squared up and laser leveled so as to keep the concrete under control when poured until set..

Next it was time to do some manual leveling inside the boxing to finish off what the bobcat had started yesterday and couldn't finish due to the doughy conditions underfoot for heavy machinery. The boys got into it with the shovels and made quick work of it.

Once the leveling was pretty much done, they started digging all the trenching around the edges so that a proper concrete foundation would happen when poured. There were also a few spots they dug out a bit deeper where it was fairly wet such as where the clay pipe busted yesterday - even though water wasn't flowing as suchm the heavy morning dew was enough water in the pipe to make it sloppy.

Whilst the reinforced steel mesh was arriving, the boys laid out the plastic under-liner for the slab.

Then it was all to it and the mesh was laid out into place. It was doubled up in places where it was wet underneath and where all the mainsupports and strength is needed. So all the mesh was then lifted up onto the stays that keep it off the ground and in the middle of the conrete.

Then of course you have to tie all the mesh together to make sure it doesn't move around to where it is not supposed to be.

So now we have the area ready to receive the concrete.

 It is at this juncture that the boys head off for some smoko whilst awaiting the big big truck that has the concrete and it's partner in crime, the pumping truck. We needed a pump as there is no way a big truck or even one of those smaller cement trucks could get down the side of my house. So the big truck arrived followed by the pumping truck.

So the blokes get to it and connect up all the steel and rubber pipes so that the contrete can be pumped all the way down to the back of my yard.

With the pipes now all in place, they setup the pump and all the blokes get their tools ready for the first big pour. The first thig is of course to make sure you have your wet weather boots on!

So I'll show you the various jobs the blokes are doing. First we have the guy at the end of the pipes that holds the monsters whipping head - it looks like it is always trying to fight him and have its own way.

Then you have the bloke with the big hook that follows the above bloke around. With the hooh he drags the rubber pipes around to keep it all in position and reduce the tension and drag on the guy with the nozzle.

Then you have the team boss. He goes around working out the levels and making sure it is happening. Here he is leveling a patch to measure the surface height and make sure the pour is going to plan.

The level in his hand is part of a laser level. His part beeps depending on whether he is above or below the height he wants based on a big laser beam flying around the yard. So here is a better shot of his end and of the main laser bean generator.

Next workers are the rackers. They rake the concrete slurry around into all the right spots.

Then there are two guys doing the screeding. This is where they do an almost final leveling of the surface of the concrete. All this must be back breaking work I reckon.

Now of course you still have the blokes out front running both the Hy-Tec cement truck and the Eazy-Way Concrete Pumping truck. So now they have another smoko while another cement truck is waited for. By the looks of it the slab is going to need about 2 and a half truck fulls to do the job. In fact I hear the next truck now. Time for more pictures to be taken. So here is the concrete pouring into the pumping unit.

So as the next load gets hooked up and ready to pump, here we are at almost half way.

Then we are almost done. A couple of wheel barrow loads are gotten and that's it for the concrete pour.

While the last is getting screeded another bloke grabs a big armed float and starts doing the final surface on the slab.

There is still some surfacing to be done and as it hardens the guys are using their hand trowels to add the finishing touches around the edges.

Here the actual edge get done with an edging trowel.

So while more troweling is being done, some of the guys start cleaning up the tools.

Do you know what this is? Well, it is a foam rubber ball that they pump down the concrete pumping pipes with pressured air. It then pushes the last of the concrete out of the pipes, thereby cleaning them.

So it has now just turned 12:30 and lunch time and the fellas have done the slab. All that is left is for the final finish on the top surface, but that can't happen until it hardens a bit more, so the boys are off to grab a bite.

Just going on 2 and the boys have got a really neat new power tool out there - the upside down helicopter! This is the big powered float that gives the final surface to the concrete now that it has hardened up a bit.

The only other thing happening is that some of the boxing is coming off too and they are making the "dent" or groove in the slab at about half way so that if it cracks it will be there.

So OK, the dent isn't happening - they'll come back in 2 days and do a saw cut instead. Also all the boxing has now come off. SO the boys have now fully packed up and gone for the day - time is 3:15pm.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It was 6:30am and Cold

The morning started early for me - 6:30am and cold - another single digit temperature starter for the day. So up I get and get ready and await the actual real workers. Here is the playing field at the start of the game.

The boys arrived and after a short discussion it was up, up and away. The Toyota Huski Bobcat from Butlers Bobcat Hire got straight to work in ripping up the concrete.

First there was the water tank slab - it flew into the air and then began to crack up and got carted to the truck. These bobcats sure have plenty of grunt.

Then the foundations of the old cactus shed were attacked and removed to the truck. Not long after, the old foundations where the chook shed used to be were taken up and removed. Notice the ground still has grass on it at this stage and looks in a reasonable condition.

The old brick and concrete BBQ was attacked and removed for good.

Since the ground is still pretty doughy, the bobcat was bouncing up and down all over. We ended up finding a very shallow clay pipe - that's in use...  Bugger. So Murphy finally decided to show up. So a quick call to the plumber and I'll have it sorted on Friday and may as well get a few other downpipe fixes and such also done at the same time.

Tree stumps were removed and then the concrete slab under the pavers was broken up and removed. Amazing what a bobcat can do. No jackhammer required, just apply enough hydraulic force and something will break - and in my case it was the concrete. I have a sneaky suspicion that the bobcat pilot had done this before.

In between all of this demolition, the B double with crushed concrete fill arrived and gingerly did some unloading onto the driveway. Not so easy with a dirty big poinciana tree on the footpath. Here is the "A" unit.

And here is the "B" unit. Lots of fill - lots of it.

All of this fill got taken out back and spread around. They even had to place a call for another load - just an "A" unit this time. I wonder if they could fit a real "A" unit shell onto a truck? Imagine a semi coming down the road with an old GM hood on her!

The grass was then taken up where the new slab is to go and more fill added. So at smoko time, we (I use the royal we since I am the one paying the bills, if not doing the work) had a back yard something like this.

We also had another load for the tip.

Finally a leveling gadget was gripped up by the bobcat and the ground leveled out. A laser level and spots of paint to mark some level spots for the boys in the morning who'll box it and pour in the concrete.

The last thing was to put a pile of fill down the side of the house and in the driveway, as the bobcat had chopped it up pretty good. I got out the rake too and leveled it out a bit more on the footpath side just in case anyone trips over the lumps in the fill.

I am now so tuckered out having seen some real workers doing their thing! So here are the shots of the playground at the end of the day.

It is now 2:30pm and the only real worker here, our illustrious bobcat pilot, has cleaned up after himself (not like a lot of sparkies I've used before!).

So as we say goodby to our fearless bobcat pilot, I think an amber ale might refresh me a bit. Tomorrow morning will come round fast enough and I'll be out there watching the workers again. This time the concreters will be there boxing up the slab and pouring it!