Aug 272007

I’ve just returned from three weeks in Canada, and everyone has been very busy on the site. While we were gone, the upper part of the wall was completed with shotcrete, and the crew has constructed the forms for the final part of the foundation, the front wall. Today, 60-yards of concrete are being poured in the front wall forms, completing the foundation.


First, I want to show you how the final retaining wall looks. These two pictures give overview, and specifics. The second one looks up from the center of the slab, towards the right side upper corner. You can see the tiebacks sticking out, ready for the bolts that will be threaded and torqued onto them to hold the entire structure securely to the hillside. The joists for the upper floor of the house will be mounted about six feet above the shelf.


Next are some shots of the top of the wall, showing the space behind (where the v-ditch for drainage will go, a nice artsy pic of the foundation bolts, and a view of the front of the wall looking at the floor joist bolts, tiebacks, and the shelves across the back and right side of the house.


Finally, here are the forms built across the front of the house, for the front wall and entry way that was poured today. The 6” boards have been pressure-washed to raise the grain, giving the concrete a board finish. The garage openings have jack stands in them, to support the weight of the concrete that will fill the wall space over the opening.

From the top of the site, you can see the entry way opening, and the cross-bracing between the forms to keep them in place as they get filled with tons of concrete. Inside the forms are the rebar cages that were built a month ago, to make the concrete structurally sound.


This shot is looking down into the right-side wing wall, which will be several feet thick to make up for the over-excavation done by our original contractor. You can also see threaded rods going left-to-right across the form, through the rebar cage. These rods go through the form boards to the bolts on the front of the form, and they hold the form in place when the concrete is poured. The ends of the rods screw off after the pour, so the rods remain embedded inside the wall when it’s finished. When the forms are removed, there will be dozens of little holes in the surface of the wall, and I’m not sure if we are going to keep them or fill them with concrete patching material.


Here is the final pour taking place this morning. A concrete truck is dumping it’s load into the hopper for the huge mobile pump truck, which is delivering the concrete into the left-side wing wall. After each pour, the material is vibrated so that it settles fully into the wood grain on the boards, and also to remove bubbles and evenly distribute the material. On the right, you can see the concrete weeping through the form after it has been vibrated. There are about 10 men working on the site, placing foundation bolts as well as completing the wall construction. It’s a thing of beauty to watch all these guys work together so smoothly.

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