Nov 092007

Today, I thought I’d talk about some of the infrastructure for our house, and for the construction project. We’re completing the foundation drainage system, connecting the sewer and water lines, and I’m hauling construction waste off to the Marin Recycling Center.

First, the drainage system. We have 6” perforated pipe running around the edge of the foundation wall at the bottom. Originally, this was going to run at a slight downhill angle out to the curb, so any water that gets behind the foundation walls would drain out via gravity. But the foundation was excavated too deep as well as too far into the hill, so the drain piping got installed by our original contractor 3’ lower than the street. We had no choice but to run the pipe out to a 5’-deep drain box by the curb, and put a sump pump in the bottom of the box to get any water out through the curb, to run down the street.


Here is the top half of the drain box (the bottom is already buried), next to the curb, with one of the two drain pipes approaching to connect through the hole in the side. The box is about 2’ square, and has a big metal cover that fits on the top. This will be sitting exposed in our driveway. The copper pipe in the background is our water main, which crosses over the the other drain pipe, already buried behind the box.

We also have drains running around the outside edge of the house. There is a v-ditch across the back of the foundation, with drain boxes at each end. Big pipes run down the side of the property, connecting to drainage behind the wing walls, and on down to the street.


Here is the drain box at the top right corner of the house, at the end of the v-ditch. The picture is looking down towards the street, showing the corner of the foundation (under the scaffolding boards), the box in the bottom left, and the top of the wing wall down the hill in the upper left. A 6” pipe goes down the side of the house from this box to a second drain box behind the wing wall (in the right photo), which has more piping down to the curb. The pipe is already buried up here, but below, you can see where it comes out down the hill and connects to the drain box behind the wing wall. We had to perform videotaped camera inspections of all these pipes by the way, to verify to the town of Fairfax that these drain pipes are all functional.

Finally, I want to talk about construction debris, and junk removal and recycling. We would like to get LEED certification for our house, and I know that good recycling practices during construction are important. So I do our trash removal, and I’m careful to sort our trash and take it all to the Marin Recycling Center. The photo below shows a typical pile of debris from the construction process. Here is what I do with it.


In the middle you can see our weekly trash pickup, where the worker is picking up two buckets of recyclable glass, plastic and metal. I’ve loaded my work truck with all the lumber scraps. Some scraps are pressure treated, and the recycling center prefers those to be sorted out. So this load is all untreated wood, going straight to recycling. In the right picture, you see the result.

My truck is full of the recyclable lumber. The pile on the right are remains, the treated wood scraps, paper and plastic wrapping, metal and plastic strapping, empty cardboard. boxes. I take the cardboard to recycling separately, and haul the other trash away on another trip to the center. It’s a little more effort, but everyone wins in the long run.

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