Friday, July 8, 2011

We Have WALLS!

Today we set the last of the wall panels.  Yesterdays' thunderstorms continued until after 4:00 so the crews called it a wrap and returned to the site today at 6:30.  By very local reports over 2" of rain fell on the work site yesterday and when I arrive this morning, the silt fence was doing it's job very well - silt had been trapped and formed a loose "quick-sand" like muck about 2' deep at the fence.  When we cleared the mud build-up the drainage pipes from the gravel bed were flowing with clear water which was a great sight.  All in all it worked well, no huge cave-ins of the dirt onto the gravel meaning the set was not delayed.  The "lap pool" was again filled partially with muddy water when I arrived but throughout the day it drained.  Rain began falling again about 3:15 and didn't let up before I left the site.  The good news was no lightening today so they could get the final panels set - albeit a bit wetter than they'd have liked.

 The crew began setting the first panel just after 7:00 AM and set the final section (the "beam" over the window opening for the family room) just before 4:00.  I left the site at about that 4:30 but the crews were still closing down their equipment and packing up the cranes to move them off the site.  I got about 2 miles up the road and it was dry and sunny!  

The site at 6:30 AM - 6 panels installed yesterday, 19 to go today

Minor collapse of walls due to 2" of rain.  The drain tiles did their job keeping the  water flowing away from the gravel base.

Here's how you get two trailers back to the plant with one cab

You set one on the other and drive them away strapped together!

9 Panels up at this point

Wall walking at it's best.  That "string" you see is the measuring tape used to check square of the panels.  9/16" off at this point on the diagonal which equates to about 9/32" side to side over 36".   If you zoom in on the photo you can see the metal ICFVL (insulated concrete form vertical lateral) plates spaced between the windows - they're the gemstone shaped plates (3 of them) just above that bottom window opening.  Those are where the floor system will attach to the walls with LVLs (laminated veneered lumber) attached in a band around the walls.

Looking through the East window to the wall-set team on the man-lift

13 Panels up at this point - and the sun is shining bright at this point!

Getting the man-lift out of the site - since it has no suspension it has no traction on uneven ground and couldn't get out of the hole under it's own power..  

The North Wall completely set

Looking though the front door entrance and out the South side 6' wide by 11 1/2' tall stairwell window.  That soil you see will be used on the backfill so it will be out of the picture.  What you can't see is the two specimen white oak tress you see from this position and the rain-swollen intermittent creek you can see from the "deck" position.  
The last panel on the south side - minus the beam that goes over the 12' wide by 7'6" tall window panels in the family room.

Joe Don's nerves are starting to build - two panels left to install and this one is in the bag!

The last panel on the way

Setting the last panel in place - it's still on the crane but it's already clear this is going to be a perfect fit!  That's the french door to the deck and the lugs (blocks on the sides of the walls) are the supports for the deck.  Backfill will come up to within about 3' of the deck once complete.  

This is the last piece of the puzzle - it's the over-window beam and....

It's a PERFECT FIT!  That's the door to the deck on the right, the 7'6" tall by 12' wide window opening on the left and the French Door to the patio you see through the window opening.

Jeff taking a bit of a break before making final adjustments to the walls for plumb.  This is the due-South facing back wall of the house.
This is that final "tweak" to get the panels plumb and level on the West wall of the house.  What you can't really see in the picture is the skies opened up again and it seemed like another inch of rain fell in the 45 minutes I stayed on site.  They had to pack up their gear in the rain and get two cranes and their gear all off site.

We have to extend our sincere thanks to the crews that set manufactured, transported and set these walls.  The operators who swung these 14,000 pound panels into position like they were Lego blocks and the entire crew who prepped the site, set the walls, attached them and cross-braced them and made this look easy.  It's hard to believe that only last Friday the first walls were being poured at the Ideal Precast site in Durham and today we were done setting the walls.  By my rough calculations they set somewhere between 250,000 pounds and 320,000 pounds of walls in two days!!  This has been an amazing process to watch and be a part of!

Footnote:  During the scramble to avoid the lightning and winds during yesterdays thunderstoms, one panel was set back on the flatbed face-down and it experienced some cracking (due in large part to flexing the panel against the designed stress direction and also since concrete isn't completely cured for much longer than the 7 days since this panel was poured).  Due to the location of the panel, it was set in place to allow the rest of the panels to be set.  Ideal is making a new panel today and the crane will be on site to replace that panel on Monday at 10:00. Talk about a great company to do business with!!  Absolutely no impact to the project progress - we had a planned down day on Monday before we start pre-slab rough-in and slab-prep work on Tuesday.  We'll also do the code-mandated waterproof coating on the below grade panels on Monday and Tuesday.

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