11 October, 2015

Pool House Expansion Project - Day Sixteen - 10/10/15

Today is the day of the great pour. the foundation. 

Day Sixteen - 10 October, 2015

Later this afternoon, we'll be able to walk around on the floor of our house. Or maybe not. We'll see. Here you can see the guys just finished setting all the rebar in place and they're in the process of tying it, and eventually placing a bunch more of those little concrete standoffs I mentioned earlier.
Tying Rebar and Working on Downspout
Here's the big picture, so to speak, showing the general layout of the house with the walkway or veranda on the outer sides and the living room, office, bedroom and bathroom all occupying the inner part.
The Big Picture
Getting closer now. The machine has arrived and they're bringing in all the stuff that makes it happen. Barrels for water and manpower to feed the machine and take it's product and apply it to our forms.
Getting the Machine Ready to Work
A bit of a distraction here. I was up on the roof (as you probably can guess) for some of these shots. I noticed just how cool the canal was looking early in the morning (it's about 7:00 AM).
Nice Reflection in the Canal
And, as long as we're distracted, here's a shot of our Mennonite house, which, right now is where we live. That'll change as soon as the Pool House is completed.
The Mennonite House
Cutting the hole for the down spout. They had to cut a square, then 'X's in the square so they could knock it out.
Cutting the Hole for the Down Spout
Here that is what's happening. Afterwards, they'll patch the hole and you'll never know this wasn't the original location.
Breaking the Chunks Out
Our Contractor, Carl Raney, giving some advice before the pour begins. He's got a good crew too.
Carl Giving Some Advice
Another big picture shot and finishing up with the tying and placement of the standoffs. Still a ways to go.
A Lot of Tying Yet to Do
Omar is adding steel to the main stairs before concrete is poured. I like the round stairs a lot. It help too, to tie in the Mennonite house area, as we have some round stairs over there as well.
Adding Steel to Main Steps
Things are heating up, not only temperature-wise, but in anticipation of getting the pour going. Here, the crew with the machine is getting all their stuff ready to go. Eventually, even our wheel barrow got into the act, as the bearings on one of their barrows went south, which would have really hampered the pour, so it was nice to be able to contribute to the work force, even in a small way.
Machine is Ready to Go
And, we're underway. Here comes the first wheel barrow load up the ramp, to be dumped in the far corner of the foundation.
First Load of Concrete Coming Up the Ramp
There it goes. Soon to be followed by about three or four-hundred more.
First Load Being Dumped
Adding a few good sized rocks into the pour for the stairs helps conserve concrete and provides needed bulk to fill up the pour.
Adding Big Rocks to Back Stairs
The back stairs are all done now, except for the brush treatment on the top stair. That has to wait about an hour or so till the concrete sets enough or at least firms up enough.
Back Stairs Completed
Beginning to fill out in the big area. Still a long way to go. Fairly early on, yet. Did I mention the humidity (about 84%)? And, did I mention the temperature (only about 87 at start time - that was 6:00 AM.)? Not too bad. This morning, we met with Carl for our weekly sit down on the project. He said the guys went through at least four gallons of water during the day. I was surprised that it wasn't more.
First Section of Big Part Completed
Filling the main stairs and the back stairs both consume huge amounts of concrete - even with a couple or three wheel barrow loads of rock thrown in for good measure. Omar and Cowboy Bob (I don't know his name) are guiding concrete into all the nooks and crannies of the stair form that Omar had constructed the day before.
Working the Pour for Main Steps
And here it is done. And you can see more progress on the main area. It's looking good.
Main Steps Pour Completed
Now we're getting close to having the pour done. There's on the order of one hundred twenty or so bags of cement (with about 4-wheelbarrow loads of mixed concrete from each bag of cement). You can see that it it looking quite smooth.
Main Area Almost Done
Just a tiny little bit remaining to be poured and floated smooth. It's been a long, hard day for these guys. They have almost literally busted their asses all day to complete this part of the project.
Smoothing Out the Last Bits
After the machine is shut off, the machine's crew spends a fair amount of time cleaning the machine, and well they should, it's their livelihood. You can see by the pile of compressed cement bags that we went through a lot of bags.
Cleaning Up the Machine
About the time they shut off the machine, I jumped into the truck and went up to New World Market with a large plastic storage bin we had in the downstairs. I asked for two cases worth of cold Belikin. When those had been put into the bin, I had them fill the rest of the bin with six large bags of ice, I then had them put the bin back into the back seat of the truck and I high-tailed it back to the homestead.

Just about the time they were finishing cleaning the machine, and floating the concrete, I pointed at two of the guys who happened to be sitting nearby, and said "I'm looking for two volunteers. You and you. Come with me." See, the military does teach you some useful skills.

They jumped up to follow me. Dianna said their eyes immediately got as big as saucers. They had no idea what was going to happen. We walked briskly over to the truck, where I opened the door and pointed at the bin. "Both of you grab that and follow me."

We marched right back into the middle of the crew. I told them to set it down and then I produced a bottle opener. They were beginning to catch on quickly. All except one little older guy. He politely asked if we were selling the beer. I told him "No, but if you want to pay for it, feel free to do so. Otherwise, they're free."

Thirteen guys and forty-eight beers. No one was going to get drunk. But, they really did appreciate the gesture. Big time.

When the beer was finished, and they were about ready to go, I dumped the ice out on the grass. whereupon one of the workers immediately showed up with a plastic bag and began scooping the ice into the bag. I really felt bad and apologized to him for dumping the ice, instead of asking if anyone wanted it.

One of those cultural things that pop up when you least expect it. To the average Belizean, ice is a luxury to be treasured and not squandered. Only a Gringo would think there was no value in the ice and dump it. I'm glad he was able to salvage it and take it home. I hope he and his family had a nice evening and used it fully.

So ended our big foundation/floor pour. It will sit and cure Sunday, then Monday, even though it's a holiday (Pan American Day, which used to be Columbus Day, but as he's steadily been discredited and reviled, they're still searching for meaningful names for the holiday) the guys will be back and our walls both for the house and the veranda, will begin to go up. Then it will seem like we're working on a real house.

There's many more photos than appear in each posting. You can see all the photos of the construction project on Flickr at: There will be new photos added each day of the project. 


Wilma said...

That's an amazing amount of work to get done in one go - great job those guys did! I am envious that your work is going sooooo much faster than ours. We have hired a contractor out of Placencia to install our hardwood floor and we have to find local accommodation for his small crew of 2 (we will have 2-3 of our guys on hand to help) for 3 or 4 night and arrange meals for them while they are here. I love living this remote, but it does present some challenges! Your project is looking great!

Dave Rider said...

Hi Wilma,

We've been impressed with the guy's work. Carl Raney, the Contractor is very easy to talk to, and spends a lot of time communicating with his guys.

I never thought about it before, but you and Dennis really have a double handicap with being remote - feeding and lodging of workers. Wow! Glad i don't have to deal with that.