Building Sams House - Part One

Building a house and watching it come to life from intersecting lines on a piece of paper is a great feeling. I was lucky enough to be able to achieve my dream of building a new house starting in 2013 and finishing early in 2014.

Once all the approvals are in it’s time to build. The first few weeks are spent getting the foundation and slab down.

The first photo shows the initial stages of work, the earthworks operator with the help of a supervisor set out and level the site. After scraping back the natural ground level a 100mm nominal layer of compacted rubble to put down. This layer acts as the slab base.

Next job is to mark out the footings using string line so that the excavator and operator can start digging. The width and depth of the trenches will change depending on soil type, building size, etc.

The second photo shows the start of the trenches being dug. There is usually a labourer on site with the operator as he digs so we can clean the trenches as they are being dug. There is always some loose fill that the excavator can’t get.

After all the trenches are dug and cleaned the underfloor plumbing (waste and any underfloor stormwater that’s going through the slab) goes in. Next the plastic membrane is installed. Each sheet is taped together with the next. Holes are made in the membrane and slipped over the underfloor plumbing pipes and taped. Then we installed the termite protection around the pipe as per manufacturer’s specifications.

Once all that is done we can proceed with the installation of the reinforcement for the footing and slab. Like the trench sizes, the amount of reinforcement is dependent on the calculations done by a structural engineer.

Next we pour the concrete…

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