Monday, 26 November 2012

Good Bye to the Piling Rig.... Phew!!!

After all the problems we had while they were on site we were very glad to see the back of these guys.....Byeeeee!!

Two Weeks in One Major Problem

You would think that plotting out the site would be not too difficult but when everyone seems to be working from a different angle it's not plain sailing!
One thing that Will and I have always been ultra aware and worried about has been the drain on the East side of the plot and Southern Water's stipulation that any building has to be at least 3 metres from it (leaving a pretty useless strip of land between us and the neighbour on the wrong side of the house) but when Will visited the plot during said plotting out what did he find? Of course, they've marked the house out within the 3 metre restriction area!!
That rectified, the pilers got on with the plotting out and wasted no time before they started drilling ...... unfortunately a little too soon - 3 piles are in the wrong place. All went on hold while we established what had gone wrong and how to put it right. The pile layout was provided by our structural engineer but apparently one coordinate was incorrect, only one mind, but unfortunately the pilers used this coordinate to work from. They could have worked perfectly well from the measurements and then we wouldn't have had a problem but hey ho it's done.
Will & the builders had various calls with the structural engineer and eventually got him to make some calculations and he made some alterations to the ring beam in order to carry the load in the small area of the 3 offending piles. We had a few anxious days but now on to getting on!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Foundations begin with Piling

We have to have piled foundations due to both the soil type on the plot which is a dense London clay and the sloping nature of the site. This doesn't come cheap so unfortunately a lot of our costs are going deep into the ground never to be seen again. 
We are having 22 piles which support the ring beam on which the house will be built. Our piles have to be friction piles as opposed to bearing piles. Bearing piles are driven down through soft soil until they reach a firm base on which to support the load but friction piles rely on creating friction between the pile and the surrounding soil so the load is transferred downward and laterally into the soil.

Friction Piling

You can see a very big drill bit stuck in the earth here!

The 30mm wide holes are drilled deep into the ground, then a ReBar is sunk into the tunnel like hole which is filled with concrete thus creating an incredibly strong concrete and steel column....... ta da, there's a little lesson and that's as much as I know (and probably will ever need to know) about piling.

It wasn't completely known how deep the piles would have to be until the rig started drilling - in the end the deepest piles are 17 metres deep and shortest 11 metres - our house isn't going anywhere, I'm guessing if we had a landslide we'd still be sitting pretty in our house on stilts!!

We have a portaloo, electricity and water....

and the dog on site.

At vast expense and after numerous phone calls with the utility companies we are connected (though these are only temporary for the duration of the build and then there will be more expense and more phone calls to make them permanent once the house is complete) and the builders have their "restroom".  Ha, I won't be going anywhere near that!

Buddy and I surveying the site - Happy :)

Action at Last!!

Nice neat bit of digging - Second week in October the digger came on site and started plotting out the house... So exciting that something's going on!