Flatwork Begins - Concrete Walks and Driveway

June 19, 2011 - For the third straight week, temperatures reached 100 plus degrees in the shade with humidity levels at 30% - I don't even want to think how hot it was in the sun which is where most of the work took place. The challenge was to keep hydrated while working to meet some very tight deadlines.

Cement is something you don't get a second chance at getting right. That is why we hired Jeremy Crow of Crow Contractors (who did such a nice job on the ceiling of the big room) to take care of the flat-work for us. Jeremy showed up on Monday morning with Aaron the head of his flat-work crew, and they began to lay out the string lines for the forms around the building and the driveway. David Cox, our Construction Manager spent a great deal of time during the foundation stage to insure that everything would come together in the later stages of construction, and everything went as planned.

Getting the walkways and driveway to the proper depth took a lot of handwork. Dozens of wheelbarrow loads of dirt were added or removed. Since we have only had a half-inch of rain in the past 165 days, the ground was hard as a rock. In many cases a pick-axe was needed to first soften up the soil. Several new truckloads of dirt were delivered to the site and had to be moved by hand to prep for the concrete truck scheduled to come on Friday morning at 10:30am. We used over 150 man hours just to get the dirt close to the proper level. More handwork will be required later to get the slope of the site just right.

With the dirt in place, re-bar and wire mesh was added to the walks and driveway. We opted to go with a 5.5" thick driveway with 3/8" re-bar placed in an 18" grid pattern. We used 2.5" "Hat Chairs" which are little plastic feet designed to hold the re-bar midway in the concrete. We decided to flair out the ends of the driveway, so we had to remove some addition curb and cut some more 1/2" re-bar. Our sidewalks were to be 3" thick, but we used the width of a 2" x 4" which is closer to 3.5". Wire mesh was used for the sidewalks, and we put expansion joints every 8'. Short lengths of re-bar were placed every 12 inches in holes drilled into the building foundation. This will tie the sidewalk into the concrete foundation.

The cement truck arrived right on time and we were ready for them. The truck holds 10 yards, and we picked Porter Ready Mix out of Spring. The first pour began at 10:45am, and everything went smoothly. We opted to go with a smaller size rock (3/8" vs. the standard 1- 1-1/2") which is more expensive, but makes for a very nice finish. Aaron and his crew of 2 had all the right tools to quickly level and finish the concrete. By 11:45am the truck driver was pointing to his watch telling me it would be $1.00/minute for each minute over 1 hour, so we just had him dump the remainder of his load and spread it out in the first section of the driveway. He will be coming back on Monday with an additional 10 yards of Ready Mix which will be used for the walks on the north and west sides of the building.

This week we also made additional progress on the ADA ramp. Additional lengths of 2" tubing for the railng were added, and we also set the 5 gallon buckets in the ground which will be used to hold up the vertical supports for the ramp. Next week we will finish the frame for ramp, then paint it with a primer followed by the black Glidden paint we have used on the other areas of the building. Our plans are to use some of the metal container walls we cut out from the interior of the containers for walls on the ramp. This will provide an additional storage area for the tenants, and should blend nicely with the rest of the building.

Thanks also go out to Franklin International who have supplied us with three large containers of their 4319 construction adhesive. This adhesive will be used to hold the ACM panels in place. This week we also got most of the supports in place for the kitchen and bathroom counter tops. We will be using a black Wilsonart laminate to cover these areas which should contrast nicely with the silver ACM panels.

Next week the folks from ComforTemp will return to blow in 12" of cellulose into the attic, and that will complete the work on the insulation for the building. Our plans are to turn our attention to the inside of the building (where we can turn on the AC) and trim out all the interior doors and paint the interior walls. We still have a great deal of work ahead of us, but we have a great group of talented craftsman and I am confident we will get the job completed by August 1st.



Category: Container Building,