Have you ever wondered why you would decide to do something that is clearly beyond what should be possible? That is exactly what I was thinking when I started this project!
We started off by exacting the ground area around the swimming pool, then knocking down the swimming pools old walls in order to be able to sufficiently lower the ground level for us to be able to dig out the building footings. Unfortunately it was at this point that it became too expensive for us to continue to employ Kevin, however he once again came to our aid by suggesting a friend of his Paul, who is an excellent labourer. I also decided that it would be ideal to redistribute the labours of our trainee gardener Matt Jones, which meant there would be an extra two pairs of hands to help me.
As we began to dig out for the drains, it seemed as though the weather was solidly against us. It was soul destroying to have neatly dug out the front footings, only to have them wash in on themselves because of bad weather. This happened several times which led to us having to use twice as much concrete as we had originally planned to. However, we persevered and managed to build the front damp course and bay area without too much more hassle from the elements!
By this time we had reached the near height of the summer, and we were all getting a good farmers tan in the process! We finished off the rest of the footings, and lay the reinforced floor, using 33cube of concrete with a further 28cube in the back footings.
As you can imagine the hours which we work are extremely tough, working 14-
Moving on to the day which we poured the concrete into the reinforced outside wall – this is a day which neither myself, Matt nor Paul will forget in a long time! To give you an idea of what we were aiming to achieve; the wall has a total length of 35m and is 3m high, with a 180mm cavity that needed to be filled with 30cube of concrete. One side of the wall is lined with a high-
Unfortunately, this was not what took place – for some reason, unknown to us all still, having poured approximately 2 meters of the concrete the pump pipe (which is a solid steel tube) hit the inner wall in three different places with concrete still flowing from it. The third hit caused an almighty bang, and a crack to form on the inner skin. I assessed the damage and although it didn’t appear to be too serious, I decided the safest option would be to call out the building inspector. Thankfully he agreed with me and informed us that as long as we stitched the crack before we poured the rest of the concrete, there would be no lasting damage. We did this, but went back to basics, mixing the remaining 30 tonne of concrete by hand and pouring it using wheelbarrows and buckets – this took us 4 days, the original method would have taken us ½ a day.
After we had finished the concrete reinforcing, things went smoothly for a while. Building up to the first floor with block work was relatively straightforward; the problem arose when the concrete beams arrived – they were 45 in total which measured 6m in length and weighed ½ a tonne each. Then came the bombshell, the crane could not get in to lift off the beams, as anyone who has been to the hotel would no doubt understand as we do have very limited access in a lot of areas. Fortunately we had bought an all-
We will keep you informed with our progress throughout the different phases. Watch this space!