Friday, August 17th, 2018

Isabela House (Construction Log 12) Going Up! (Walls That Is)


The first walls are constructed for the parking/garage/storeroom using the box system of construction. The window openings in the front wall are prepared using prefabricated curved shapes. Despite its intended use, we wanted it to look like just another part of the house, hence it will have windows to match those for the house.

Check out this video: Hyner House Construction 30 December 2009

Construction work started up again yesterday although the foreman and project engineer are not due back until Monday or Tuesday. The Mangligot site is now raised to construction level so once they have done the compaction tests they can begin to lay out the internal pipiing and the steel framework prior to pouring concrete for the floor.  The curved shape of the top of the windows in the garage wall is now clearly visible although the concrete has to gain more strength until they can safey remove the formers.

This is just the garage/storehouse. The idea for the windows came from the design of a house in Florida we found on the Internet. In so many designs you see the garage seems to dominate the front of the house but it’s such a plain piece of architecture. Add some windows to the front and move the entrance round to the side and you have something quite attractive.

Today the formers had been removed and the full shape of the window openings could be seen clearly. Welders were busy fabricating the steel trusses for the garage roof.

At the side of the house the window for Justin’s bedroom (bedroom 2) was being prepared for concreting.
Today also the site of the Mangligot House was moving towards formal start of construction, channels having been dug for the different services and stones laid. The latter is apparently to address rising moisture which would damage the concrete floor. The stones together with the overlaying plastic sheeting prevent such damage occuring.

More windows and roof trusses for Hyner are being welded for the garage. Mangligot is prepared for formal start of construction. When the whole team reforms this week after the Christmas/New Year break there will be at least 25 local people employed in the construction which must be very welcome in this barangay, especially as work in the ricefields is not continuous. We put our contractor in touch with the local barangay hall who we knew were keen recommend certain people for our project.

As the front walls of the main house begin to appear, passers by stop and puzzle what it is. Distracted drivers turn their heads towards the construction site for several seconds as they pass. Could it be a church, an abbey or a theme park maybe? It’s like one of those mysterious murals Rolf Harris used to create on live TV. You didn’t know precisely what it was a picture of until almost his final brush stroke.

Yesterday morning when we went out to the site, a young couple was standing in our future living room chatting to the chief engineer. Apparently they want to build a house in the city, noticed the construction going on and decided to make enquiries.

The video and photos here were taken around 3.00pm in the afternoon at a second visit.

The first concreted, styrofoam-insulated walls are now visible. The concrete mixture needs to be just right so that it pours easily from the top into the mould made by the steel formers and, of course, has the correct strength when dry.

It is vital to ensure that no air gaps are left either side of the insulation. Metal spacers are employed to keep the styrofoam panels in position within the permanent wire frames, and our contractor has invested in a special power tool which vibrates the steel former panels to ensure the proper distribution of the concrete mixture. We noted that some surface repair was necessary in one area of the wall due to the steel formers pulling away slightly, but this was being remedied very competently with a fresh concrete mix.

Beside the Hyner house, the Mangligot house was nearly ready for concrete pouring of the floor that night.

Check out this video: Hyner & Mangligot House Construction 7 January 2010

The final measurements are made to check the positioning of pipes for the different services and vulnerable exposed ends sealed to prevent blockage when the concrete is poured.

Concrete samples dry out ready to be tested by the Highways Department, the same organisation that tested the compaction. A pass is 90% and our site achieved 97%.

View across the septic tank to the side window of bedroom 2.

We took the opportunity later in the day to discuss further development of the project although this will depend on the performance of the UK pound. It was down to 73 pesos yesterday, a victim of the mud slinging between the different UK political parties as they prepare for the coming May general election.

There had been no change in the underlying economic fundamentals but the UK has an uncanny ability to pull itself down. For one of the great nations of the world it should really show a lot more confidence. Though I didn’t agree with everything she did, I have to admit that I miss having Mrs Thatcher as a PM. She was decisive and would knock heads together to get things done. The UK needs an action-oriented leader like that again. Someone who will talk in terms of the glass being half full rather than half empty. The UK needs realistic optimism rather than unrealistic pessimism.

Yesterday concrete was being poured for the floor of the Mangligot house and the front wall of the Hyner house was nearing completion. Unfortunately the concrete mixer had broken down and was awaiting some replacement parts, so in the meantime concrete mixing was an entirely manual process with a chain of workers being formed to pass tubs of concrete up to the pourer.

We did not see the new vibrating machine in use on the formers, only a rubber mallet to shake the concrete into place, so we are not sure whether the new power tool has proved effective or not. However, we are confident our contractor knows what they are doing as they have many years experience of this kind of construction and have their own specialists for each component of the build, many of whom have worked with them for several years. In the end it is best that we assess the quality of work at the very end, not as the build progresses since any faults should be fixed before we accept the project as complete. After Construction is what is referred to as the Finishing stage when any imperfections will be addressed.

Check out this video: Hyner & Mangligot House Construction 8 January 2010

The floor of the Mangligot house is poured with concrete and walls should start to be built this weekend so that, given the difference in the size between the two, both houses will soon be at the same stage of construction

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