Friday, September 21st, 2018

Isabela House (Construction Log 16) Internal Walls


The external walls are now complete and our contractor is finishing the internal walls. Several were drying out in their formers while others were being poured with concrete. Scaffolding was being erected over the lanai to construct the viewing balcony/terrace.

While the men were taking their merienda break (afternoon tea break) we took a look around inside.

The word mansion has been used by several friends to describe what they have seen of the construction so far. I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration. We have simply replicated the space we had in our old house in the UK. Although there was only the three of us, we used one of the bedrooms as an office, one as a visitor’s room and another as a music room. One reception room was used to view TV and watch films. So effectively every room had a purpose. In our new home all that space has been translated into a single story building with large arched windows to let in plenty of light and a through flow from the front door to the lanai at the back.

Check out this video: Hyner House Construction 16 January 2010

We have been asked by our contractor whether they can lower the height of the viewing balcony by 1 metre from  4.5 metres above the ground to 3.5 metres. Looking at the detailed plans this would seem to place it below two sections of the roof and therefore our view may be blocked in two directions and limit us to seeing to the rear of our lot over the ricefields towards the mountains and to our left across neighbouring lots. We have asked Northcon to explain why this modification is necessary.

The construction crew were working to a rhythm today when we made our site visit.

There was an exchange of texts and emails with our contractor over the weekend regarding the height of the viewing deck. The contractor asked if it could be lowered by 1 metre to 3.5 metres above the ground. The basis of the suggestion was the assumption that it was merely a balcony and would therefore normally line up with the second floor. But as we don’t have a second floor there is nowhere to walk out. Also if it is lowered it would restrict the 360 degree view because parts of the roof would be higher and would obscure the view in two directions. In the end it was agreed to stick to the orginal plan at 4.5 metres.

Harvey, Gina’s nephew, climbed up the scaffolding and said that the view was incredible all round. Before the safety railings are added it looks rather like a helicopter landing pad.

A stone mason was busily chipping away at the window openings to correct any inperfections in the curve at the top. This is the first finishing we have seen but others will be doing similar work to ensure that the surface of the walls is ready for painting, grinding any ridges away and filling any holes. There is apparently a surface wash of concrete to fill any cracks and small holes. This is then treated with a chemical to prevent any moisture seeping through. Finally the wall is painted inside and out.

Resty and Jane test the floor of their new house. We tell them that to reduce costs there will be no walls.

The Hyner house internal walls are almost complete now. Only a small section of the master bedroom wall remains to be constructed. The formers will then be released to the Mangligot house site where the wall fabrication was being prepared today. Some formers will be retained to create the raised viewing deck and others to complete the apex of the garage/parking wall. The team also has to level the tops of the external walls ready for the roof trusses.

Northcon’s attention to detail and drive for perfection is very evident as there was a stone mason in bedroom 1 where the wall on one side was not quite square to the corner. The concrete wall was slightly thicker than it should have been so the mason was chipping it back to make it flush with the rest of the wall.

Building a house is very much a partnership between the customer and the contractor. The removal of the side windows to the front door was a joint decision as there was concern about the security of having such narrow strips of concrete framing them. Conversely the contractor felt that addiing an arch on either side of the front porch would make it more attractive. Again we agreed. It’s good to have this kind of relationship and we make a point of visiting the site regularly to take an interest in what is happening.

Including the foreman and project engineer, there are now 34 men working on the construction of the two houses. Most are local men who at other times will be planting or harvesting in the ricefields, including our own. At present we are between planting and harvesting so, unless they have other work, there is not normally anything for them to do and hence no income. The opportunity to have a regular income is a godsend therefore.

Check out this video: Hyner house construction 18 January 2010

Rapid progress was being made yesterday on Mangligot house. Already the front and one side wall was either completed and drying or having concrete poured. After the showers of the past couple of days the weather for a change was dry, warm and even a little humid. Inside the shell an electrician was preparing the connections for the main breaker board. The remaining walls were being pre-frabricated with their network of steel rods prior to encasing in the formers and concrete pouring.

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