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Concreting the Foundations

Clean excavation of foundation trenchWith the strip foundation trenches completed, they have been inspected by the District Surveyor.

Fortunately for the Client, there are no nearby trees and the ground is pretty good so the District Surveyor was happy with everything.

Normally, with the volume of concrete required for these sorts of foundations, it would be a straightforward decision to use ready mix concrete. However the road that the house is situated on is a bit narrow and, with a lot of cars parked in the street, it’s a tough call as to whether there’d be room. The alternative is to bring in a concrete mixer and mix the concrete by hand.

G L Smith and Sons’ foreman inspects the access carefully and decides that calling in a ready mix truck will be fine – he’s got plenty of experience so I’m in no doubt he’s right.

What surprised me was what they did next. They called at the neighbours houses – two either side and five opposite – to let them know there’d be a large lorry in the street in the morning for a short while. How considerate is that ? Some of the neighbours weren’t in, so pre printed notes were posted explaining the situation, apologising for any inconvenience, and asking them to call if that had any concerns at all. As Dale explained, it costs nothing to be considerate and makes a huge difference. I can’t help thinking they’ve got such a good attitude it’s hardly surprising they have such a good reputation.

The team are on site early in the morning so that there will be no delays. As soon as the ready mix lorry arrives it’s all hands on deck. The concrete is poured from the chute into barrows and wheeled straight round to the site. Starting with the farthest foundations, the concrete is poured in.

Foundation trench filled with concrete Foundation trench by existing wall filled with concrete

Some of the foundations where the sides fell away as they were being dug have had shuttering put in to keep the concrete in place as it cures. As the concrete goes in it’s worked down into the trench. The point of this is to make sure there are no air pockets left . These would weaken the structure and must be eliminated.

Shuttering used to retain concrete Formwork protecting drain run

The drain run passing through the trench has been left clear with formwork to protect it. Once the concrete has gone off, steels will be used to bridge the foundations at this point so that the drain run remains unaffected.

Out in the street, there are no problems at all with traffic – it all seems remarkably civilised. That consideration clearly pays off.

It doesn’t take long to get the concrete offloaded and in no time the foundations are full. The tops are tamped down and left level ready for the brickwork to start next week.

Path having been hosed downWith the lorry away, work starts on cleaning up.

Inevitably, there are a few dollops of concrete here and there but one of the team soon has these shovelled up. It’s not exactly messy.

Lastly, they start hosing down the street, the drive way, and the side access passage ensuring that the whole site is left clean.

It’s only 9.30am, the concreting is finished, and the only tell tale sign left is that the street is wet from being hosed down. Apart from that you’d hardly know anything about it.

If you live in the Hertfordshire area and are looking for a professional building contractor, you can get in touch with G L Smith and Sons via their website:

G L Smith and Sons