Pick a site for a building on a rural property and 99 times out of 100, it will not be as level as your eye told you it was. Set up the laser and shoot some elevations and... I'll be damned. Who'd have guessed you'd need 500 ton of fill trucked in and compacted to make that site level?! Well, sometimes it just needs to be where it needs to be, and building elsewhere on the property just isn't an option (or at least not as desirable).
Getting the sod/organic layer scraped off is first step, so you eliminate the chance of settling to occur later which would cause your concrete to crack and be unlev
el. You can save that pile of topsoil and sod, as you'll need it (once it's composted a bit) to cover your finished elevations, so you can grow new grass, later., as you'll need it (once it's composted a bit) to cover your finished elevations, so you can grow new grass, later.
If you're using gravel or lime screens (like we did on this job) as fill, you'll need to cap all of the areas around your finished building with soil to keep the rock/lime fill from eroding away. Time will be of the essence for us to get that cap on before that big dirt pile freezes in a solid block!
Once the fill has been laid and compacted in "lifts" (again - to minimize settling), you are ready to set posts. All the diagonals were measured twice so we know we'll have a 'square' building when it's all said and done.
With decent weather, all these posts were set in a day.
Once the posts were set, we installed water lines, hydrants and drain lines for all future plumbing. Can't put in the ground, after the concrete gets placed!
And then... THIS happened. (Refering to snow; not the dead-looking kid.) Snow came early, which was a major set back. Had us worried we wouldn't get everything pulled together before winter set in on us for good!
But, Mother Nature had mercy on us and it melted quickly. So, on Thanksgiving Day, before the big turkey dinner, we played in the mud and did the last bit of site prep, so a new driveway could be installed.
After Thanksgiving, we rolled out and pinned down woven geo-textile fabric. The fabric will allow water to perc through it, but will hold soil down and keep the rock on top, where it's supposed to be. It adds some initial expense to the project, but will literally save hundreds of tons of gravel from being lost over the live of this building, which is a substantial savings down the road.
Grading and compacting the fill inside the building is job of some precision. We let our engineer-in-training check the laser and make sure we're on target. ;)
Finished leveling out the lime screen fill, and got it ready for the vibratory compactor's final run. With all the moisture from the recently melted snow, there were a couple spongey spots in the lime that gave some major challenges later on.
A heavy layer of poly is laid down to help keep the concrete from "sweating" when temperatures fluctuate inside. Welded wire reinforcing is rolled out and prepped throughout the floor in prep for concrete to be placed.
A power buggy was used to truck the concrete into position. Unfortunately, the tracks eventually tore the poly in two places, which shouldn't have been a big deal. But, the water trapped in those spongey spots in the lime - having nowhere else to go - decided to perc up through the concrete when it was being finished, making it extremely tough and very time consuming to finish.
Concrete pour started at 8am and the finisher was finally done at 6:30am the next morning, after working all through the night. The end result was worth it, though.
To keep that problem from happening in the rest of the building, we installed 5 runs of perforated tile in the sub-base to give any trapped moisture a place to go, when the weight of the concrete put the squeeze on it. Worked like a charm!
Rock was spread and compacted on top of the lime screens, to build a more solid base. This part of the building will be a shop so it will have thicker concrete to handle heavy equipment. Floor drain in place, and grade pins set, so the finishers put the proper slope on the concrete so water will run to the drain without puddling anywhere (which could make dangerous slick spots).
With the floor done, the next step was to get trusses set and the roof purlins on! You'd have to wait at least 7 days for the concrete to cure enough to put a heavy machine on that floor, so a telecoping boom was rented to pick the trusses and set them from the outside of the building.
With the trusses set and the framing just about done, it was time to for fascia and soffit work to begin, and then the windows and doors to be installed. We'll make that the next post! Follow our progress as we race to get it weathered in, before winter settles in!