Progress on Two Fronts Earth Moving Continues as Column Construction Begins

Dumping Earth Behind the Fig
Dumping Earth Behind the Fig
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Cherry Front and Center
Cherry Front and Center
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View Down to Pool
View Down to Pool
Looks Steep!
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Connecting Top Floor Steel
Connecting Top Floor Steel
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Work continues on the major project of moving earth, trucking in earth, and resculpting the hillside into terraces, and making the transitions between them as smooth an gentle as possible. It’s not an easy task on a hillside like we have.

I don’t think any of us, including the geometra Jimmy, the contractor Francisc, or Kevin realized the actual steepness and the need to move so much earth. The original budget for buying and moving earth was €800. Having revised the plan, even with the earth being zero cost, the expense is planned at €3,000, due to the greater need of heavy earth moving equipment.

We did get some nice pictures, not only of the activity, but of our cherry tree and the hill down toward the pool. It looks like the cherry blossoms with we saw a few days ago have already disappeared and that the tree is now making leaves.

Work has begun on the top floor columns that will support the roof. They have started to attach the rebar column cages and build the concrete forms around them.

This activity had been on hold, because we needed approval from Primo, the structural engineer. He needed to certify that the top floor base slab had cured enough for work on top of it to commence. That certification was received a day or so ago.

I’m expecting that this column construction will proceed quickly.

It’s exciting to see both the progress and the wonderful spring weather. We’re starting to wonder if we will want to be in Italy for spring, summer, and fall.

In today’s pictures, you can see that more Poroton blocks for the walls have been delivered.

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All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Starting to Pour Top Floor Slab Concrete on the Steel and Poroton Blocks

Following on the work from last week where they prepared the top floor base, they began to pour the concrete.

The concrete crane is here to distribute the concrete. It gets a supply of concrete from a truck that sits behind it and pipes it up to the top floor.

Concrete Crane and Truck at new house construction site in Le Marche
Concrete Crane and Truck
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Before the concrete trucks arrived, a first step was to lay a grid of rebar on top of the Poroton blocks that was tied into the rest of the rebar. Here’s a picture of the grid in place, after they had started the pour.

Grids on Top of Poroton Blocks at new house construction site in Le Marche
Grids on Top of Poroton Blocks
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This shot shows the strength of the perimeter rebar that ties the grid together.

Heavy Rebar Around Perimeter at new house construction site in Le Marche
Heavy Rebar Around Perimeter
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Here is the album of today’s photos.

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All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Ready to Pour the Top Floor Slab Constructing an Impressive Anti-Seismic Framework

Earlier this week they started putting the pieces in place to create the reinforced concrete slab that acts essentially as the ceiling of the ground floor and the floor of the top floor. This slab, which is 25cm (10in) thick, is supported at the edges and around the stairway cavity by 40cm (16in) thick beams, giving us confidence that the house can survive the earthquakes which will inevitably happen.

A key component in the construction of this slab are the Poroton blocks. These are sort of like cinder blocks, but made of clay: strong, with an internal cross structure, like a honeycomb but with mostly rectangular rather than hexagonal cells. Here’s a picture with the block enlarged:

close-up view of Poroton construction block
Poroton Block Close-Up
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Another thing I like in this photo: it shows our driveway with the olive trees on the side.

In the picture below, they have nearly completed putting the Poroton blocks in place. Soon, the whole layer of rebar and Poroton will be ready to be encased in concrete.

top floor slab ready for concrete pour
Top Floor Base Ready to Pour
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Finally, this picture highlights the stairway cavity and shows how the structural columns are closer together, so this opening doesn’t create an earthquake risk.

(It also shows the olive trees that are to line the path to the front door.)

Closely-Spaced Columns Around Stairway Cavity
Closely-Spaced Columns Around Stairway Cavity
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Here are all the photos from today:

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All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Ground Floor Ceiling, Top Floor Base Tying Together the Two Levels

There has been a lot of progress during the past two days and we have the photos to prove it.

The first step was to start adding the composite panels that form the underlay of the ceiling. They also provide thermal and acoustical insulation. The lower surface is a bit rough, giving some texture to the ceiling. (I thought the ceiling would be plastered, but apparently the paint goes right on this surface.)

Here are pictures of the panels in place, from above and below.

Underlayment panels in place
Ceiling Underlay Nearly Complete on One Side
Ceiling underpayment composite panels above beams
Ceiling Underlay, Beams, and Supports

The next step was to start installing the horizontal rebar cages that will tie together the structural columns. In these two pictures, you can see the cages being placed, and the tied into the column rebar and to the beams which are lagged into the connection. These will all be encased in concrete.

Rebar Cage Placement
Rebar Cage Placement
Linking the Rebar Together
Linking the Rebar Together

Final step for today was to begin installation of Poroton blocks. These are a special type of clay blocks that are insulating and very strong. They are part of the anti seismic structure and will be linked with the rest of the structure in the coming days.

Installing Peloton Blocks
Installing Poroton Blocks

Here is a gallery of all the photos of this work.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure