Earth Sheltered Timeline: 2014

January: I was busy working on my virtual build and updating estimates as I prepared to try again for 2014.VirtualBuild_14-3-15

February: Mostly, we worked on sourcing and budgeting for the build.  I also had a key meeting with the Shotcrete contractor.

March: Continued to work on the virtual build, sourcing, etc.

April: The biggest change was the decision to do my own electrical.  We also got going on the number crunching as we worked thru our mortgage paperwork.

IMG_20140529_150815_315May: Things really got going in May.  We were tired of waiting for the mortgage paperwork to finalize, so, once we were pretty confident that the loan would be approved, we just started out with our own money.  We got the final permits signed, sealed and delivered to the building inspector.  Then Sherri and I went and staked out the property.   The Excavation started with leveling the site.  Then we has to stake it out again (roughly) before the excavator came back to dig the hole for the basement.  There were more meetings with the building inspector resulting in some small changes to the design, and then Sherri and I staked out the basement.

IMG_2252_Basement_SitingJune: Construction started with forming the basement footings.  Then we leveled the forms and added rebar reinforcement.  Eventually, the first of many concrete trucks arrived and the footings were poured.  To help with construction, we purchased a trailer to carry supplies and rented a big steel shipping container to store everything in.  Near the end of June, we finally closed on our construction loan. By the end of the month, we were putting in steel track and door bucks.

July: July started with frustration as orders didn’t come in as expected.  Eventually, the steel studs did arrive, along with a number of other key tools, including my skid steer and scaffolding.  There were many days of steel studs, and more steel studs, until I eventually finished with the studs, strap and lath near the end of the month.

SteelStuds Panorama


IMG_20140822_135826_043_smallAugust: In August, we got busy adding the rebar to our steel studs.  Getting the rebar in and tied started to feel like it was never ending.  Once the rebar was all in, we did our electrical rough in and passed our first electrical inspection.  Then, suddenly SHOTCRETE!  That was a crazy couple days. After the shotcrete cured, it was time for waterproofing the basement.  Then we added all the drain tile, earth tubes, insulation and were able to back-fill around the basement.  That really changed the look of the site.  By the end of the month, we had started on the Septic System.

IMG_20140828_BackfilledSeptember: In September, we installed the earth tubes down the long trench before the excavators backfilled it.  September was also the month that I got “Over The Tire” (OTT) tracks for my skidsteer.  The building inspector told us that he was not satisfied with the testing done by our waterproofing manufacturer, it was pretty tense for a while, but in the end, he said we had to conduct our own waterproofing test.  Due to numerous delays, it took most of a month to get the septic field in and covered.  With the waterproofing passed and the septic trench finally covered, we could form the main floor footings.  My friend Aaron and I had to come back a separate day and prep the garage slab so we could pour the footings and garage slab before the end of the month.

Main floor footings in place


October: The next step was to drill the well in while it was still easy to run the plumbing to the mechanical room.  We also got going on the garage quonset hut.

November: Late in the year, with temperatures dropping, the ground freezing, etc. it was too late to start any big projects, so we did a lot of odd jobs, such as clean up.  One key task was grouting the quonset hut in place to keep it from blowing away in the winter winds.  The plan had been to use a tarp or the bundles of insulation to wall off the back of the Quonset hut so I could use the sheltered space as a shop and start on preparing the forms for the precast concrete ribs.  But it just felt too windy and I didn’t want to risk it.

December: I did go out to the site a couple times in December to do odd jobs, but nothing that turned into a December post.  We also traveled back to Canada for Christmas with the family.  I signed up for another semester working on my MBA…

will 2015 be the year we get this thing worked out?

Response to 2014

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