Saturday, May 28, 2011

Third Foundation Pour

The work on the foundations is moving slowly and steadily forward. The site work is still moving along at a slower pace than I would like to see, and part of the challenge I'm dealing with in my new role is not being able to make decisions that affect the operations yet.

I'm still learning a lot about vertical construction in general, and construction in Ramallah with the local materials, labor and methods in specific. As such, I have only been able to give suggestions about ways by which we might be able to increase the speed of production or save some time on our delivery schedule only to be met with resistance from the contractor. It's tough to get him to consider changing "the way it's always been done" so I am forced to accept the speed of operations for the time being, while keeping track of ways it could be done differently for future reference and implementation.

Business operations aside, below are some photos from the third foundation pour which took place a few days ago.

(forms around remaining foundation footings)
(crew working on reinforced steel at the base of the future stairwell) 
(short concrete pump needed to park closer to the forms)
(concrete pour in action)
(foundation footings have all been poured)
As for the next step in the process, the crew is preparing forms for what should be the fourth and final foundation concrete pour (hopefully Monday or Tuesday of next week), which will include the stairwell and elevator shaft walls, the column necks and the wall along the north and west boundaries. As you can see below, the forms around the columns are being constructed using concrete blocks as it is a faster that timber forms for such small spaces. The down side, obviously, is that these concrete blocks will not be re-used after the pour and their cost is offsetting the time / cost savings of the shorter construction time.

(footings completed, and forms around column necks and internal walls being erected)
The crew takes their elevation level (using a water tube level) by comparing to the marks on the 'bracelet' that surrounds the building. This will allow them to establish the height of the next set of forms needed around the columns for the fourth foundation concrete pour.

(marking elevations using a water level)
After the next concrete pour and dismantling of the forms the day after, we will be ready to import / haul in the fill material that will go around the foundations and under the slab on grade, starting to really change the way the site looks and putting the tricky (and most time consuming) part of the 'adem (frame) construction behind us. 

And finally, I just had to take this picture in case anyone reading this blog is a Yankees fan. Apparently your ilk has made it to our construction site in Ramallah!

(Yankees paraphernalia)

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