Monday, November 23, 2009
The build was divided into three phases. The pre-build was the phase were the land was acquired, prepped and the foundation was laid for all the homes. We did not participate in this phase. Phase 2 involved the construction of the complete structure of the house. This was the part that got done during last week by us. The final phase would involve patch up work, installation of electricals and final plumbing work, which is expected to take another 2-3 weeks. When we arrived at the site, the foundation was in place along with a wall that was about 8 concrete blocks high.
For the first day and a half, we were working on building the wall. The wall was made of interlocking concrete blocks of two sizes - a full block and a half block. There were two types of blocks - a regular block and a channel block. Regular blocks were used to build the entire block and the channel blocks formed the top layer of the wall. Concrete is poured into the channel which allows a structure to be installed on top of the wall. Building of the wall involved creating a section of the wall about 7-8 blocks high by laying the blocks and leveling them both horizontally and vertically as we went along. We had plumb lines and levels to help us measure and correct as we built. Once a section was created, we had to mix concrete and pour it into the holes in the block. The concrete then hardens to form a pole that holds the blocks in place and adds strength to the wall. After a wall has been put up and the concrete poured, a cement and sand paste was used to plaster the walls from the inside and outside. This helps to weatherproof the wall and also provides a smooth finish.
The Doors & Windows
Door and window frames were pre-built and ready for installation as soon as the wall was about 20 blocks high. The edges of the walls were the frames were installed had channel blocks. This created additional space for the frames. Nails had to be hammered on the outside of the frame at an angle about 10 cms apart. After that, the frame was gently lowered into it's designated space on the wall. After the frames were in place, concrete was poured into the channel. This eventually dried up and held the frame in place.
Building the roof involved two different processes. First - we had to install the three trusses that would form the base of the roof skeleton. These are three triangular metal structures (extremely heavy) that are bolted on top of the walls. The bolts were installed atop the channel blocks and are held in place by the hardened concrete. Once the trusses are in place, long strips of metal (I forget the technical name) are bolted on top of the trusses. The roof tiles are then bolted to these strips to finish off the roof.