Foundations & Underground Utilities / by BV Architecture

As we approach the six week mark, an update on construction activities is long overdue.  In today's post I will be discussing the progress we've made, as well as a few of the setbacks we've encountered along the way.

 October 2nd  (Day 17) - First few boards are laid out and prepped for foundation form work.

October 2nd  (Day 17) - First few boards are laid out and prepped for foundation form work.

Once the grading and foundation trenches were completed, the next scheduled task was to start formwork for the concrete foundations.  Progress during this phase was a bit slower than anticipated and we later found out that the concrete sub-contractor had 20 different jobs scheduled at around the same time frame as our project.  Their cost was was substantially lower than the next lowest bid though, so it comes down to that all important question... what's more important time or money?  When you consider all the things that can cause a project to fall behind schedule... I'm thinking we made the right choice.

The gallery below shows how the project progressed from Day 17 through Day 29.

In addition to the underground plumbing and electrical work on site (installed concurrently with the foundation form-work), our "Class A" underground utilities contractor was busy trenching through the street to prepare for domestic water, fire water, sewer, and electrical connections.  The biggest issue we encountered here... having to "pothole" through several SDG&E underground utility "slurry packages" (in laymen's terms - a concrete wall 12" - 18" wide and 6 ft deep, below the street surface with a 12 kv electrical line embedded in it).  

 October 8th (Day 21) - Trenching for the Domestic Water Service

October 8th (Day 21) - Trenching for the Domestic Water Service

On a more sentimental note, we also came across a section of the old rail tracks that ran down 30th Street during the Streetcar Era - from 1912 through the early 1930s.  As you can see in the picture above, the track is now buried under about 10" to 12" of concrete and asphalt.  The rail remains fully intact and we routed the required domestic and fire water lines underneath it.   

 October 21st - The day before the concrete pour...

October 21st - The day before the concrete pour...

In many ways, getting through the first few weeks is usually the most scary time for a developer because there's a lot of unknowns.   Although we took every necessary precaution (hired a geotechnical engineer, took samples of the soil and tested them in a lab), there is never a guarantee that you won't encounter something unexpected.  All things considered, I think we're pretty fortunate to have escaped this initial phase of construction without any major setbacks. 

Looking ahead... we'll pick up this adventure again on concrete pour day.  Then I'd like to take a quick detour to recount my steps from the early days of this process.  I'm really not sure who my audience is at this point... but I look forward to hearing from some of you as I start to figure out this whole blogging thing. Thanks for joining me on this journey.