Blog 10-11-22

The construction of our wee tiny nano porch costing an amazing 29,000 credits started just after 8.00 am this morning with the arrival of the builders. They would be doing the excavations for the concrete foundations along with the rainwater drainage. First task was actually de-costruction, not construction, and that was lifting the block pavers from the driveway and stacking them in the rear garden. Some of them will be required later for re-laying around the new porch. However, this will leave about four meters square of pavers left over. Will need to find something to do with them. I just cannot bring myself to throw them away.

We start off with a problem. Well, my problem really and not anything to do with the build, rather one of language. I find it really difficult to understand what the builders are saying. They are both from Fife, and their strong accepts mean I only get the occasional word. So, I’m spending much of the conversation nodding my head in agreement. Hopefully, not to anything critically important.

Work progressed well throughout the day and by mid-afternoon, we had a large, U-shaped hole in the ground, for the wall foundations. What is remarkable is just how much stuff comes out of the ground. You would not expect that less than 6 meters of foundation trench more than half fills an 8-yard skip.

Actually, I do recall something that was drummed into my head while I trained as a quantity survey. That something is called bulking factor. For example, if you dig a hole exactly 10 meters long by 1.00 m wide and 1.00 m deep you might think you get 10 cubic meters of spoil. You would be incorrect. You would actually get around 12 cubic meters of spoil. The difference is the bulking factor, the extra space the spoil takes up when freed from the ground.

Tonight, my back garden and driveway now resembles a builder’s yard. Not only do I have a dirty big hole in the driveway but I’ve also accumulated a cement mixer, a pair of wheel barrows, assorted bags of cement, scaffolding planks, a plethora of hand tools and God knows what else is lurking under that white tarpaulin. Thankfully, they should be back tomorrow to complete the foundations and rainwater drainage.

I would not advise walking up our driveway at the moment. While the dirty great hole is covered with timber sheets, they are rather bouncy when you walk in them and I’m not all that convinced that anyone of a stout stature would not find themselves inspecting the bottom of that dirty great hole. So, no visitors, please.

I am pleased to say that they are remarkably tidy in their work and also took the time to clean up afterwards. I would also point out that they decided to dig the trenches by hand rather than using the mini-excavator. Something about electricity cables and water mains, I think. Still cannot clearly understand what they are saying. Though, their instructions for tea, coffee and juice were crystal clear. Back soon.

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