Monday, April 21, 2014

Concrete requires team work

Welcome to our blog, Menfranco general blog
and this post, Concrete requires team work

This is a typical concrete mixer to mix concrete and mortar to lay bricks used on site, they can be electric or have a petrol engine. 

To concrete usually requires team work
Dear readers, we want to point out that what we are talking about here, is not how we would go about to concrete nowadays, if we have a medium or large amount of concrete to lay, but it is the way that we used to concrete in the sixties, while we were building these brick bases of affordable house of that time. Now, what is going to follow here is the description of how we were concreting then, because nowadays we would call a ready mix truck to deliver the concrete, unless this would become too expensive to use, you see in the early sixties it was cheaper to mix your own concrete, anyhow, let us tell you what we did then.
In order to concrete well and do a fair amount of work on these houses you need a team. Our team was usually three of us, I as builder labour, John as bricklayer and Con the contractor who was a bricklayer and concreter. So I was usually on the mixer mixing the concrete, one was with a wheelbarrow taking the concrete from the mixer to the foundations or to the concrete stumps that we were concreting and one was fixing the concrete in place.
Fixing the concrete for the foundation was physically the lightest job, when we were mixing the concrete with this mixer on site, but it also was/is the most responsible job, because while concreting the foundations first of all you have to make sure that the steel rods reinforcement was in the right position, at the same time you had to pack the concrete down and then the concrete in the foundations has to be finished level, this was easy when the ground was level, but when the ground was not level, it was necessary that some steps were made and they had to be to gauge, which was equal to the thickness of one or two laid bricks or more, or perhaps the thickness of a laid block, if blocks were going to be used to build the walls on this foundation, whatever was going to be used to lay on the foundations, we had to try to make an adjustment while we were laying the foundations; therefore this was the job for the experts, at that time it was not that hard, because mixing by hand even using a mixer was a slow job, so the bloke that was fixing the concrete had plenty of time to do his job right. 
Here are some typical steel reinforcement used in buildings, there are many more types and sizes. Note the way the steel has been tied up for the foundations or beams, there are also loose steel bars that could be used, we used 4 10 mm rods in stumps

What I have written above is how we used to lay some small foundations in the early sixties, which are much the same as we would lay foundations today, except that today we just order concrete already mixed, but we have to be really ready with everything and everything has got to be in the right place, because the concrete ready-mix truck will unload its concrete very quickly, so there is no time to do anything else except to fix the concrete at the right level as quickly as possible and as required.
Concreting stumps on site
Concreting stumps on site
Now let me go back again to the early sixties, when we were concreting these stumps on site, as this is not done very much today, the reasons for this change it is because the buildings have gradually changed in many ways and also today some of these stumps can be made in a concrete factory and when cured can be delivered to the building site, where the worker can erect them as required. There are other reasons also and later on we will be looking at this also.
To concrete these stumps on site we had some steel forms of various length, and these forms were assembled together with steel pins, so we first of all we would assemble these steel forms and then start to mix concrete, we had also make sure that the stumps were exactly in the right place by using the marked profiles and tight line between them. 
This is one short concrete stump with ants capping; These type of stumps could be used up to 2.4 meter high under the houses, after that a bigger stump would be required.

In this case it was an easy job for the fellow that is mixing concrete, but a lot harder for the blokes that had to pour the concrete in the stumps form-work and make sure that the stump was exactly in the right place and finished at the right height and were also plumb (perfect vertical position). It was also necessary that some reinforcing rods were placed in the right position with a purpose made devise. These are how we made those onsite stumps in the sixties.
These concrete stumps that we made in the sixties were better that the timber stumps that they were replacing, because it was an improvement as they did not rot with the passing of time, as the timber stumps were doing. But although they were easy to make, they were hard to move to a different position. So to anyone that is going to attempt to dig out these stumps to move them to a new position, they better think twice because I tell you that the part that is under the ground is a lot larger than the stumps at the top. Remember what I said in our previous hub, we had to dig a hole sixty centimetre dip in the natural ground, and at the bottom should be a level base not less than forty centimetres square.
I believe that we have said enough in this post and we will be coming back to talk about more building work in our next post. See you soon.

Menfranco general blog
Concrete requires team work
Next time with, another building post  
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