Here we are at the start of the second of our constructions for 2014, all buildings are only as good as their foundations, so its important that students understand the importance of a good foundation. The key is to understand one thing first and that is the “frost line” this is the depth to which your soil freezes in the winter, you may be lucky and in your global region there is no frost but in most temperate climates where the majority of humanity inhabits there is an issue with frost. Our frost line is 60cm that means the soil in our region freezes to a depth of 60cm, so failure to dig to or below this depth for our foundation would lead to serious damage to our building in most winters. Frost heave which is caused by waterlogged ground freezing and swelling can literally break a house in two leaving you with irreparable damage in the worst cases but expensive to fix damage if your lucky.
The first job is to mark out the pace for the building and remove the precious top soil. This time round with less students and new tyres on the garden tractor we made good use of the tractor and it’s trailer to move the soil to a site where we can use it productively.
Many blisters. moans, groans and whinings later we had moved the top soil, I should mention not everyone was involved in the iterations of complaints some people do know when enough is enough and other contributed more than enough for everyone.
The next stage is to mark-out and dig the trench for the rubble to fill later.
The subsoil from this stage is to be used later for rendering and plastering the straw bales so it only has to be piled in the centre until it proved to be too much soil for the space.
A few more blisters, many more moans, groans and whinings later we had moved the sub soil and were left with a trench.
Now we had to re-fill the trench with course rubble left on site from the deliver for the previous build.
A few more blisters, many more moans, groans and whinings later we had the trench refilled with rubble ready for the next stage, the stem wall. I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes from Khalil Gibran by the end of this stage “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”