Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Friday, March 11, 2011

building our house - part 3B - Foundation

after completing the strenuous brick making, the planning and execution of the foundation took a month.

the design was simple - to dig a trench around 18 inches wide and 24 inches deep along the walls. a total of 170 feet.
and this trench would have to be filled with stones and sand upto 18 inches from the bottom.
this combination will give a rock-solid base on which the walls will be built.

step 1 - the digging. over 4 hours with the Yanmar, DV shows his class. the dug-out soil will be used to raise the floor of the house.

step 2 - the marking. the exact dimension of the house is then marked off with pegs and connected with twine. any errors while digging will be then corrected manually and this twine will be the reference line for the foundation layers.

step 3 - call the experts. the stone-masons come into action.
first and importantly, the pooja. choose an auspicious day and always start at the the north east corner (sani moolam - the corner to appease saturn)

then bring on the rocks.

step 4 - on top of the rocks comes the sand. this sand is not river sand. it is sand dredged from the beds of the natural canals that transport rain water and flood water into the local lakes and tanks (in tamil it is called odai mann). it is very commonly used for construction and is also a way of keeping the canals in good shape without getting silted.

step 5 - the watering. the sand layer has to be heavily watered to allow the sand to seep into the crevices of the stone layer. and in places where the water creates a crater, more sand is added.

steps 3, 4 and 5 are repeated till the desired height is reached.
the total effort was contracted at Rs 1500, but the contractor walked out after day 1 and the last 25% of the work was completed by us.
1. the sand cost Rs 1800 to ferry.
2. the rocks cost Rs 600 to ferry.
3. the contractor cost us Rs 1300
4. the diesel for the yanmar would have cost approx Rs 200.

the whole process took 8 person-days of local labour and approx 5 person-days of pR labour.


SurveySan said...

fun fun fun.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have to put cement or lime mortar to the foundation? Is sealing it with sand sufficient? Did the contractor run away, because he thought the foundations are not good enough?