Starting Blockwork

Dry concrete

When we returned from working at the show we couldn't wait to check on our newly laid concrete. It looked fantastic, and was surprisingly level - we checked with the laser level. Now at last we could start to build upwards!

... Well we thought we could but the Great British weather had other ideas...

Wet concreteA sudden downpour filled up the trenches and we found that instead of building a house we appeared to have built a miniature canal system.

The concrete pad sealed the waterway beautifully and so we ended up having to dig a drainage trench to let all the water out.

Several days were lost digging this trench and sweeping the water out.

Drainage trenchTypically as soon as the trench was dry another shower came and the process began all over again.

Eventually the rain subsided and we were able to start laying concrete blocks. This stage was particularly nerve racking as it was the first test of our earlier measurements.

If we hadn't marked out the site accurately or been able to dig along the lines our concrete base would be in the wrong place and it would not be possible to build our house on it!





Les (of the JCB bucket fame) came over and helped us to set the corners out. If we could get the corners in the right place then the rest would be easy as we could work to a string line pulled tight from corner to corner.

Our house (a 'Garnstone with sunroom' from the Oakwrights' Woodhouse Range) is an L shape so there were lots of measurements to check. As well as checking the length and width of each section of the building we needed to check the diagonals which would ensure the corners were at right angles and the building was square. This is more difficult than it sounds as without diagonal trenches to run our tape measure along we had to transfer our measurements from above the ground onto the concrete foundations 500mm below the ground. This was cleverly achieved by using a spirit level held vertically in the right place and using the base of it to indicate where the corner block should be positioned.First blocks



Once all the corners had been marked out we laid a couple of blocks in each corner and with fingers crossed that the rain would hold off, we left the cement to set.