The next step?
Starting on the second level.
The second floor will pretty much follow the same procedure that we used for the ground floor. The only real difference is that the ground floor had all areas except the cisterns and the mechanical room backfilled.
The second floor slab will need to be completely decked out with plywood and supported from underneath before the re-bar, plumbing and electrical work can begin.
At the same time, the team needs to start in on the staircase so that it can tie in with the slab. The stairs demand special attention: they have to have a comfortable layout and the math has to work out, too. Mike and the team had to manipulate and review many different aspects...
Badly planned staircases can stir up a whole bunch of problems... less/more of a full step at the top/bottom of the staircase, tight landings, constrained headroom, and on and on.
Our original plans had a staircase that was too steep. The stair treads were too narrow and the step risers were too way too high for Mom's little legs! ;-)
Mike pointed out all of these flaws and proposed a far better layout. We were even able to create additional height under the second landing! We quickly took advantage of this new workable area and created a small office space underneath.
The difference between seeing things life size, when they are made to scale, and the way they look on paper is really funny. Many times what looked great in theory doesn't play out so well in real life.
I was so happy that Mike wasn't just working with plans, but with personal attention, too.
Many times contractors just keep building with a "stick to the plan, no time to iterate" attitude.
Mike was full of iteration!
The work began with building up the dividing walls within the home on the first floor. ICF was only used on the envelope of the structure. There were not many dividing walls because we opted for an open design with as few walls as possible. So, the bathroom walls and one bedroom wall was all it took to complete that task...
Next? Mike and the guys starting the "forming" work.
Jacks were placed under the decks to support the load of the men working above, as well as for supporting the heavy concrete that would be poured in the next few weeks.
Not only did they deck the inside spaces, but also the large terrace area that was planned for the second floor...
The second floor terrace took a while longer because Mike had to pour columns from the first level to the second level height. AND, they also had to form a trough to catch all of the rainwater. The plan was to pour the slab, the gutter system and the supporting beam underneath all together.
From the Second Floor
Once all of the formwork was complete, we placed all of the necessary re-bar required for the engineered slabs.
Toby & the Guys on the Second Floor
Once all of the re-bar was laid, our electricians, Freddie and Vanti, came back with their teams. They put down their infrastructure of conduit and pipe on the deck.
Freddie Laying The Infrastructure
Usually they stub out their conduit or pipes where there will be division walls or exterior walls. They began the work on the second level by picking up from where they had left off after the wall pour was complete downstairs. The conduit and pipes were still sticking out of the walls.
They always leave extra pipe sticking out in areas where they know that they will have to continue a run. Once again the water pipes were pressurized and checked. Freddie made sure that everything was where it should be and even added a little more for future flexibility.
Both men gave Mike their OK's on their ends.
One of the final steps was putting in the screeds like before, to make everything level for the inside and sloped for the outside areas...
Before calling Mr. Irving at West Indies Concrete for the pour, Mike and Toby go through their checklist and do a microscopic inspection!
Everything Looks Good
Now? It's time for the second floor pour!
The view from the second level is even more spectacular than the first. I can't believe we have already made it this far! Another set of walls, a couple of roofs, and that's it... we will move in.
Starting the Pour
Progress Was Perfect!
Next Step? Setting up the ICF walls for the second level. This time, the team is doing it all alone! Time will tell if the team are good learners... ;-)