Updated: Apr 22, 2020
They say “beauty attracts the eye, but what’s within captures the heart”. If this is true, then the foundation of your home should be seen as the real solid stuff that good things are made of!
Look, let’s not pretend that I don’t love a great looking interior…so, when it came to cutting the site and laying the beginnings of the foundation slab, I’ll be honest – it didn’t really grab me either in the beginning.
But, as time’s gone on, my respect for the process and understanding the importance of what it takes to get this right has grown substantially!
Because our house is pretty darn heavy ( a construction consisting of clay block walls and a concrete slab roof ) it required a structural engineering design and it was vital we got this right. It is - after all - the base that the rest of the house is built upon. As always, there were a few road blocks along the way which held us up with the concrete pour, but we will get into these later. For now though the process from start to finish of the foundation went something like this:
Prior to the site being cut our builder Cam Shaw from CBS Construction suggested we build a retaining wall at the back of the section for two reasons: firstly this gave us a level more user-friendly site for landscaping and secondly it allowed us to use the retainer to backfill the lifted pumice and soil. At the time it was an extra cost in the budget, but it has reduced the costs of trucking topsoil away from the site and then later trucking it back on for landscaping at the end of the build - ultimately saving us both time and money later down the track.
Once the site was cut and the box up complete, we then placed the insulating pod system made by Firth called Ribraft X-Pods. These were quick to install and produced very little waste. The material used to create the pods is recycled plastic, highly resistant to moisture and degradation and so maintains thermal integrity allowing for the long -term benefits of a better insulated home. Something we loved the sound of!
After the pods and the steel were down, our engineer inspected both and signed off on everything, as well as the scheduled council inspections which meant we could finally pour the concrete and move on to the next stage - laying the Porotherm block.
Little things to note that held us up along the way: additional geotech analysis – because our house is considered a structural engineered design the engineer required further density testing specific to our region, so, we needed extra geotech inspection done to satisfy him that the finished ground was up to the task of supporting the weight of our home. There were also additional starter bars that couldn’t be chemset at a later date that we needed to get into the pad prior to the pour. All in all - we took our time and made sure we got it right before we laid the concrete and had a ‘major’ on our hands. Our mantra on repeat – ‘good things take time’! I’m sure this will come up a lot along the way, but for now we are ready for the Porotherm Block and I’m excited to be sharing Our Clay Block Home journey with you along the way.