Sunday, July 25, 2010

Completion of phase I walls

We finished the walls for the first floor of the tower bedrooms early Wednesday morning - a total of 17 hours for the crew of eight. In place volume was 33 yards - nearly fifty yards of loose materials - and 90 sacks of cement.
This wasn't straight ramming bottom to top because as we worked our way up we were installing window boxes, horizontal reinforcing, plumbing vent lines, a block-out for the bond beam, and rebar dowels for the upper floor slab.

The block-out for the bond beam was the trickiest component. We want the two-story rammed earth wall system to appear continuous on the exterior face, without the concrete bond beam interrupting the verticality. To accomplish this we rammed a 6" thick 16" high thin wall of rammed earth to the exterior face of the form. To clarify: once we had brought the rammed earth up to the level of the bottom of the bond beam (7'-6" above finished floor) we installed a 16" high form inside of the wall forms, kicked back to the inside panel. This created a space to ram the 6" x 16" veneer wall.

Next step is to tie horizontal reinforcing steel in the bond beam and run the electrical conduits up for the second floor walls. We'll pour the bond beam at the same time as we pour the foundations for the front set of earth walls. We're forming these right now.

The two photos in this post show the wall building system: mix rig, elevating conveyors, delivery conveyor and chute, and rammers about two feet from the top of the wall.

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