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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Building and builders - Home.

Every now and then I get into the mood to improve something around the house. This time I decided that the carport where the boys park needed finishing. So we had the carport put up when GMan got his car. It was kind of in the right place, with enough "level" ground underneath for hi to park. Not really a great parking, but hey, that's what I could do then.

So, the fix was to build some retaining walls, back fill, and then throw a slab. Plus, LuckyL now has a car, and we have a "Venter" trailer, and the bike trailer (Parked here by a mate who does not have space for it), and 2 x XR200 Honda off-road bikes..

So basically a "space" partially covered by the carport, that could kind of accommodate one car. Venter trailer and bike trailer and one of the XR200 off-roads in the pic. O, and a pile of rubble I had the gardener dump there in anticipation of this back fill need. (Some months ago, so it's really overgrown)
So I get a builder (who has done some work at various units the Princess manages) to give me a quote. I supply the materials. Damn, building has become seriously expensive! If I had to build our home now, it would cost about 6 x what we spent in 2004!!!
So, I mark out the proposed walling, and the foundations dig starts.

One by Zimbabwean laborer (with work permit) doing the digging.

As is usual with these kind of jobs, you add on, make changes as you go along. So I had them dig an extra foundation for a low (1 - 3 brick high) wall. After pouring a slab on that, we would have a place to park the 2 x Honda's, and park the wheelbarrows, out of site, safe, and clean.
Then pouring the foundations. Amazing how much cement this consumes. I will list the total materials list later.

So the main wall has an average height of only 1.2m, but as it was to be a retaining wall, I wanted it 3 bricks wide. So, foundations are 600x 250. The smaller one, rhs of this above pic is for a 2 brick wall, so its 400x150 foundation.

We also had to accommodate a ramp, so that a) the bikes could be taken up and down, and the lawnmower needs to get to the lawn, and then back up to the lockup.
So a foundation for a wall that will form the side of the ramp.
Builders are seriously messy, and wasteful. However, as I had them doing the work mainly over weekends, I was there to supervise, and kick arse.
So, the retaining walls were done, and back fill started. The project was looking more and more like I had planned.
Aerial view of the planned lower slab, for the bikes and wheel barrows and stuff.
Pouring of the slab was done over two days. It totaled around 40m2 at the top, and another 7-8m2 on the bottom slab.

The finished product:-

Bike trailer parking
Ramp and bottom slab

Another view

Overview of the finished area!
So, the Venter trailer needed to be parked, secured, and out of the way. No problem. Mount a tow hitch ball to the wall, and hook it up!

Ball on the wall

Trailer, hooked up and secure, oh, and it tucks nicely behind the wall too!
 SO you would think that's done then. Not so, I had a mountain of materials left. So, look around, and decide to keep going. I had for a long time wanted to "clean up" the sections between the retaining wall ramparts (is that what they are called?). So I discussed this with the builder, we agreed a price, and they got going on "phase II"!
This is much simpler, narrow and shallow foundations for a 2 - 4 brick high single brick walls. Except for the corner unit, where I want to put a 5000lt Jo-Jo to catch up rainwater. There we going to pour a 100mm slab. For the rest, depending on how much building material I have left, 50 mm slab, or no slab. In that case I'm going to have some good soil delivered, and create vegetable gardens! Watch this space!!
2 Of the smaller "boxes" in front. The bigger "corner unit" for the Jo-JO is seen top right of the pic.
Will post more in my next blog. We nearly done now. Just have to compact and then pour the main slab.

So what did I have to buy?
1000 stock bricks. Do you know they now cost ZAR1.00 each (delivered)?
4m3 of concrete mix (That's stone and sand mixed)
2m3 of plaster sand
2m3 of building sand
64 bags cement
4m3 of unsifted building sand for filling (compacts very very well).
Needless to say the calculations were wrong. But after phase II of the project I have finished the bricks, including about 800 I had here left over for the original house build.
We have finished the building sand. The plaster sand that's left, maybe 2 wheelbarrows full will be used to finish the back fill of the corner unit. And there is just about enough building mix for the 2 proposed slabs. Oh, and now only 5 bags of cement.
Labour for phase I - ZAR 9,500
Materials total - ZAr 10,000
Labour phase II - ZAR 1,000 to date. Probaly another ZAR 600 or so to go.

After this, I don't think we will be doing any building work here for a while.



Jayne said...

Nothing is cheap nowadays is it?! Nice jobby tho' & I must say it looks very neat & tidy :-) Good idea about the towbar on/in the wall!

Divemaster Dad said...

Looks great, bro. I would be complaining about the labour cost, especially in phase 1. Did those Zimbo's have Masters Degrees that you had to pay them that much? :-)

Wreckless Euroafrican said...

Thanx Jayne.
DMDad - so here's the thing, I got a few quotes, and this was by far the cheapest. Having said that, I now have the number for the guys that do the actual work, so can cut out the "front man", and thereby save a moer of a lot of money!
But, till you have the direct line to the worker, you kind of dependent on the broker.

So now it's R200 / day per worker, irrelevant of his position (Digger / mixer / builder / plasterer......)

That said, have you had a quote for building work lately? I think you will be surprised by the cost of the labor component. In fact, builders today say that the material is 50% of the cost, so I did ok.