After graduation, it made reasonable sense to go work for a bank. I had my finance and economics degrees, strongly believed in the importance of fiscal independence and honestly, really enjoyed wearing the suits. It wasn’t long however before I found myself on a mission to discover a more challenging career, one that provided me with a greater variety of tasks in a day and where my efforts ultimately contributed to the creation of a tangible product. This is the story of a girl from Montreal, who made the big move out West and joined a real estate development team in Vancouver. A complete newbie to the construction world and the countless associated particulars, this will be an account of my journey through my very first project. If you have ever wondered just what goes into creating Home Sweet Home, you will likely enjoy this.
Blog Post #3
June 5th, 2012
With the excavation now complete and the underground stream somewhat under control, the construction site at Bloom has become a busy place. Our foundation permit allows us to build up to the suspended slab and we are not wasting any time. First things first: Formwork.
Formwork involves the use of wooden forms (or moulds), concrete and reinforcing steel. Ultimately, with a lot of elbow grease, it will result in the creation of the structure of the parkade. Footings and pads, the supporting base of the parkade walls & columns, are created first. This is done by placing square and rectangular forms at various locations around the site as specified by the architectural drawings.
Concrete is then poured into the mould and Rebar strategically placed. Once set, the moulds are ripped off and the boys can begin to form the walls and columns themselves. As you can see from the photo above, the columns are erected by attaching additional rebar to the vertical steel rods that were previously set in the square pad. A rectangular ‘Jenga’ looking form is then slid over these rods and the column is ready for concrete.
A somewhat similar process is applied when prepping the walls. A large wooden form made from plywood and 6 x 6s is placed where the outer edge of the retaining wall will eventually be. Rebar is then interlaced in a crisscross pattern and the corresponding form is secured in place. Once enough moulds are prepped and ready, the concrete truck comes by to complete the job. These moulds will sit for approx 1 day before the wood is removed and the final product revealed.
All this work is preparing us to pour the slab on grade. After all, once the parkade floor is complete and the walls and columns are poured, we can lay the formwork for the suspended slab and get out of that hole! Before we can even think of this however, we have to lay the electrical conduits. Conduits are essentially hollow pipes that are often made from PVC and vary in size depending on the purpose. Electrical conduits will run underneath the parkade floor stemming from BC Hydro’s transformer kiosk on the south-east side of the site to Bloom’s main
electrical room which is located halfway down Langside Ave. From here, two separate trenches will run parallel to Langside, paving the way for BC Hydro as well as the Telus and Shaw conduits to Bloom’s secondary electrical rooms located on either end of the site. Electrical feeds will then disburse throughout the site and ultimately supply power to the homes at bloom. It is interesting to note that the trenches are dug and the electrical conduits placed without any wires inside. In fact, the only thing that you will find in these pipes when they are installed is a string that will eventually be used to pull the electrical, cable and telephone wires through.
Another aspect of the development that must be addressed before the slab can be poured is the underground plumbing. Enter our Mechanical Engineer. Among other things, he will provide the drawings that indicate exactly where the underground storm and sanitary lines should be located in order to effectively remove all storm and sewage runoff from the site. The sanitary lines are responsible for directing all water used within a home to the city’s sanitary pipe which eventually flows into a sewage processing plant. At Bloom, this will include all water used in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks, toilets and tubs. The storm pipe on the other hand, will take care of all water that is cast on us by good old’ Mother Nature and will flow this water into the city storm sewer and out into a nearby body of water.
At this point in time, our number one goal for Bloom is to be able to offer actual show suites for potential buyers to walk through as soon as possible. In order to accomplish this EJM, our construction management team, will need to work east to west in order complete the building along Breslay Street where we hope to show-off the two homes below (click to enlarge).
With the underground piping at the east end now complete, the final step is to ensure that the dirt is properly graded and leveled. Crushed rock is then brushed over the dirt to facilitate water flow and compacted to guarantee that the foundation does not sink overtime.
The last thing to do will be to pour the concrete and the parkade floor will officially be complete. Our target date for the completion of the first building is mid September and with all this work well underway, it’s starting to look like we will be right on schedule!