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February 2017

Vinnie (our drainlayer) came back to site yesterday after finishing up his other job and got working on finishing our new public sewer connection. With the rain that we have been having in Auckland for the last couple of days this has made a bit of a mess on site. We are hoping to have all these works finished this week so we can pour the ROW and vehicle crossing next week and get all the Resource Consent works finished and signed off. Then we can apply for building consent.

I'd actually made a booking for our dog Evie to have a groom and a clip today and this is the dog that I had to take to the groomer.  

 

It was a bit wet on February 16 & 17. The rain started on Wednesday night, continued all through Thursday and Thursday night and then finished off about 10am Friday morning. This rain  caused us a few problems on site. Not the least that all the holes on site have flooded. If you look in the below image you can see that the water tanks are buried in water.This is not good as if the tanks are not full then they can 'pop' out of the ground and then you have to get a massive crane in to lift the tanks, re dig the hole and then put the tanks back in. VERY expensive. Luckily Joel has been filling up our tanks and they haven't popped! Joel and Vinnie also spent the morning pumping out the water from around the tanks using the submersible pump so it is looking a little better now. 

 

Well at least better than the front yard, which has completely subsided. Just after we thought that perhaps it was ready to be grassed! So now we have to buy in some more top soil, spread it around and the sow the grass

Vinnie's worked at the house again on February 21 (after taking a bit of a break with the HEAVY rain).  He dug in the overflow for Margaret's (next door) tanks. The only problem is that somehow in the process of doing this he managed to break the phone and internet connection to our house. The funny thing was that he definitely didn't hit any cables relating to our existing house. He wasn't even digging anywhere near them. It seems to be that the vibrations from the digger (which shake the whole house when its moving) have been enough to jolt the phone line and stop it working! So we've been without phone or internet for 2 days. Very fun when you work from home. 

 

However Chorus came out today and have run a temporary line while someone else comes out to give us a new permanent connection.   And then Vinnie knocked down the old water tanks at both 119 and 117a First View Ave. Quite exciting to see them go. 

We spent the most beautiful sailing weather weekend of February 26 and 27, not out on the water with our friends, but instead sweating our hearts out in the dirt and dust of the Living House digging fence posts into gravel and erecting fencing panels. After the end of the first day we had a few holes with some fence posts in.  And then the next morning my 'white' dog looked like this after rolling around in the dirt and dust on site. And then at the end of the second day we had some fencing panels up along the ROW for the Living House. Still quite a bit more fencing to go though!

Well today we have poured the first concrete pour on our new ROW. It is very exciting as it is the first time that the Firth Industries Declare certified concrete has been used in NZ. We are literally their very first customer! Firth's have supplied concrete before for other Living Building Challenge projects, but this is the first time that the concrete used holds the official Living Future label. 

 

However the day did not start well. I got a text at 7am from Aaron (our concrete layer) saying that we should cancel the pour as the weather was not looking good. I rang Firths and asked if we cancelled today when was the next time that we could get concrete. They said 2-3 weeks and that was probably a bit messy as it is meant to rain all of this week which would mean that all the pours this week could be cancelled creating a back log!

 

So we decided to go ahead with today's pour. Firth have been amazing and tried really hard to help us out by bringing forward the times of our deliveries to try and beat the rain. We changed from 1pm, to 10am to 9am.  And here is the first truck arriving at 9:20am! We have had Aaron, Darren and Joel on site today wheeling the concrete around and smoothing and pouring it all out. They have been doing an excellent job. However the bad news is that it has just started to rain a little bit. And its only 12:25pm! 3 hours early. I'm kind of hoping that it was just a passing shower, but it looks  little set it! DAMN IT. Fingers crossed that we aren't going to end up with massive problems. Currently it sounds as though we are going to have massive problems trying to expose the aggregate as the Masterfinish spec 380 won't set on the concrete, meaning that they wont' be able to expose it easily!