Construction has Started!!

View of the digging for footings and foundations.

   It’s 5 in the morning and I am wide awake, why? Because I was sound asleep by 9;30, that ladies and gentlemen is one of the defining signs your not a tourist anymore. On Easter Sunday 2017 I left New Jersey after selling the houses and lots of my personal items, left a great job, moved my savings overseas. All of that was hard but saying goodbye ( again , second overseas move) to the best parents in the world was hard, not to mention leaving the ex wife and my pup! But I had my goal and a desire to slow my life down and swim a lot in the warm Dominican waters so off to Newark Airport.

   The very next day after arriving, I broke ground on the second phase of Casa De Compai! This phase will be 6 one bedrooms 1.5 bathrooms with full kitchens, walk in closets, office station, and balcony. I restored my first house when I was 20 years old with my father and grandfather, it was a compete gut job. One of the lasting lessons I learned is when you think you know , grap onto something,  hold on and wait for karma to do its thing. For me the first learning curve down here was building in an earthquake zone. Not to many earthquakes in Southern New Jersey, and not to many all concrete homes. That is what I had to learn real fast, I hired a local contractor who has plenty of experience building larger condo complexes. One of the things I am very impressed with is his large work force, everything is done in his company. His staff did the sight plan, blue prints, engineer work, and pulled permits. All I had to do was pay!! After the paperwork was done the and everything finalized we broke ground the Monday after Easter Sunday. The crew showed up and laid out lines to start digging for footing and foundations. The crew had to dig down close to five foot to hit solid earth. This was a 2 week job in its self, I was climbing over mounds of dirt to get to the pump house to wash clothes. haha.

In this picture is the engineer and foreman  are inspecting the footings and rebar layout.

  After the footprint was dug out rebar needed to be set into the layout of the building. This is a lot more involved than you would think. The purpose of the reenforcing bar (rebar) is to give strength to the concrete to be able to withstand movement and not shatter. If you think of the Haitian earthquake the homes there didn’t have the correct layout or amount of rebar, so when the earth started to roll the concrete just shattered and the houses collapsed . The other common problem is beach sand is used to mix concrete, and the salt in the sand rusts the rebar causing major structural weakness. The correct layout is very important , the concrete must have the rebar inside, so when the rebar must maintain it’s shape when the concrete is poured into the forms. The rebar must also be connected horizontally and vertically to form one continuous structure.The correct way is to have the columns connected to the footings. Then every other cell in the block has rebar that starts form the footings and will continue to the top of that floor. That same cell that has the rebar also gets filled with concrete in every row! What I was very impressed with, and my friends who have lived here for decades said they never seen this next step done before. Every third row of block, rebar would be laid horizontally along the top on that row and attached to every vertical column. This ties the whole building into one giant frame. Also the right size of rebar must be used, and the correct mix of concrete also, to withstand the downward pressure of the higher floors.  New York City high-rises use 10,000 pounds per square inch of pressure concrete. In my building its 8,000 p.s.i. !! The way to insure your getting the correct concrete mix is to perform a slump test. As the concrete truck arrive a sample is poured into a small tube to be crushed in a giant press to insure the proper p.s.i.

The slump test tubes.

   As of the day of this blog post we have been working six and a half weeks and we should be pouring the floor for the second story. So far the construction has been going wonderfully, everyday I have at least the masonry foreman, the site foreman , the structural engineer, and now that the electrically outlets are being installed the electrical engineer is on site everyday. In the 30 years of construction I have never seen so many titles on a job this size.

  Thank for reading, if you like please share!

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