Archive for March, 2009

Detailing the Preprufe 160R Waterproofing

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

‘No leaks, I promise’ said Bill Brown.

Waterproofing Penetrations of the Membrane

Bill Brown’s team prides themselves on doing excellent work.  Excellent work includes taking care of all of the details.  When there is ground water and 500 psf of hydrostatic pressure, detail matters.

The reinforcing steel is held at least two inches away from the waterproofing and wood forms by threaded rods, which much penetrate the Preprufe 160R (white membrane).  Consequently, these penetrations must be detailed to ensure no water can get through to the concrete.

Jorge ensured each of the ~40 penetrations were detailed correctly, either by himself or his team.

Jorge ensures each penetration of the Preprufe 160R is detailed correctly.  Note the sunglasses to avoid glare.

Jorge ensures each penetration of the Preprufe 160R is detailed correctly. Note the sunglasses to avoid glare.

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Completing the Access Ramp to Platform and Ladder

Friday, March 27th, 2009

We put in a ramp to get to the ladder to go into the excavation. 

Ramp to platform to descend ladder into excavation.

Ramp to platform to descend ladder into excavation.

This ramp will receive lots of use until the exterior concrete steps are poured and protected.

Coring the Shotcrete Test Panel

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

It was a lot of work and was completed by 4:00 pm Pacific.  And the shotcrete core samples were delivered to HP Inspections by 5:15 pm.

Concrete Core Samples from the Shotcrete Test Panel

We completed the shotcrete test panel on Wednesday, March 18 so now we had to deliver the three shotcrete core samples to HP Inspections.  Bryan, under Jorge’s instructions, used a concrete drill to obtain the core samples.

Bill Brown provided a Hilti concrete drill with various coring bits (3 inch, 4 inch and 6 inch).  Drilling into the shotcrete test panel, with several layers of reinforcing steel, required anchoring the concrete drill to the test panel and then drilling slowing into the concrete.

Anchoring the Concrete Drill

We used a 5/8 inch bit to dril a hole into the shotcrete test panel.  This hole had to be 11 to 16 inches away from where the special inspector wanted the core samples taken from.  After drilling the hole, we used a Red Head Trubolt anchor bolt in the hole and then attached the concrete drill to that bolt.

Concrete drill with 3 inch coring bit attached to shotcrete test panel.

Concrete drill with 3 inch coring bit attached to shotcrete test panel.

Drilling Core Samples

Bryan used the 3 inch bit to obtain a core sample from the first two test locations that were scribed on the shotcrete test panel.  The drilling worked fine until the 3 inch bit went through the #8 reinforcing steel (rebar).  Unless drilled through the center of the rebar, there is very little concrete attached to the rebar and it breaks up.  This condition is exacerbated with a (relatively) small core size.  Thus, the first two 3 inch cores broke up when going through the large rebar locations. (more…)

Laying Out the East Mechanical Room

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

The East Mechanical room will be congested.  Yes, making it look simple will be complex and difficult.

East Mechanical Room

Many of the systems in our house will be in the East Mechanical room.  For example, we have the following:

  • Power inverters for the solar panels on the roof.
  • Breaker panel for east side of house (main and lower level).
  • Whole-house water filtering system.
  • Sewage ejector system for lower level.

We want the layout of the two mechanicals rooms to anticipate the space requirements for the various components that will be located in these rooms.

Heating electrical conduit so it curves smoothly and gracefully.

Heating electrical conduit so it curves smoothly and gracefully.

Electric Service and Breaker Panels

Meeting the functional requirements for our solar system translating those into a robust physical layout and placement of the components took some planning.  We want to embed the panels and infrastructure in our 10 inch concrete walls to reduce the visible conduit and pipes in the East Mechanical room. (more…)

Establishing the Four Corners of a Hole

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

It wasn’t easy.

Problem

We are putting a lower level under our existing structure so knowing where the four corners are should be easy, right?  The existing structure is being supported by concrete columns holding a double I-beam, which the existing East and West walls are bolted to.  These walls are anchored laterally to the ground, holding them solidly in place.   The support system was designed to withstand wind gusts to 100 mph.

The structure was surveyed prior to us starting any work at all, so the four corners of the existing house were identified and the coordinates established by Dunbar and Craig, licensed surveyors.  These four corners are still in place today.  The four corners of the house that were surveyed were the outside corners of the wood, which had 1/4 inch plywood and 1/2 inch moulding strips on top of.  These corners, which were probably not perfectly square to start with, have moved a bit in the almost 30 years since the existing house was built in 1969.  Plus, the house was rocked vigorously by the the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which measured 6.9, as the epicenter was only 14.7 miles from 17509 Via Sereno.

In hindsight, we should have exposed the corners of the concrete slab-on-grade and surveyed those points.

A beautiful, blue-sky California day with snow on the peak of Mt. Hamilton.

A beautiful, blue-sky California day with snow on the peak of Mt. Hamilton.

Projecting the Four Corners Onto the Working Slab

Our surveyers took the existing four corners, which have not moved, and established offset marks on the working slab.  When we measured the diagonal distance between the north-east and south-west offset points, and the north-west and south-east points, we found the lengths to be different.

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More Platinum in Palo Alto at 102 University Avenue

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Bill Brown called Bryan just before noon and asked if he could be in Palo Alto to look at some concrete walls.

‘No problem – meet you there,’ said Bryan.

Background

102 University Avenue is a mixed-use development that is pursuing LEED Platinum certification.  The sign at the project site outlines the key features of the building, including the Location and Linkages.  This building is located in downtown Palo Alto and is across the street from the train station, which goes to downtown San Francisco.  Also, the building is only minutes away from Stanford University.  A great location.

This is the second site in Palo Alto that we toured that is pursuing LEED Platinum certification.  The first site is under the LEED for Homes program, and is located at 2180 Bryant Street.

Sign outlining the building features for LEED Platinum certification.

Sign outlining the building features for LEED Platinum certification. The complete text of this sign is on the architect's web site (see below).

102 University project between 124 University (left) and parking garage (right).

102 University project between 116 University (left) and parking garage (right).

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