Friday, December 23, 2005

Passed Plumbing Inspection!

So we reached another milestone in the slab layout on Wednesday. We passed rough plumbing inspection. This is a big deal because all we have left is the electrical, rebar, and radiant flooring and the slab will be complete. The slab has been a monumental undertaking because of it's complexity, however with the elimination of the underslab ductwork in future iT Houses we expect to shave off several weeks off the process. The cabinets are in production with Systems 32 and we are lining up all of the subs who will work on the interior of the project. While all this has been going on we've been sending out lighting orders, finalizing the schedule for the Bosch frame, and putting together the necessary items that will need to follow the framing system. It is akin to being in a commercial kitchen- lots of pots, some hot, some not- you just have to keep them moving.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Taalman Koch Architects!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Week 11: Plumbing

So this week we were supposed to be wrapping up the slab and moving on to the Bosch framing system. However, we've made every attempt to be extra carefull in cross checking our layouts so that everything is perfect. This is the part of the project we don't want to rush, because it will be harder to fix later. It's been really educational and will help us solve some of the complications on future iT Houses. After backfilling on Monday the crew came back and then re-trenched for the interior footings and plumbing runs. After some field layout with the plumber on Wednesday the excavation crew dug the plumbing trenches only to find that the concrete covering the ducts was too close to the surface to allow for some of the sewer runs (which must drop at a ¼” per foot). After the plumbers crew chipped out some of the concrete and did their “take-offs” work commenced on the actual piping. This morning Alan and I went to the site to check the work and overall things looked pretty good. A lot of the problems with the plumbing runs occurred because of the ductwork having been placed first, as well as the fact that the iT House has hardly any walls, or places to conceal the plumbing (which has its own set of eccentricities dictated by the Universal Plumbing Code or UPC for short). However, the delays have helped us to redesign some things so that the next iT House will be easier. The bend in the picture above is an “island vent” used in lieu of a vent stack. It allows for some pressure differential so that the gasses, etc… will travel to the vent stack in some other part of the building.

Monday we should be pretty far along with the sewer piping and into the gas and water supply. The plan is to go for plumbing inspection on Wednesday and then push onto electrical for Thursday. We’d hoped to have the slab poured by Christmas but with all of the delays caused by the under-slab mechanical system it looks like it is going to be happening in January.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ducts get covered.

Well, we finally made it. Alan and I showed up at 800AM to finish building some formwork around the ducts and then waited for the concrete truck to show up. It was only after the pumper got set up that we realized that we were going to get dirty. I manned the pump hose while the pumper got his machine cleaned out and got the honor of spraying the first load of concrete into the trenches. The hose was pretty difficult to handle and weighed about 100 lbs. as it was full of concrete. Alan, the pump jockey and I spent the next three hours moving from trench to trench methodically filling in the space around the ducts. It is key that when one is pouring concrete over duct work that the concrete be poured around all of the ducts evenly. If you put too much on one side, the weight will cause the ducts to collapse. It was a pretty stressful exercise, but between the three of us we made it happen. 4 hours and 20 yards of concrete later the job was done and the site was ready for the concrete subs guys to come back in and backfill over the ducts.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Passed duct inspection!

We passed duct inspection today. Tomorrow the plan is to fill in the areas around the ducts with concrete and then backfill on Friday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Week 10: More Ducts!

This week we are finishing with the underslab duct work for the iT House. It has been quite a learning experience for everyone involved in regards to means, method, and time. It is amazing to see the ducts go in and the agility that the mechanical subs have in cutting, fitting, and fastening them. Tomorrow we go for inspection and then fill in the areas around the ducts with concrete to insultate them. After that we will backfill and start on the final footing and utility layouts.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Make sure those “ducks” are straight!

More comments today from Don. Today, we were trading jokes about throwing things. It started with me asking Alan to “throw me the hammer”. This was proceeded by Don offering to “throw me a piece of rebar” and so on.

At this point we have had guys digging trenches for a week and there is no sign when they are going to be finished. Each time we re-measure the center-lines for the register grilles they seem like they are a bit off from where we were before. It is truly one of those experiences that makes you feel like you are missing the big picture. Alan and I have been diligently re-checking our dimensions in the computer at the office, but find that things are still just a little off the mark in the field. It’s exhausting work and puts a big strain on the mind because you are visualizing things that as of yet do not exist and are having to plan for things that will not happen for a couple of months down the road. As much as we’ve checked and re-checked things we won’t know exactly how things turn out till the slab is done and by then it will be too late.

All this and we’re only into the HVAC system! Next week should be moving on to plumbing, and the covering of the ductwork. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More “duck work” Madness

The HVAC subs called me at 7:30 am this morning to say that there are still problems with some of the trenches and that we need to lay out the box points so that they can set their register boxes. This is after he had said the day before that he didn’t need us for another couple of days. Alan and I flew out there on the 5 freeway and realized once we got to the site the amount of work that was involved. Normally with this type of under slab ducting you would excavate the entire slab area, lay out the ducts, form around them, and then re-fill the voids. We realized that by not insisting on this method we had set ourselves up for more work than we had bargained for.

3 hours later…

Don, the foreman for Rusher Air keeps referring to the ducts as “ducks” and is a non-stop supplier of sarcasm and friendly jabs. He was really patient with us though and was willing to work out solutions to some of the coordination problems rather than just grouse about how things were not going according to plan. It is key to have good subs who are problem solvers. The guys who create roadblocks or point the finger are no good to work with and for something as precise as the iT house, there are bound to be coordination issues- especially since this is the first one.

Alan threw together a master set of dimensions on a piece of card board and we set up a string line in various parts of the building so that we could orient ourselves in the mass expanse of dirt, and metal. After checking and re-checking our dimensions we realized that practically all of the dimensions were off by a little bit here and there. It appears that our digging crew “crept” the original lines with each swing of the shovel. It took us another hour to re-set the strings, place the stakes and dash back up the 5 freeway to Los Angeles.