Once the foundations for the external walls were poured it was necessary to pour a second layer of concrete to form a low, 400mm thick wall upon which the straw bales themselves can sit. This wall will keep the bales elevated above the ground and away from any moisture and rodents.
As the first pour of concrete was split across two levels the new wall also needed to be different heights to make up for the height discrepancy so that the top was level. This meant that on the lower side of the building the concrete wall needed to be 1.5 meters higher than the poured concrete base while on the higher side the wall needs to be only 600mm above the base.
In order to reduce wastage and save costs we decided to make our own shuttering from the wood that will be used later in the roof and internal stud walls. The vertical 2 x 6 inch timbers holding the shuttering plywood are 3m high and have not been cut so they can be re-used.
Peter takes a breather from bolting the shuttering together.
Here you can see some threaded rod holding the two sides of the shuttering together. It has been slipped through some old plastic piping to ensure it can be pulled out afterwards. It worked very well.
The thicker threaded rod protruding from either side of the shuttering is stainless steel and will be left there permanently. It will serve as an anchor point for the lorry straps which will be used to ratchet down the straw bales and ensure the roof does not blow off in even the strongest of winds.
Peter taps his spanner against the future roof beams which are held against the vertical timbers to ensure they will hold the heavy weight and pressure of 1.5m high concrete! It was may be ‘overkill’ but it would have been a disaster if it had failed while pouring the concrete.
One of four such holes in the center of the building, this hole will be filled with concrete to provide a base for the posts that will support the roof’s ridge beam.
The future water and electricity supply pipes coming through the foundations.
Inside corner of the shuttering. All of the wood pictured here will be used later in the building.
The two wall heights are clearly apparent in this photo. The 3m lengths of 2×6 standing vertically are used to support the shuttering for 1.5m high section of wall running along the bottom of the site where the pressure from the concrete will be much greater.
Just about there!
Bonus: Did you spot the glass of water in the photos above? We hope this provides a valuable lesson on the importance of wearing adequate hand protection and the dangers of superglue. Peter has since become accustomed to his new arrangement and continues to take a “glass half full” approach to life in spite of his physical handicap.
Up next: Pouring the Concrete Footings