Stem Walls Are In. Next Up: Drainage

It is nearing mid-August and we just returned from a much needed vacation to find our foundation progressing nicely. KH Concrete has done a solid job completing the stem walls and getting us ready to move to perimeter drainage and backfill work in the coming weeks. Once that is done, we will move on to the much-anticipated creation of SIREWALL to begin construction of the Hall of Life.

Needless to say, as each step in this long process takes place our excitement builds. The Living Building Challenge has brought us into close relationship with each product used at every stage of the build. We are spending hours researching and choosing products that are most ecologically sound. When these products are used to manifest the structure of the home there is a sense of rich gratification.

Some recent challenges: finding non-PVC, LBC compliant exterior drainage pipe. Turns out that ABS piping with the appropriate specs does not come pre-perforated and the drill that perforates the pipe often melts the ABS. The pipe supplier in our area was not willing to drill the holes prior to delivery and we could not be sure that–after paying them in-full for the special order ABS and attempting to drill the holes ourselves with a $1000+ drill bit–that we would be able to perforate the pipe adequately. Too risky.

So, we’ve moved on to Advanced Drainage Systems HDPE slot pipe which is non-toxic, corrugated black pipe that requires slightly more work to install and protect after installation. The pipe can theoretically buckle under heavy machines working overhead during the next phases of construction if they get too close to the foundation. We will address this by laying down cribbing boards at ground level above the installed pipe to distribute weight and prevent buckling below. When this step is complete, we will move on to backfilling the foundation on the interior to allow for pouring of floor slabs (along with the radiant heat rough-in). Then on to SIREWALL by months end followed shortly by framing.

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