Welcome to our blog, Affordable rentals
and our post, building houses from scratch
The workers cottage are the smaller version of the Queenslander and they have been build for the working community, so that they can afford them.
Building houses from scratch
My story of building affordable houses from scratch
Let me say this, one of the reasons why I have started writing all these articles about building houses is because, I would like to tell you the story of my life and what I did when I came to Australia; but at the same time I would like to say something useful to my readers, and I believe that knowing how the houses are built might be useful for my readers, since knowing a few things about building houses comes handy at times; you see, we all live in houses and therefore we would like to know as much as we can about them.
Now what I might be telling you here is the story of my life and how I worked in the building industry, but while I am doing that I am going to make an effort to describe how these building things were and are done with as many details as I can, so that anyone interested in houses might be able to learn something useful from these building articles.
Now has I have explained already in my last hub, I was working in the building industry with this Italian builder, we were starting to build houses from scratch. As I have already said at the beginning of the sixties most of the digging were still done by hand, specially the type of work that we were doing on these new houses, as machines then were used mostly if there was a lot of digging to be done and with the machines one can only dig straight forward things and not small detailed digging as they were required to do for these type of houses, anyhow as I said, I did a lot of this digging work as I was employed as builder labour.
Therefore now, let us imagine that I have finished digging these stump holes and some foundation for this new house, as I have explained in my previous hub, and now, we need to concrete the foundation and also the concrete stumps. So let us go over what we had to do, because in those times these things were started from scratch.
Making your own concrete
Making your own concrete on site from scratch
Let me explain, what is meant by concrete in buildings and how it is made would be good to know; if during your life you are going to do any sort of renovations, it would be useful to know how to make your own concrete properly, so that you might understand what is required and how and why it must be done in certain ways, you will find it written in this hub. Some people might say here that today thing are usually done in a different way, so why bother to tell us all this stuff about how to mix concrete properly, when we can buy the concrete ready mixed by truckload, or in bags and all you have to do is to add water to make concrete.
But I believe that you still need to know how concrete is made from scratch, because that is the only way if you don’t want to make costly mistakes. Therefore, let me tell you how we were mixing our own concrete in the sixties and also what is usually required to do that and how it is supposed to be done, if you want a good job done and the concrete to last a long time.
By the way here I need to clarify one thing as I am worried that some people might not be sure what is meant by the word concrete, because usually they would replace it with the word cement, on building the word concrete means all the element mixed together able to harden to a solid consistency within a certain length of time, therefore it has got to be done the right way.
One of the most important things while mixing concrete is that the concrete should be well mixed and to a workable consistency using the least amount of water possible, because if too much water is used then the concrete becomes weaker, therefore it must be done properly.
Usually concreting and other jobs are done according to its specifications, you see any good firm that makes building plans, which may be just a small house or something else of more importance, and they have to writes also the specification how the job needs to be done. In these specifications it will be written what material to use how to use it and also the quantity and quality required. Therefore to concrete say a foundation for an average small house, the specification written in those times could usually say that the concrete should be mixed to a consistency at least 1 to 6; for people that knew this it meant that to mix the concrete you should use 1 part of Portland cement 2 parts of river sand and 4 parts of gravel (aggregate) and mix it as required until an even consistency is achieved. For the stumps usually would be a bit more cement than the foundations. But I have to say that sometimes even these rules had to be changed a bit depending on the material that could be delivered on that local site.
Now let us say that we are ready to start mixing the first batch of concrete, as we have made everything ready, and everything has been delivered. To make concrete you need at least four elements of materials plus clean water; 1 Portland cement, 2 washed river sand, 3 clean or washed gravel and 4 reinforcement steel rods, and also it is helpful if you have a mixer if you have to mix a large amount of concrete, because to mix by hand is hard work and the concrete needs to be well mixed.
Now let us start the mixer and make the first batch, while the mixer is turning around, the very first thing you put in the mixer is water, one must be careful not to put too much water to start with, it has got to be just enough to mix everything to a certain consistency, so let us say that we put 8 litres of water (the amount of water can be different, since it depends on the amount of water that is already in the (sand gravel) aggregate) then we put in the mixer cement, next is the river sand twice as much as the cement and then the clean gravel 4 time as much as the cement; here the mixer is going around and mixing everything together.
For people that do this job all the time it is easy for them to see if the concrete that is being mixed has the right consistency required; if it is too dry just add a bit of water and if it is too wet you have to add a bit of everything else. There you are it is not too hard if you know how to do it.
What I have written above here applies only to house building of less importance, for building that are large and important the concrete needs to be to a very high standard and specifications.
Building houses from scratch
IS GOING TO BE CONTINUED;
Next time with another building or renting
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