Remarkably Little Dirt

After lunch, the bobcat fun resumed (watch it on Foundation Cam!). At first, much of what the bobcat was doing was sorting through the sand for chunks of concrete hidden there, and stacking them off to the side.

A chunk this large could weigh hundreds of pounds, putting it beyond a reasonable weight for a construction worker to lift.

Concrete chunk

The bobcat then turned to pushing clean dirt down into the hole. Jose sprayed it down lightly, to help with compaction, and also to increase the level of irony in this post.

Spraying down

Then the guys pushed it around with shovels to get it into a nice level layer that they could compact. The engineered lifts had to be about six inches deep.


Once the slope was shallow enough, the bobcat could help spread the dirt out, which made work go a lot faster.

Bobcat helping

There was a lot of picking up and moving of large chunks of concrete, to get them out of the hole and then to keep them out of the way.


The bobcat operator made what turned into a large pile of chunks off to the side.

Chunk pile

Slowly the compacted fill around the house grew deeper and deeper.

Lifts of compacted fill

The big excitement of today, though not as complete as I'd hoped, was the beginning of the engineered fill between our house and the neighbors'.

Side work

They can't complete the sides yet, because there's going to be formwork to strip from the front foundations next week (the pour is tomorrow, remember). But they can work well along the side there.

Side backfill

When they left today, they'd pulled out the makeshift bracing and begun to fill in with dirt.

Side backfill

The guys worked together, with one person spreading dirt, another hosing things down, and then everybody on a vibrating compactor.

Compacting soil

I took a brief trip under the house to see the view from there.

Spreading soil

When the bobcat brought a load of dirt to spread next to the house, it was as if he was going to drive into me.

Bobcat operator

With the shallow slope, the bobcat kicked into high gear and began delivering dirt around the house, then he spread the dirt and smoothed it out with the bucket, ready to be run over with the compactors.

Taking it around the side

Having the machine handle the spreading made things a lot faster, and in an hour they chewed through more of the pile than they had in the rest of the day (well, most of the day they'd been pulling out concrete chunks).

Spreading soil

By the time they finished for the day, the yard was starting to look very yardlike again.

Done for the day

And the pile was down by, well, about a third. There's still going to be plenty of dirt to haul away, but it was really nice to see so much of it disappear back where it belongs.

Half a pile

It's almost a shame to cover up half those walls, but now if somebody falls out the back door, it's only about a seven foot drop.

Wall with soil

It's almost hard to believe that this can be coming to an end.

Minus the hole

While one crew worked on the backfilling all day, another whole crew busted their butts all day on the front formwork. The concrete truck is showing up at noon tomorrow, so all the forms needed to be braced and ready.

Meanwhile: formwork

At 2:30, the structural engineer came around for an inspection and was very happy.

Front formwork

The tie-downs are held over the forms with these reusable plastic holders. that keeps them roughly straight up and down, and at the right height for the eventual sill plate to fit over them and be bolted to the foundation.

Tie down

Tomorrow there will be more backfilling, plus concrete in the front.

posted by ayse on 08/31/05