Construction week 5: pipes


Work resumed this week. “Sewer-gate” was resolved, in that our neighbours sewage pipe was relocated. It was an unfortunate setback, but we are very fortunate and thankful that our yellow-house neighbours were so cooperative. 

Our excavators performed each task this week twice — for us and our neighbours. Tasks included: digging trenches out to the street, digging up the road, laying down some pipe, connecting to the city storm & sewage, backfilling, and finally sealing the road. They managed to burrow underneath the sidewalks, saving the repair hassle BONUS. Once our neighbours house was connected through their new-fangled pipes, their old pipe was capped with concrete and removed from our hold. Felt good to get that behind us.

Double road cuts -- count them -- 2!!

Double road cuts -- count them -- 2!!

Mark lay our ground source heat loop over the weekend with a wonderful crew of helpers. Next week (aka, this week): more good things.

Construction week 4: Argh

We ran in to a bit of a surprise during the dig. Was it buried treasure? No, no it was not. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Turns out our yellow house neighbours have a sewage pipe that extends out perpendicularly from their house and several feet on to our land — precisely where our foundation needs to go — before making its way to the street .

It needs to move before we can continue building our home. We lost some precious time last week trying to wrap our heads around the issue. Every house is supposed to have its own separate sewage connection that runs directly out to the street, and not across adjacent property. But the yellow house was the first on the block. These rules did not apply 130 years ago.

Work is starting up again this Wednesday so hopefully not too much time was lost. Doulos will be starting the road cut and servicing work. 

We suffered an unfortunate knock last week. So hopefully we won’t be running in to more delays or ‘surprises’ this week. Argh feels more like F#$%.


Yep. It's a shitty pipe. That's for sure.

Soil bearing capacity test


I was expecting something more high-tech — maybe a glass box that would be filled with soil and mechanically compressed and measured for PSI. Nope. The engineer went into the hole with a hammer, scraped it in a few places, touched some dirt and said ‘yep, good to go!’. We have a report stating our dirt is comprised of glacial till, silty gravel with clay, cobbles at a bearing capacity of 100 kPa. I guess he just knows. Who knew?

Construction weeks 2 & 3


The digging started last Wednesday and by Friday, the entire hole was dug. It’s a great hole. Not too big and not too small. Juuuuust right. It was clean digging the whole way through. One larger root from the maple tree was damaged, but overall we were pleasantly surprised by how few roots we actually hit.  Some of the dirt our excavators from Doulos Construction removed is still sitting on site, ready to back-fill the foundation, when the time comes…

This week, on Monday, our surveyor is coming back to pin the corners of our foundation within the hole. On Tuesday, a geotechnical engineer is coming to do a soil bearing capacity test on our soil (to be sure it can withstand the pressure of a house). And we will be laying out our ground source heat loop, which is essentially 400m of polyethylene pipe that will be used to help warm/cool the air in our house (more on this later).

Looks like our week might be a bit slower than anticipated as we are still waiting for our road cut permit from the city. This permit process is separate from our building permit. Our excavator applied for the road cut permit on our behalf, but was only able to do so after we had been given our building permit. This is the permission we need to cut the road and connect to city services. We are dealing with a newly appointed city official, which unfortunately for us means slower-than-usual response times. Argh. We were hoping to have our plumber (Nathan from Ackland Plumbing) make his sub-slab connection and start filling the hole with granular and gravel. We shall see as the days progress.

But, let’s not forget: we have a hole in the ground! Mind you, it has filled with water over the weekend…Mark assures me it will drain.