Working within the lines - Alan digging the footings under the watchful eye of Greg

Digging the Footings

Thursday June 11

A little to the left

Many projects will be setout (accurately marked) by a surveyor, so you build exactly where you want to (and where you told the authorities you were going to build). This is especially important if you are building on or near a site boundary or other important features. The builder and myself marked out the building area for 60k House as best we could, but there was still room for minor adjustments – moving a bit further away from that big old tree stump or swinging the angle of the building around ever so slightly. Once the exact location was confirmed (and measured as being square) timber pegs were driven into the ground and trestles made so string lines could be attached and pulled tight (apologies for not having a photo of this). I then used spray paint to mark the outline before removing the string lines so the excavator could move in. This was happening the same time as the driveway was being formed.


Alan digging the strip footing with the 3.5 ton excavator

Benefits of being a local

Greg (the builder) is a local – he lives in Woodbridge, only 5 minutes drive up the road. That’s a useful thing – quick to pop back to his shed to pick up any tools or materials, and easy for him to visit my site. The weather isn’t much different between Flowerpot and Woodbridge. Greg had been keeping an observant eye on the weather forecast over the weeks leading up to the scheduled start date. We were running on a tight time schedule – the deadline to pour the slab was June 23 (will tell you more about that when I discuss finance). If everything ran smoothly the deadline could be met. If. No margin for delays.


Alan owns an excavator and lives up the same road as my parents, where I grew up. Alan had just done some work for my parents and had impressed. The excavator operator that Greg usually contracted to dig footings was unavailable so I gave Alan a call. Thankfully Alan was available – to work on the driveway to provide site access for the concrete trucks and also to dig the footings.


The strip footings dug with trestle on the left for the string line

The strip footings dug with trestle on the left for the string line

Chatting one time (probably waiting for a gravel truck to turn up) we realised that Alan was in grade 10 at Woodbridge school the same year that I started kindergarten. There are many benefits of employing locals, including putting money back into your local community. Locals are also more likely to help you out if and when you need. You can’t beat local connections.


Using the auger to bore the piers beneath the strip footing

Using the auger to bore the piers beneath the strip footing


Costs: excavator digging the footings – $530


Disclaimer: Any advice contained within this blog is of a general nature only and cannot be relied upon. Details provided are in good faith and relate specifically to this project. Any author will not be held responsible for advice or information presented.

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