Time to Start Digging

They brought the big one

Hurray for Spring! The ground is still a little soft, but we decided to get started anyways. We had a local excavator come out to dig our utility trench and the circular foundation.

Frank came out by himself and did everything in about a day. I’m always impressed by how nimble these large machines can be with a professional operator, he did a great job digging the circular hole right along my marks.

FYI – Just a heads up, the build was started in Spring of 2018. We’re still catching the site up to where we are now in case anyone is wondering how we got everything done so quickly in the next few posts.

Before We Dig

We had to do a few things before we could start digging. I have a a 10 zone sprinkler system that needed to be clearly marked so we didn’t damage it. You can see the white chairs in the above image. These are marking the 4 sprinkler heads that we’re building the dome in between. I used marking paint and little flags to mark the water lines and other sprinkler heads. My neighbor was also kind enough to let us drive through the back field to access the back yard, so I had to take down a few sections of fence.

Off We Go

Remember how I spent all the time marking the irrigation lines? I was a little off with my markings and we snagged the main feed for the other side of the yard. Not a big deal, but something I didn’t plan on having to fix.

RIP irrigation line

We worked the trench around the rest of the water lines and finished up without tearing anything else out. Due to the size of the excavator, the trench ended up being 6 feet deep instead of 4. This was an unexpected surprise and we took advantage of it and buried a loop of water line 300 feet in total so we could experiment with some geothermal down the road.

Holy crap that’s a lot of trench

Frank finished up everything by tamping and leveling the base with the bucket of the excavator that gave us a nice level area to start. This was all done while my wife was at work. Needless to say she now understood the scope of the project and she may have freaked out a little when she first saw the backyard, but we’ll get it all back to normal in a few weeks.

The digging is done!

After the digging was done we had 14 cu yards of crushed stone delivered. This gave us enough for the base and some in reserve to spread around the outside of the walls. We then put our base plate together like we talked about before in the foundation design post. We also laid the sock pipe down before the gravel was spread and connected to the sump bucket. That’s the plastic circular thing in the bottom photo.

We then spent around 4 days with a laser level making sure everything was perfect. Even though it’s not needed with crushed stone, we tamped down the stone underneath the base plate to minimize any shifting when the building settles.

That’s it! We’re ready to start framing the bottom floor.

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