Friday, 17 February 2012

The Builders

The assiduous reader of this blog will have noticed how fascinated we were by the rebuilding of Bab Taghout so you will not be surprised to learn that we have transferred this fascination to the new shop/house being built near us. It fronts onto the main road through Sidi Belkas and the houses opposite us back onto it. Strangely the builders  do not get their water from that house although they use the garage to store equipment but the water comes from the house next door to us. Initially it passed in a red plastic hosepipe across the street but this kept getting holes in from traffic driving over it so the solution was to pass it up in the air and it crosses the street above lorry height. It is some what irritating that the water source is next door as it exacerbates the the variable pressure difficulties. The leak that eventually led to the hosepipe being raised actually cut off the water for half a day but when restored was at much better pressure, since then we can either have really good pressure or a level that produces a dribble rather than a shower depending on what they are doing about cement and concrete.
The ground plan was laid out with chalk or flour or some other white powder but there was no need to put lines in as there was no danger of the chalk washing away. Then about a dozen men set to with spade to dig the footings; strangely they completed these before bothering with the drains. To save on concrete large bouldery stones were put in the dug out footings,  no boarding required, and the concrete added over it. All mixed by hand, no diggers, no concrete mixers, just lots of manual work.
Then the metal was added for the concrete pillars and then the bouldery stones were repeated over the whole footprint before concreting the floor. They are now doing the blockwork before pouring the concrete pillars so its all a bit backwards from at home.
We have a friend buying a house north of the town up towards the university, opposite the market. He bought it as soon as it was topped out at first fix. We went up to look at it the other day,.The ground floor was more or less at second fix and he is concentrating on getting that floor finished. He saves each month and gets a bit more done.We asked if he did any himself and he looked shocked. DIY is unknown here. Of course he is project managing but as it is all done a bit at a time with no end date that is not quite the logistical nightmare it would be in Britain. When the ground floor is finished the family will move in and he will continue gradually to complete it upwards.

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