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Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

Construction Timeline: (Foundation)
Follow the progress of our new home construction. (6/20/2002 - 7/7/2002)  

NOTE: Newest pictures at the top.
Click on any image for an enlargement. 

Aug 7, 2002 Stone base is in, ready for backfill & plumbing.
Lisa and I took a trip to visit the site, and also talk to the HVAC guys about the system. This was the first time Lisa had seen the house for real.

Thanks to the magic of Photo-Stitch, Lisa is in this photo 3 times.  Note the compacted gravel laid ready to accept the slab.  Click the image to see the three sides of Lisa.

Lisa and I pose for a Kodak Picture moment.  It was a beautiful 70 day.  Lisa took a nap on the gravel for  few minutes.

Lisa's showing off the ferns growing wild in our back yard.  She kinda matches the scenery with that top she's wearing.

Here's a shot of the back corner.  I've circled the line of penetrations in the side wall.  The pipes to the geothermal wells will pass through these holes.  We have an allowance for 5 wells.  I'm hoping that we can get by with only three or four.

Lisa gives me the "evil-eye" through one of the 1 1/2 inch penetration holes
Aug 2, 2002 Walls are done.
No sooner are the forms up, then they need to be torn down again. 

Here you see the West side retaining wall. It's 9' 8" tall, with an overall length of 67 feet. Looking at these photos, I'm glad we did a poured wall rather than Concrete block.

Here's the East side retaining wall. Both walls will have the earth pushed back up against the full length, to form a protective thermal  barrier. 
July 31, 2002 Now it's time to pour the walls.
Once the footings set up, the guys from "The Welding Rod" returned and framed up the front and rear walls.  Then they brought in the pump truck and let rip with concrete.  Gary took these pics for me since it's a 3 hour trip for me each way.

I never realized how much form work there was involved with pouring concrete walls.  The rear walls are 10" thick so the wet concrete weighs a ton.  The form also included a special section with eleven 1 1/4" PVC pipe sections.  These act as penetrators for the Well water and Geothermal loop pipes.

I wish I'd been there to see the pumping operation.  The concrete mixer in the foreground is loading the pumper in the background.
July 25, 2002 The Footings are laid.
Oh Boy... Now we're cooking.  The house footprint had been excavated, and the footer forms laid.  This morning, before I arrived,  the footers were poured.  It was So Cool to see my design take shape.  It was also neat to see some of the technologies being used for this first step of the job. 

Here's a super wide shot of the footings taken from the East corner of the house.  The taller footings on the right are the 2' wide base for the two rear retaining walls of the house.  These walls are mostly below grade, so the footings are level with the bottom of the slab.  The more complex front footings are trenched lower to be below the frost line.  They will have a short 6" knee wall on top to bring them up to the slab height.

Here I am in the back corner, showing how far below grade this point is.  That post next to me is 8' long.  Although the soil currently tapers down as you move away from the back corner, the earth will be back-filled to form a level earth berm all the way along both of these walls

Here's my builder, Gary Young.  He's transferring a string line to the concrete, ready for the next set of forms to be placed.  The rear walls will be 10" thick concrete.  Gary was reluctant to be photographed, assuring me that Connie usually took care of that side of the business :)
OK, this is a Form-a-Drain.  It's 8" tall and is used as a form for the footings.  The solid side is placed against the concrete, and the slots face the crushed stone.  The upper chanel is used to collect Radon, and the lower channel collects water.  The picture on the right shows their placement on my footings.

Here you see the Form-a-Drain in action.  Notice the slots on the inside and outside of the footing.  Also note the special corners that join the drains together. The inner and outer drains are joined with a bridge, and then the collected water is carried away from the house with a main drain.  Click the image for more details

June 26, 2002 Ground clearing is complete.
I spent an hour or so re-locating the back corner of the house and correcting the South bearing.  It turns out that a good old magnetic compass is much more repeatable than my GPS with it's built-in compass.  I realized that something was up when I noticed that the GPS unit pulled the magnetic compass off it's heading.  D'oh!

So this is the view of the cleared lot from the back corner of the house. The center view is almost due south (notice the string line)

It turns out that there were a lot of old stumps on the property.  It must have been forested a few years back. It took two dumpsters to clear all the old stumps. 

Although the other pictures make it look like we cleared a large area, more than half of the lot still remains untouched (see our back yard in this picture).  We moved the house forward so we could leave as much wooded land as possible.

While walking the property line, I discovered this ready-to-go campfire.  I'd love to know who was planning to have a cook-out :)

June 20, 2002 Ground clearing begins.  
I hammered in two posts that we used as the center line for the house.  We then cleared an area around the house footprint plus a 20ft buffer zone.  Many of the trees were new growth, and in danger of falling on the house, so I was happy to see them go..

This is a very large panorama of the home site after the trees were felled. 
The view is down the hill to the South.

We just got our main road paved so now the driveway needs to be beefed up.  Bring on that culvert and load of stone.

Here are the crew that did the manual labor.  Arland and Joe.

This back-hoe was used to clear the stumps and scrape the building site smooth.

When I went to lunch I noticed that you could see the smoke from our burn pile.  Now I know where our lot is :)

Other Pic Pages: Foundation - Radiant Slab - Geothermal Loop - Wood Framing - Mechanical Systems - Equipment Room - Monitoring - Interior Trim - Exterior Trim

© 2000-2018, Phil and Lisa's relaxed lifestyle home.
An exercise in Energy Smart, Not So Big living. -


This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.