Many North Vancouver concrete construction projects are jobs that require many steps and walls due to many properties that have abrupt grade changes; this is one of those such jobs that required 19 steps from the front door to the street. In this in-depth job profile, we will show our process from start to finish. We hope you enjoy this concrete job analysis.
The first part of any successful concrete project has a great plan. On this construction project, we were given professional ideas by the owner, who is a designer. Professional plans always make our life easier, but many times there is not much more from than a thought we must build. If you have no plans, no problem, we will help you design something professional and on budget.
This job required the grade to be built up significantly over recently excavated soil. There are two primary choices when you build “grade up” and that you either dig down to the solid ground and build deeper concrete footings and walls or build-up with the use of steel piles to support the footing poured above disturbed soil. It is what we chose to do; this does not only save money but speeds up the project with no sacrifice on quality.
If you have an excavator contractor, we are happy to work with them, but if you do not, we do have our excavating equipment as well and can excavate the concrete project as required. We are equally happy with either option.
We most often place and finish all of our concrete prep work, from footing to stamped concrete, so when you hire us, you deal with us and not subcontractors who are not familiar with the project. There is no confusion about who is doing your job from start to finish. Unlike many other concrete companies that sub out many parts of the concrete job.
After the concrete has set, we remove the concrete forms and begin building the concrete steps and architectural concrete walls, and this is our favourite part of the process. If you like step nosings or chamfer walls, now is the time that we confirm those details. This customer wanted crisp, sharp edges, so we went with straight risers and tapered edge walls to be hand stoned only.
We use only new plywood and wood boards for architectural concrete, which makes it a bit pricer than typical reused plywood wall forms. Still, the finish is much smoother, and the only choice for dependable architectural concrete. Most times, no concrete patching is required with a combination of vibrating and tapping while pouring.
A project like this needs to be poured in a few phases for the best quality and bracing purposes. The concrete we are using is a 32MPA concrete with air entrainment for any freeze-thaw cycles it may experience in the Winter months. If the proper mix is not used, the durability of your concrete will be reduced, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
For all of our exterior concrete, we use 10m rebar at various spacing. Where appropriate, we dowel into adjacent surfaces for maximized support for the slabs and stairs. Rebar does not guarantee to crack-free concrete, but it does hold the concrete from separating significantly when or if the concrete does crack.
Our 5th and final pour for this project finish the bottom concrete stairs and concrete walkway at mid-level. The forms are stripped a few days after the pour, and this project comes to a close. The natural grey concrete stairs and landings, with architectural concrete walls, makes this job a contemporary and timeless landscape masterpiece.