With everything looking good, Week 3 started to show real progress. In the first half of the week, trenches for the footings were dug. Here is the amazing backhoe that did that work:
Why do I say “amazing”? Because the hydraulic backhoe was a revolutionary piece of machinery that made it economical to do constructions such as this one. As Clayton Christensen explains in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma the hydraulic backhoe was a product without a market when it was introduced in the 1940s. Cable-actuated steam shovels moved many cubic yards of earth with each scoop, whereas the first hydraulic backhoes could move only 1/4 cu yd of earth. When it came to digging the foundations of houses, or better yet, major buildings, or whole mountaintops, steam shovels were king. But when it came to digging trenches, their jaw were too wide to do the job. The lowly hydraulic backhoe was just the thing for digging trenches—much easier than doing it by hand. And today, that innovative technology is proving its value to this project.
In a matter of a few days, all these trenches were dug, rebar positioned, and finished floor elevations outlined using framing lumber. Wes and I looked at these from all angles and decided that yes, the plan and the ground were in agreement, and that the proposed finished floor elevations were perfect as framed. Here are some of the angles we looked at:
And because I’ve never seen the process before, I took some interest in how the actual trenches were laid and made:
The morning after signing off on the proposed finished floor elevations, the project received its first inspection, and by noon, the concrete was flowing. I was not there to see it poured, but a day and a half later, the footings had all been poured:
The footings are now curing, and we are hard at work on the wiring plan before pouring the foundation. But that’s a blog post for another day!