In the parlance of contractors, home construction is completed in phases. The first, is “getting out of the ground”, which means laying the foundation. They say things like, “Once you get out the ground, it gets easier.” and “The project is more predictable once you get out of the ground.”
I suppose it makes sense. The ground is the big variable in construction; an uneven and unpredictable interface connecting the building to the property. And in this phase, stakes are high. The entire house depends on the placement of the foundation. It has to be right when the concrete is poured.
Like so many parts of the project, you have to trust the professionals to get it right and on this project, that was Kelly, the owner of the concrete company. The first time I saw him was on our construction site and it was immediately apparent that he had a unique sense of style.
It was summer and he was wearing a tank top and shorts with gold chains around his neck and wrist. On his feet were brand new, spotless sneakers. While this isn’t typical northwest attire, it’s really not construction site attire. But that’s Kelly.
I chatted with him over a couple of days and grew to like him. He encouraged me to ask questions and be a part of the process. He said multiple times that he really liked the design
of our house, in part, because it was simple. I suppose that’s relative. We set out to have a simple house, but the concrete work to make it happen seemed anything but. I took his word for it. Kelly has seen it all.
Having never been through the concrete phase of a house project, I didn’t know what to expect. My frame of reference was the Yurt
, which was not a fine specimen when it came to quality construction. The deck was stable, but not very strong. It bounced and swayed just enough to notice when filled with visitors. I worried about its integrity.
On a few occasions, I inspected the underside framing, just to be sure that braces remained connected. I saw no crumbling concrete or rotting wood. I deemed it as safe as a layperson could, especially knowing that its days were numbered.
Like nearly everything about the building, the Yurt’s connection to the rock was, shall we say, serviceable. The posts that supported the deck were small and connected to concrete footings attached to the rocky surface of the property. To me, it looked like the deck was supported by little concrete feet.