The shuttering was all complete and I woke up on Friday morning to a beautiful sunny May day in eager anticipation of the concrete being poured to the top section of the basement walls. Little did I know what lay in store.
Everything was organised and checked for a 10 o’clock start to the concrete pour. Shortly after arriving on site at 07.45 we hit the first snag. The concrete pump was stuck in Oxford and wouldn’t be here in time for a ten start. I contacted the concrete supplier to delay the first lorry load. With the pump on site for 11 the concrete was requested – we had lost our time slot and would have to wait!
The first concrete load arrived about 11.30 and the pour started. Immediately there was a problem the mix was very lumpy and didn’t flow at all well. Very quickly it was rejected and sent back to Lafarge. The second truck arrived shortly afterwards and was also rejected. The problem seemed to be with the mix they had prepared. I had requested the same mix as was used for the lower wall pour and Phil Sacre had confirmed that with them.
Whilst the correct mix was sorted out by various phone calls the first disaster struck. The mix started to “go-off” in the pump and had to be quickly cleaned out.
With no concrete expected until after 3 I headed off to Wallingford to get fish and chips for those that wanted it. When I returned there was no concerete pump. The driver decided more serious cleaning was required and went back to the yard. I was assured another was en-route.
By 3.30 with no sign of the first concrete lorry everyone was getting agitated as it was approaching rush hour in Reading and trucks would get delayed in the traffic. A new concrete pump arrived and finally the first lorry after a 1 hour journey from the plant in 21C heat. The mix was ok and the pour began. At 4.30 no sign of the second lorry and the concrete was going off in the sun!
When the second lorry had finished its load the walls were not complete and a further 3 cubic meters of concrete requested at 5 pm. Will they deliver at that time!
Suddenly the concrete pump driver calls for assistance to quickly clear out his pump as the concrete is setting. The boys set too with picks and probes and got the worst out. However the driver decide he needed to get back to the yard for serious cleaning before it was too late.
At 6 o’clock I had an irate concrete pump owner on the phone saying I had ruined two of his pumps and it was going to cost me! I also had 3 cubic meters of concrete on its way and no pump to deliver it! Very stressful.
Tom and the boys came to the rescue. They said they would shift it using their digger. Not optimal but it would allow us to complete the pour.
They didn’t finish until 19.30 (more than 11 hours after the start!) and there was concrete everywhere!
At least the wall pour was completed and I can survey the wreckage on Monday – after a rest and a few beers.