Kees and Claire Hut Construction Wrap Up for 2017

Well? That’s it. We’re done! The full camp, tools and equipment were airlifted out on Sept 27 and the last two heavy lifts pulled the excavator out on Sept 28. What a relief! Snow was chasing us out. It took a lot of hard work by the site supervisors and final teams to complete the work and button things up. 

The last weeks were busy. Just after the Labour Day weekend, a team from the Escape Route outdoor store walked in to help with earthwork and trenching a portion of the dispersion field. Thank you, Escape Route and owner James Retty, for your enthusiasm and on-going support!

Other folks focused on installing the mechanical groundwork, including a floor drain at the center of the basement and the perimeter draintile, all draining to a rock pit a short distance away from the hut. 

The sub-grade inside the basement was prepared with rebar and insulation. Then the concrete slab-on-grade was poured on Sept 21, leaving a practical clean surface.

Excavator operators, Alex McCullough and Aaron Brown, came back in to do a multitude of tasks. They sifted through stockpiles to create gravel and laid it in trenches and at the perimeter of the hut. They moved mountains of rock left over from the excavation, creating rock retaining walls and a rock pit for drainage. They also backfilled the entire hut foundations and dispersed the organic topsoil.  

Final adjustments were made to the various pipes and conduits in the discharge trench leading to the dispersion system. Bentonite dams were built to stop water from turning the trench into a creek, then the trench was insulated and backfilled. 

In mid September, the weather shifted from full-on summer to hints of winter. One storm brought several inches of snow to the site. Wind pulled out guy-lines, bending poles and flattening a few tents, but we persevered and rushed to finish up. Lots of small tasks were completed and the site was tidied. Volunteers used a shop vac to collect up even the smallest bit of debris. The more vulnerable areas of bare earth were covered in a jute fabric to control soil erosion. Some materials were stored inside the hut foundations, and others were packed up in preparation for pulling out. 

Biologist Miranda Lewis from Triton Environmental visited the site to review and comment on how we were leaving it for the winter. Phil Lacher of BC Passive House and Uwe Bratz of Matchpoints came in to survey the as-built walls. Dave White of North Construction arrived to disassemble the excavator.

On Wednesday Sept 27, the final meal was made and the last tent came down. Netloads were prepared by site supervisor Trevor MacDonald with help from Rhonda Netzel, Ken Chiu and Andre Charland. The entire camp was flown back to the valley. Volunteers returned on Sept 28 to hook up the last two heavy lifts for the excavator. That was it. Summer 2017 was complete!

Volunteers from the Escape Route outdoor store came in for a shift. Despite forest fire smoke, they worked hard on trenching the drip lines for the greywater dispersion field. (Photo by James Retty.)

The dose line at the bottom of the dispersion field was backfilled with soil. (Photo by Rob Brusse.)

The last concrete pour happened on Sept 21. Trucks arrived at the base of Harmony chair at first light and began filling concrete buckets. (Photo by Michael Blaxland.)

 Working incrementally north to south, the concrete was placed to cover sections of steel reinforcing, raked, then screed, and finally floated to obtain a smooth finish. (Photo by Reid Madiuk.)

 Reid Madiuk and JD Hare apply the final finish to the surface of the slab. (Photo by Reid Madiuk.)

The last pier and the basement slab-on-grade were complete. None too soon with fresh snow on the mountain tops. (Photo by Kim Eijdenberg.)

Two concrete pads were also poured for the future stairs to land on. (Photo by Rob Brusse.)

Waterproof membrane was applied to the interior of the foundation walls to protect them over the winter. (Photo by Rob Brusse.)

 Excavator operator Aaron Brown worked long hours to move rock, backfill soil, and create much-needed gravel by sifting it through a steel screen. (Photo by Liz Scremin.)

Rock retaining walls were built at the south end of the hut to define a covered work zone outside the basement doors. (Photo by Trevor MacDonald.)

 The as-built foundations walls were surveyed, as a first step in developing the shop drawings for the wood framing package. (Photo by Uwe Bratz.)

Materials that could withstand weather were stored inside the completed foundations for the winter. (Photo by Uwe Bratz.)

Enjoying last views at the Kees and Claire Hut construction camp. The camp was dismantled and flown out to the valley on Sept 27th. We’ll be back next year! (Photo by Michael Shynkaryk.)