Restoration 101 – 7 – Block-filling & strengthening

Christchurch is still a “shaky city”. The shakes are fewer and further apart and most of the time we don’t even notice them. When we moved into our home in September 2012, however,  there was definitely still some palpable rocking of the ground below. And all new buildings now must be “earthquake proof” and repaired buildings must also “come up to code”.

Temporary bracing.
Temporary bracing.

An early inspection of our home showed it was well short of said code and the concrete blocks around the first floor were not even filled with concrete – hence the bracing before we even moved in.

Soon hubby Jim and grandson Caleb set about drilling holes in the blocks and filling them with concrete – rather a long, tedious and messy job…

  1. Drill hole in concrete block large enough to insert funnel (of sorts) into hole.
  2. Mix sufficient concrete to fill hole (unknown quantity).
  3. Hit-&-miss operation to actually pour concrete into holes as these were, obviously, at the top of the rows of blocks and very close to the floor above.

    Some blocks were missing entirely.
    Some blocks were missing entirely.

Various funnels were tried and tossed aside, concrete disappeared into holes and somehow the task was done to builder Jim’s satisfaction – not a quick fix as this procedure took place over many weeks.

Next up was strengthening of the internal walls.  Although this may not have been absolutely necessary to gain a “pass” in the code, hubby felt it was necessary for our peace of mind in the current shaky situation.  I mentioned in a previous post that the house came with a couple of quirky “bubble” windows.  Well, I was definitely not a fan of these but we didn’t want to remove them entirely in case future owners are real fans of the architect & his quirks so we elected to cover the lounge “bubble” window from the inside while installing the Batts, ply and gib. Another excuse for doing so was that the frame was substantially damaged and needed to be replaced anyway.

Ply on walls before window disappears from internal view.
Ply on walls before window disappears from internal view.

And now we feel much safer … 🙂

At this stage we are still “camping” … cooking on the barbecue, carting dishes up and down stairs to wash, but we do have a shower in our bathroom, a comfortable bed to sleep in and a wonderful view to behold! Summer is coming and all is ticking along nicely in our peaceful world on the hill…

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