Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We Found the Money Pit

Yesterday, our contractor, John Harris, started grading the lot next door to ours, taking off the first foot of top soil to get down to the solid ground. Today they were digging the hole for the underground cistern and found much more.

The Consejo area is built upon a foundation of limestone. And after milleniums of water soaking through and eroding away areas of limestone, they leave soft spots, caverns and caves. Depending on what you find, may influence what you build. The closer to the sea, the better the chance for a cavern or cave. With our lot right next to the sea, there was a chance we could be affected.

While digging the hole for the cistern, they came upon this.

I think we have found the actual money pit! Phil Freytag, our soil inspector said he could see 50-100 feet back towards the road, and it extended to both lots. Not news we wanted to hear. Our options are limited but it looks as though we are going to driving piles to support the house. The up side is the house is very stable. The down side is the cost. The approx. cost to drive piles is around $500US each. That includes the pile, the pile driver, transportation costs and cutting to final size. The bad news from Phil was that the current design will need 25-30 piles to be driven. Not the news I was hoping for.

The neighbor building on the lot next door is down there for the construction, but it looks like there may be a redesign of their plans, so he may spend a good amount of time just waiting for things to happen. I have no idea how long it takes to order and receive pilings. Phil still needs to look at the engineering of driving piles and attaching them to the main structure. Will I need them for the garage as well? If I do, should I go ahead and drive them now while all the equiptment is there on the property? A whole new list of things to think about. As it looks now, my drive down has been moved back to around the first of April.

I also need to make the septic water drains to an evaporation mound and not percolate thru the ground to the caverns. I don't want to be swimming in septic water! The house foundation is three feet above the gound level so we should have the area and slope to make an evaporation mound work. Another thing to look up on the web.

I'm glad to have a little more time before I leave for Belize. I am remodeling the master bathroom in our current home and I am just laying the tile floor. The tile needs to be in so we can install the cabinets, and the cabinets need to be in so the granite fabricator can take the measurements to cut the granite. And the granite guy will be here this Thursday!

I have faith that I will finish it in time. After the granite guy comes by, I will need to start painting. Mischelle is busy stripping the wallpaper from the bathroom walls. When she finishes I will add a orange peel coat to the walls for texture then go ahead and paint after that. The granite bath counter should be back and installed by Monday.

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