Butcher Shop & Pump Truck Union
Today we had our next big concrete pour for our butcher shop. This was a big milestone for us as it is the final structural element of the project and the pour, while complicated and long, went perfectly. From here, everything else is finishing details.
Last December we poured the cap which closed in the building so that we were able to work through the winter removing interior formwork and then setting up the new formwork for this pour.
While what you see in the photo above is a lot of wooden form work and scaffolding, the building itself is all stone, concrete, foam insulation, stainless steel, basalt fiber and plastic pipe. Once we’re done all the wood will be removed leaving an easily maintainable and cleanable structure for optimal food safety.
Concrete Pump Truck Hose in FCB
With today’s 10 hours of pour plus four hours of finishing and cleanup we accomplished:
- Pouring the walls and arched ceilings of the FCB which is three separate but tightly integrated rooms that make up the Freezer, Cooler and Brine;
- Sloping and bevelling the plumbing trench so now I can install the connecting plumbing between rooms;
- Curbing the roof around the penetrations for the High Mech, Chimney and Coolth Attic ventilation;
- Forming and floating the front sidewalk from the steps down to the parking slab; and
- Miscellanious small stuff.
This was the last risky pour. Up until now, each pour could potentially have been a disaster that would fill rooms below with hundreds of thousands of pounds, dozens of cubic-yards, of concrete that we would not have been able to get out before they cured. Had that happened it would have killed the project permanently. This is why we have taken our time and worked so carefully and slowly, making sure all of our forms are strong and tight. The remaining pours from here on out are simple slabs for in floor heat transfer with PEX, curbs, parging walls and the like. It’s a big relief to not have so much riding on each step!
Hole in Wall for Concrete Pump Hose
Previously all of our pours have been exterior. The pump trucks and concrete chutes could reach the forms easily. This time most of the pour work, the FCB and trench, were interior. This meant snaking the pump truck hose in through a small one foot square hole in the upper wall of the building as shown in the photo at the top. Our sons Will and Ben built a crows nest of sorts projecting out from the scaffolding with a flume to guide the hose 24′ into the building. When we had done the pour last year we had formed that hole, and an extra one, so that we would be able to do this interior pour. The hole was fortunately big enough to let the pumper truck’s hose in!
It wasn’t really guess work though as I had measured the hose for this two years ago during a test run outdoors and then gone over my plans with the concrete company back then in preparation for this pour. About a month ago the pump truck operator Dave came out to check things over and then today he arrived extra early so we could do a dry run before concrete came.
In the background of these photos you can see the basalt fiber mesh and stainless steel rebar we use for reinforcing of the ‘ferro-cement’ style arches. We do arches for both the strength and how they move the hottest air in the room up to the cooling system – both the electric powered compressor based evaporator, the Coolth Attic battery and the winter cold. That the arches are beautiful is a bonus.
Embedded in the form work are all the conduits for these rooms so that the interior surfaces will be as smooth as possible for easier sanitation. Exposed conduit in the room is hard to clean. The white pipes are part of the air make heat exchanger system that will allow us to bring in winter’s cold. We live in a cold climate so we want make maximum use of its advantages. Over the years that will save tens of thousands of dollars in electricity for cooling the facility, quickly repaying the costs of the extra building effort.
You can also see lots of insulation. The blast freezer section goes up to R-120 with the insulation shaped to leak the cold out to the super cooler, then brine, cave, cutting room and chiller. By building the rooms formed one inside the other we conserve our coolth. Each room is an air lock out to the next much like northern homes are built with breezeways.
Will, our eldest son is standing on the steps that now lead up from the front sidewalk to the entry hall, inspector’s office, bathroom and our initial cutting room where we’ll start butchering and sausage making on-farm.
Butcher Shop Post Pour – Sows at Whey to Right
The butcher shop does not look very different today than it did yesterday, from the outside. Inside there is a great deal of progress. Someone asked the other day why the building goes outward as it goes upward, like an inverted pyramid. It doesn’t actually do that. The building itself goes straight up. What gives the illusion of outward motion is the scaffolding and safety railings that give us a safe work space as we rose higher. As the heights got greater we built wider walks with higher railings to make sure nobody fell.
1,508 work days without injuries or deaths.
Think safety, work safely, live!
Next Steps: Underfloor plumbing, incoming electric, gas lines and FCB deforming.
Outdoors: 66°F/44°F Partially Sunny, 1/4″ Rain
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/61°F
Daily Spark: Everything’s complicated – the closer you get the more complexity you see.