Saturday, February 2, 2008

water level wonders

The next step in the building process is nigh. The road's in. There's a septic system at some stage of completion. (Though I still haven't heard back from the excavator about the changes we want.) The rest of the site work is next, and for that I've been reading about water levels. While most contractors would use a transit or a laser level to create level building site or set the forms for a foundation, there's a simple low tech method that produces unimpeachable results. A water level is nothing more than a clear plastic tube filled with water. Since water is self leveling, it's easy and fast for two people, one at each end, to establish points on the same plane. A slightly fancier version uses a reservoir at one end and has the advantage of single person operation. I'm going to make a reservoir water level using a 5 gallon bucket and 35 ft of clear plastic hose. By placing the bucket in what will be the center of the house and adding water, I will be able to establish points on a level plane at all the corners of the building. I'll have to wait for a sunny day above freezing; an ice level would not produce reliable results.
I can't believe it's already February. We've been reassessing our building schedule, and we're taking a more reasonable approach. Our winter rental ends in June, and we were hoping to have some structure with a roof over it by then. While this might be possible, camping in a construction zone with two kids would make the rest of the summer less than pleasant. Michelle's swamped with work, and having a quiet place for her to set up shop will allow us to have some money coming in during the building process when there so much going the other way. So we're going to start looking for a place to rent for another six months or a year. As anyone who's built or renovated a house knows, living in it makes it a lot harder.

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