Again, we feel hugely lucky to have ended up with the contractors we have had on site. Primarily, that luck is down to Matt Symonds of Building Logic having a very solid network of contractors that he uses often. Matt drafted in Wilson from Fergusson Contracting to take advantage of the GPS earthmoving equipment that Wilson operates. The digger has the electronic plans for the earthworks loaded into his machine, and Wilson was able to pinpoint the exact footprint of the build - digging no more and no less than absolutely necessary on the site. That was a huge win - with such a steep section, and the desire to surround the house with foliage, that pinpoint accuracy not only meant no wastage of time or dirt, but it also let us plant around the section in the lead up to the digging. We can't speak highly enough of Wilson, he was great to deal with, stuck to his schedules, and had all the earthworks done within a couple of weeks. He also worked with Matt to get the first cut done, drill and position the piles for the retaining wall, leave the site while Building Logic finished that wall, and then return to complete the rest of the job. That little bit of pre planning meant there was very little time that the top bank of our section was cut out and exposed with no retaining - helping ease everyone's nerves on that front.
Once again, we're just trying to enjoy the process, and we're getting a huge kick out of the smallest things. Right now we are in awe of the giant hole we have, and the 'best retaining wall we've ever seen'! Celebrating those little victories seems to make the long journey of building a house so much more enjoyable each week. We've largely tried to leave the guys on site to their own devices - and are trying to limit ourselves to a weekly visit to the site...but I suspect it's pretty normal to feel like you want to swing by every day to see the progress.
For us, the learnings about what goes into a house continue. We've seen the site excavated, drainage go in behind the retaining wall, and that retaining wall go up. Next come the footings (the steel 'anchors' which the house is built up from), then comes the blockwork and foundations. It's all new to us, and even the scale of what's happening continues to impress. The piles for our retaining wall are about 4 metres below ground and 2 metres above - and needed something like a full truck of cement for every five posts. It's a mammoth effort, and while it's great to get an understanding of every stage, you really do need to trust your builder, contractors and team on site.
We're super excited to start seeing the actual house start to take shape now.