Thursday, 17 April 2008

Giz us a job mister?

The Bangladeshi site foreman wanted to know how he could get a job in England; "Very good country. Very good technology." I was stumped. "Have you applied?" I asked, but his English is only enough for basic concepts. The conversation started because I wanted to see how the piling work on the new elevator shaft was going; they put a plexiglass panel in the metal hoarding so you can watch. He was taking digital pictures of the slightly wonky concrete skirt at the bottom of the hoarding; "Not good. Site must be beautiful".

It's been a noisy 2 weeks as they are hacking the concrete skirt around the block to put in new (plastic) drain pipes, then drilling support piles for the lift shaft. He said 4 piles, but it's now 6 for some reason, each going down 35m to the rock. They start them off with a fat, 12" diameter hollow drill bit, pumping water to lubricate and flush up the spoil. It's all red clay around here which stays where it's put but doesn't move willingly, if you see what I mean.

The pile headers took about a week; they have to stop during thunderstorms for safety; now it's a new machine, more like an oil rig, to drill the pile holes which will then have rebar assemblies (four 1" bars held in a star configuration with standoffs and then wrapped around with wire) dropped down and the (w)hole thing concreted.

The lift shaft should take about 4 months in all to become operational, although tiling and tidy up works around the base can take months depending upon how fiddly it is.