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Concrete Fence: Building Footers and Columns

Building Footers and Columns - The joint were footer and column meet.

This article is part of a series on how we built our concrete hollow block fence or wall in the Philippines.
More information can be found here: Perimeter Fence Philippines: Index

So far in this series about building our concrete fence in the Philippines, I’ve written about buying our lot, the design, the contract, materials, clearing the lot, receiving materials, and finally pouring some concrete.

In this post, I’ll talk about the concrete columns and footers themselves.

A Word On The Order Of Things

If you’ve never taken on a big project like building a house or concrete fence, you might not realize some things. One of the things that I didn’t fully realize is how projects like these don’t follow a perfect order. Since crew members with varying skills are on site, a bit of everything is always going on. A wall section goes up here and another there with a lot of back and forth.

I’m trying to present events to make a logical sequence, but that’s not how projects like these unfold. Ours went: south part, north part, west, and then east. The gates went on last.

Footers and Columns

Building Footers and Columns - Footer trench with concrete forms inside.That said, in my post, We Pour Concrete, the crew poured the first footers for the columns. After that, they began building footers and columns. Deformed bar cages were laid in the footer trench. The free ends of the cages passed through and were tied to the column cages. The crew made forms for the footers and columns from thin plyboard and coco lumber. They poured the footer sections first.

Building Footers and Columns - closeup of footer trench with concrete forms insideThe column footers are four feet deep. The wall portion footer is three feet deep. In effect, the wall footer rests on the column footer. Since each portion of the wall will tie into the column rebar cages on each side, both the footer for the columns and the wall footer will bear the load of the wall. It’s a pretty cool design and appears to make the wall one solid structure.


The Bones of the Wall

Building Footers and Columns - Poured column with form offThe crew began by pouring the column that is second from the southeastern corner first. They skipped the corner columns on either end of the side walls and put them in later when they worked on the front and rear sections. I’m not sure why they did that, but it didn’t affect the timetable at all.

Building Footers and Columns - Column showing rebar endsAt right is a photo of what the column/footer combo looked like. You can see the deformed bar sticking out from the column. This will be tied into deformed bar laid between the CHB of the wall sections.

Concrete continued to be mixed on the ground and made far too soupy. The method used to pour it remained buckets. The poor laborers staggered with a bucket in each hand from the mixing spot to the wall footers.

Building Footers and Columns - Column with voids from bad pouringWhen they hammered off the forms around the columns, many air pockets showed. In the header photo at the top of this post, concrete failed to get all the way down to the lower corner. At right, you can see the voids where concrete either didn’t fill the mold or shattered when the mold was removed.

While these voids are a sign that something is wrong with your mix or your pouring method, the crew assured us that they’d be “fixed” later.

That’s something you will need to get used to here in the Philippines: if it can be “fixed” later and made to look good, there’s no incentive to do it properly the first time.

Thanks for reading about the construction of the footers and columns in our Philippines concrete fence. If you have a comment or question, please use the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!


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