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Concrete Fence Prep

Concrete Fence Prep - Hard Clay Soil

Can you dig it? Our hard, clay soil.

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, working on the design, signing a contract, some of the costs of materials, partially clearing the lot, and receiving the first materials

In this post, I’ll talk a about more of the preparations that were done while we waited for the fence building permit to clear so we could begin the actual building of the concrete wall.

 More prep

In my last post, we left off at the arrival of some of the deformed bar and concrete hollow block (CHB). Argen, one of the members of the work crew, was clearing some of the tree branches and trees.

While we waited for the permit to clear, the workers were busy digging the holes for the fence columns and connecting those holes with tenches that would contain our fence’s footing. They were also fashioning the rebar cages for the columns and the mats for the column footers.

Digging Holes

Concrete Fence Prep - Digging the holesOur fence design called for 34 columns connected by a trench for the footer. The laborers set aboout digging 34 holes in the heavy clay soil that were 4-feet deep and about 3-feet wide. The trench was also 4-feet deep and about 2-feet wide. They didn’t dig all of the holes at once. They began digging where the foreman decided the fence would start and when the permit came in, they kept just ahead of the pouring of the columns and footer.

Concrete Fence Prep - Improvised digging toolDigging the holes was hot, backbreaking work. The shovels they used were really short-handled, flat-bladed spades, not the long-handled garden shovels we Americans are used to using. They kept the holes relatively square and straight-sided using an improvised flat-bladed tool. They would scrape the sides and loosen the soil at the bottom of the holes with this tool. (Yes, they all worked in flip-flops like you see in the photo at right.)

Making Column Supports

Concrete Fence Prep - Berting using homemade hacksaw frameWhile the first holes were being dug and while Argen worked to clear brush and tree limbs, Berting began cutting the steel deformed bar to make the column footer mats and the cages for the inside of the columns.

A chop saw was supposed to be delivered from another work site but for the first few weeks, Berting used a homemade hacksaw frame fitted with a blade to cut the 12mm and 9mm rebar to length.

Below is a gallery of photos showing the mats and the fashioning of the column support cages.

Thanks for reading this installment in our series on building our concrete fence in the Philippines. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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