Wednesday 2 December 2015

Civil engineering in the orchard?

As we work through the plans for the gates to the orchard site it is beginning to sound like a civil engineering project. We've worked out we'll need about half a cubic metre of medium strength concrete to cast the beam required to support the riverside gate/fence posts. We've phoned around various suppliers to discuss the options and it seems a mix-to-order truck which mixes the concrete on site is the best option. A local company J C Balls provides a suitable service at a reasonable price. 

Fortunately where we are working is close to the roadside so delivery is not a problem. We'll just need a robust wheel barrow to move the concrete to the place we need to pour. The truck is charged in half-hour timeslots.

We're going for a concrete ST4 mix with polyester reinforcing fibres. We've now received the re-bar for the steel reinforcement of the beam for Twiggs, so all that remains for us to do is to dig out the trench for the beam and install some 18mm plywood shuttering to create a form for the concrete. We'll then position the re-bar and wire tie it in place before pouring the concrete. We need a 7 day period to allow the concrete to cure and gain strength, prior to installing the gate/fence posts.

The rebar awaiting installation, and wire tie equipment.

All this effort is necessary so we can set the gate post and the fence post in such a way that it will provide sufficient strength of support without creating risk of damage to the slope down from the road. The gate post will be exposed to frequent use by the public as they open/close the gate for their dogs as they make use of the public footpath. A gate post just driven or dug into the limestone chippings of the slope will inevitably fail within a few years. We mentioned in an earlier blog posting that we'll leave the historic stone gate posts and stile in place.

Once we have the gateposts installed we'll build a pair of wooden gates to match the distance between the posts. It will not be a standard gate size and we have to allow for footpath access, so using "off the shelf" gates is not an option..

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