Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The plan for today is to spray an inch or so of concrete on the inside so that the rebar cannot touch the polyurethane at any point. Once this sets they will begin to install the rebar, a process which will probably take most of the rest of the week. Next week is devoted to the plumbing and electrical work. By the end of the week we should be able to call the inspector out to check all the rebar, plumbing, and electrical. If it passes, then on next Friday, June 8th, they will spray the rest of the concrete. It will cure over that weekend and the dome should be finished on Monday the 11th of June.
The Monolithic team will then set their sights on the garage and the other dome and on finishing the main dome slab. Hopefully by mid-June the contractor will be able to start working on the main dome exterior windows and doors.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Friday the workers got the hangers mounted on one of the side domes. The picture to the left is a bit grainy but I think you can see the hangers extending a few inches (about 6" actually) beyond the white polyurethane. Onto those hangers the rebar will be mounted making longitude and latitude lines around the dome similar to the mesh you see in a traditional slab poured on the ground. I'm not exactly sure what they do at the north pole (i.e. the top of the dome), we'll see when they get that far. Which should be Thursday of next week.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Apparently they spray about a 2" coat of the polyurethane on and then place the rear hangers on/in it, then they come back and spray another 1" of polyurethane on top of that to firmly anchor them in place. Anyway, by the time I get out there this evening to look, the inside should be all foamed and the hangers should be in place to tie off the rebar for the concrete.
Also, this afternoon I have a meeting with the fire suppression sub-contractor about that system. Since we are inside the city limits, but outside the area they have placed fire hydrants, we have to have an active fire suppression system in the house. This meant running two water lines from the supply main out front to the house, a 1" line for the house water, and a 2" line for the fire suppression system. Each with their own water meter. Anyway, this afternoon we're going to talk about the system, what it will look like visually, and where we want the various sprinkler heads in the house. This fire suppression system was one of the surprises we got when going through the city for all the permits.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Once this is settled, they will remake a "template" for the second floor windows and be ready to spray the polyurethane on the inside of the dome. They have actually framed the entire first floor windows and doors (actually they also still need to frame the front door) and can precisely spray around these, but framing the second floor windows is a bit more difficult, so apparently they build this template out of 1x6's (or maybe 2x6's) and someone climbs the scaffolding and holds the template in the correct location for a window and someone else sprays the foam around it. Then they pull it out and go to the next window. They have done this enough times that I believe this is the most efficient way to do it, but it seems strange to me.
The other thing they did yesterday is to cover the slab with plastic (to catch any drips of the polyurethane) and also spray a contact adhesive to the inside of the dome to improve the bonding of the polyurethane to the airform. This makes the entire thing sticky on the inside.
Anyway, if all goes right today, by tonight we'll have an insulated dome with about 3" of polyurethane on it. I think this puts them on schedule to work with the concrete early next week. Once that's done and set we'll have a dome shell that can withstand F5 tornadoes or Cat 5 hurricanes! then comes the fun part of building the interior structure and letting Monolithic work on the garage and workshop domes. Hopefully by mid June all these will be done and that phase of construction will be done.
Monday, May 21, 2012
I sort of got behind on posting last week. There was so much excitement building to getting the airform inflated that I sort of felt a letdown once it was up. So we went out and looked at the dome and went, it's up... Anyway, there have definitely been things happening out there.
They have built the scaffolding on the inside of hte domes to help them work up high. The picture shows it. What's cool about this is the way the wheels are set. Look closely and you'll notice that the wheels nearest the camera are facing like car wheels, ready to drive normally. The ones at the other end are facing 90° and thus parallel the outside edge of the dome and make it ready to spin inside the dome. I think it is a nifty way to set up scaffolding.
The other thing they began last week was the building of the window and door forms (called bucks, I think) to assist us in framing and mounting the windows. They have about half of the first floor windows done and all the doors. Monday they should be able to finish most of the rest, including the second story windows. This means that on Tuesday they should spray the polyurethane insulation. It will be a 3 inch thick coat all over the inside of the airform, other than where the windows and doors are. This will make it much darker inside.
Once it cures (overnight?) they will go back and install the rebar for the concrete and any electrical or plumbing that needs to be imbedded in the outside walls. Then comes the final 8 inch coat of concrete and the dome part is done and they move on to one of the other projects here on site. I think this should all happen this week, but it might lap over into Monday.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Well, the inflation went off with very little difficulty. Mike and Dave South drove down from The Monolithic Dome Institute to watch the inflation and we had maybe 6 other watchers, outside of family and workers, for the event. My wife flipped the switch to start the inflation about 12:15 and the fan kicked in immediately. The airform began to expand and within about 15 minutes it was full and the crew began securing the airlock to allow entry into the dome. By 1:00 we were walking around on the inside of the dome. The inside of the airform is really pretty with the light coming in through it. Too bad it will be covered entirely by insulation and concrete.
The next few days will be building the forms for the doors and windows and getting those installed. Then comes the insulation, the rebar, the electrical and plumbing, and then the concrete. This whole process should take about a week from this point, so by memorial day weekend we should have a solid concrete dome.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Well, the rains are not going to stop the inflation, but it has been moved back from 10:00am to noon. Above is the weather forecast for inflation day, May 15, 2012. I went by the site on the way home from work and it is VERY muddy there. The ariform was spread across the slab, but it had not been fastened down yet. I suppose they will either do that later this evening or first thing in the morning. In any case, we are still on track for an inflation tomorrow!
Today the electrician will connect the power panel Monolithic brought to power the fans. and Monolithic will attach the airform to the slab. Probably this evening they will do a partial test inflation to make sure everything is good for the big moment Wednesday when everyone is watching, possibly even the media. The plan is to throw the switch at 10:00 am and watch the house spring to life. It should take about 20-30 minutes to fully inflate and then another half hour to 45 minutes to install the airlock. Once that is done we should be able to go inside and look around!
The only issue I see at the moment is that this morning we woke up to a nice gentle rain. This is supposed to keep up most of the day with "a few scattered thunderstorms". Tomorrow has a 20% chance chance of light rain, so I don't think that will impair the inflation, but it might dampen the spirit of the media (and maybe some of our friends) and make them wonder about going out in the rain just to watch a house being inflated. If so, that's fine, I just want the thing up and making progress towards being done.
I'm not going to take any pictures this evening of the test inflation (well, I might take them, but I won't post them), so it will be a fresh sight for everyone on Wednesday, but I will report back on the success (or failure, but I hope not) tonight in advance of the formal inflation Wednesday.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Our general contractor also got out and looked at the poured slab and noticed that it was not entirely flat, but had peaks and valleys in it, not huge ones, but he said some up to one inch high. He and Monolithic talked about it and Monolithic is going to bring out a grinder and smooth out the ridges in the slabs next week. Don't know if that will be before or after inflating of the dome, but it should happen.
We did go out and look at appliances yesterday. Starting to make decisions about how and what we want to put inside the house once it is complete and we worked with a door company in designing our front door. We should get the preliminary drawings back early next week.
Right now the schedule looks like on Monday Monolithic will come out and do a bit of site work and prepare the slabs for the airforms. This includes setting up the basic scaffolding inside the domes that they will need. They will possible start to attach the actual air form on Monday, but it will probably be done at least mostly on Tuesday. They then have to attach the fans and airlock to the airform prior to inflating it. This means that Wednesday morning, May 16, somewhere between 9 am and 10 am the airform should be inflated!!! The first concept drawings/sketches I have on my computer date back to May of 2010, so this has been 2 years in the planning process. The first official drawings exchanged between us and Monolithic date to April 2011. Seeing it happen will be such an amazing thing, we are definitely excited about getting the domes up.
The next update will probably not be until Monday.
Monday, May 7, 2012
I think everything is in place for inflating the air form. The slab is set, we got a new security gate installed today to help secure the property over night, the water is connected dire tly adjacent to the dome, and the electrical is set up. There is even one of the fans used to inflzte the dome on site. All we need now is a date scheduled by Monolithic. I hope to get that date by tomorrow and we can publicize it widely. It will probably be early next week if I were a betting man. This week is the last week of the spring workshops at Monolithic, so most of their people are tied up with that.
Friday, May 4, 2012
You'd have to look very carefully, but the second slab can barely be seen in the background of the same photo (just to the right of the guy spraying water). It looks nice on the full resolution one here.
It looks like the airform will be fitted to the slab on Monday and if all goes right and the stars align properly, it should be inflated on Tuesday. I need to positively confirm that with Monolithic this weekend, but I think that is the plan.
I probably won't have much more to post this weekend, but you never know.
Assuming all goes well from here it will probably be Tuesday for the inflating of the airform for the main dome. We should find out today what the schedule is and then we'll contact lots of people about it.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Now for the tribulations. When the electrical and plumbing subcontractors set the pipe/conduit they each put one piece too close to the slab frame and those must be moved prior to the pouring of the slab. Of course this means that the plumbing has to be re-pressure tested and reinspected to make sure it is still safe. However, this should not actually delay the process, assuming the plumber got back out there this afternoon/evening to move it. They could then pressurize it overnight and be good to go first thing in the morning.
That is not the end of the tribulations though. The slab crew did not correctly read the plans for how to set up the rebar and where to put the beams for the foundation. When the inspector cam e out this afternoon they noticed irregularities and the rebar failed inspection. The crew was going to try working this afternoon, evening, night and maybe into the wee hours to get it fixed and ready to pass inspection first thing in the morning. If the succeed, then the main slab will be poured tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, if not then it will be Friday at the earliest. Sigh.
If all goes well and they get the slab poured Thursday the actual airform should be inflated on Monday, if not then it will be later next week before things will be happening with the airform. All in all this is not that big a setback, but it is frustrating since we are this close to getting the dome inflated.