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House foundations and earthworks: key construction stages

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The digger must know how to use specific machines such as bulldozers, graders, rock breakers.

At Maison Sic, Patrick works as a navvy. He makes us discover his job, his difficulties and the care he brings to this essential part of the construction.

The path of Patrick terrassier at Maisons Sic

A mason by training, Patrick Bourriague works for the builder Sic houses for more than 30 years. They are converted en navvy 20 years ago after an accident at work which now prohibits him from working at height. A radical change that he does not regret. "  I like everything about this job. First of all, the working atmosphere at Maisons Sic is pleasant. Then I like to work outdoors “, confides the navvy.

Patrick Bourriague has worked for the builder Maisons Sic for more than 30 years.



Semi-deep house foundations for stability

He is the first responder of a construction site de individual house construction. Indeed, it is he who prepares the foundations ready to receive the weight and the house charges. From the planlayout of the house on the the land, it plots and then starts to dig the foundations. Its role is then to lay the shims and reinforcements up to the pouring concrete. A crucial step because the objective is to obtain solid foundations and well designed which avoid any risk of settling causing cracks in the new house. Soon the as basely Type crawlspace will be anchored on the foundations. It is the latter that will integrate the low floor. THE constructive mode chosen by the individual house builder aims in particular to avoid capillary rise moisture in the house through the floor. " Maison Sic is of good quality. A good team always does serious work “, rejoices the navvy.

To go further, see our article on the stages of the construction of a detached house in the South-West.

The foundations of the house, demanding teamwork.

But working outdoors does not only have advantages. Whatever the season, when the earthwork begins, it is absolutely necessary to avoid stopping the work. Because the biggest enemy of this work remains the rain. Beyond comfort, it increases the workload and can even stop a construction site. " We make foundations deep. If we do not sink immediately, the rain descends to the bottom of the excavations, gullies the ground and closes the foundations. Afterwards you have to come back to dig and you are often forced to shovel “, he details. For a rectangular house of about 100 m2, Patrick spends two to three days on the site. A time that can double depending on the nature of the land.

On rocky terrain, the builder uses a hydraulic breaker. It's a kind of giant jackhammer that connects to the articulated arm of an excavator.

A construction site adapted to the nature of the terrain

We find him in the Lot et Garonne where the construction of a 112 m house begins2. Work is determined by nature of the land. « In the normal earth we are helped by a machine and everything happens quite simply. In some cases, when one encounters a rocky terrain like here, you need a second machine called breakers. As the work progresses, the debris must be evacuated » he explains. This tool, whose operation is similar to a jackhammer, aims to obtain a homogeneous ground ready to receive the new house. “Some days are harder than others. Sometimes it's the earth that doesn't hold. Other times, you have to wait for the concrete. But I like it because in the end, all the sites are different”.


Find all the details of this project and thevideo interview of Patrick. Other films, available via this link, will introduce you to the wide range of professions and know-how of Maisons Sic employees.


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