Beam and Block: Using it on extreme slopes

There is a saying that “when the going gets tough the tough get going”. This has proved to be a very accurate statement over the years for many. But we like to think that when the going gets tough, the tough get smarter! We were involved in a project in Tigoni. The plot itself was on the side of one of the steep valleys there. It entailed a massive cut into the side of the hill to create a large enough area for the plinth to sit.  The steep slope was such that access to the house was on the first floor, this became the kitchen and family areas and bedrooms were then downstairs and upstairs. Doing a cut and fill into the side of the hill naturally created a situation where the soil was loose on the downward side. The contours of the land did not allow for heavy machinery to come and compact the soil.  To create stable foundations, a decision was made to create columns, dug to stable solid ground, and ground beams to support the house.

Why Beam and block slab is the ideal Solution

The client opted to use Beam and Block as this provided an ideal solution to several problems. As the site was so steep there was no place to set up a big batching area for the production of concrete. The only means to deliver concrete on the site was the wheelbarrow.  This was already proving challenging for the concrete elements that needed to be cast on site. Beam and block were ideal as they could be carried directly to their final placement spot.

benefits of the beam and block flooring system

  • As it was ready-made it left no debris on-site that would need to be cleared away later.
  • It provided a safe working platform as soon as it was laid and helped with worker safety as a result.
  • Being Tigoni the weather can be often wet. The beam and block is all-weather and can be laid even during the rain.
  • Often sites such as this are in short supply of water. Beam and Block is beneficial as it does not require water.
The casting of slabs requires that the entire works be cast in a single cast.  This often presents problems on such sites if there is a mechanical breakdown and repairs or replacements need to be brought to the site.  Invariably this will mean that works often proceed into the dark. This contributes to poor workmanship as often there is not enough lighting for this, as well as poor quality concrete a mixing becomes erratic in the dark and the workers become fatigued. Additionally after working late to complete the task, often workers need to be transported home a public means is erratic. Beam and Block eradicate this scenario as works can be stopped at any time with no detrimental or knock-on effect.
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