Plumbing, Electrical, Post-tension cables

posted in: Museum Mews, Rough-In | 0

The last update was exactly 2 weeks ago, but it certainly doesn’t feel that long.  When the your elbow deep in scheduling and coordinating work among 4 or 5 trades at the same time, the days and weeks can go by pretty fast.  But being busy means much progress has been made.  We’ve now passed our mechanical (HVAC) and plumbing inspections and the electrical inspection is scheduled for tomorrow.  Also, the post-tension foundation cables have been stressed and are now waiting for the engineer inspection.  Some more details on some of those items below:

1.  Plumbing Rough-in


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This pictures shows a rough-in shower valve. Since each faucet manufacturer requires a different valve, it’s necessary at this point to already decide on a manufacturer, if not the actual shower faucets that will be installed in the house. For this floor plan, there are 4 total. One for each of the two secondary bathrooms and 2 for the master: 1 wall mounted and one rain head.
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The master bath sink area. The pex water supply lines (more on that below) are red for hot and blue for cold (pretty intuitive). The white are for the waste water and venting. Note that the waste water line on the left is not aligned with the supply lines. A casualty of a field change order. The plans show a linen closet between the two sinks, which did not make much sense and it’s clear after the framing is built. However, this little bit of detail did not get passed along to the plumbers before the job is scheduled. Need to follow up to get this changed now or we’ll have a problem after sheet rock.
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Based on the advice of an Austin area builder who keeps a blog as well, I decided to purchase these flashing panels and install them for this project. These are meant to securely protect the house from any water intrusion at point of entry of pipes, vents, etc. This example here shows a 4″ sewer clean out. The product is great and works as intended but the problem is that many different sizes of pipes require many different flashing panels. Also, sometimes the pipes do not stick out far enough for the rubber gasket to seal around it, make the product useless. I check today and Tyvek, the manufacturer of the house wrap, actually recommends only using flexible window tape around pipes. Not sure how totally necessary this is, but with 4×8 fiber cement board butt joined over 4 story walls, I don’t want to take any chances.


2.  Electrical Rough-in

Getting power to the house involves physically finding a way to get a cable from the electrical pole all the way to the meter can installed on the side of the house.  Since installing the meter right at the front would be real ugly and a big turn off for any buyers, we are putting it towards the back, behind the front door.  That requires digging a trench from the electric pole all the way to the meter location and laying conduit.

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2015-09-22 14.27.09 After the conduit is laid and cable run through the conduit, this is what it looks like at the location where electrical power enters the house through the circuit breaker. Pretty ugly at this point. We’ll need to clean it up and make sure the pipes are as neatly installed on the house exterior as possible. Next time, we’ll try to place the circuit breaker in the garage. Second pictures shows view from inside.

3.  Post-Tension Cable Stressing

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Before the concrete foundation was poured, cables wrapped in plastic sheathing were laid inside the form work. These are inert strands of metal that will add incredible strength to the foundation once they are pulled tight using a force of 33,000 lbs. This is the same principle as lifting a row of books off a shelf by compressing them tightly together at the ends. Given that the cable is only 1/2″ in diameter, that’s over 168,000 lbs per sq. inch! Still, even that amount is only a little over 1/2 of the strength of the steel specified for the cable, at 270,000 lbs per sq. in.
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The cables are spray painted white before stretching and this shows how far the steel has been pulled and that it’s holding the tension in place. Once the inspection is passed, the cables will be cut and the holes grouted to prevent rusting.

4.  Crickets

No, not the insect.  Nor am I referring to the sport enjoyed by the English, Indians, and Caribbean nations with rules I will never understand.  These are small pop-up peaks created on a surface to direct water where you want it to go.  In this case, we have 2 balconies with what are called “scuppers,” a fancy word for a hole in a wall for water to shoot out of.  The hole and all corners where wall meets floor will be lined in metal flashing to water proof the joints and a water proofing fluid sprayed over everything.  This area was like a bath tub during a recent heavy rain event.  Boy, was I glad to see these get put in!

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