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Reception Hall Construction Updates
November 7, 2013

Much of the this past week was spent preparing for the lower level walkway concrete pour.  The crew also built the forms to pour one of the retaining wall, and some hand digging was done to prevent damage to the roots of large oak tree near the building.  On Friday both of those pour happened.  There will be one more pour happening, hopefully next week.


We hope to provide a weekly up-date to the construction project along with photos. So please check back often and follow the progress.




November 1st Update:
This past week there were two concrete pours, one on Wednesday and one on Friday. These pours completed the structural slab.  The building is finally starting to look like a building!  Next week work on a retaining wall will start and one more concrete pour of the walkway around the backside of the building hopefully will get poured as well.



October 25th Update:
The last of the concrete stem wall foundations were poured this week.  Once the wooden forms were removed, the final installation of drain pipes and utility lines were set in place, then several inches of drain rock were added on top of this. That work was fun to watch as a special truck was brought in to literally throw the rock into place. The next phase of work will be to pour the under slab of the building.  The preparation work will include laying a vapor barrier and more rebar.


October 18th Update:

This week was relatively quiet. At the Reception Hall site, form boards were installed for the remainder of the foundation. We anticipate a concrete pour mid-next week. Prayer flags now adorn the construction fence in preparation for Kathina on October 20.


Two 5,000 gallon tanks for fire suppression were installed at the site of the old workshop and connected to the 4-inch water line and fire hydrant installed in August. A tap water line near the reception hall broke during the construction process, and we plan to fill the fire suppression tanks once we replace the water lost from this leak in our reserve tanks.


October 11th Update:

The week began with the removal by crane of the temporary retaining wall, which had been in place for nearly ten weeks. This meant the end of rental fees for the steel beams and plates that formed the wall. A more permanent safety fence replaced the temporary one. Much plumbing was installed. Finally, 55 yards of concrete were pumped into the stem wall forms.


Meanwhile, we have been less than impressed with the performance and longevity of the doors and windows installed in the Bhikkhu Commons. Since the Reception Hall doors and windows will cost over $100,000, choosing quiet, low-maintenance ones is a high priority. To see how name-brand fenestration performs under actual use, Ajahn Pasanno accompanied the architect and contractors on a day-long tour of real-life installations of commercial doors and windows.


October 4th Update:

Some much needed rain over the weekend, caused some unwanted construction delays at the beginning of the week. The first few days of the week were too wet to work and once conditions dried up, much labor was needed to remove mud from the bottom of the footing trenches.


As you can see from the photos, much work did get completed with almost all of the 700 feet of stem wall forms being installed. Also the drain pipes and drain rock have been successfully installed.


Early next week we hope the temporary steel retaining walls will be removed and by the end of the week the bulk of the stem walls will be poured.


September 26th Update:

Construction appears to be moving forward quite quickly now that the retaining wall has been completed. This week two crews have been busy marking, digging and setting forms for the building foundations. With the area being marked off you get a pretty clear idea of what the finished building might look like. A third crew completed water-proofing the retaining wall. Now that the retaining wall has cured for several weeks and the wall is water-proofed, early next week the plan is to back-fill the wall with drain rock and remove the temporary steel retaining wall. We also hope to pour some of the footings and foundation walls next week. This concrete pour will be a large job and will take two or three separate pours to complete.



September 19th Update:

This past week saw a lot of work completed. The top two feet of the retaining wall was completed with the concrete pour happening on Wednesday. Once the concrete was set, the crew began removing the plywood forms and two rows of scaffolding.


Most of the work over the last four weeks has been to build the forms to pour the concrete retaining wall, plus the construction of two sets of scaffolding to aid in this process. It was interesting that those four weeks of effort were dismantled in two days! That's the nature of construction work.


The next phase will include waterproofing the concrete retaining wall. Back-filling the wall with drainage pipes and drain rock. Once that is complete, we can remove the steel retaining wall.  The next big project will be pouring the main building slab. This last job will require building some forms, installing drain pipes and plumbing, plus doing some digging and grading.



September 12th Update:

This week, construction to the plywood forms was completed and on Thursday, Sept. 12th forty-five yards of concrete was delivered to pour the permanent retaining wall.  Due to the height of this wall it will require two pours.  Next week the remaining two or three feet of the retaining wall will need to have re-bar installed and the top part of the forms set in place.  Hopefully the wall will be complete by mid-week.




September 7th Update:

The forms for the retaining wall are taking shape. Latest pictures show the snap-tie grid all up and the plywood forms on the front side partially complete. 



August 30th Update:

Everything went as planned!  Monday 86 yards of concrete were poured for the footings of the retaining wall.  Tuesday the crew started building the forms for the permanent retaining wall. This work will probably take a couple weeks.



August 23rd Update:

If delays were the theme last week, this week's theme was progress. All of the re-bar has been set in place and on Monday we hope to pour 80 yards of concrete! Those large cement mixing truck you have probably seen, haul about 9 yards. Besides pouring the concrete for the footings, next week we hope to start framing the forms for the permanent retaining wall.


Other work that got done this week was laying the water pipe for the fire suppression system. The line is completely in place, along with a new fire hydrant which is mostly hidden from view by the bell tower and a large rock. The next step of that project is to create a concrete pad and install one or two large water storage tanks.



August 16th Update:
Delays were the theme this week. However, significant work has been done on laying the water pipe for the fire suppression system. The delays occurred here because the mini excavator broke down and it took two days to get it fixed.

The contractor who will be doing most of the building on the reception hall was delayed by another job. His crew arrived today and they now will be working full time at Abhayagiri. 



August 8th Update:

Week three saw the completion of the temporary retaining structure, plus the digging of the footings for the “permanent” retaining wall. The two major projects we hope to start next week are the framing of those footings, plus trenching up the road to lay water pipes. These pipes will be used exclusively for a fire suppression system in the Reception Hall / Cloister area.



August 1st Update:
Week two of construction ended up being a lot slower than we hoped. Shortly after last week's photos were taken, a section of the cut earth bank collapsed. The original plan had been to construct a temporary retaining structure along this earth bank, to protect the workers while they built the permanent retaining wall. Due to this set-back a civil engineer was brought in and he quickly provided us with a plan to secure the earth. As you can see from this week's photos, work to complete the temporary retaining structure has begun and we are hopeful that construction of the proper retaining walls will start next week.


July 23rd Update:
Abhayagiri's largest building project has begun!  The two story complex will include a spacious meditation hall, a larger and more modern kitchen, office,  library, guest rooms, child care room, bathrooms and showers for laymen, laundry, a small shrine room / reliquary, plus covered decks and storage rooms.This project will take some years to complete and in 2013 we hope to complete the following projects: 

Phase 1 of construction: 
  • structural foundation 
  • retaining walls
  • underfloor plumbing
  • waterproofing
  • back retaining wall
  • Other work to be done in phase: water tanks and trenching for fire sprinkler system.

Hopefully in the spring of 2014 we can begin phase 2.  The scope of this phase would include: 
  • Completion of Reception Hall buildings
  • Demolition of the existing house
  • Courtyard drainage, landscaping, and wheel chair accessible paths
  • Walkways tied together and Pavilion construction.
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