Martin

Martin

I am a licensed landscape architect and an urban planner who practiced in California over the last 35 years. My wife who went to the Keys for over 20 years with her family has always been in love with the Keys. We have decided to move there to enjoy the Keys lifestyle.
First Floor steel rebar

When is the first floor not the ground floor? – Nov 14, 2022

When is the first floor not the ground floor? In Europe, and the Florida Keys, of course! There has been confusion around here as to what floor the contractor is working on…. I’ve had trouble communicating with people about how far along we are, which is not very! Here the floor above the ground floor is the first floor. The contractor promised me that now “my crew is on your job until it’s done”, YAY! But we will see. I’m…

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Temporary first floor framing

First Floor Structural Work – October 19, 2022

The next step is framing the first floor (above grade). The supports have been constructed and the plywood for the subfloor has been installed. In Silicon Valley, the building are constructed with steel supports and metal floor deck to support the raised floor. But this is the Keys, and this is how it’s done. The next step is to install the rebar that will support the concrete pour for the subfloor. I’ve never seen the supports built of wood and…

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Column framing

Concrete Walls and Columns – October 18, 2022

The next step was the perimeter walls and the free standing columns. As we were preparing for the construction of the perimeter walls, I had ideas for making some changes in the field. Due to the City of Marathon’s illegal granting of building rights to the biggest developer in Marathon the state of Florida has stepped in to “review and comment” on all construction permits and changes to existing permits. All of the drawings were done months ago but trying…

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Concrete block walls

Walls, Finally! – October 12, 2022

Well, everyone is probably bored about foundations! The next step was the perimeter walls and the free standing columns. As we were preparing for the construction of the perimeter walls, I had ideas for making some changes in the field. Due to the City of Marathon’s illegal granting of building rights to the biggest developer in Marathon the state of Florida has stepped in to “review and comment” on all construction permits and changes to existing permits. All of the…

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Concrete forms

Concrete Foundations, part 3 – October 1, 2022

Well, everyone is probably bored about foundations! But one more post on the topic! The contractor did frame and add the rebar to the foundations. There were specifications on how it was to be done. But, it’s the Keys and it seems written specs don’t count, even to the designer! I was out on the site and realized that the contractor was using gravel too big for the specifications. The rebar was resting on the soil. The rebar was also…

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Pile Driver

Foundations, the other method – August 4, 2022

Considering that we made the decision early on to have a concrete house we have to take into account the extra weight of the whole structure. The “soil” (sandy marine clay and rock fragment) we are building on is probably fill the developer threw on top of a marsh to create “dry” land and from the surrounding canals. The method used on our site was to the drill the hole, fill with concrete and drop in a rebar cage to…

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Trouble in Paradise? – August 4, 2022

What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care? What happens when the construction installation is not per the drawings and no one seems to care except the owner? This week has been stressful. There are requirements in the drawings for: Imported base rock to be compacted to 2,000 LBS per square foot. Rebar to be supported with rebar chairs so…

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Compacting Baserock

Foundation Work Continues – July 20, 2022

Yesterday there were 6 laborers working on the project! An all time high! Men were working on stripping forms, readying them for more concrete work. Other workers were readying the foundation rebar for the future horizontal foundation connectors. Debris was removed from the site. A Bobcat was used to spread baserock around the vertical rebar foundation. Next is to ready the site to receive the concrete forms for the concrete foundation pour. That concrete will enclose the foundation of the…

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Foundation materials on site

Foundation Work Continues – July 13, 2022

Construction work in the Florida Keys is a stop and go proposition these days. Sometimes work gets done and sometimes nothing gets done for weeks at a time. Currently there seems to be more stop than go for my project. After a full day of getting the foundation rebar placed as per the designer’s plans, the work stopped. As a surprise, during this visit to the job site there as actual signs that progress was about to start up again!…

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Marathon 1911

Why we have not updated our posts for a while?

We were blissfully ignorant of the workings of the Keys. I was spending my time making design decisions for my “dream home” without the cruel realities. Our original designer did not tell us he had heart disease and he died during the process. His boss was a thief, stole money and did not finish the design work. Due to the cost of an ICF house was about $900,000 we decided to go with a more traditional concrete block and metal…

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