Episode 6: By Eng Hans JWB Mwesigwa, Sam Hadido and Daniel Tayebwa
Recapitulation on Episode 1, Vol. 1/June 2016 page12:
- Samson Kaloosi and his wife Delilah start on their dream home – a masonette as opposed to the fabulous bungalow they live in which was not tailored to their taste.
- They seek advice from professionals.
Episode 2, Vol 2/October 2016 page 24:
- The architect and engineer provide plans and drawings.
- Samson gets plan approvals.
- Erifaz the quantity surveyor provides Samson with a bill of quantities, schedule of materials and schedule of labour from which Samson and Delilah estimate the cost of their dream home to Shs100 million.
- Samson and Delilah decide to purchase construction materials and deploy George the foreman, but retain the overall advice and supervision of the architect, engineer and quantity surveyor.
- Samson acquaints himself with mortgage financing using a leading Housing Finance Bank.
- With the help of George, workmen are recruited.
- Construction work starts in the order of: the septic tank, a servants’ quarters and a perimeter wall.
- Samson gets a nasty dream.
- Samon and Delilah are given the essential preliminary checkpoints before setting out the building.
- Samson and Delilah get essentials on site, including water and power and securing the site.
- Cathy the architect plans to set out the building.
The characters in the story so far:
- Samson Kaloosi and Delilah Matama Kaloosi, the dream home owners.
- Patrick Barugahe the lawyer.
- Erifaz Nyanzi the quantity surveyor, Abdul Kizito the engineer, and Cathy Ankunda the architect.
- George Nsimbi, the foreman and full-time supervisor.
In Episode 6, Cathy the architect sets out the main dream home.
The D-Day to set out the main house was here – Labour Day. A goat was slaughtered that day for the cause. Cathy told Delilah that the death was not to appease the so-called spirits, but simply to enjoy the start of the construction. Delilah, who enjoyed goat meat, particularly the blood and offals, agreed. After an hour or two of feasting, the measuring out of the wall boundaries of the house began in earnest!
Cathy explained that setting out the building was a process to locate the building corners from which to derive the position of the walls and columns in accordance with the architect’s and structural engineer’s approved plans. In effect, this was a transfer of dimensions from the layout plan to the ground.
Since George and his builders had constructed the boundary wall and done a great job, Cathy had fixed landmarks to use as reference points.
George and his builders were also excited to start construction of the whole house. Earning would start in earnest and Delilah was taking good care of them in the provision of sugar cane, sweet porridge and advancing some money against work done.
George bought a long tape measure and strong strings to make lines from Robert the hardware shop owner in the neighbourhood. He also obtained timber for profiles and stakes from offcuts from the site. Some shrubs and decayed trees had been cut and parts of these came in handy.
Using the boundary wall as a fixed landmark, Cathy and George found it easy to locate the main corner points of the house.
First things first: they established a parallel line from the boundary wall and the position of the first pin was determined. George had to start from the right-hand corner of the plot in order to measure off the first point, since it was at right angles.
The width of the foundation trench at each corner was measured off. The architect had specified 0.6 m. Cathy warned George: “The foundation trench should not be too wide because the trench will then use more unnecessary concrete in the foundation footing.”
Nails were hammered into the top profile for each side of the foundation. The dimensions were done from centre to centre. Therefore, where the trench was 600mm wide, they measured 300mm outward and 300mm inwards from the centre line.
The process was repeated for all the corners. Thereafter, Cathy the architect carried out a final inspection of the work. Now the site was filled with pegs and strings indicating the boundaries of the walls and positions of the only two reinforcement designed columns. White lime powder was then carefully poured along the lines or strings to effectively mark out foundation dimensions for setting out the main house.
Coincidentally, Abdul Kizito the engineer arrived just when Cathy and George had completed work, and they were starting on the goat meat meal, served with maize meal. Everyone laughed at the timing. After lunch, Abdul the engineer also crosschecked the measurements in accordance with his civil and structural drawings and he pronounced the work fine. But he was dozing! Temperatures that day reached 32 degrees Celsius and the heavy lunch did not ease matters.
“And so, George,” Cathy remarked after the meal, “let us look forward to starting excavations before tomorrow morning before the rain washes away the demarcation lines”. George in turn bellowed to the workmen: “No burials for tomorrow, everyone! Work will start at 7am!”