Setting out a new project

Setting out for the year ahead with BLACK BIRD CONSTRUCTION

As we welcome a New Year with good wishes to all, we are pleased to introduce our building company, Black Bird Construction, and our new blog where we will be discussing all aspects of building and building materials.

We hope you will find this blog post to be both informative and interesting, as well as useful, especially if you are considering either building a new home or expanding an existing one.

In this blog post we intend to take you through a theoretical build, in this case the construction of a new house, following the sequential stages of construction in a step by step manner, as well as discussing potential snag or problem areas as well as materials as we go along.


Once you have your plans approved, your builder will set out the foot print of the house by measurements off the plan and property boundaries and will find and mark out the correct levels for the foundations.

You are ready to start the building works and the first thing to do is dig the trenches according to the builder’s set out demarcation.


Trenches are dug, either by hand or machine, to the depth and width required for the pouring of concrete and must pass inspection by the local council authority before any actual brick work may start.  To pass inspection, trenches must be neatly squared and free of any water or debris.

Concreting the trenches will follow inspection and approval by the local authority. Concrete is a mix of sand, cement and stone chips turned by hand or machine to a paste which sets hard quickly after pouring.  Should the design of the house or the type of ground require it, rod or mesh steel reinforcements are also laid into the concrete at this stage.  This concrete forms the footings and foundations for the weight of the walls, slabs and roofing.

Concrete is also the base material for the forming of the floors, columns, retaining walls, slabs and beams and most staircases. Concrete also forms the foundation for driveways, steps and paths, ponds and pools, drainage catchment pits, gullies and rain water run off channels.


Concrete can be made to different strengths for different applications. Concrete can be moulded and shaped, such as pre-cast palisade walling and certain garage units as well as being reinforced and pre-stressed for fixtures such as lintels.

With the gaining popularity for rough ‘industrialised- look wall and floor finishes, polished concrete floors are taking preference more, while the smooth undersides of slabs that have been poured in situ as well the undersides of cast staircases are left unadorned and unfinished by plastering or skimming.  The smooth strength of concrete is all that remains and does not get painted.  Once the concrete has dried and the formwork has been removed, the dark wet concrete mix turns an attractive pale whitish shade which does not require painting.  

Concrete finished for the floor involves the casting of concrete which is power floated for levelling and is then polished at high speed with special sanders.  The final look has the glossy top coat of polished granite while the interesting textures of the concrete pour is visible through it.

Concrete and cement work, brick work and plastering are called the ‘wet works’ of the building trades.

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