This is a follow-up article on a previous article I wrote about a high level wooden deck we are building at Paradise Valley in Pinetown Durban. Click here for the original article.
The poles proved to be quite a story getting up. We were 5 people on the day. The poles were 9m long and we had to get them in to a hole of 1m deep, secure them and then pour concrete. The difficulty was to get the pole up because with 8m in the air and only 1m in the ground you have no leverage to pull the pole vertically plumb. We got two of them in without having to resort to other methods, but our third and final pole proved a bit more difficult as by now we had stays and ropes all over the place holding the poles in position while the concrete set. So there was nowhere that we could actually move the pole to get it into the hole without disturbing the other poles. We ended up pulling it up (3 of us) from the flat which was about 2 stories up, using ropes, while 2 others pushed the bottom into the hole. The top of the pole kept catching underneath the balcony. We eventually got it up over the balcony edge and could then pull it so the foot of the pole went into the hole. We then nailed a 38 x 114 to the top of the pole and pushed it to vertical. Each hole took about 6 barrows of concrete mix. We were lucky enough to be able to mix right where we
were building. I won’t say “never again”, because if challenged with the same task again I will most certainly attempt it. However, I will use a crane truck to get the poles in the hole. 9m is a bit long to handle by hand and although we did it, it was a bit dangerous at times and we had to continually stop to make sure that no one would get injured. A crane truck for a day will simply make the job a lot easier and much safer.
We built our platform which took us a full day. We used 50 x 228 beams and set the platform below the level of our deck so that we could stand on that platform and build our deck. Once we had the 50 x 228 installed on two sides, we cut the same timber to lengths of just over 2m and nailed them down perpendicular to these main beams to create a platform. Needless to say we have taken perfectly good timber and cut it into 3 pieces to create this platform. At some point I suppose we will use them for stair treads or similar, so it is not a complete waste of money.
We strapped ourselves into harnesses, hired a 10m extension ladder and set about building the deck substructure. We had to resort to our old method of installing the substructure of first setting posts, then cutting and notching posts, then installing beams and finally joists. So it took a fair amount of extra time but there is no other way of doing this at that height. The substructure for 20m² took one day and deck boards another full day. The balustrade will go in on Monday and then it’s just a matter of installing diagonal supports to stop any racking (sideways movement), filling, sanding and sealing. As mentioned above I will attempt another high level deck, but I will cost it more accurately and I will use a
crane truck to get the poles in.
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