I have been radio silent for a while; primarily due to an enormous amount of work required to price out a new residence for construction, and because some serious infrastructure work is  being and has been done on the cabin.

There has been key structural work being done - will address in a future post - and the focus of this post:  The Crawl Space.

I am a systems guy.  By that I mean I want access to building systems whether commercial or in this case a residential structure.  I want to be able to access plumbing, heating, electrical and the structure without crawling on my belly to do so.  I want to organize and access water valves, electrical connections and any other control points for the building.  Additionally I want to be able to get to the foundation to install insulation to tighten the thermal properties of the foundation element of the building envelope - install new ductwork and visually observe these systems once installed.

In this little cabin there was a crawl space - but not big enough.  In order to bring the new water line in to the cabin I needed to expose the existing ancient galvanized supply line and expose the area in the crawl space to which the new line would come in from the street.

We are fortunate in that the existing sewer line will be abandoned.  We are going to connect to a new city line that will be brought into the NW corner of the site.  From there it will be run into the cabin on the North side to intercept the existing waste lines.  Right now there is no way to access these lines without serious demolition (which we are doing) so we don't have to do this again.

With dirt not far from the bottom of the existing joists - like within inches - this condition required mitigation.

So...with all the above being considered we have excavated a portion of the crawl space.  The dirt was hard and required a jack hammer to assist.  

The first assault was a one day effort that got about four feet into the crawl with two people and myself as the wheelbarrow  operator.  This first round was done with picks, shovels, no jackhammer.  It was dirty.

Crawl Excavation in Process

We then realized it was necessary to prepare a more intense excavation assault to effectively gain on getting control of the space.  A jackhammer, concrete saw and a four man crew for two days took care of the main area, and penetrated into the space under the bathroom / guest quarters.  The dirt was broken up, placed in 5-gallon buckets and hoisted out of the crawl space and moved by wheel barrow to the current point on site.

Excavated Crawl Space Dirt
Because the dirt was so close to the floor joists in the bedroom area a second effort will be required.  The strategy for that effort includes removing the floor sheathing in the bedroom / bath area and executing the completion of the excavation from above.  This will be more cost-effective and will allow for a complete discovery of existing conditions that may need to be addressed.

Those discoveries will be addressed in a coming post.