The Great Reinforced Concrete Wall

September 16, 2017

 What seemed like a simple job turned into an expensive week of hard labor ... here's what happened.

 

As part of our Zenibako Town House project we needed to open up the front retaining wall to allow access for a car park. To own a vehicle in Japan you must be able to prove that you have somewhere to park your car and that it fits within this space, so the wall had to come down.

 

We purchased the appropriate tools from Homac, one heavy duty jack hammer and one concrete cutter, plus the usual tools like a sledge hammer and steel bar etc. How hard could it be right, it's just concrete block ... or is it. We fired up the tools and got to work in the hope we would be finished ready for the car park police inspection tomorrow.

 

After a full day of back breaking work we had struggled to even remove one concrete block. The problem was that the wall had been built 40 years ago and was so well engineered it was more than earthquake proof. This was concrete block filled with rebar then filled with some of the hardest concrete that ever existed.

 

Given the monumental task ahead we decided to call in the professionals. A guy turns up in his van and gets out one jack hammer and one concrete cutter. Hmmm this will be interesting. We left him to it and returned the following day to find he had managed to remove about 3 blocks from the wall. After much translation he too had never seen concrete so hard and was now regretting he had taken the job.

 

So how did we get the wall down? Well our professional called in his friend and we LenKen all worked together for 4 solid days, slowly chipping away golf ball sized pieces of concrete. In the end it cost us twice as much as expected, it took 4 people, we did half the work, and it took 5 times longer.

 

The good news is the wall is down and the car park was approved.

 

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