The construction of a concrete home here in Mexico is absolutely fascinating. To someone looking at the technique for the first time it might look like a peculiar build compared with a system they have seen in another country. I’ve been watching this building system for the past 6 years and have to agree that I was once puzzled about why the vertical columns are poured last or why they just don’t overlap the corners like I’ve seen in the United States or Canada. The answer it quite simple and rather ingenious really. The center pour will only provide you with a 9cm x 9cm (81 sq cm) solid concrete column with a single vertical rebar in the center. When it’s pour after the block wall is built the thickness jumps up to a minimum of 15cm x 15cm (225 sq cm) and can be made as wide as you need to transfer the loads. (This math shows that this will provide a column that 2.5 times larger.) Some of ours are as large as 15cm x 30cm with a cage of reinforced steel containing no less than 4 vertical bars. Once poured these reinforced structural concrete columns and beams become the load transferring system that work much like a timber frame or a modern post and beam system.
In this video clip from a couple weeks back we are filling one of the last main floor columns (castillo) on the main floor. The guys have mixed the concrete on the ground at the front of the property and haul in in 5 gallons buckets.