ACE2Zambia – Week 4: Crunch Time

With our time in Zambia over half complete and much work still to do, week 4 was crunch time for the ACE2Zambia team. Week 3 saw the kerb stones placed and the ground in the court area levelled. Still to come was the concrete work for the shoulders and drains, stonebase and bitumen, as well as other elements such as the seating, landscaping, and protective barrier.

But it wasn’t all work and no play! From fun on site and group meals in the evenings, to a weekend birthday bash for Stewie (the VolunteerZambia media rep); the Bath team had a great week.

Sports day in the VolunteerZambia house

Progress on site

Week 3 ended with the court area levelled with good quality won spoil and the kerb stones placed. It was definitely nice to make some progress and get the area looking like a real court! The week had a frustrating end however with the compactor breaking down at the end of the week, leaving half the area uncompacted.

In order to save time it was agreed with the contractor that the stonebase should be placed across the whole court area and the whole thickness of material would be comacted in one go. Given the thin layer of stonebase being used this was deemed acceptable and it saved a whole day of work.

Stonebase piled up on the court ready for spreading

With work inside the court area progressing it was time to turn our attention to the outside of the court. Along the perimeter of the court a concrete shoulder around 50mm thick was cast in place and a spoon drain is planned for three sides to divert water flow off the playing area.
This concrete work proved more difficult than expected with a number of hiccups along the way.

Although we had aimed to have the shoulder completed by the end of the week, when Friday came around there was still around 20% of the perimeter left unfinished. After a conversation with the contractor the concrete technicians were changed and some busy days in week 4 were planned!

The issues with the concrete works did provide an opportunity for the A2Z team to pitch in on site and get their hands dirty, applying knowledge from UK construction sites to the court at Matero. The idea to pierce a bottle top and use it to keep the surface of the concrete moist, improving the finish is one experienced site engineers will recognise as an old favourite.

By the end of the week it was clear that progress had been made and the teachers at Matero were delighted to see the court taking shape. Although progress was slower than hoped we knew that we still had time, but that week 4 would be busy!

Fabrication and site visits

Outside of the main court construction the A2Z team are also conducting site visits to all Sport-In-Action sites to put together and asset register and condition survey. We hope that future A2Z teams find our updates useful for their projects and that this document serves SIA well in the future. Additionally, a side project to organise the fabrication of a series of netball posts to SIA hub sites and the writing of a netball post fabrication guide are progressing well.

Visiting sites all over Lusaka has been a nice break from site life (and from the 60 minute journey every morning!) and seeing the different communities that benefit from the work SIA, and by extension the VolunteerZambia team, does is incredibly fulfilling. Knowing that the work we do is part of a much larger effort with an established infrastructure and positive strategic vision is huge for our enthusiasm for the project.

Looking to Week 5

Week 5 will undoubtedly be make or break for the A2Z team. With a tight schedule and lots to do it will be all hands on deck to get everything done in time to hand over to the school and Sport-In-Action.

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