Steel and concrete have complementary properties, I don't fully understand it but it has to do with compression and tension and expansion and contraction. So our Structural Engineer specified 3 layers of reinforcement mesh, 1 at the bottom of the trenches, 1 just above the level of the pads and 1 just below the surface. Its important that the mesh isn't exposed to the elements in the future so we ensure its covered by a minimum of 35mm concrete all round. Special spacers hold the mesh off the pad, and the upper layers of mesh off the lower.
Installing diagonal bracing along the edge by the dry stone wall was problematic, so we had to take a section of the wall down and use the digger bucket to hold a section in place!
Mike Hawkins is a co-op member and is responsible for the design and management of the build. He'll also live in it when its finished - hooray! He teaches future architects at Leicester DeMontfort and Birmingham City universities.