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Setting the Piles, Beams and Foundation Forms

December 7, 2010 - Over the past week, Mr. Brooks and his crew completed their dirt work on the site; then turned their attention to drilling the piles, setting the beams, and building the foundation walls. Besides a few clouds now and then, the weather has been near perfect. To say it is important to get the foundation right is a bit of an understatement. An error at this stage can cascade in all kinds of rework and additional costs later. This is the time to check and recheck all drawings.

Work began by determining the elevation for the floor. This may sound simple, but you must keep in mind that the container floor sits 6.5" off the ground to begin with, and added to that is the height of any floor coverings you plan on adding later. We wanted to be able to walk from a container directly into the green screen studio without the need to step up or down. This would require at least two different form heights. 

To insure that the new building meet all ADA codes, we asked George Harris to stop by for a short meeting.  We went through the 3D sketchup file and showed him the changes we made after moving the Creative Co-Op from behind our current building to the front. We literally went from room to room to insure that all door widths, hardware, floor transitions, and other code requirements were met. 

There are many ADA building factors to consider.  One thing we all learned at the meeting was that any openings less than 6'8" high, require a wall stop at the floor.  For example, under the stairs in our utility room, we must put an object of some sort under the stairs - more specifically directly under the stair riser that measures 6'8" off the ground.  He suggested a file cabinet.  The purpose of this is to help those who are blind.  When a blind person using a cane walks, they swing it in front of them.  If they hit something that alerts them that an object is in front of them and to proceed with caution.  Without something on the floor, they could swing the cane, not hit anything, and easily walk into a stair riser.

An entire blog post can be devoted to ADA requirements, and as we get further into the project we will write more about these regulations.  While some seem reasonable, others may be excessive - especially for a building our size.

The photos at the right will take you through the step-by-step process of drilling the holes for the piles, setting the beams and building the foundation forms.  As I am writing this, I can hear the cement truck pulling up to our site.  Today, we will pour half the foundation.  Our next blog post will detail the cement pour and final foundation work.

Posted by Vic Cherubini on December 08, 2010

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Mr. Brooks (Foundation Contractor, Ron Saikowski (Engineer) and David Cox (Project Manager) review the plans.

Test bore to determine the quality of the soil.

First few feet of soil is powder sand, but then gets very hard. Note the size of the chunks of dirt coming out of the bottom of the hole.

Each hole was drilled to a depth of 11'.  28 holes were drilled - on average 5-10 minutes per hole.

This electronic level helped insure the exact height of each pile plate.

Forms measuring 16 inch by 16 were created and placed precisely over the bore hole.

This is the bell tool coming out of the hole.  The dirt was so solid, water was poured down the hole to soften it.

Sebastian Andrade checking over the piles to make sure each is in the correct place.

The bottom bell of the hole is first filled with concrete.

The re bar frame is then lowered into the hole, and it is filled with concrete.

A perfect pour, combined with a perfect plate placement, results in a perfectly level pile.

Here is a trick of the trade.  Mr. Brooks uses duct tape to help him control the position of the metal plate as he lowers it into the concrete.

Sebastian did all of the Sketchup Files on this project and the 3D Renderings.

This is the re bar configuration for a beam. It is placed to a depth of 24

Mr. Brooks controls the pour as the foundation crew levels the concrete in the form.

Crew Boss Sebastian cuts a grove around the foundation forms.

This machine is used to tamp down the earth and get the foundation floor level and ready for the vapor barrier.

Two additional trucks of clean fill dirt were required to level the foundation.

The vapor barrier is put in place and the re bar is laid out. It is late in the afternoon and the crew calls it a day.