Foundation for a Problem Site

To improve traction for workers, the authors spread stone over the wet clay soil. Footing forms were placed on top of the stone.

For the 10-inch-thick foundation walls, the engineer specified a grid of #5 rebar. The footings step down 5 feet on the walk-in side of the foundation. Because this portion of the wall is not subject to soil pressure, its thickness is reduced to 8 inches.

Slab areas were poured atop full-height foundation compartments. The smaller of the two compartments is visible on the left side of the photo; the larger, not yet complete, is defined by the row of vertical rebar visible at the rear.

The finished compartments were filled with compacted soil and later capped with concrete slabs, providing a code-required setback from the septic system’s leaching field.

The authors installed drain tile, which outlets to daylight around the completed foundation. Note the standing water just inside the silt fence.

A section of the lot between the foundation and the street above was then backfilled to provide the required level base for the septic system.

One crew began installing the septic system while another formed the attached garage foundation. The heavily reinforced spread footing will anchor a retaining wall that extends from the back wall of the garage.

The retaining wall

A dry-laid masonry retaining wall and hard-surfaced walkways, installed as soon as possible after the completion of foundation work, provided early curb appeal and a mud-free site throughout the rest of the project.

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