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Until I moved to the Southwest, I thought all houses sat on foundation walls — if not on a full basement, at least on stemwalls. Shortly after moving to Albuquerque, N.M., I got my first carpentry job over the phone and was told to show up at a particular address the next morning. I drove up and down the street several times looking for a hole in the ground before I realized that this flat bare spot of concrete next to a lumber pile was where the house would be built. Now after ten years of experience with slab-on-grade construction, I have come to appreciate its advantages as well as its pitfalls. Short of having the slab "get away"