Building Footings to Applicable Codes
Footings distribute loads from the structure to the ground and in most cases are either specified by an engineer or architect. They are regulated, standardized and inspected by local building code officials. They vary dramatically across the country. If you are planning to build in an area that has no restrictions regarding footing size and re-enforcing standards, BuildBlock recommends you seek a local structural engineer to specify your load requirements and footing sizings. This step will avoid costly structural problems and assure your structure sits on a proper foundation. Keep in mind there are a variety of factors that play into the design of a foundation. Most building professionals seek the services of a structural engineer.
There are a variety of factors that play into the design of a foundation:
- Soil Bearing Capacity and Soil Type
- Structure Loading
- Code Compliance
- Proper Reinforcing
- Frost Lines
- Moisture Control
BuildBlock highly recommends the consultation of a structural engineer familiar with your region’s soil load bearing capacities for accurate footing designs. Because different engineers recommend various footing thicknesses and widths, we are providing two footing charts for your convenience.
About Step Footings
One of the outstanding features of a BuildBlock form is its completely symmetrical web design. This means two identical half-height forms are produced when the form is cut in half horizontally.
This feature is particularly useful for step footings — an elevation change at the footing level. Plan your step footings in increments of one block height (16”) or half-block height (8”). This will insure an easy transition and that your forms will line up properly. It also eliminates wasted forms.
When your footings are dug and you place and tie your rebar, you are ready for a footing inspection (if applicable) and a call to your local concrete provider. Here are some things to keep in mind during this phase:
- Your footings need to be accessible by a concrete truck. If not, you may have to get a trailer pump to fill the footing. (In which case you’ll have to order your mud as a pump mix.)
- Don’t wet your mud too much, it weakens the mix considerably — a bad thing for structural concrete!
- When you pour your footings, use a jitterbug if wet-setting or a screed to level the footing.
- To set concrete pour height to level install #3 rebar pins every 3 to 4 feet with level to your pour height. Pour and level concrete to these pins.