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Basics & Theory

Home Building Manual: Glossary Of House Construction Terms
Home Building Manual provides this basic glossary which will help those who want to know more about a house, and its construction, but do not know what each part is called.
Industry Sectors

CFA: Concrete Foundations Association
Concrete Foundations Association provides promotional materials, educational seminars, networking opportunities, and technical and informative meetings for its members. The CFA has members in 26 states and Canada. Members consist primarily of foundation contractors with firm sizes ranging from six to over 100 employees.

DFI: Deep Foundations Institute
Deep Foundations Institute is an international network of heavy construction professionals dedicated to quality and economy in foundation design and construction.
Information Sources

Concrete BC: Technical Reports On Concrete
Concrete BC, formerly BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association offers general information articles on selecting and using concrete.

Ecohome: Guides on Foundations & Basements
Ecohome online guides describe theory, benefits, issues and considerations for foundations and basements. They cover the basics on foundation, basement and slab design, insulation, site selection and preparation, excavation, drainage. and radon gas prevention and mitigation.
Issues & Performance

Advanced Energy: Fixing a Musty Crawlspace
Advanced Energy says a musty crawlspace can usually be fixed by stopping the water that supports the biological growth giving off that musty smell.

APA: Constructing Moisture Resistant Foundations
Engineered Wood Association describes steps to constructing moisture resistant foundations. (PDF) Free site registration required.

BOABC: BC Housing Foundations And Geotechnical Challenges
Building Officials Association of BC online Slide show presentation describes BC residential builder best practices for housing foundations and geotechnical challenges. (PDF)

Building Science: Bulk Water Control Methods For Foundations
Building Science research report describes issues, considerations and recommendations for bulk water control methods for foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Capillary Moisture Transport & Foundation Implications
Building Science Corporation online slide presentation describes capillary moisture transport & foundation implications. (PDF)

Building Science: Good Bad & Ugly Of Basement Moisture
Building Science online slide show describes issues and solutions to foundation and basement moisture problems. (PDF)

Building Science: Groundwater Control For Foundations
Building Science describes water managed foundation systems that prevent build-up of water against foundation walls, thereby eliminating hydrostatic pressure. Water managed foundation systems are different from waterproofing systems. Waterproofing relies on creating a watertight barrier without holes. It can not be done.

Building Science: Insulating Concrete Basement Walls
Building Science explains causes and solutions of potential problems of moisture on the insides of concrete basement walls with interior insulation. (PDF)

Building Science: Keeping Water Out of Basements
Building Science Corporation describes issues and considerations for keeping water out of basements.

Building Science: Moisture Control In Basement Insulation
Building Science research report Basement Insulation Systems explains causes and solutions of moisture problems with insulation placed on the inside of concrete walls. (PDF)

Building Science: Moisture Control In Foundations
Building Science online slide show presentation describes design and installation issues and considerations for moisture control in foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Overview Of Moisture Resistant Foundation Construction
Building Science research report describes moisture problems and solutions for foundation construction, and crawlspace ventilation. (PDF)

Building Science: Understanding Basements
Building Science digest on basements covers keeping groundwater & contaminants out, insulating, and conclusions.

Building Science: What Homeowners Need To Know About Mold
Building Science factsheet explains what mold is, how it grows & spreads, health effects, and methods of prevention & removal.

CMHC: Avoiding Basement Flooding From Drainage Systems
CMHC report covers different sewer backup and/or flooding problems that might arise with drainage and sump pump systems, as well as their causes and tips for prevention. (PDF)

CMHC: Retrofitting PWF Foundation With Moisture Problems
CMHC research report summarizes retrofitting a split level foundation and monitoring effectiveness of recommended solution. (PDF)

CMHC: Technical Report On Protection Of Basements Against Flooding
CMHC offers this technical report on the protection of basements against flooding trends and Impacts of drainage regulations. (PDF)

Concrete Network: Fixing Foundation Cracks
Concrete Network describes serious foundation cracks and when you should worry.

Ecohome: Basement Flood Prevention, Pumps & Alarms
Ecohome says basements flood, full stop. As a hole in the ground similar to a swimming pool, once all is done to stop water getting in, we then need to remove any water with a sump pump, a sump pump battery backup & maybe a sump pump alarm to stop basements flooding.

Fine Homebuilding: How Frost Heave Works
Fine Homebuilding says it was once thought that frost heave happens because water expands as it freezes. But the process is actually more complicated, involving not only expansion due to freezing, but also the accumulation of additional layers of ice as liquid water is drawn up from below the frost line.

GBA: Dealing With Rising Damp In Masonry Building Reconstruction
Green Building Advisor describes how old buildings with stone or brick walls face problems with capillary moisture and efflorescence.

GBA: Efflorescence Is A Sign Of A Foundation With Water Damage
Green Building Advisor podcast describes efflorescence, the white powder found on porous masonry, such as brick, concrete, or mortar, and that it is a sign of water carrying salt that will eventually cause spalling. In new construction you can prevent it, in old houses you can only control it.

GBA: Water Tables & Basements
Green Building Advisor describes how to use geologic, soil, and historical maps to keep your basement dry.

Healthy Heating: Heat Flow Around Basement Foundation
Healthy Heating online Transient Soil Temperature Animation shows heat flow around a basement foundation.

IRC: Adfreezing & Frost Heaving Of Foundations
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction describes problems of foundation adfreezing & frost heaving, forces created, and proper foundation design for unheated structures, heated basements, and basement garages. 1976 (PDF)

IRC: Site Grading & Drainage To Achieve High-Performance Basements
Canadian Institute for Research In Construction bulletin describes current construction practices for basements, key issues & deficiencies, and practical suggestions for improving drainage and construction with proper site grading and foundation drainage strategies. (PDF)

JLC: Fixing A Bowed Basement Wall
Journal of Light Construction suggests a solution for repairing and buttressing a concrete basement wall that bulged and cracked during backfilling.

JLC: Solving A Sinking Foundation
Journal of Light Construction describes three ways to approach an overloaded foundation in poor soil.

JLC: Tree Roots & Foundation Cracks
Journal of Light Construction Q & A says roots of a tree actually dry out the soil beneath a foundation enough to cause the concrete to crack.

NAHB: Scopes Of Work For High Performance Buildings
US National Association of Home Builders and Building America offer detailed Scopes of Work for High Performance Buildings that cover excavation and backfill, poured concrete foundations, framing and HVAC installation. They provide descriptions of the work that a trade contractor will perform for a builder. (PDF)

NRC: Impact Of Cold Climate On Basement Temperatures
National Research Council of Canada research report Assessing the Impact of Cold Climate on Basement Temperatures developed correlations between outdoor temperature and interior foundation wall surface temperature, and identifies conditions leading to the potential for condensation on the interior surface of the concrete foundation wall. (PDF)

The Weather Network: Local Weather For Your BC Community
Weather Network provides both short and long term forecasts by municipality. It can even deliver this information daily by e-mail.

US OSHA: Online Video on Excavations & Soil Classification
US OSHA online video highlights the importance of soil classification when planning trenching and excavation work.

BC 1 Call: Warning - Call Before Digging
BC 1 Call is a province-wide non-profit organization providing one toll-free number to call before digging: 1-800-474-6886. Telus Mobility and Cantel offer free airtime to cellular callers (*6886).

BC Housing: Housing Foundations & Geotechnical Challenges
BC Housing online guide Housing Foundations and Geotechnical Challenges promotes best practices for builders with respect to geotechnical issues when selecting a site and constructing single and multi-family residences. (PDF)

BC Housing: Maintaining At-Grade & Below-Grade Assemblies
BC Housing describes why and how to maintain at-grade and below-grade assemblies. (PDF)

Building Science: Cold Climate Foundation, 4500 To 8000 Degree Days
Building Science offers these clearly detailed drawings showing an example of the cold climate foundation type.

Building Science: Foundations
Building Science online slide show presentation describes design and installation issues and considerations for foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofit
Building Science online slide show presentation describes issues and considerations for retrofitting insulation on hybrid foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Mass Walls And Foundations
Building Science online slide show describes issues and considerations for mass walls and foundations. (PDF)

Building Science: Very Cold Climate Foundation, 8000 Plus Degree Days
Building Science offers these clearly detailed drawings showing an example of the very cold climate foundation type.

Concrete Network: Repairing Concrete Foundations
Concrete Network provides information and resources on repairing concrete foundations.

Fine Homebuilding: Overview On Soil, The Other Half Of The Foundation
Fine Homebuilding describes soil settlement, sources of local data, fill, compacting, and troubleshooting soil problems. Understanding the stuff the house sits on may prevent cost overruns, callbacks and neighborhood gossip. (PDF)

IRC: Performance Guidelines For Cold Climate Basement Envelopes
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction basement guidelines facilitate design and construction of cost-effective basement systems that will achieve satisfactory performance in our cold climate. They are intended for technical decision-makers in the home building industry along with material manufacturers, home warranty agencies, building officials, as well as educators. The guidelines are divided into six parts: 1) performance requirements; 2) envelope system selection; 3) materials and equipment; 4) critical design details; 5) quality assurance; 6) cost-benefit analysis. (PDF)

IRC: Problems & Recommendations For Building On Fill
Canadian Institute For Research In Construction describes characteristics of fill, recommended practices for sub-surface investigation of existing fill, and controlling selection and placement of fill. 1967 (PDF)

IRC: Selecting The Foundation, Large Building Or Tough Site
Canadian Institute For Research In Construction provides this technical report which might help you decide what type of foundation is best to use, if you have a larger or more challenging building design, or difficult site conditions. 1966 (PDF)

IRC: Swelling & Shrinking Subsoils
Canadian Institute for Research in Construction describes some of the common causes of clay volume change and discusses precautions that must be taken to prevent damage to buildings founded on subsoils that are susceptible to volume change. 1966 (PDF)

JLC: Building Science For Foundations
Journal of Light Construction online video discusses foundation insulation effectiveness. It shows you not only have to think about heat transfer and vapor transfer, but you have to distinguish between what's happening near the top of the foundation wall, and what's happening below grade.

JLC: Ordering Ready Mixed Concrete
Journal of Light Construction article describes how right admixtures can help you get stronger, more durable concrete, and make placement easier, too. (PDF) Free Registration Required

JLC: Overview On Designing Concrete Basement Walls
Journal of Light Construction offers this article with drawings. Although some of the US code references are not valid, the info and charts will help in designing walls for various lateral pressures and types of soils. (PDF) Free Registration Required

JLC: Replacing Stone Foundation
Journal of Light Construction article describes how to replace a stone foundation on an existing home.

ORNL: Online Builders Foundation Handbook
A classic building text, this online Builder's Foundation Handbook contains construction details illustrating the design and installation of energy-efficient basement, crawlspace, and slab-on-grade foundations. (PDF)

US DOE: Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits
US Department of Energy measure guideline Hybrid Foundation Insulation Retrofits describes a variety of recommended designs and variations for retrofit hybrid assemblies, including closed cell spray foam with membrane waterproofing or air gap membrane drainage layers, rigid board foam insulation at flat walls (cast concrete or CMU block), a partial drainage detail making use of the bulk water drainage that occurs through the field of a rubble stone wall, and non-drained spray foam assemblies (including slab insulation). (PDF)

US HUD: The Rehab Guide Volume One: Foundations
US Department Of Housing And Urban Development supplies The Rehab Guide Volume One: Foundations which uses drawings and photographs to supplement written descriptions of several components of foundation rehabilitation. (PDF)
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