Issue # 5: Foundations & Basements
ISSN 1703-5597
 January 2, 2003

Contents: Issue # 5:
Foundations & Basements

  1. Getting Started: Words, Weather & Warnings
  2. Soil Conditions: Overview, Fill Swelling & Shrinking
  3. Concrete: Materials, Technical Info & Ad Mixtures
  4. Foundations: Concrete X 3, Wood, Selection, Rehab
  5. Basements: Wall Designs, Why Insulate The Exterior
  6. Common Problems: Moisture, Flooding, Frost & Mold
  7. Major Industry Issues: Apprenticeship & Professionalism

1. Getting Started: Words, Weather & Warnings

House Construction Terms: Point Your Mouse To The House
This basic glossary from US Inspect will help those who want to know more about a house, but don't know what each part is called. Just point your mouse to the house.

Local Weather: Find Forecasts For Your BC Community
This Weather Network site provides both short and long term forecasts by municipality. It will help you decide when to work outside, pour concrete, go golfing, etc. It can even deliver you this information daily by e-mail.

Warning: Call Before Digging
BC ONE 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). This handy checklist could be a help.

2. Soil Conditions: Overview, Fill, Swelling & Shrinking

Soil: Overview of The Stuff The Foundation Sits On
This article from Fine Homebuilding has info and drawings on checking soil conditions, soil types, placement, settlement, equipment use and troubleshooting.

Building On Fill: When It's Not The Original Ground Surface
This Canadian Building Digest report provides info on the characteristics of fill, some recommended practices, and tips for placing controlled fill.

Foundations On Swelling Or Shrinking Subsoils
Volume-changing subsoils can be a costly problem. Here is a good tech report with drawings that covers identification of hazardous soils and proper foundation selection design.

3. Concrete: Materials, Technical Info & Ad Mixtures

Concrete Materials: Technical Information
The Cement Association of Canada site has some detailed information on concrete materials. If you can't find what you need here, their local manager is long-time industry member Bob Sloat, who can be contacted at 604-269-0582.

General Articles & Reports On Concrete
These general information articles are from our local BC Ready-Mixed Concrete Association. They can help you with more information on selecting and using concrete.

Ordering Ready-Mix Concrete: Great Article From JLC
Right ad mixtures can help you get stronger, more durable concrete. This article from the Journal Of Light Construction provides a great overview (with pictures) of various options.

4. Foundations: Concrete X 3, Wood, Selection, Rehab

Three Great Detailed Drawings Of Concrete Foundations
From who else but Dr.Joe Lstiburek? His Building Science Corporation website offers these details for three common BC foundation types:

Wood Frame Foundations: An Overview With Diagram
This Canadian Building Digest report is a good overview with a diagram and reference list. It covers preservatives, earth pressures, waterproofing, drainage, and footings.

Selecting The Foundation: Large Building Or Tough Site
If you have a larger or more challenging building design, or difficult site conditions this technical report from IRC might help you decide what type of foundation is best to use.

For Renovators & Rehab: Upgrading Existing Foundations (PDF FILE)
This Rehab Guide from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development covers all aspects of upgrading various types of foundations. There's a lot of info here, and it may take a while to download, but its good stuff.

5. Basements: Wall Designs, Why Insulate The Exterior

Designing Basement Concrete Walls
This is a good detailed article with drawings from Journal of Light Construction. 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.

Exterior Basement Insulation: Summary Report
This Canadian research report from the Institute for Research in Construction supports the use of exterior insulation on basement walls.

Interior Basement Insulation: Potential Problems (PDF FILE)
This detailed report outlines Building America experiences with interior insulation options. More good work from Dr. Joe, this explains some problems they encountered in the US.

6. Common Problems: Moisture, Flooding, Frost & Mold

Moisture Resistant Construction: Foundations/Crawlspaces (PDF FILE)
As usual Dr. Joe has some good comments on moisture problems and solutions. Does crawlspace ventilation work? Check out this easy to read article.

Moisture in Basements: Causes & Solutions
This is an excellent report with easy to read information and lots of good drawings on moisture sources, moisture movement, causes of problems, and various solutions.

Protection Of Basements Against Flooding: CMHC Report
Have you ever had any problems with flooding of basements from sewer surcharge? If so you may want to look at this.

Frost Action & Foundations: Causes & Solutions
For those of you in the colder climate this can be more of a concern. This Canadian technical report from IRC explains the causes, construction challenges, and options for solutions.

What You Need To Know About Mold: Don't Panic (PDF FILE)
This 2-page down-to-earth article by Dr. Joe Lstiburek and others will help dispel the panic if someone has found mold in their house. It's good info for homeowners written by three well-respected experts.

7. Major Industry Issues: Apprenticeship & Professionalism

The BC government is undertaking a new industry training model as ITAC is being phased out in early 2003. These proposals and comments are from major provincial building trade associations in BC. This issue will be of real importance to many of you over the next while so these are worth reading.

July 21st 2002 Paper (PDF FILE)
This paper was presented on July 21st by the BC Construction Association, the Council of Construction Trade Associations of BC, and Canadian Home Builders Association of BC

November 18th 2002 Article
This editorial article of November 18th is from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC

Dittie For Today: On Advice
Here take my advice Ė I donít use it.

 © Copyright 2003               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved