How Rebar Reinforces Concrete in Construction

The inclusion of reinforcement bars (‘rebar’) in concrete construction is a method that adds long-term strength to the concrete used to build foundations, walls, pools, pads and other structures. Concrete handles compression well, but without rebar would perform less well under tension or torsion (stretching and twisting). Load-bearing structures like foundations or walls need to handle multiple pressures from lateral and horizontal tension, compression and torsion. Rebar works well with concrete because these materials expand and contract at the same rate when temperatures change. Continue reading “How Rebar Reinforces Concrete in Construction”

Importance of locating Utilities Before Excavating or Drilling

Many public utilities have underground piping which is used to deliver services to all the residents and businesses of a given community. To avoid any injuries, damage to utilities, and or interruption of service, it is necessary to locate where these Utilities before beginning any excavation work.  There are some hefty fines which can be levied against individuals or companies who damage utility lines.

How to Locate and Identify Underground Utilities

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Using 4Rs to Manage Our Construction Waste

In the past, it was a common practice during the demolition of buildings or other structures to simply cart the waste materials away to a landfill. Today however, the growing cost of disposal and new materials, has put a greater emphasis on recycling old materials. De-constructing is an approach that involves a more careful disassembly of a structure so that parts of it can be reused or recycled. This has given a whole new face to waste management, one which reduces the amount of materials put into landfills, reduces the demand for precious natural resources and, best of all reduces the cost to the consumer.

The 4R’s of Construction Waste Management

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Excavation: Grading a Sloped Construction Site

An experienced builder understands that a sloped building lot presents issues such as stability, varying soil types, possible erosion, and poor drainage which can complicate construction and drive up costs.

The slope of the site might be obvious. If site drops six feet from one end to the other, for instance, you know you may need a deeper foundation on the low side, or a stepped-down foundation.  Soil types are less obvious, but unstable soils can require remediation that also makes a site challenging to build on. And we have written previously about the utility of trenching to control water flow. Continue reading “Excavation: Grading a Sloped Construction Site”

The Value of French Drains in Controlling Water Flow

Your property needs to properly drain water to protect your home. Foundations in particular need to be protected from pooling water and seepage. So the property surrounding your structure needs to be engineered to divert water from storms off the property easily.

And you may need to work with your neighbors. If their land stands at a higher elevation than yours, you may receive their water run off. One option in such cases is excavating your property: Digging trenches and installing French drains to divert the water flow away from buildings.

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Excavating and Drilling in Wet Weather

The Northern California rainy season has begun, and with it come special challenges for construction project crews.

The most common wet weather dangers are “slips, trips and falls.” These dangers are particularly prevalent when working in elevated positions such as when using scaffolding, hand holds, stairs and ladders. Even after the rain stops, conditions remain muddy underfoot for days.

Strong winds create their own hazardous conditions, scattering unsecured materials and putting pressure on scaffolding. Wet and windy weather can also make driving and operating excavation machinery more dangerous due to slick conditions and reduced visibility. Continue reading “Excavating and Drilling in Wet Weather”

Construction Site Excavation Safety Steps

Excavation and trenching are naturally hazardous construction operations, and contractors need to take all the appropriate steps to ensure worker safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines an excavation as “any man-made cut, cavity, trench, or depression in the earth’s surface formed by earth removal.” A trench, in particular, is defined as “a narrow underground excavation that is deeper than it is wide, and is no wider than 15 feet (4.5 meters).”

When we approach any excavation, drilling or demolition job we keep safety first, starting with the planning for the job. It is not just the possibility of the sides of an excavated plot or trench collapsing. Safety planning also must accommodate the interaction of our people and the machines they need to employ to carry out the job, and the terrain on which those machines must operate. Continue reading “Construction Site Excavation Safety Steps”

Piles and Footers: Types of Foundations

Foundations vary in structure relative to the depth to which the foundation must be established in the ground. Small structures might only require a shallow foundation, which involves excavating between three and eight feet into the ground, before pouring a concrete footing.

Commercial Building Foundations

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Helical Anchor Installation Relies Upon Accurate Torque Measurements

Helical anchors enjoy widespread use today to help stabilize and secure above-ground structures, especially when that structure is built on ground that may be or has become unstable. The anchors themselves are steel shafts with helical coils or plates welded on at an angle. The shafts are screwed into the soil beneath the foundation to a depth that enables the coil to support the load. When foundation drilling calls for helical anchors, the depth of the anchor is drilled into the ground is determined by precisely measuring the torque it takes to turn the anchor. Generally, the higher the torque value the more stable the soil. This gives soil and structural engineers an accurate indication of the load-bearing capacity of the helical anchors. Continue reading “Helical Anchor Installation Relies Upon Accurate Torque Measurements”

Common Residential Home Foundations

Homeowners don’t often think about the foundations of their home, but those foundations are critical components of any home, as they bear the entire load of the structure above. Foundations also have another critical function, in that they must prevent groundwater and soil vapors from penetrating into the home’s interior. When you’re trying to decide what kind of foundation your new home should have, there are four choices available to you, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing a Home Foundation

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