Understanding Steel Building Foundations – Part 2

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In Understanding Steel Building Foundations - Part 1, we reviewed some basics regarding steel building slabs and steel building foundations. But, steel building foundations are both a significant part of any steel building project both in terms of time and cost, and as a result, there's more to discuss.
 

Stamped engineered foundation drawings - do you really need them?

We get this question all the time when speaking to customers about their project as most question why they have to spend additional money on stamped engineered foundation drawings for their project when all steel buildings come with a set of anchor bolt plans. It's a valid question an the answer is simply that while anchor bolt plans specify the diameter and location of the anchor bolts used to secure the building to the foundation via it's base plates - they specify nothing about the size of the piers under the base plates/columns.
 
Having the foundation for your steel building project properly engineered by a licensed engineer in your state is so important that most all counties require a copy of your stamped engineered foundation drawings be filed with the stamped engineered building drawings when you apply for a permit.
 
Stamped engineered foundation drawings are also needed for your concrete contractor as they provide the technical information regarding the pier size and depth as well as specific placement of rebar, wire mesh, and hairpins. Without a set of stamped engineered foundation drawings for a project - how exactly would a concrete contractor know what he was to pour (and presumably what he was going to bid on)? The answer is: he wouldn't have a clue.
 
Viewing a set of sample foundation plans will go along way toward understanding their complexity and detail, a sample set can be viewed HERE.

So you have an existing slab and think you have just won the Lottery!

Well, not exactly. With concrete (well over $100 a yard in most places) and labor costing so much, it's only natural for customers who have an existing slab to think that they will have no concrete costs for their project and are simply going to put their new steel building on their existing slab. The fact is that not only are there going to be costs associated with modifying the existing slab, but foundation engineering will need to be purchased in order to determine the extent of the modifications needed.
 
Most customers with existing slabs have no knowledge as to what was originally poured - or when - or by whom - or if there was even any foundation engineering for the existing slab. Since the steel building foundation plays such an crucial role in supporting the steel building and helping to meet your local codes, there can be no room for speculation and assumptions.
 
Customers with existing slabs have only two options: they can cut INTO their existing slab so that they can pour the piers as specified by the foundation engineer OR they can pour the piers OUTSIDE of their existing slab leaving the existing slab to become a floating floor within the building. For customers that choose to pour OUTSIDE of their existing slab, a grade beam between the new piers will be required to allow use of our formed base trim to dry the building in.
 
It's important to note that pouring piers outside of the existing slab will result in the building being a little wider/longer than originally planned - so it's important to make sure a larger building doesn't create setback or other code compliance issues.

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