Around the Bend Strawbale House, Pond and Gardens

May 9, 2007

Fill prior to footings

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 6:41 pm

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Our property has quite a slope, and here in Ottawa we are required to account for a frost depth of 5 feet.  We looked at different options for how to build.  We started with plans for a stepped footing and wall approach, where the wall at the bottom of the slope would have been around 5 feet high. Another option suggested was to simply bulldoze everything flat and build a massive pad of compacted gravel and then top it with a concrete slab with thickened edges.  We decided to go with excavating just the footings, and adding compacted gravel to the excavation you saw in previous posts.  This way we could build all the footings at one level.  We skidsteered, wheeled and shoveled 5 or 6 truckloads of gravel into the excavation, compacting it layer by layer in order to create a level base for our footings. At the bottom of the slope we ended up having to compact around 5 feet of gravel.  The process was time consuming, hot, dusty, and exhausting, but passed the geotechnical engineers compaction tests.  No building our house on sand…  

 You’ll note our friend Dennis, from Toronto, in one of the pictures running the compacter.  He’s our project manager for a good portion of the build.  He’ll show up in future pictures as well.

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