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Old 05-29-2013, 06:01 AM   #1
mattlikesbikes OP
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Concrete foundation question

I just got the estimate for the total build from our contractor and while lots of it looks a little high the foundation looks really high.

This is for a 2story garage, with a 22x22 floor plus a one story third sport at 16x12. So all in around 626 SF with about 105 LF of footing. There is then another 6x22ft apron ourside of the garage in the front.

His quote is roughly $14,500 which seems pretty high to me. Thoughts?
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:14 AM   #2
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Depends on your location, Bldg Dept requirements, 4,000 PSI concrete, total # of yds required, etc.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:38 AM   #3
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foundation

I might a tad hig. Concrete prices has gone up 4 times in a year.
My foundation pour now would have been almost double since last year.

Have him break down the materials to labor. How much steel is he using . Type of soil will also determine the size footers and how deeo,

Your stem walls will need to be thicker since you are building upwards. Your walls will be cinder block or wood. Another consideration of load.

Dean, How is life back east?
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:18 AM   #4
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I might a tad hig. Concrete prices has gone up 4 times in a year.
My foundation pour now would have been almost double since last year.

Have him break down the materials to labor. How much steel is he using . Type of soil will also determine the size footers and how deeo,

Your stem walls will need to be thicker since you are building upwards. Your walls will be cinder block or wood. Another consideration of load.

Dean, How is life back east?

I thought I would have him break it down into parts. My concern is that he is looking to buffer himself early by having the first major check come in for a nice fat sum so even if work delays along the way he has a cushion.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mattlikesbikes View Post
I thought I would have him break it down into parts. My concern is that he is looking to buffer himself early by having the first major check come in for a nice fat sum so even if work delays along the way he has a cushion.
that's called "front end loading", and is difficult to correct without a full cost breakdown by activity, or CSI division.

some contractors will share the numbers on residential work, others won't. if the contractor who priced the job is someone you really want to work with on this project, request the info. if not, move on.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:28 AM   #6
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that's called "front end loading", and is difficult to correct without a full cost breakdown by activity, or CSI division.

some contractors will share the numbers on residential work, others won't. if the contractor who priced the job is someone you really want to work with on this project, request the info. if not, move on.
Yeah this is the best guy for the job in our area. All I do every day is look at cost estimates (granted for significantly larger engineering projects) so I'm used to asking for follow-up support. I just didn't think I would need to here.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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It would also depend on if you have to over ex and compact. around where I live you have to dig a hole 5' deep and then put base back in and compact to spec. its all done with big equipment but if it is butting up to an existing house a lot will have to be done by hand and that means more labor.

I just poured 33 lineal feet of footings two months ago and it ran about $1,200 for forms, steel, mud and a pumper. I did all the labor.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:36 AM   #8
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Most of Canada would require a footing along with a minumim 4ft concrete wall. So a lot of a garage cost could be underground.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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This is Houston TX. We tend to have high plasticity clays that rarely require compaction. We are not against any structure so equipment access is not an issue. removal and grading of the existing carport pad is on another line item, so I am going with the only work being footing excavation. Plumbing is only on an outside wall, nothing center of the room.

So even with a 36" footing 12" wide we are looking at ~12CY for footings and roughly 12CY for slab (assuming 6"). And another 2CY for the apron. So 26CY of concrete.

I'll get a design and broken down cost estimate, see what we are looking at.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:40 PM   #10
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You have the wrong foundation design for the soil types of your area! If you haven't got a foundation design from a licensed structural engineer, I'm amazed that Houston has issued you a building permit. What do your soil boring logs and geotechnical report tell you what you need for a foundation design for your proposed structure? You don't have one (because they cost too much)? I assure you that this cost is peanuts compared to what it will cost to fix your building after those expansive clays shrink and expand a few times. Think drilled piers, an average of about 20 for a typical structure like yours, at about $1000 per pier. Then you still have to fix all the damage the heaving caused.
PM me if you would like my professional recommendations on what you need for a foundation design. Most of my practice has been in the Eagleford Shale of North Central Texas, but I've done work in Houston too.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:18 PM   #11
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You have the wrong foundation design for the soil types of your area! If you haven't got a foundation design from a licensed structural engineer, I'm amazed that Houston has issued you a building permit. What do your soil boring logs and geotechnical report tell you what you need for a foundation design for your proposed structure? You don't have one (because they cost too much)? I assure you that this cost is peanuts compared to what it will cost to fix your building after those expansive clays shrink and expand a few times. Think drilled piers, an average of about 20 for a typical structure like yours, at about $1000 per pier. Then you still have to fix all the damage the heaving caused.
PM me if you would like my professional recommendations on what you need for a foundation design. Most of my practice has been in the Eagleford Shale of North Central Texas, but I've done work in Houston too.

I don't have anything yet, no permit no design in hand, nada. I am just trying to ballpark at this stage. I asked the contractor (a Civil Eng) to get me (a PE'd Geological Engineer) full specs on the foundation he was estimating. I assumed it was a superslab. the closest prices I could find in RS means were for the above slab with shallow footer. I could perhaps throw some more in there for the extra structural beams. I admit I do not spend much time with foundations in my normal work, but will give his designs great consideration and likely run them past a couple other folks.

He had previously given me an estimate from March for another property he is building and his foundation price went up 90%, so I was looking to see if any outside folks had thoughts on concrete work doubling in 2 months. I'll post back when I get the design spec from him.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:32 AM   #12
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I'm from Canada so am not sure how well prices will compare. I just got a quote for a basement for a house.

The walls will be 8 feet high and the outside dimensions are 28 feet by 52 feet. Price also includes the slab floor. I should also mention it is an ICF foundation. This price does not include excavation.

$24,000.

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Old 05-30-2013, 06:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mattlikesbikes View Post
I don't have anything yet, no permit no design in hand, nada. I am just trying to ballpark at this stage. I asked the contractor (a Civil Eng) to get me (a PE'd Geological Engineer) full specs on the foundation he was estimating. I assumed it was a superslab. the closest prices I could find in RS means were for the above slab with shallow footer. I could perhaps throw some more in there for the extra structural beams. I admit I do not spend much time with foundations in my normal work, but will give his designs great consideration and likely run them past a couple other folks.

He had previously given me an estimate from March for another property he is building and his foundation price went up 90%, so I was looking to see if any outside folks had thoughts on concrete work doubling in 2 months. I'll post back when I get the design spec from him.
You do not want or need a strip footing for your location. Typical construction, including much light commercial work, would be a slab-on-grade with a 2' or so deep turned-down edge beam and a couple of intermediate beams from side-to-side and one from front-to back aligned with any support columns for your floor above. (AKA a waffle-slab.) In addition to this, depending on soil conditions, you may also need drilled or helical piers.
Two big items that must be addressed is adequate drainage away from the structure and preparation of the sub-grade under the structure. Slope away from the building @ 1:10 for at least 10' if possible and locate finished floor at least 1' above the highest existing grade within 10' of the building. The other, and most important thing that most contractors don't do, is proper sub-grade prep. First, you need to strip all existing topsoil under the structure and out to at least 5' beyond it on all sides. Stockpile this material for later use when you finish grade. Excavate out at least 1' deep where you stripped the topsoil and haul this material off. Bring in select fill and install it in no more than 1' lifts. Compact the select fill with appropriate moisture content to 95-98% of Standard Proctor. (Your geotechnical report will give you the exact requirements.) Bring this fill to the proper subgrade elevation. Now you can excavate for your footings. A biggie is to make sure the excavations from your plumber's below-grade piping is properly backfilled and compacted. Don't let a contractor BS you with compacting with any kind of dozer- it won't work. There is a reason why they have tracks or balloon tires, and it is the opposite of what is needed for compacting. He needs to rent a vibratory compactor or sheeps-foot roller to get the job done. The plumbers trenches will require a jumping jack compactor. Use a heavy-duty vapor barrier like Stego Wrap 15 mill under your slab with all seams, tears and penetrations taped and sealed. Turn the vapor barrier into the beams. It won't hurt to have then completely under the beams. Don't forget your termite treatment before the vapor barrier goes in. Make sure the applicator uses a fugitive dye with the treatment so you can verify all areas have been treated. You have major problems in your area with Formosa termites. Don't skip this item.
They are much more aggressive than the domestic termites.
LET me state again: PROPER SUBGRADE PREP AND SITE DRAINAGE ARE THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH EXPANSIVE CLAY SOILS! Failure to do either will significantly increase the probability of foundation problems down the road. Unless you really want to get familiar with The Oshan Man. There's a good reason why Ryan Nolan is a part owner of the Texas Rangers...
Concrete material prices have been rising recently. Labor prices not as much. I'm not suprised the cost has gone up. Do your homework here.
Another foundation/slab option to consider is a post-tensioned slab. This might save you some $$$. It must be specifically engineered for your application, but with proper prep, it should work just fine.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:16 AM   #14
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Good thread, i a getting ready to break ground on a detached garage and am contemplating doing evrything myself, including foundation. We have signifiant clay aound here also.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:02 AM   #15
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trailer Rails, you have different issues to deal with than those in Texas. There are several different types of clay soils that respond differently to the addition and loss of moisture. You also have to address frost heaving, which will require a much deeper foundation. Review your local building code- the one that applies to your location will be posted on your city's website. There may be local or state revisions to the code that over-ride certain portions of a major code like the IRC if that is what it is based on. You can probably find a copy of it in the local library, probably the main branch. A geotechnical report will give you the appropriate design parameters for the foundation of your specific project.
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