Guide to Foundation Footings on New Buildings

April 17, 2020 10:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A strong foundation is the key to keeping a building in good shape for decades. If a foundation is poorly installed, it could result in the complete structural failure of the building, which is why it’s absolutely crucial you spend the appropriate amount of time planning the foundation and ensuring you’re up to code for your local area.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most important things you should know about foundations and foundation footing codes in Jeffersonville, IN.

International Building Code standards

The International Building Code (IBC) has standards and guidelines in place for buildings of just about all types and sizes. The IBC sets standards for both residential and commercial buildings. While there is an understanding that every construction project is unique in its own ways, the code does a good job of setting standards with as much consistency as possible.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the code specifications that exist specifically for foundations for one- or two-story residences:

  • Grading: Having the proper grade is important for the ground around foundation footings. According to the IBC, the ground immediately adjacent to the foundation footings (along the exterior of the footings) should have a five percent minimum slope away from the building for at least 10 feet.
  • Load-bearing value: Under the IBC, load-bearing values (LBVs) are referred to as “presumptive,” meaning the only way you can truly know how much load-bearing value the soil has in a given area for the footings is to conduct a thorough test. Different kinds of soils or ground conditions will have different load-bearing values. For example, bedrock has a load-bearing value of 12,000 LBV per square foot, while clay or sandy clay only has an LBV per square foot of around 1,500. There are a lot of different values that fall in between those extremes, including sand, silty gravel, sandy gravel, gravel and sedimentary rock.
  • Footing dimensions: There are certain standards in place for the depth and width of the footings that will be used. Footings should extend to at least 12 inches below previously undisturbed soil, which is much stronger than soil that has already been disturbed. Footings should go 12 inches below the frost line as well, or must otherwise be protected against frost. The footings should also have a minimum width of 12 inches.
  • Levelness: There are specific requirements for levelness under the IBC, which are different for the top and bottom of the footings. The top must always be level, but the bottom may not have to be level in some circumstances. While the preference for the bottom is that it is level, you may be allowed to step the footing as much as one unit vertical per 10 units horizontal, for a 10 percent slope, if you’ve built on a sloped grade.

If you’re interested in learning more about foundation footing codes in Jeffersonville, IN and the standards that exist under the IBC for building foundations that will last for decades, we encourage you to contact the team at Estes Excavating Inc. today.

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