Article No: 236

2008-06-09 13:14:36
CFA Basement of the Year

For the past several years, contractor members of the Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) have entered their extremely challenging residential foundations into CFA’s “Basement of the Year” competition. This program has matured into one that highlights the most challenging concrete work produced by these contractors, no matter the specific market. The projects range in size from complicated starter homes to the largest of mansions. They also now include above grade all-concrete home challenges and a variety of cast-in-place commercial construction—any project built with removable forms.

Each year, CFA staff looks forward to receiving project submissions that communicate the craftsmanship of today’s poured wall contractor. Industry members from all over the world vote on the competition entries that they feel created the most difficult issues for the builders and their crews.

Representing work from coast to coast, the CFA received eleven entries for the 2008 competition. The number would have been twelve had one basement not caused so many issues for its team—it will likely be a great story next year. The following basements were selected to receive the recognition as a Basement of the Year for 2008 in three residential categories.

Single Family over 5,000 square feet 
FormCo of Salt Lake City, Utah
Because of this project’s location atop a mountain, the foundation had to be completed in the summer months. FormCo’s project encompassed a total of 25,000 square feet, with 301 yards of footings using 8,809 pounds of steel. The walls required 953 yards of concrete and 113,452 pounds of steel. One of the project’s most outstanding features was the 27-foot wall, poured in a single pour of pre-tied, double-faced No. 6 and No. 7 rebar at 6 inches, using three stacked 9-foot aluminum forms. The project contained multiple radiuses, more than 140 corners, and two major elevation changes of 15 and 16 vertical feet. The building team made nearly 25 different trips to the home site to lay out the more than 370 points for the footings and foundations. The size of the project took three major mobilizations; the first included the high walls of a trophy room and butcher shop. The second and third involved the high walls of a racquetball court which was at a different elevation, and a cabana and pool house set at yet another elevation.


Single Family over 5,000 square feet 
Ekedal Masonry and Concrete, Inc.,
of Newport Beach, California

Situated on the coast, the project submitted by Ekedal Masonry and Concrete, Inc., encompassed 14,000 square feet. The footings required 150 yards of concrete and 20,210 pounds of steel. The walls required 450 yards of concrete and 30,000 pounds of steel, with thicknesses ranging from 8 inches to 32 inches. The width of the footings was minimal due to a spancrete deck. The project’s most outstanding feature was a suspended elliptical concrete staircase with an overall rise of 30 feet through three floors. Also of note is that nearly every wall required window and or door openings with corresponding lintel beams. The project incorporated many types of concrete work, from spread footings to suspended decks. Most of the forming systems were designed on-site with the aid of the project managers. Using a CAD system, the layout of the walls and the elliptical stairs were put into drawings so that the architect was able to review the information for any problematic design or structural elements before construction began.  


Single Family 2,000 to 5,000 square feet 
Kaser & Maeyens out of South Bend, Indiana
The basement project submitted by Kaser & Maeyens encompassed 4,303 square feet. The footings required a total of 44.75 yards with 4,117 pounds of steel. The walls themselves had a total of 107 yards with 2,909 pounds of steel and a wall thickness of 8 feet by 10 feet. One of the most outstanding features was a 26-foot-4-inch of 10 inches by 8-foot-10-inch radius wall. This wall has 8-inch by 10-inch walls with eight different wall heights. Three bay windows angled in three different directions. The project’s most complex aspect was working with an architect who was unfamiliar with residential construction; with that in mind the project team made sure that all decisions were approved by the owner.