Article No: 256

2009-06-08 11:50:59
Going for the Gold

The Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) has recently recognized the 2009 CFA Projects of the Year and has issued a call for 2010 entries. Entries will be accepted beginning Aug. 1 with a final deadline of Oct. 1. There were more entries this year than at any other time.

The 2009 Project of the Year Awards went to:
• Action Concrete for the Rhodes Hall Annex at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., in the Commercial/Multi-Family category;
• Ekedal Masonry & Concrete for the Villa Del Lago Residence in Newport Coast, Calif., in the Single Family Over 5,000 Square Feet category;
• Bartley Corp. for the M.B. Visnic-Mangum Residence in Stevensville, Md., in the Above-Grade Concrete Home category; and
• Ekedal Masonry & Concrete for the Assael Residence in Newport Beach, Calif., in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category.

Also, the CFA recognized four honorable mention projects, including:
• Action Concrete for the Jocassee Club Unit 1 in Salem, S.C., in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category;
• Modern Poured Walls for the Norton Residence in Bay Village, Ohio, in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category;
• Basement Contractors for the Dee’s Residence in Norman, Okla., in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category; and
• Louisburg Foundation for the Morsch Residence in Bucyrus, Kan., in the Single Family Over 5,000 Square Feet category.
CFA Technical Director Jim Baty said the awards programs are created to do two primary things: raise awareness of the professionalism and quality of the market that they surround and to provide an easy way to make a statement about companies and their achievements.

“The CFA now represents a great many contractors doing such amazing and incredible variety in their businesses,” he said. “This is in part due to the economy but we have seen this transformation for many years.”

Once informally known as the “Basement from Hell,” Baty said the CFA Projects of the Year program has removed the singular focus on “wild and wooly” or unbelievable basements and broadened the effort to identify the full breadth of the talent, craftsmanship and professionalism of today’s CFA foundation contractor.

In the past few years, more categories have been broadened to continue representing the volume and variety of work these companies are performing. The program now boasts categories for different basement sizes, above-grave residential, commercial work, multi-family work and we anticipate this list growing.  Baty says that if you are doing work that doesn’t fit a category, make up a category yourself and submit your entry.

“We know that it is a challenge to find the time to identify the achievements and provide the evidence of successful projects for an awards program that can and does take focus away from attracting or winning that next all-important job. However, as competition has strengthened and the volume of projects waned, it is evident that contractors saw this year as a chance to really describe what they can do.”

Submitting a project for a program like this validates companies on a national level, providing something they can point to on a local level with pride. “Even the basic act of submitting and having that project evaluated or publicized is being seen as a chance to extend marketability,” he said.

“Consequently, we had our largest number of submittals–so many that it appears this awards program may have the opportunity to rival more nationally-recognized programs in the media.”

Based on entries for the past two years, Baty said CFA is expecting another impressive crop of projects, which is the reason the deadline was moved up to Oct. 1.

“This will give CFA staff the time necessary to prepare, publish and host the awards on our website. Voting this past year was so successful through the Internet, compared to previous years at the World of Concrete alone, that it is obvious more people want to be involved.”

For information about entering the 2010 competition, call Baty at 866-232-9255, e-mail, see



SIZE: 345 linear ft., 32,000 sq. ft.
FOOTINGS: 360 yds. concrete, 30 tons steel
WALLS: Total concrete 292 yds., Total steel 47 tons
Heights: 14’ to 16’, Thickness: to 10”

Action Concrete Contractors found that the complications presented by this project at Clemson University meant the use of its Robotic Total Station. Tolerances were tight so there was little room for error. Because the jobsite had no lay-down or staging space, the company’s mobile tower crane was used to stage items and move them as needed.

The structure included shear wall footings that were 3 feet thick with double mats of steel and inner stirrups spaced at 9 inches on center. Workers had to climb inside the mats just to tie the bars. Two cantilevered, beveled, and tapered beams were part of a monumental staircase that required a lot of time for shoring and forming.

“The general contractor selected us for two reasons,” Jason Sherman from Action Concrete said. “A good estimate and our continued working relationship where we offer superior knowledge and workmanship.”

In addition, this was a LEED-certified building, so Sherman said Action Concrete worked close with its concrete supplier to “create” a special mix in order to utilize 25 percent fly ash and still achieve strength within seven days in order to strip shoring.

For more information, call (828) 210-2025, e-mail or see


Above-Grade Concrete Home

SIZE: 2,260 linear ft., 24,000 sq. ft.
FOOTINGS: 240 yds. concrete, 7.75 tons steel
WALLS: Total concrete 776 yds., Total steel 34.75 tons
Heights: 4’ to 14’, Thickness 8” to 10”

Bartley Corp. discovered that a 24,000-square-foot concrete house on Chesapeake Bay in Stevensville, Md., is enough to catch anyone’s attention. Jim Bartley  said that the company was committed to quality and placed a strong emphasis on the details to achieve a beautiful structure of lasting value.  

“For example, the half-suspended elliptical spiral staircase showcases the innovation and fine architecture emphasis placed on the construction,” Bartley said. He said the craftsmanship on the arched openings in the radius walls demonstrated the ability to deal with challenges.

“Changing the plans from ICFs to poured-in-place concrete insulated walls demonstrated our leadership as a concrete contractor to use our CFA, trade and supplier resources.”

Bartley said the elliptical staircase and radius arches were the most difficult challenges. “We met the challenges by creating mock-up drawings during onsite meetings with Doka form systems and Lite-Deck.”

Additionally, the project included above-grade formed walls and slabs on the first and second floors. “Together the structural features of arched openings in radius walls, and the elliptical, spiral and partially suspended staircase at the rear elevation made this one of our most challenging projects.”

For more information, call (301) 384-2700, e-mail or see

Single family 2,000-5,000 Sq. Ft.

SIZE: 3,000 sq. ft.
Total concrete 103 yds., Total steel 30,000 lbs.
Heights: 8” to 10’, Thickness: 12”

Ekedal Masonry & Concrete Inc. tackled this Newport Beach, Calif., project in several  phases:
1. A seawall repair consisting of two 25-inch-deep, 27-inch-diameter caissons;
2. Twelve caissons drilled on the bay side of the project to support the grade beams and a 5-inch-thick slab on-grade;
3. A 24-inch mat slab, installation of wall-steel and shotcrete walls;
4. Set-up of shoring and a structural deck above the base and rebar;
5. A 5-inch thick slab on-grade poured;
6. A cantilevered slab pour that started at the front of the house and hung 5 inches out over the seawall, directly above the bay. Footings at the basement level consist of a 24-inch-deep mat slab with No. 6 rebar, 12 inches on center  top and bottom.

The wall verticals are No. 6 and No. 7 at 8 inches on center. with No. 5 horizontal at 16 inches on center. Footings at first floor level are 24 inches by 24 inches grade beams with No. 6 and No. 4 ties 12 inches on center.

Basement walls range in height from 8 feet 6 inches to 10 feet high and are shotcrete with a hard-trowel finish.

“One of the challenges of this project was layers of bedrock difficult to drill through,” Ryan Ekedal  said. “Also, conditions required bracing from one PL to the opposite PL, which was left in place until the structural slab was poured. This project was challenging in that the footprint of the foundation covered nearly the entire square footage of the lot.

 “We do a great deal of pre-planning to eliminate problems and increase production,” Ekedal said. “This in turn allows our projects to be finished quicker and reaffirming the clients trust in choosing the general contractor. “

For more information, call 949-729-8082, e-mail or see

Single Family Over 5,000 Sq. Ft.

SIZE: 931 linear ft., 23,557 sq. ft.
FOOTINGS: 383 yds. concrete, 24,450 lbs. steel
WALLS: Total concrete 417 yds., Total steel 73,282 lbs.
Heights: 10’ 6” to 15’ 6 “, Thickness: 1’ 4“ to 8”

This Ekedal Masonry & Concrete Inc. project consisted of footing sizes varying from 24 inches wide by 1-foot 6-inch-deep to 10 inches wide by 2 feet deep with rebar ranging from No. 4 to No. 7 at 12 inches on center. Footings stepped 1 to 3 feet with multiple elevation changes and the walls had more than 50 corners and several angles.

Ryan Ekedal  said complicating the structure were corbels along the tops of the wall to pick up the structural steel and several of the walls were battered 10 to 16 inches. Also, there were vast concrete columns to support the massive structural concrete deck.

Forming the walls and the structural deck used new HDO plywood to achieve a better finish and to decrease the chance for deflection. Concrete additives were used for walls and deck to increase flow-ability around the tight bar spacing (4 inches in some spots) and to achieve a higher quality finish.

In order to accomplish the high level of detail, we used in house expertise to draw up wall profiles of every wall and column (60 total) with elevations, beam pockets, hardware, embeds, etc. The detailer also detailed all rebar for the structural deck and walls, which ended up being more than 500 pages of complex rebar details.

Ekedal said that that like all the jobs, their detailer drew up wall profiles of every wall and column (60 total) with elevations, beam pockets, hardware, embeds, etc. The detailer also detailed all rebar for the structural deck and walls that ended up being more than 500 pages of complex rebar details. “It is this type of attention to detail that led to the success of this project.”

For more information, call (949) 729-8082, e-mail or see

Four projects were given honorable mention awards, three in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category and one in the Single Family Over 5,000 Square Feet category.

Single Family 2,000-5,000 Sq. Ft.
Action Concrete Contractors learned that the old saying that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog can apply to constructing some foundations, including the Jocassee Club Unit 1 project in Salem, S.C. The house footprint, according to Dustin Pelletier of Action Concrete, was just 1,500 square feet of living space, but the foundation was very complex, challenging and expensive.

The house was built on the side of one of the area’s beautiful lakes, and access was very difficult. “The owner is having a cable tram built to take him from where he parks his car to the house and then to the boat dock, a distance of 220 horizontal feet,”  Pelletier said. “But this is 125 feet of vertical distance. So access was very difficult.” The crane trucks were unable to deliver forms, rebar and other materials, so a skid steer was used.

The wall height was 31 feet with thickness ranging from 8 inches to 24 inches. The walls required 340 cubic yards of concrete and 23 tons of steel and 86 cubic yards of columns; footings required 281 cubic yards of concrete and 14 tons of steel. The house dropped 55 feet in elevation in just 50 linear feet, requiring 200 vertical feet of stairs.

For more information, call (864) 292-6781, e-mail or see

Single Family 2,000-5,000 Sq. Ft.

It may not be politically correct for an entrant to refer to his project as “truly the Basement from Hell,” but Modern Poured Walls Construction Services Inc. (MPW) crews discovered the meaning of the phrase in constructing the Norton Residence in Bay Village, Ohio, which received an honorary mention in the Single Family 2,000-5,000 Square Feet category.

Zack Smith of MPW said that the entire foundation sits on top of 38-steel H-beams that were placed up to 35 feet deep into Lake Erie shale due to the sandy soil conditions and natural springs under the foundation. “Combined with the Northeast Ohio weather in the spring and this truly was a ‘Basement from Hell.’” The project suffered numerous cave-ins during the project.

“Beyond the 596 linear feet  of wall on the project, there is an additional 214 linear feet of grade beam that ties the whole foundation to all 38 steel piles. All footers are 2 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet thick with eight rows of No. 5 rebar and No. 5 stirrups 20 inches on center,” Smith said.

Basement walls on the project are 3 feet and 11 feet tall and 1-foot-thick with two grids of rebar. All walls have vertical rebar 9 inches on center of each face.

Smith said the foundation phase of the project took 40 working days with a five-man crew from the first day concrete was poured to the last, including a week of time to backfill the basement.

MPW found its 32-meter Putzmeister pump invaluable for placing the concrete in the walls, and one of its three Putzmeister Telebelt TB 105 Telescopic Belt Conveyor to move concrete to the footers and more than 1,000 tons of stone.

For more information, call (440) 647-6661, e-mail or see


Single Family 2,000-5,000 Sq. Ft.

Building this 4,618-square-foot basement in Norman, Okla., must have been like playing in the Final Four for Basement Contractors. The basement has a 1,577-square-foot basketball shooting court underneath a four-car garage, a 2,801-square-foot walkout basement on a different level and a 240-square-foot safe room.

Brian Hancock and Basement Contractors’ owner Mike Hancock said they were first concerned about the slope.
“Arriving on the jobsite for the first time, we immediately were concerned with the slope in which the walkout basement would sit,” Brian Hancock said. “It fell 14 feet over the width of the house, which meant it would be difficult to accommodate the 10-foot-tall walls that the plan specified.”

He said when they got the plans for the first time, they revealed a basketball court under the four-car garage with the words “Details provided by basement contractor” written right in the middle.

“To accommodate the fall on the lot, we slightly angled the house in a different manner than the builder had originally shown us,” he said. “We also increased the basement wall heights from  10 feet as called for in the plans to 12 feet  to gain what ground we could. Instead of stacking trusses on the basement walls the builder agreed to instead tuck them inside the basement wall.”

In order to build the 24-foot-tall walls for the basketball shooting court, Mike Hancock. P.E., first engineered an appropriate-size footing; in this case, a 36-inch-wide footing that is 16 inches thick. The basketball court walls were poured 14 inches thick with a recessed rim for the garage floor and several blocked out openings for windows.

The concrete lid was done using Hollow-Core Slab  Systems to bridge the 26-foot–wide span, and then they capped that off with another 6 inches of poured garage floor slab. Tremco Barrier Solutions Tuff-n-Dry fiberglass board on the walls to waterproof and help alleviate hydrostatic pressure on the wall. The walk-out basement was poured with mostly 12-foot-tall walls, and the safe room was poured using Lite-Deck  ICF Deck System for the concrete lid.

With Oklahoma being in “tornado alley,” you might think everyone would have a basement  That was true in the post-war period but actually this basement is pretty rare.  Since 1998, Basement Contractors has successfully poured more than 400 basements throughout the state.

Brian Hancock said reasons cited by builders for not building basements include clay soil and rock issues, previous poor construction methods that left old basements leaking and height of the water table; but that the truth is “the 18-inch frost line and a lack of experience.”

The Hancocks have been disciples of innovations in technology and simply building basements right. They hold foundation construction training courses and meet with many of the HBAs in the state to give presentations on basement construction.

“It has been an arduous task but we are slowly changing the perceptions Oklahomans have on basement construction.”

For more information, call (405) 715-4141, e-mail or see


Single Family Over 5,000 Sq. Ft.

Louisburg Foundations, honorable mention winner for the 9,600-square-foot Morsch basement in Bucyrus, Kan, is still undecided if things are easier the second time around.

Jeff Trageser of Louisburg Foundations said the walls for the project included 26 wall height changes, 22 angle corners, radius walls and a total of 136 layout points. It also contains  about 350 wood-built stone and floor ledge ranging from 8 inches to 18 inches deep by 6 inches wide, and about 275 feet of single 2-by-4 ledge.

The footings were 18-inch to 36-inch-thick, and the house was placed on compacted AB-3 that was so hard, all footing stakes had to be hammer drilled.

“The radius walls are also tough to pull off if you want it to be a true round wall and exactly follow the radium line,” Trageser said. “The builders here like single-pour walls, so it requires a ton of forms.

“What makes this project really unique is we actually had to do it twice,” Trageser said.

The original house was destroyed by fire during the sheetrock stage of construction. “It was a total loss. Everything was demolished and the process started all over again.  The new house was raised up 2 feet by bringing in more than 140 loads of AB-3.”

For more information, call (913) 915-2337 or e-mail or see