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How do you kill a foundation?

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
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California concrete jungle
You drive a wood stake through it.

R408.5 Removal of debris. The under-floor grade shall be cleaned of all vegetation and organic material. All wood forms used for placing concrete shall be removed before a building is occupied or used for any purpose. All construction materials shall be removed before a building is occupied or used for any purpose.

All too often, the forms are removed days after placing the concrete. The stakes are snapped off at the surface and forgotten about. Being the deluded inspector that I am, I ask that the stakes be removed. I advise them at every footing form-work inspection. Sometimes they aren't paying attention.




That's a $100 stake. It took 45 minutes of digging and jack-hammering to remove it. The project is large with perhaps 100 or more just like it.

Questions arise. What about the stakes that are on the outside of the forms and therefor not in an underfloor area? What if it is a slab on grade with no underfloor? Is there another mention of this situation found in the code other than Section 408?
 
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Msradell

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Jul 23, 2011
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Louisville Kentucky
You're 1 of the few inspectors that I've seen that really enforces removal of stakes like that. Most places I've seen them buried and left in place. It may not meet the letter of the code but.....
 

Francis Vineyard

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Jan 1, 2010
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Charlottesville, VA
For other than wood foundations;
P2604.3 Backfilling. Backfill shall be free from discarded construction material and debris. Backfill shall be free from rocks, broken concrete and frozen chunks until the pipe is covered by not less than 12 inches of tamped earth. Backfill shall be placed evenly on both sides of the pipe and tamped to retain proper alignment. Loose earth shall be carefully placed in the trench in 6-inch layers and tamped in place.
 

Pcinspector1

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Oct 28, 2009
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I know this is a residential posting, I thought this was interesting, reading the IBC section 3304.1 it mentions loose or "casual" wood shall be removed from direct contact with the ground under the building.

Strange term used "casual"

Charles dear, do you think we should have that "casual" material removed prior to back-filling? I don't know squeeze-ems, maybe the inspector will let it go?
 

Ty J.

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Washington State
Common sense needs to dictate here. Remember that the as code officials it is our job to enforce the code, but we must also make "interpretation" of the "intent" of the code. In this case, the intent of the code is to disallow the use of unsuitable materials for backfill; those that will decompose, pose a risk to damage structures buried, etc. Stakes will decompose, therefore pose a risk for collapse - however the risk is incredibly low. I'd point it out, but would not take enforcement action unless taken to the extreme (leaving forms in place, dirty backfill, etc.)
 

ICE

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Jun 23, 2011
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California concrete jungle
Well then, I don't consider the stakes to be a backfill material. It's all about termites. Dozens upon dozens of wood stakes driven into the ground at the perimeter of the dwelling seems like an experiment. Subterranean termites create an enormous amount of damage to California homes.

Considering that the code is all about an underfloor space, I am not convinced that the focus is on termites.

I have consulted with knowledgeable pest control operators. So far, the only reliable, long term solution is removal.

Contractors want to drill some inches off the top of the stake, pour poison into the void and then pack it with grout. The poison never reaches the wood that's in the dirt.
 
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fatboy

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Oct 17, 2009
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Northern CO
We have the same situation as tmurray, the pull them and reuse them. And most of them use metal stakes anyway..........
 

Sifu

Gold Member
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Sep 3, 2011
Messages
1,358
We used metal stakes/rebar cuts. We got the concrete close then pounded them down. The biggest surprise is that they didn't pound them down. That's just begging for a comment from an inspector.
 
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