Con­crete-free foun­da­tions...

Build It - - READERS’ HOMES -

e Sure­foot pil­ing sys­tem was essen­tial to the suc­cess of the Swales’ build. Re­quir­ing no ce­ment, wa­ter or large machin­ery, it solved two prob­lems at once: the tricky ac­cess and the ac­tive clay soil. is type of clay ex­pe­ri­ences a lot of ex­pan­sion and shrink­age, de­pend­ing on mois­ture lev­els in the ground. e usual so­lu­tion is to dig deeper, down to where the clay is more stable, or to switch to an en­gi­neered de­sign. Stan­dard pil­ing wasn’t an op­tion on this tight site, how­ever, so the Swales switched to mi­cro-piles. e process cre­ated no mess and re­sulted in a strong foun­da­tion that was more than ad­e­quate to carry the build­ing loads. Chris is so im­pressed with the tech­nique that he says he would adopt it again in the fu­ture, even if the cir­cum­stances didn’t de­mand it. It also re­sulted in the base of the house be­ing raised off the ground, al­low­ing air cir­cu­la­tion and elim­i­nat­ing any po­ten­tial damp prob­lems.

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