Posted to The-Last-Rodeo by Larry in Angel Fire, NM
Flew to NM this weekend to meet with the engineer and the draftsman (who is actually a very good designer) to go over a number of questions I had and discuss questions they had. Prior to traveling, I had the architect send the AutoCAD files over so they could start physically working with the design, double-check the validity of dimensions throughout the design, and allow them to make any modifications necessary. When I arrived at the office, he had printed out the floors plans on D size paper. That's the big blueprint size. Wow! What a difference from looking on a computer screen! You can read dimensions AND look at the whole drawing at the same time, instead of enlarging only a section at a time. It's a little thing, but it seems much more real now.
So the discussion:
Frost line is 42". Do I need to carry that depth all the way around the house or can we use that in the front, where there is no backfill and then step the footer as it extends into the hillside and is backfilled?
We'll step the footer as we move back into the hill to save a few $.
Is he considering to pour the footers neat? (Dig a trench, pour without forms). Yes, but we still need to excavate the pad down about two feet to get down to the bedrock he wants to hit.
What does the footer look like at this time? Turns out much larger than I expected. I had expected 24" wide and 12" thick with three rebars. He has 36" wide and 24" thick. And six rebar. I have started to put together a spreadsheet with formulas for building up costs. Guess I need to change a few things. Looks like I've got another 40 yards to add in for the footer. Ouch. There's another $6,000.
Beams over garage doors: Turns out they were assuming I would take the ICF to the top of the door and then frame for the rest of the height on that level as the second level will not have ICF in the front. That's why he was insisting that a steel I-beam be used. That's something I hadn't considered, and still won't. I'm trying to build a tight house, and frame it up in the short summer we will have. I don't need distractions of trying to tie in another framing material over the top of 2/3 of the front wall, when we still need full height ICF for the other third. Create a frame knee wall 15" wide and tie it to the steel and make it meld with the ICF surface? Naw. Keep it ICF and it will become its own beam. The cost won't be that much greater once you consider the cost of the steel, AND the crane to set the three. I guess we could try to manhandle them into place, but, naw.
Discussed radon control. We will go ahead and place perforated pipe under the slab at two ends. One as intake and the other as exhaust, as well as using plastic sheeting. If the sheeting and sealing doesn't mitigate, we'll use the vent method.
Buttresses. We have two internal for the lower floor, and two external for the second level. We discussed how to excavate and create the external. The architect also had not taken the ground all the way to the top of the first level on the curved section in the front. Instead he had stairs from that come from deck down to where he left it off. He also had a retaking wall coming off the left front corner at 45°.
I suggested taking grade all the way to the top of the first level for most of the curved section. I will then use landscaped stone steps over a long gradient to reach the entry, which is on the second level. The retaining wall now is moved right, a few feet from the large garage door, and also serves as an external buttress to brace the curved wall. Good collaboration to arrive at the final design that fits form and function.
We set how the garage floor will be drained - two drains, one centered between the two smaller parking areas, the other centered in the large parking area. Piped to the foundation drains and taken to daylight.
Meeting took less than two hours, but we got a lot accomplished. They should have their work finished by the end of the coming week. Then get it sent off back to the architect.
A great day!