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Jerry’s a residential contractor from another area of the country just coming off a nightmare project. But, in a way, he’s glad it happened because he learned all about Colorado’s biggest underground threat to building foundations.
Expansive Clay is a condition that was created over a Million years ago and the unique ways Rocky Mountain Group responds to make this threat to foundations a thing of the past.
So, what is “Expansive Clay”?
Imagine a dry sponge. It’s hard as a brick, and it’s tough. Now imagine building a house on it. Good idea? Not EVER…for several reasons. Because if it rains a little on one side of the sponge, the sponge inflates, changes shape and pushes the house around. And if the whole sponge gets wet parts of the house lift up several inches. As it dries, it shrinks in many places causing the house to move even more.
And Jerry learned on his recent nightmare project that this is happening in many areas throughout Colorado’s Font Range. A condition that has been in the making for over a million years. That means that most foundations don’t stand a chance when built directly on the expansive clay in this region.
But that’s when Jerry discovered the Rocky Mountain Group. The best group Jerry’s ever found that will offer a full suite of robust Geotechnical Engineering Solutions to create solid foundations, even on the shifty, spongy nature of expansive clay
RMG has 30 long years of experience dealing with these Colorado clays. In addition, they have a unique advantage because they have their own structural engineers on staff who work with their soil engineers to find an effective system for Jerry’s project.
Rocky Mountain Group begins by getting the lay of the land. They perform a deep geotechnical evaluation and analysis to classify your soil type and the likeliest threat factors. They can do soil testing, geohazard evaluation, slope stability analysis, environment assessment and more. Then, when they know about the threats in the ground around your building, they get to work with one or more of their major solutions that they’ve identified to place your building on a solid base.
There are four general types of deep foundation systems that the engineering teams at Rocky Mountain Group use to provide you a solid and stable base for your building.
First, they might use Helical Piers, which are similar to large steel screws twisted into the ground to anchor your foundation.
Or they might you Deep Concrete Piers, which use large concrete columns dug deep into the ground and socketed into stable bedrock.
RMG also uses Micropiles which are deep foundation elements made with high strength, small diameter steel casing and/or a threaded bar which are designed to be stable even in very highly expansive soils.
But, some situations call for Driven Piles. These are relatively long, slender columns that support extremely large loads and installed by impact hammering, vibrating or pushing them into the earth.
But, Rocky Mountain Group’s robust solution set goes beyond only piles and piers. They’re pushing the industry forward with alternative solutions that can treat expansive soil itself so you can use a simpler shallow foundation.
For example, they can recommend and Over Dig System or a Sub-Excavation system to replace the nightmarish clay soils with a low expansive soils mix. So, instead of sponge clay you get stable dirt reducing the expansion directly impacting your foundation.
Third, the engineers that RMG assigns to Jerry’s team can design what’s called a Dead Load System there they incorporate a less costly shallow foundation designed to be heavy enough to offset moderate uplift if the expansive clay without the significant expense of removing it.
There are many stiffened slab systems they use for low to moderate clays that place your building on one rigid mat of concrete. One of the most innovative solutions in the residential and light commercial industries is Tella Firma Technologies. A unique and innovative foundation system that the engineers at Rocky Mountain Group specialize in for solving the structural problems of expansive clay. It uses high strength lifting mechanisms that lift a post tension structural slab up and away from the harmful effects of expansive soils.
This system eliminates slab forms, crawl spaces, adjustable posts, voided walls and best of all it can be adjustable.
Rocky Mountain Group helped Jerry turn his nightmare project into a perfect dream. He walked away with a building foundation design that he’s confident is intended to remain structurally stable for a long, long time.
So, no matter what soil type you’ve got you can call the geotechnical and structural engineering team at Rocky Mountain Group to make your foundations stand the test of time even in the harshest conditions.
Visit us on the web at rmg-engineers.com or call us at (303) 688-9475 or email us at email@example.com