In need of building advice in AZ

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by dads2vette, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter

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    I'm getting further along in my building my home on the ranch and would like to find an engineer or architect to help me with the foundation needs. As some of you folks may recall my current home is a converted 12 x 28 shed complete with solar array, plumbing and wood stove. Comfortable but I'd like something a little bigger and that has always been the plan. The new place is going to be 24 x 24 with a half loft and a whole side of windows and glass doors to show off and enjoy the view.

    I'm from Western NY and have done constructions there. I'm use to digging foundations or pilings 48". Here in AZ it's 18". Would like to bring the house up 8 feet on stilts but the fact that it's going to be 18" in the ground just doesn't make me confident. Before anyone chimes in with "dig a deeper hole" I've been informed that holes that deep would require heavy machinery($3500 a day + $500 delivery) or explosives. I have dug a couple holes 18" with a pick ax and lots of sweat.

    Any of my AZ brothers have a lead on an architect or engineer that you have had personal experience? I've tried the yellow pages but it seems those folks are too busy with larger projects to return a call. Getting hold of the building inspectors in my county has been challenging.

    Thanks
     
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  2. lodge camper

    lodge camper Scout

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    if it don't freeze there and no frost line why worry about going deeper? probably sitting on quartz anyway.
     
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  3. Makarov

    Makarov Scout

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    Sorry, I cant help with the engineer, but if your in Yavapai county you have my sympathies. My sons job just built a new building herein Prescott, the county was a pain in the rear from day one and everyone I have talked to that built a house says it takes forever to get anything done.

    I am intrigued by shipping containers as inexpensive start to a house, and I believe they can be built with just a slab as a foundation.

    Eric
     
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  4. RANDERSON

    RANDERSON Supporter Supporter

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    PM sent.
     
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  5. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter

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    Easy answer: I'm an anal doofus...

    Eric, yep Yavapai. Neighbors and I are getting together to file some county and state ppwk to stop them from harassing us. Worked with some other locals. I looked into the shipping containers and really like the things they do with them. Unfortunately(?), the "dream" involves me building my own place. I want it up in the air for the increased view and to add shop space under it.

    Thanks for the replies folks!
     
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  6. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I am neither an engineer or architect. So am unable to comment on AZ codes or requirements.
    Generally speaking, it seems that the depth of piers or posts can serve two purposes. One is avoiding frost heave the other is lateral stability. That said, it would seem that an 18 inch depth to solid rock could avoid frost heave if properly anchored. Lateral stability of the post would have to come from cross bracing. Again, just my thoughts....YMMV
     
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  7. Terasec

    Terasec Scout

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    Angular pressure can wreak havoc on foundation
    Hes going 8'
    Think about what it takes to dislodge a 2' stick buried 1' down
    The pressure you need to shift it
    Now imagine a 9' pole
    Also buried 1' with 8' exposed how much pressure you need to exert at the top to shift the bottom from the foundation
    Crude example but should get point across
     
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  8. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter

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    No worries on the disclaimer! Your thinking was my thought but since I don't have practical experience in AZ I figured I'd look for some.

    That was my thought. Because of my lack of experience in AZ I wanted to get some expert input.

    Thanks for all the great input folks.
     
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  9. lotek

    lotek Tracker

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    I rented a 3 point hitch post hole digger for my tractor, at $50, to dig my post 3' into red clay. You will need a tractor or a friend with one. You may have to expand the diameter depending on codes. Normal seems to be around 2' dia. at the bottom, with holes bored through the post at the bottom and rebar inserted in an x. Then concrete. Diagonally run wall tie cables at the corners for bracing(after framing) makes good sense also.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  10. Chevrolet4x4s

    Chevrolet4x4s Guide

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    What about using shipping containers on a slab then build your house on top of them? Secure workshop and storage, the house you build up top, no worry of having your home on stilts.

    Shane
     
  11. dads2vette

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    The gentleman who initially graded my pad prior to my current place being delivered used a Cat 450. It was to small to dig posts through the rock and boulders I have. The post hole digger wouldn't work in my case but thanks for the suggestion.

    I like this idea a lot. One of the reasons for posts is the logistics for getting concrete to my location. I'd have to bring in 14 ton of concrete and mix it onsite. That being said...I really like this idea.
     
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  12. Chevrolet4x4s

    Chevrolet4x4s Guide

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    Take a look at the wooden beam footing shown on this site.
    The Secret to Laying Successful Foundations for Shipping Containers
    Given your location I would go this route, concrete to pour the piers for the beams to set on could be mixed on site. With the price of containers being nearly the same to a little cheaper I would go with 3 of the 40' high cube containers, you get your 24' width and you have an additional 16' for either a deck or for two 8' porches.

    Shane
     
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  13. dads2vette

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    Even better! I plan on a 24 x 24 with a wraparound deck. 40' containers have been going for $2000 near me. Even three 8x20 containers and cantilever the deck would be good.
     
  14. Chevrolet4x4s

    Chevrolet4x4s Guide

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    Doing a cantilever style deck would work out well I do believe. Have you checked on the high cube containers?
     
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  15. dads2vette

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    High cube containers seem to be less available than standard but well worth the effort to search out. I doubt I could get a 40' delivered as the trail to my place would be too restrictive. Chances are I'd have to bring it in with a shed mule.
     
  16. lotek

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    How far down to bedrock or riverbed rock?
    Perhaps you could consider concrete pillers on pads. Dig down to rock make wide pads and lay 8x8 or 12x12 blocks up poured solid with rebar inside
     
  17. dads2vette

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    The original reason for looking for a different way of making a stable foundation is the "soil" content. The norm here would be to either lay a pad and build on it or footing/pads with concrete pillars. The pad is a no go for reasons stated previously and the pad/footing with concrete pillars would be my choice. I like the shipping container route because it gives my much more storage and potential expansion options. The ground here consists mostly of rocks that are too large to use to level the driveway/roads or building pads. That is the biggest hurdle when leveling anything here, not enough aggregate to work with.
     
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  18. allofthemonkeys

    allofthemonkeys Scout

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    What part of Yavapai are you? I recently moved out from the Verde Valley. I miss it down there.
     
  19. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter

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    Off the Crookton road exit off 40. That's 5 miles west of Ash Fork. I'm 10 miles off pavement, south of 40.
     
  20. Polecat

    Polecat Polecat in a Poke

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    If your ground is that hard, I'd just dig down as far as I could and pour a footer around the bottom of the ditch, then frame up a form and pour the foundation on top of that, all tied together with rebar. I'd think that would be more than sufficient for a 24'x24' single story structure. If something settles, you can always jack it up and shim and/or pour a patch. But if your ground is that hard, I'd think you'd be fine. I might even just pour a pad and then build the structure right on top of it and use the cement for the floor.

    But we don't have any building codes or inspections here, and I have an ancient 1950s-era cement mixer that goes on a 3-point hitch and a mini-excavator that was worn out 20 years ago (but it's still better than digging by hand lol), so I am sure that influences my idea of what would be "easy and cheap".
     

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