In need of building advice in AZ

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

  1. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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
     
    RANDERSON and lodge camper like this.
  2. lodge camper

    lodge camper Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    1,475
    Location:
    Nebraska
    if it don't freeze there and no frost line why worry about going deeper? probably sitting on quartz anyway.
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  3. Makarov

    Makarov Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    486
    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
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  4. RANDERSON

    RANDERSON Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    PM sent.
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  5. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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!
     
    WhisperInThePine and Makarov like this.
  6. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,306
    Likes Received:
    1,938
    Location:
    East TN
    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
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  7. Terasec

    Terasec Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2016
    Messages:
    574
    Likes Received:
    1,624
    Location:
    NYC
    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
     
    gohammergo and dads2vette like this.
  8. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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.
     
    TX-1948 likes this.
  9. lotek

    lotek Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2016
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Rural south Ga.
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,210
    Likes Received:
    847
    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

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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.
     
    Chevrolet4x4s likes this.
  12. Chevrolet4x4s

    Chevrolet4x4s Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,210
    Likes Received:
    847
    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
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  13. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    1,210
    Likes Received:
    847
    Doing a cantilever style deck would work out well I do believe. Have you checked on the high cube containers?
     
    dads2vette likes this.
  15. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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

    lotek Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2016
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Rural south Ga.
    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

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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.
     
    TX-1948 likes this.
  18. allofthemonkeys

    allofthemonkeys Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    502
    Likes Received:
    104
    Location:
    Uintah Basin, Utah
    What part of Yavapai are you? I recently moved out from the Verde Valley. I miss it down there.
     
  19. dads2vette

    dads2vette Guide Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2015
    Messages:
    1,395
    Likes Received:
    3,706
    Location:
    Ash Fork, AZ
    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

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    832
    Location:
    Fort Seybert, Pendleton County, WV
    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".
     
  21. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,463
    Likes Received:
    732
    Location:
    Northern Rockies
    I just saw this, judging from your other posts, youre past this point, but you may need to dig again. Ive hand dug holes in similar ground. If its large rocks, theres a couple ways to deal, either get them out of the hole, or if too big to get them out of the hole, dig more to the side and move them out of the way of your intended hole. Ive also drilled larger rocks and driven in rebar pins to anchor the concrete to it. You can rent the concrete hammer drills, but it may be worthwhile to buy one. They aren't cheap, nor are the bits, but they make tough work easier by magnitudes. A regular drill (even a regular drill called a hammer drill) is not remotely comparable to what a true dedicated concrete hammer drill will do. After seeing one drill a 1/2" hole right through a granite rock in very short order youll become a believer. Look at the Bosch SDS+ drills. They make different sizes of the drills. The chisel tip may be useful for certain types of digging, BUT, don't let the air intake get sand into it. Once you see the price of the tool youll understand why.

    Hand digging requires a good digging bar, a pick is brutal, and not very effective once a foot or so below grade. Id suggest at least a 5 ft bar, 6 is better. Mine is 6 ft + a little I think, it was fabricated from oil well sucker rod, leaving the female end intact for weight and for tamping backfill, the rod torch cut then heated and a rough chisel tip hammered out in the other end. Using a digging bar can also be brutal work, you have to pace yourself if you want to last very long. Its best done with two people, one runs the bar, breaks up 4 or 5 inches of rock/soil, takes a break while the other cleans the hole out with shovel, and as you get deeper, the folding WWII army shovel with the blade set sideways, then when 3 ft or so, using the folding shovel to fill a small bucket with a rope on it to haul the dirt out. I was able to hand dig 4 ft deep holes for power poles used as fence posts in the hard packed rock in the Rockies. Augers (as in powered from a skid steer) were nearly useless, besides the larger rocks, they ended up getting diverted off to the side of where you intended the hole to be.

    I hand dug all the holes for a horse pen in Yavapai County, there was a layer of caliche soil, which is similar to low grade concrete. All the steel pipe posts were set in concrete. Nasty work, but not impossible with the right tools.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    dads2vette likes this.
  22. Soilman

    Soilman Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    983
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    Not an engineer by any stretch, but the first thing I'd do is get hold of a Soil Survey for your county (https://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm) and get an idea of what kind of soil you are dealing with, and how deep it is to rock, etc. The Soil Survey will also contain engineering/construction information. Hard copies can often be obtained from your local USDA Farm Service office.

    If you can't go deeper than 18", then how about making a wide concrete base surrounding your poles/pillers down to 18". You can even extend the concrete base above ground with forms to make it even more stable.
     

Share This Page