Now That’s a Foundation
Recently a Korean company began construction on what will become the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Los Angeles will be the home of this skyscraper that will offer 900 hotel rooms, offices, and convention space. Its 18 foot thick foundation also boasts the longest continuous concrete pour in history as verified by Guinness World Records.
This massive foundation required 2,200 truckloads of concrete for the New Wilshire Grand, as the new building will be named. It was a process that was carefully coordinated and completed in 26 hours because the high strength concrete must be poured within 90 minutes of being mixed. The structural engineers included 7 million pounds of steel rebar that was part of the 18 foot thick concrete foundation – a massive amount. The weight of the concrete is about 84 million pounds. The new skyscraper will be 1100 feet tall and will cost more than $1 billion.
After the concrete pour is completed the curing process begins, which is the hardening of the concrete. The curing process will require about two weeks and the size of the foundation will necessitate a cooling process. If a concrete foundation becomes too hot during the cure it could compromise the integrity of the concrete. Therefore the engineers have laid out 100,000 feet of polyethylene hoses with will carry 45 degree water for cooling the massive foundation. They expect the foundation to cure between a range of 120 to 160 degrees.
Why 18 feet Thick?
There are numerous considerations the structural engineers must consider when designing a foundation. All concrete slab foundations rest on soil and soils can move. Clay soils are notorious for expanding when wet and shrinking when dry. The 18 foot thickness will have to support the weight of a 1100 foot tall building, resist soil movement, and resist earthquake movement.
The structural engineers also include a safety factor into the design of the foundation. That is, they calculate the greatest expected or possible stresses on the foundation and then design it to withstand 2 or 3 or 4 times the worst possible stress.
How does this compare to Your Home Foundation in Texas?
There are several significant differences in the approach and design of this commercial foundation and your home foundation in Texas.
1) If the structural engineers make a mistake with this commercial foundation they and their companies will be sued by the building owner. A person who purchases a new home in Texas does not have this option because he/she/they “signed it away” in their purchase contract. A Texas homeowner is stuck with Mandatory Arbitration which has historically found in favor of the business owner between 90% and 97% of the time.
2) The foundation of this new skyscraper is designed to perform for hundreds of years. A new home concrete slab foundation in Texas rarely makes it to 10 years without significant cracks. New home foundations in Texas use a minimum amount of concrete because increasing the thickness would reduce the contractors’ profits.
Should you see any warning signs of foundation damage with your home then give us a call or send an email.