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Re: Residential design in the desert

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Most houses are slab-on-grade.
Depending upon the city and location (near old wash hillside or areas of known subsurface collapsible soils ).   The best thing to do is get the exact location  of the structure , relate that to a thomas guide and call and talk to a local soils engineer.
Don't ever rely on  architects knowledge of soils assume they have none. Which is usually true.
The soils engineer can give you a lot more accurate information.  If your structure is in this area I can give you the names of three firms and numbers.

Joe Venuti

Johnson & Nielsen Associates
Palm Springs,  CA