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Re: pointed stem wall under a PEMB?

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Jim,

My personal thoughts are that the pointed grade beam would not work as expected. The generally accepted method in Western Canada is to use Voidform of an appropriate thickness. One possible shortcoming is that after the Voidform has deteriorated the void may fill in over a long period of time.

In the past some engineers used low strength insulation but even a material that resists 10 p.s.i. resists 1440 p.s.f. Mind you, the insulation would be the method of choice if the grade beam can resist much more than 1440 p.s.f. The material would crush as required and it may also expand back to keep the void from filling in.

Regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim Wilson" <wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)yahoo.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 8:15 PM
Subject: pointed stem wall under a PEMB?


A contractor explained a detail to me today where the
perimeter stemwall of a PEMB building was shaped with
a pointed bottom at about 18" below grade in an area
with 36" frost depth.  There is no footing under the
stem.  The concept is that the frost heave will not
push on the pointed bottom.

The steel frame still sits on concrete piers with
footings, hairpins, etc.  The stem won't be figured in
the structural load resisting system.

This sounds a little bit clever, but I'm not
convinced.  He claims that he has used it before and
it has been accepted (by the building inspector, the
structural engineer, etc.)

Is there such a detail and does it actually work?  I'm
suspicious, but who knows, maybe I learned something
today...

Jim Wilson, PE
Stroudsburg, PA

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