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RE: Stirrups in Footings

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I've done some work in 3rd world countries over the years.  First thing I
would do when I saw a system that didn't make sense was to find out who
detailed it.  If it was a local engineer then it is probably local custom
and if it is overkill, then let it go.  It is hard to get local people to do
less structure then they are used to.  If it was a USA engineer, it was
probably over designed as far as local standards are concerned.  Trying to
get local people to put in more structure then they are used to is just as
hard because they view it as a waste of money, which is precious to them.
In 3rd world countries labor is cheap and material is expensive.

Now, regarding the specific question, I think stirrups at 6" would be
excessive IF the 18" is horizontal.  IF the 6" is horizontal, which may be
the case, then you are talking about a grade beam and it is probably
correct.  I have worked on projects where holes where dug about 10 feet on
center and grade beams used to span between the holes.  I say holes because
that is what they were, not piers.  They dug a 3'x3' hole about 3' deep,
filled it with stone and mortar and spanned grade beams between them.  The
grade beams were formed up on grade with side forms.

Be ready for creative formwork.  One of the first projects I went on to
build (which is very educational to a designer), I looked at this pile of
scrap lumber.  I thought it was trash.  It ended up being all the wood for
formwork.  We even cut down branches from trees to supplement the formwork.
Twigs were used for form tie spacers.  It was a good thing we had some local
help because I would have never figured out how to put the forms together.

Hey, why don't you go with them?  Tell them to have fun!  Working for God is
much more rewarding then a paycheck in the States!

Rich


-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Hodgson & Associates [mailto:ghodgson(--nospam--at)bellnet.ca] 
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 7:56 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Stirrups in Footings

List,

Yesterday, I got a call from a contractor customer who is going to 
Guatemala to help supervise school construction for a non-
denominational church group.

He was supplied drawings of a 1 storey masonry structure that called 
for a footing 18" x 6" with 3-10M (#3) longitudinal bars and 1/4" 
wire stirrups at 6" centres.

He questioned the 6" spacing, considering it overkill.  Can anybody 
advise me what code(s) are applicable in Guatemala?  Does this 
spacing sound reasonable?  Here, in non-seismic Southern-Ontario, we 
would neither put stirrups nor transverse bars in our footings.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Gary

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