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[IMAGE: Structures and Foundations image][IMAGE: Title - Arrow]

A sturdy structure and foundation are the first components of a well built home. Structures and foundations must do more than just form a house; they must resist the elements, fungus and insects, and withstand load-bearing pressures. When working well, they can go unnoticed, but when they begin to fail, they can be a source of great trouble and expense.

Several of PATH's research projects are related to structural systems. The Technology Inventory contains many technologies related to structural issues, and the ToolBase information portal provides authoritative documents about structural knowledge, materials, and construction. In addition, Roadmapping efforts have shown that "whole house" systems are prime candidates for potential development (whole house systems entail significant structural implications).

PATH Tools

Building Concrete Masonry Homes: Design and Construction August 1998
This document identifies the major issues related to the design and construction of a home with above-grade concrete masonry walls, and presents different approaches to construction details including the installation of insulation, floor framing, and doors and windows.

Concrete Masonry Homes: Recommended Practices December 1999
This document was developed as a guideline for using concrete masonry in the construction of homes in the United States. It focuses primarily on the attachment of common residential materials and elements to concrete masonry wall construction.

Cost and Benefits of Insulating Concrete Forms for Residential Construction November 2001
Several benefits of Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are discussed in this guide, and are quantified to the extent possible based on available technical data and analysis. The benefits of ICF house construction considered in this study are structural safety, comfort, energy efficiency, and durability.

Durability By Design: A Guide for Residential Builders and Designers May 2002
This manual is intended to raise the awareness and understanding of building durability as a design consideration in housing. The Guide covers basic concepts of durability, and presents recommended practices - including numerous construction details and design data - for matters such as moisture management, ultraviolet (UV) protection, insects, decay, corrosion, and natural hazards.

Guide to Foundation and Support Systems for Manufactured Homes March 2002
This guide helps decision makers in forming a strategy for sorting through foundation and support system alternatives; exposes the manufactured housing industry, buyers of manufactured homes, and others interested in HUD-code housing to some of the more popular and practical ways of designing and installing manufactured home foundation or support systems; and examines how some practitioners are already pursuing new foundation and support system methods.

Insulating Concrete Forms for Residential Construction May 1997
Insulating concrete form (ICF) construction increases comfort, saves energy, muffles exterior noise, and requires less maintenance than standard techniques, a new HUD-sponsored study shows. Insulating Concrete Forms for Residential Construction reports on a demonstration program coordinated for HUD by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center on the use of this alternative structural material for single-family houses.

Prescriptive Method for Insulating Concrete Forms in Residential Construction May 1998
Builders, code officials, design professionals, and others will find Prescriptive Method a helpful guide to using this new material for residential construction. Based on thorough testing and research, the prescriptive method section of the report outlines minimum requirements for ICF systems including wall thickness, termite protection, reinforcement, lintel span, and connection requirements.

The Rehab Guide Volume 1: Foundations June 1997
This is the first of a series of nine rehabilitation guidebooks that spread the word on state-of-the-art housing rehabilitation. Volume One, The Rehab Guide: Foundations, covers topics from the design and engineering of rehab foundation systems to shoring and repair, waterproofing, crack repair, drainage, and insulation.

Residential Structural Design Guide: 2000 Edition February 2000
This guide is an initial effort to document and improve the unique structural engineering knowledge related to housing design and performance. It compliments current design practices and building code requirements with value-added technical information and guidance.

Review of Structural Materials and Methods for Home Building in the United States: 1900 to 2000 January 2001
This paper examines the evolution of U.S. housing construction during the 20th century. Of particular interest are changes in construction practices associated with the materials and methods used in home building that affect structural performance.

Structural Design Loads for One- and Two-Family Dwellings May 2001
This guide serves the express purpose of promoting a practical and technically sound method of determining design loads for typical residential construction in the United States.

Technology Inventory Spotlight

Frost Protected Shallow Foundations protect home against frost heave without the need for excavating below the frost line.

Pre-cast Concrete Panels (Walls and Foundation) Made under quality-controlled factory conditions, pre-cast concrete panels are ready in a fraction of the time needed for a poured foundation.

Fibrous Concrete Reinforcement
Prevents cracks in concrete, lowers concrete permeability, and increases its toughness and long-term weather resistance.

Fly Ash Based Cement
Cement product that consists of up to 99 percent fly ash; lower in cost, uses very little energy to manufacture, produces no harmful emissions, and has improved workability and curing characteristics compared with conventional cement.

Fly Ash Concrete
Inexpensive replacement for Portland cement; improves strength, segregation, and ease of pumping concrete.

Pumice-Crete
Low-density and resource-efficient concrete consisting of pumice aggregate, Portland cement, and water; economical alternative to conventional building methods and materials; combines structural strength and insulation in one product.

Content updated on 9/13/2005

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