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Q: Are foundation contractors licensed by the local building department?
No. Foundation contractors perform work under the property owner’s building permit or licensed contractor’s building permit.
Note: In Colorado, each county or municipality chooses whether foundation and/or concrete contractors must be licensed for work in that county. Check with the County where you live to verify their requirements.
Q: Does the City of Colorado Springs require a business license for concrete contractors?
Yes, in some cases. To perform concrete work in the city right-of-way, you must be licensed by the City Clerk’s office. This includes curb and gutter, driveway approach (apron) also referred to as a curb cut, City sidewalk and work in street areas. Our license is 705732.
Q: What inspections are required for concrete work?
a. Foundation Concrete
In El Paso County, the building department inspects each phase of foundation work. An inspection is performed after reinforcement and forms are in place and before concrete is poured. The inspector verifies that reinforcement and formwork agree with the engineer’s foundation design.
b. Flatwork – slabs, driveway approach (apron), etc…
Concrete work performed in the City of Colorado Springs right-of-way (city sidewalk, curb, and gutter, street, highway, etc…) is inspected by the City Engineering Department.
Items on private property such as sidewalk, patio, driveway, landscape curbs usually don’t require a city permit and are not inspected by the city or the building department.
Q: What is the building code standard for a foundation?
There are none. Foundations are uniquely designed for each structure based on the type of soil the building will rest on.
An engineer will use soil test results and buildings plans (architectural drawings, manufacturer’s building designs) to calculate the requirements for the foundation concrete and reinforcement (rebar).
Q: Why do you use architectural drawings in addition to the foundation engineering to prepare a quote?
Architectural drawings are the primary plans for the project. The foundation engineering specifies rebar, concrete, footing and wall dimensions, etc. Architect’s plans have additional information which is needed to accurately understand your project. Examples are the building elevations (exterior side views), wall sections, window, and door details and measurements.
Q: Does PSF Company form retaining walls?
Yes, poured concrete walls. We don’t install block, masonry, stone or timber-formed walls.
Q: What services do PSF Company not provide?
We don’t provide engineering or soil testing services. We are not a licensed building contractor. We recommend that you contact a licensed contractor or qualified engineer (geotechnical or structural) for information about design and requirements for foundations. If a building permit is required for your project, you may be able to obtain the necessary permit. The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department website is an excellent source of information for finding a contractor and for information about permits and building.
Q: What is a walkout foundation?
A walkout foundation includes at least one exit from the building at the foundation level. Most often a home or business constructed on sloping land which allows entry to the main level on one side and entry to the lower basement level on another side. A garage can be part of the lower level along with basement living or storage space.
Q: What is a garden level foundation?
A garden level foundation is between a full basement and a walkout. The ground elevation is usually not sloped enough to allow entry to the building on the basement level but is sloped enough or the building is designed in such a way that a portion of the basement, or lower level, is below ground and is concrete. The remainder of the wall height is framed the same as the main and upper levels. Windows on the lower garden level allow more natural light than a basement window with an area well around it.
Q: Is my project too small?
Some projects are. If your concrete project is for a mailbox post, one or two sections of sidewalk, a short run of the curb, one section of driveway, small slab areas (i.e. less than 400-500 SF): our quote may not be the best value for you.
These projects can be more affordable if done by a handyman or an independent concrete installer. There are many reputable “handyman” businesses in our area. There are also independent concrete contractors who specialize in small projects. Better Business Bureau can be a reliable resource for a handyman or contractor.
Q: Does PSF Company accept credit cards for payment?
Q: What is an example of a project that is not a good fit for PSF Company?
Bridge, highway, heavy construction concrete work. Currently, our workers don’t have experience with highway and bridge construction. We do have experience with pedestrian bridges, curb/gutter/sidewalk along City streets.
Apartment buildings, large commercial buildings, multi-story buildings (more than 3 stories). Our form system is suitable for the types of foundations designed for 1-3 story homes and buildings.
Q: How far does PSF Company travel outside of Colorado Springs to work on projects?
Our typical work location is within 45 minutes travel from Colorado Springs. Call us or send an e-mail if you have a question about distance.
Q: How does winter weather affect concrete work?
a. Shorter daylight hours, cold temperatures and wet weather (rain, snow, ice) mean that concrete work takes longer than it does during warm weather months. A surprising amount of concrete work is done in Colorado during the winter, but it requires more time and effort to protect concrete and prevent freezing.
b. From November 1 to April 30, local ready-mix concrete vendors add hot water when they batch concrete for delivery. There is a small additional charge for this.
c. If it is necessary to pour concrete and you can’t wait for a warmer day, an additive is placed in the concrete mix which accelerates hardening and allows work to proceed.
Q: What is a curb cut?
A new driveway entry from an existing street. As part of traffic control, any time an owner wants to create a new entry from the street on to their property, the City must approve creating a new driveway (it can mean cutting out a piece of curb) and pouring an approach or apron from the gutter through the sidewalk to the private area of the driveway. If approved, the new driveway approach must be installed according to City specifications.
Q: What is a deep-drilled pier (or caisson)?
When the soils are expansive (clayey) where your structure is being built, your engineer may address this condition by designing a foundation with deep-drilled piers. Another option is to perform an over-excavation. Drilled piers usually are drilled deep enough to penetrate bedrock. There are drilling companies that specialize in this. While the piers are being drilled, an engineer will remain on site and record the diameter and depth of each pier and ensure that rebar reinforcement and concrete are correctly placed in the hole. The engineer’s log also satisfies the requirement for the inspection of this phase of work.
Q: What is an over-excavation (or “over-dig”)?
As mentioned above, poor soil conditions may result in an engineered design which includes removing existing soils and replacing them with better soil for stability and drainage. Over-excavation is unique for each site. The design may require imported soil under the floor slab only. It may require removing and replacing soil under an entire foundation area. The result is that the owner may need to choose between the time and cost of performing an over excavation versus time and cost for deep drilled piers.
Q: What do I need to have ready for the inspector to inspect my foundation?
A building inspector will require access to the building permit. For the foundation, an inspector will also want to see the “permitted” set of building plans, the “wet stamped” foundation engineering and the “open hole observation” from the engineer.
Learn more about Pikes Peak Regional Building Department inspections codes here.
Q: What is an “open hole” (open hole observation, report, letter, etc…)?
In El Paso County, after excavating for the foundation, the soil testing company must perform a second soil test at the bottom of the excavated area to determine whether the soil results agree with the samples taken at the surface level previously. Whoever is supervising construction will schedule an “open hole observation” with an engineer when the excavation is complete. Engineers are accustomed to this requirement and will usually provide a written report immediately or within 24 hours. An original of the report is left with the permit set of plans and foundation engineering for the building inspector’s records.
Q: What does monolithic mean?
Pouring one phase of concrete rather than two or more. Often it refers to a slab for a building which serves as both floor and foundation. Visit the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department website to see an illustration of a simple monolithic slab for a detached garage or shed.
There are also monolithic designs which are more complex and heavily engineered for more substantial structural requirements. If you’re building an outbuilding, or a home, and planning to use a slab foundation and will be required to have an engineered foundation plan; ask your engineer if a monolithic design is feasible and/or less expensive than a separate foundation and floor slab.
Q: What is a “frost” foundation?
In Colorado, foundations are typically required to extend 30″ below grade (top of soil, ground level). Where there is no need for crawl space access, no basement, no storage, no usable space needed or desired below the main level of a structure, the minimum foundation depth required (below grade) is for frost protection and structural support. The total foundation height (top to bottom) is usually 36″ or more because some of it will extend above soil level.
The simple monolithic design mentioned on our website is an exception to this.
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