Did you know that coastal construction projects have different requirements than building projects located inland? This is primarily due to the risk for soil erosion and extreme weather, like flooding, hurricanes, and tropical storms. Here at K.E. Braza Construction, we always perform all the necessary calculations and site evaluations before building a seawall, foundation, and concrete support structures—here are just a few of the reasons.
The first step to building a solid structure near the coast is proper siting, which involves surveying the land in order to determine the proper location of the building on the property. For inland buildings, the architects and construction contractors look at the existing buildings in the area, existing utility lines, and ground elevation to determine the best position for the new construction. For coastal construction, site planning must include the likelihood of soil erosion under the building, the depth of the bedrock beneath the loose soil or sand, and other hazardous conditions, like flooding. Failure to take soil erosion, flooding, and certain other calculated and common events into consideration can result in a building that is not accessible or habitable following a severe weather event.
The foundations of coastal buildings and other structures must be built to strict standards when compared to inland foundation construction. For example, when the foundation of an inland building is put in place, the soil must be leveled and packed, a layer of aggregate must be laid and packed to facilitate drainage, and the slab foundation should be poured and left to cure. Inland buildings also typically have options when it comes to types of foundations, like crawlspaces, elevated or unelevated foundations, and basements. In coastal buildings, especially those on the shoreline, the foundation is typically supported by steel and/or concrete piers that are sunk into the ground until they sit on the bedrock and are normally limited to a certain number of feet off the ground to prevent flooding. This is because the lowest elevation of the first floor must be higher than the anticipated floodwaters. If the building is too low, it can result in the need to repair or fix the foundation on the coastal building or perform a seawall repair.
Inland buildings don’t typically need weather barriers unless they are located near a lake, river, or stream that tends to flood. Weather barriers may also be needed in an area that can experience extreme storms, like thunderstorms and tornadoes. In those instances, the inland buildings may need seawalls, a slightly elevated foundation, or extra straps and struts to help protect the building against wind damage. Coastal buildings, on the other hand, must have certain weather barriers, like seawalls, in order to help reduce the risk of flooding on the property and soil erosion. Like foundations, seawalls must have a dig and pour foundation. This means that the area for the seawall is excavated to a certain depth, usually to the bedrock, deep footers are poured, and the concrete or steel seawall is constructed. This is because the seawall must be strong enough to withstand the forces of the ocean during high tide, low tide, and severe weather events. If the seawall moves or deteriorates, it can put the property at risk for flooding and severe soil erosion and create an immediate need to repair the seawall.
Consider Exceeding Minimum Building Requirements with K.E. Braza
Here at K.E. Braza, serving the entire coastline of Connecticut, we work directly with engineers and architects to make sure that your foundation, seawall, or marine dock meets or exceeds all current building codes for the coastal region. In fact, we often recommend exceeding the mandated minimum requirements for foundation and seawall construction in order to further reduce the likelihood of building damage during severe storms, to reduce maintenance costs and insurance premiums, and to help increase the expected lifespan of your building, seawall, or marine dock.
For foundations and seawall building and repair projects in CT, contact us today or give us a call at 860-662-0124.