We are building an addition to our house. It will be 36 feet wide by 30 feet in length. The excavator refuses to backfill unless concrete is poured in the core of the block with Rebar steel rods every 4 feet for reinforcement. The mason (block man) told us that the excavator is going overboard and that a polycaster in the center of each wall
is more than enough. In addition, the mason told us he intends to use extra concrete to strengthen the walls. Is the excavator going overboard or is this something that is necessary for a foundation of this size?
Second, how is the new foundation (13 bock high) tied into the old foundation which is is 6 foot? What should we ask the mason about how he plans totie the foundations together?
I would recommend following the advice of the excavation contractor. There will be great deal of pressure against a wall of that size and depth. #5 rebar @ 4' on center with concrete filled cells @ the rebar locations is a good practice that is required by many structural engineers. The type of mortar the mason uses will help but is not strong enough to hold back that amount of pressure on its own. Even if the wall does not crack or cave in when backfill is placed there is a very good chance it will in a few years if you don’t reinforce it. One pilaster in the middle of the wall is not enough.
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