Constructing the Stem-Wall Foundation

Project: Storm-Ready Housing, Episode 1, Part 1



Bob joins Askia Aquil from St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services (SPNHS), project manager Ray Price, and general contractor Buba Barrow, while they are in the process of constructing an affordable, energy-efficient, and storm-resistant home from converted steel shipping containers. David Cross from Tampa Armature Works (TAW) explains how the 700,000 abandoned containers that clog U.S. ports can be fitted as intermodal steel building units (ISBUs) that are perfectly suited to quick, affordable housing for storm-threatened regions. Bob watches ISBUs cut, skinned in sheet metal, and sprayed with heavy-duty insulating SuperTherm ceramic coating to prevent heat buildup and transfer.
Part 1: Constructing the Stem-Wall Foundation
Bob meets with Askia Aquil of the St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services (SPNHS) to talk about the upcoming project in Bartlett Park, a neighborhood being revitalized through public-private partnerships. SPNHS helps low-income, first-time homeowners purchase, finance, and maintain their properties so that they and their neighborhoods can thrive. Next, Bob joins Buba Barrow of Barrow Construction, the general contractor for the container-built housing project, and Ray Price of St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services (SPNHS), the project manager for the job. Barrow explains how the stem-wall foundation is constructed. This type of foundation is the sturdiest possible support for a home built in hurricane territory and subject to wind, storm surge, and uplift. The rectangular foundation is ready for the intermodal steel building units (ISBUs) that will arrive on site and be welded to the steel plates set in the concrete as weld points around the perimeter of the foundation.
Part 2: Converting Steel Shipping Containers to Housing
Part 3: Finishing the Steel Building Container
Bob Vila is in St. Petersburg, FL, learning how to create affordable, energy-efficient, storm-ready housing from recycled steel shipping containers. Bob and the team build a roomy, single-family home that improves this once-blighted neighborhood and creates opportunity for first-time homeownership.

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