Pouring Reinforced, Solid-Pour Concrete Walls

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 1, Part 3

Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
Part 1: Discussing Hurricane Resistant Building and Stem Wall Construction
Part 2: Homes That Can Survive Hurricanes
Part 3: Pouring Reinforced, Solid-Pour Concrete Walls
Bob meets Mark Newton of Solid Wall Systems to learn about the solid-pour walls that will frame this storm-resistant home.

Bob watches the crew attach number 5 steel reinforcing bars to the existing rebar that was set in the stem walls and slab as they were poured. These up-rods or vertical rods will run the entire height of the walls. They are tied to the foundation bars with a battery-powered wire gun.

Once the vertical rods are set, the crew will measure for and mark the openings before setting the wire mesh that will further reinforce the walls.

Newton shows Bob how headers are constructed using stirrups that tie in the rebar and make it ready for the pour within a specialized header form.

Newton then shows Bob the locking forms that will be used for the pour and the clips that hold them together. Spacer wheels are attached to the mesh to keep it centered in the wall between the two forms. Break-free wall clips are also attached to hold the two forms together. These clips are designed to break away once the forms are removed.

Bob is joined by Florida's Lieutenant Governor, Toni Jennings, and Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen to discuss the aftermath of the four hurricanes in 2004 and Florida's efforts to build back better.

Lt. Governor Jennings briefs Bob on the destruction since Charley hit on August 13, 2004, followed by Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. In Florida, more than 700,000 homes were damaged, 9.4 million residents were evacuated, and the state sustained 42 billion dollars in property damage.

As Jennings points out, hurricane season is again upon the state and they have yet to repair from last year's storms. Still, she adds, it is evident that improved building codes -- in place after hurricane Andrew hit in 1992 -- have dramatically increased the storm-resistance of Florida's built environment.

Bob asks about Florida's commitment to preparedness for upcoming storms. Secretary Thaddeus Cohen, himself a practicing architect, talks about the determination to use the $100 million in block grants to build back better, to put federal dollars to work to improve housing, and to build sustainable communities throughout Florida.