Foundations: What is beneath the surface?

“At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple. Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.” 1 Kings 5:17 NLTSB

“The surface conditions did not expose the subsurface failures.” These are the words I heard the Geotechnical Engineer speak when he explained why the mountain slide occurred. Yes; we were excavating into the side of a mountain that appeared to be solid rock above a hillside home when a 16’ X 12’ X 4’ boulder rolled towards the house. It was at that moment when I realized that sometimes we spend so much time viewing the surface expression (what is visible from the top) when the only way to truly judge the structural integrity is to test things under pressure. 

We were using a large track hoe excavator with a 5,000-pound pneumatic hammer attachment when right before our eyes a large portion of rock slid down the mountain heading toward our client’s home. Thankfully the boulder stopped short before entering the house. Once this was discovered, we were required to revise the design and take out all of the loose and unstable soils not only at the point of failure, but from the entire site to prevent this from happening again.

From foundation to eaves, all these buildings were built from huge blocks of high-quality stone, cut with saws and trimmed to exact measure on all sides. Some of the huge foundation stones were 15 feet long, and some were 12 feet long. The blocks of high-quality stone used in the walls were also cut to measure, and cedar beams were also used.” 1 Kings 7:9 – 11 NLTSB

We have all heard the story about building your house on the sand versus building on the rock. What we have discovered is that the bigger the building, the stronger the concrete and more steel reinforcement is required. A fence footing is the smallest; there is another size for a one story house and larger for multiple story projects. Have you considered all of the reinforcement required in a high-rise building? The project that we built ended up requiring 15,000 man hours for the concrete scope, 100 tons or 28.5 miles of steel, enough concrete to cover 2.5 football fields, and we consumed 75 bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol (just kidding about the Tylenol).

We were forced to make changes from the original plan, but we decided to remove all of the nonconforming materials and make it even stronger using the highest quality design and materials. 

When you discover flaws in your foundation, do you cover them up or do you remove all of the unstable materials? To be a true Kingdom Builder, you must work towards removing all of the unstable materials (i.e. habits, vices, and distractions) and focus first on building a solid foundation.

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