Building On Shifting Ground

Built on clayey soil, Problems Solved and money saved!

Phil & Ruth wanted to build a house on land that had very clayey soil with a high amount of movement. The builders they initially spoke to suggested timber floor and wall framing and brick veneer because using double brick would cause a problem with cracking and cost a lot of money.

Phil & Ruth also wanted a concrete upper floor slab but the builder told them he wouldn’t do it because of the ground movement, cracking issues and extra time & a cost of over $60,000.

So Phil & Ruth spoke to a builder about the Jjack building system and found out it was possible to have an upper floor concrete slab and not have to pay $60,000 extra, Whilst allowing for the movement of the clayey ground.

Instead of using timber frames, using steel framing engineers could provide for movement with minimal or no cracking and at the same time provide support for the upper floor concrete slab.

The associated benefits were;

  • the house has a much higher energy efficiency due to the thermal mass of the upper floor;
  • the upper floor concrete slab never creaks or squeeks like the timber floor would have;
  • the upper floor concrete slab is quiet, you can’t hear any noise thru the upper floor;
  • the brick veneer steel frame has a much higher insulation level than brick;
  • The steel framed walls are perfectly straight and very strong;
  • Steel framed walls don’t swell and shrink with changes in moisture;
  • The steel framing doesn’t go mouldy or grow fungi if it gets moist;
  • Steel framing has an earth quake rating so can handle substantial movement.

So the house was better and the price was substantially less than the other options and Phil & Ruth proceeded with their builder using the Jjack building system.

The whole neighbourhood became involved in the build, discussing what was happening as the upper floor was built at ground level (on the ground slab).

Before they even moved in they met all the neighbours who were asking what they were building and how it was done. On the day the upper floor was lifted and built under some of the neighbours showed up for the spectacle, but even more surprised were the ones who drove to work in the morning seeing a single storey house and returning home that afternoon to a 2 storey house.

After moving in Phil & Ruth realised the house was so much more pleasant to live in due to the higher energy efficiency and are now enjoying their new home built using Jjack.

They spent the money they saved on upgrades to ensuite tiling installing a beautiful mosaic feature to the shower recess, kitchen cabinets with lots of drawers and stone tops, better appliances including an integrated dishwasher, Ruth’s favourite stack stone to the front elevation and Phil’s exposed aggregate concrete to the large outdoor entertaining areas, a PV system and reverse cycle air conditioning.