In January 2006, ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" selected a family in need of a home and found a builder. The builder then found subcontractors who give their time and materials for the project. General contractor Matt Howland, Howland Homes, Shoreline, Wash., knew there was not enough time to build the house using conventional timber framing. Howland then found Ferrall Burgett and his cutting-edge concrete technology.

Burgett manufactures Joint-Mate, a device to control cracking in concrete walls. It's inserted into the wall during the forming process and delivers a clean crisp control joint in the finished concrete. He also uses removable aluminum forms to install foundations. The foundation work included 300 lineal feet of footing and reinforced stemwall plus 64 point-load pads with 2-foot and 6-foot columns. Thirty-two of the pads were inside the footprint of the home and thirty-two outside.

The footings, columns, and walls were poured with a nine-sack mix of very low-slump concrete with an accelerating admixture to quickly build strength in the cold weather. "It was a worried concrete pumping operator who wasted no time cleaning out hoses at the end of each pour," says Burgett.

Doug Reid in the center and Ferrall Burgett with plan in hand feel the pressure as they make decisions for the “Extreme Makeover” foundation installation.
Doug Reid in the center and Ferrall Burgett with plan in hand feel the pressure as they make decisions for the “Extreme Makeover” foundation installation.

Line Footing Forms, who contributed the additional removable forms and joined forces with Olympic foundations.

When Burgett ran short of forms, he called Utah-based Doug Reid, president of Fine Originally, Burgett's portion of the work was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. But at 10:30 p.m. the site still was not ready, and Burgett was informed that the house plan was reversed. Burgett typically loads computer assisted drawings (CAD) into a robotic total station to lay out the footings and the stem walls. But because of the last-minute plan reversal and the late hour, "I had to do it the way my grandfather taught me, and it was complete in 25 minutes," says Burgett. The foundation footings were 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep with two #4 continuous horizontal rebars and #4 rebars placed vertically on 2-foot centers. The walls were 8 inches thick and 2 feet tall.

The timetable was as follows:

  • 11:45 p.m. access the site to set footing forms
  • 12:45 a.m. begin placing concrete
  • 1:45 a.m. strip footing forms and set wall panels
  • 4:00 a.m. cast the walls
  • 6:45 a.m. strip the forms
  • 7:45 a.m. load and exit the site.

The planning, setup, and casting of the footings, the stem walls, the point-load pads, and the columns using RAF technology with placement of JointMate began at 11:45 p.m. and ended by 7:45 a.m.-8 hours.