During the last weeks of November and in early December 1975, the Building Officials and Commissioners of America (BOCA) Committee on Code Changes held public hearings in Richmond, Virginia, in Lansing, Michigan, and in Chicago. Among the code changes provisions being considered was one which would allow the unrestricted use of wood foundations. Witnesses from all segments of the concrete industry appeared at these public hearings and testified against their use. What's wrong with wood foundations? The proponents of wood foundations claim that their system saves money. A figure of $300 per house has been mentioned in their literature. It is unclear from their cost data whether or not this cost saving includes insulation and interior paneling required to finish off the basement and provide the required thermal resistance. Cost figures compiled in Iowa indicate that this saving is true only if the basement backfill does not exceed 4 feet. Another claim made by the proponents of wood foundations is that leaky basements are eliminated. Documented experience indicates that the wood basements can be damp. This dampness has caused mildew on carpeting and paneling in the wood basements. One function of the basement, particularly in areas of the country subject to tornadoes and violent windstorms is to provide a storm shelter for the occupants. In the event of a natural disaster it is highly unlikely that a light wood foundation system could provide the same degree of protection. National Association of Home Builders statistics indicate that 11.6 percent of the fires in homes start in the basement. This is the third most fire-prone location in the home. Traditional concrete foundations will not burn, while even a minor basement fire in a home constructed on a wood foundation could be disastrous to the building.