An element added during foundation construction.
Designed for bending, which helps maintain structural integrity during an earthquake.
Used in conditions when the surface soil has less load-bearing capacity than its anticipated design loads.
Made out of reinforced concrete.
What is a grade beam?
Grade beams are an essential part of foundation construction. They are a type of foundation system typically used to distribute weight within a foundation when the soils underneath des not provide the appropriate support. It is important to use grade beams in wall construction in cases such as when the load bearing capacity of surface soil is less than the amount anticipated in design.
How is it made?
A grade beam is a concrete beam that is reinforced in order to adequately shift the weight from a bearing wall into either caissons or pile caps, which are spaced foundations.
A grade beam is typically used in conjunction with floor joists, used to support bearing walls at or near the ground.
Grade beams are usually designed to minimize deflection instead of transferring loads directly to the ground below. This means that they instead of passing along the weight of the structure on top of the foundation, the beams are able to support weight and pass it along to the areas better set up to support the loads (such as where soils are more compact).
While a grade beam cannot be added to a foundation after the fact, it is useful to keep in mind if your foundation needs replacement. Some foundation issues cause such damage to a structure’s foundation that it needs to be rebuilt to restore building strength. This is a process to keep in mind when that happens, it’s an easy way to make the best of a bad situation and ensure structural integrity in the future.