Challenges of Slope Side Building

By: Bert Gann, Project Manager, New Blue Construction

Ok, I admit it. I kind of nerd out on the astounding requirements of all the parties involved with building a large structure teetering on the side of a mountain bluff. From design concept to engineering specifications and footer calculations based on retaining details. It boggles the mind, or at least mine, with the science behind building a structure that sits in, on, and around boulders but can hold up thousands of cubic yards of rock and soil. Before the first yard of concrete is pumped into place, all facets of drainage, erosion and hardscapes have to be considered.

The poured walls used in this mountain project eventually will amount to the equivalent of 300 yards of concrete. That’s enough to pour a driveway at 4 inches thick and 10 feet wide for 1,600 feet. This doesn’t even include the actual driveway accessing the home. Point of my story: that is a lot of concrete, steel and thought to make something one level on an otherwise very unlevel surface.

For more reading pleasure, feel free to peruse this article from Civil & Structure Engineer Magazine regarding building on small plots in steep environments.