Increasingly, rather than incur the stress and cost of moving, many home owners are looking to create additional and often stunning additional living spaces, by expanding into the garden, creating either a home office or ‘workshop’ through to providing a completely independent space in which parents or children can live. However, no matter what the design, ‘rock-solid’ foundations are vital for any structure, which is where ground screw based systems are increasingly proving, the solution of choice over traditional concrete foundations.
Whilst planning permission may be required for some designs, many ‘temporary’ structures like garden sheds or garden rooms through to log cabins or designs based on modern eco‑friendly materials and based on certain parameters typically don’t. As with any construction project ensuring that the area on which the structure will sit is both stable and level is a primary requirement. Screw based systems not only do this, but can be extracted, if required, should a building or structure needs to be removed or re-located, and then reinstalled in a new location with ease.
Unlike traditional excavated concrete foundations, screw foundation systems can be installed throughout the year and are perfect for the conservation minded. An installation typically comprises a matrix of rugged, galvanised tapered steel screws of various lengths and diameters. These are driven into the ground to form a solid and level platform onto which a structural timber framework is then typically located. This in turn can support a variety of structures or buildings. The depth and size of the screws will vary depending on the load requirements for the project along with the soil consistency and ground conditions. What is required to create and adequately support decking for example, will be quite different to that needed for a substantial single or potentially two storey structures.
“Screw foundation systems offer customers the ability to cost effectively create strong and robust foundations to suit their structural needs, regardless of ground conditions,” explained Darryl Gregory of Stop Digging UK, Europe’s market-leading supplier and installer of screw foundations. “Originally developed for posts and subsequently used for carports and barriers, before being adopted for outdoor events and exhibition installations, today the system is widely used for mainstay buildings as well. Not only can a complete system be installed quickly, efficiently and at a fraction of the cost of conventional ‘excavate & concrete’ foundations but the product is totally sustainable, requires no excavation and can be easily removed, which makes it ideal for use with all ‘temporary’ buildings.”
A truly sustainable and bio diverse solution, configurations are available with differing screw heads and lengths to accommodate a variety of applications. Because of the potential forces being exerted on a single or inline series of screws, posts 935mm or 1200mm in length are typically used with a choice of 70mm and 95mm screw heads being ideal for installing fence posts, carports and barriers. Beam screws, for installing horizontal beams and joists for decks and small building installations, are then available in three lengths; 865mm, 1000mm and 1200mm. In addition, adapter screws, which have an adjustable mounting plate that provides lateral movement where installations call for greater accuracy, are available. And finally pipe screws that enable steel pipes, to be inserted inside the screw and clamped with bolts are suitable for installing park benches, traffic signs, bollards, waste bins and a host of other applications.
Perfect for event structures:
Screw based foundations are also the perfect solution for outdoor installation and events companies wanting to erect ‘temporary’ structures. With a matrix of ground screws placed into the ground, a perfectly level and rock solid base platform can be created onto, which the desired structure can be erected. This works even if the topography is uneven or there is a cross fall, as the ground screws can be set at differing heights.
Over recent months many of the key structures at major flower shows, sporting and music events have been based around using a ground screw matrix. This also means that once the event closes the structures can be removed along with the ground screws. When extracted, the ground is left un-scared except for a grid of small holes which within weeks disappear, leaving absolutely no evidence of what had previously been built.
So if you are looking to create a level decking area; secure anything in the ground from a fence panel, bench or gazebo; through to building a garden room or a complete self contained living unit, you should investigate the installation benefits and cost savings, that ground screws foundations will provide.