As a repeat customer, I have now deployed 4 Triodetic foundations in remote places like the North Slope of Alaska and Antarctica; I must say that I am extremely pleased with the Triodetic Company and their foundation product. Their engineers worked with us through several design modifications and suggested numerous improvements from our original concept. All of the foundation parts are densely packed for shipping, they show up promptly and are ready to go into the field with no modifications, plus their assembly instructions are spot on. Because of this and Triodetic’s ingenious coined plate and connector hubs, it only takes about a half-day for three of our technicians to assemble the complete foundation. In addition, their customer service is prompt and very understanding; I really could not ask more from a company. Thank you Triodetic, you make a great product and I am thankful to work with such professionals.
Hank Statscewich - University of Alaska Fairbanks
Please accept this letter as an endorsement and testament to the use of Triodetic and their Multi Point Foundation system. I will refer to it further as the Space Frame.
Tli Cho Construction is owned and operated by the Tlicho Investment Corporation. It is in turn owned by the Tlicho people. The Tlicho people are an aboriginal group that has been granted self-government. Three of the four communities, that comprise the Tlicho Nation, are remote. That is to say, they are only accessible by winter road, the rest of the year by air only. I explain this to show the unique challenges we have in the building and construction industry, in these communities. All materials must be transported by ice roads and the materials used must perform at the highest of standards. Replacement and/or warranty work are very costly and often experts must be flown in to perform such work.
For the sake of this letter, I will outline a brief history of our use of the Space Frame system.
Throughout my years building in many remote northern communities, I have had occasion to use, treated pads and screw jacks, blocking and wedges, steel pilings, steel posts on pads, concrete, and in recent years Triodetic’s Space Frame, all as foundation systems. During this time I managed many NWT Housing Corp. projects. These projects included homes from one bedroom up to five bedrooms, and many one and two bedroom duplexes. In my opinion, the use of the Space Frame is now unequalled for these types of projects. The ease of construction of the Space Frame is essential in these communities so that local involvement in the assembly is utilized. Often, other products require certified tradespeople or technicians to construct and maintain. The Triodetic Space Frame has proved easy for the Tlicho people to understand, assemble and maintain in these remote locations. In regards to maintenance, far less is required with the Space Frame than other forms of structural support. In the event some adjustment is required, Space Frames are very easy to access and perform the work.
Several years ago the Tlicho people decided to build a new Tlicho Government Presence Facility in each of the 4 communities. The design would have several significant architectural details in appreciation of their culture. Several geometric shapes were included, by the architects, to accommodate the design. The cost to build the foundation for this building was to be significant. The options for the foundation, at that time, were concrete or steel piles. Both options were not only very costly, but also required certain expertise and equipment to install. These two options also added a significant amount of time to the construction schedule.
Having seen the successful use of the Space Frame in many of the Housing Corp. projects, I inquired to Triodetic as to the possibility of using the Space Frame for such a complex building. Triodetic expressed a keen interest in our projects and assured us they could provide a foundation system for our Tlicho Government Presence buildings. The engineers, for both the architects and Triodetic, came up with a foundation system that was acceptable and endorsed by all. The sales team worked with us to ensure delivery from Ottawa to Edmonton, to Yellowknife and finally to Whati, NWT. The strict delivery timelines, due to the short winter road season, were achieved. Triodetic also sent an advisor into the Whati building site when construction began. This was very helpful to provide instruction and support to our Site Superintendant. With his guidance and advice the Space Frame went together seamlessly. In the end we saved approximately 40%, in material and labor costs, when compared to concrete or steel piles. Finally, through the year of construction, our Site Superintendent monitored any sort of movement of the Space Frame. We are happy to say that there was not a single location that required adjustment.
Triodetic also worked with us to develop some new connectors to ease construction of the second building. I am happy to say that we have just completed the second Triodetic Space Frame foundation in Gameti, NWT. The familiarity of assembly, coupled with the new connectors, meant we completed construction in half the time it took to construct the foundation of the first building. This gained us approximately two weeks on our construction schedule. These two weeks are vitally important at this time of year, in these remote northern locations.
In closing, I am comfortable saying that, I speak for myself and Tli Cho Construction, in regards to the use of the Triodetic Multi Point Foundation System. The product itself has performed to, or above expectations. The Triodetic Team was integral in the engineering, design and delivery of the foundation package.
We look forward to continued dealings with Triodetic and the use of the Multi Point Foundation.
Larry Fisher, Project Manager - Til Cho Constuction
Last August the Koyukuk River in central Alaska overflowed its banks after weeks of record rainfalls. Homes were washed away or destroyed by floodwaters.
The villagers from the Athabascan settlements of Allakaket, Alatna and Hughes were evacuated by military helicopters to escape the worst flooding along the river since the 1930’s. The U.S. federal relief organization and local housing authorities embarked on a plan to provide emergency housing in the community and rebuild the devastated villages.
With winter fast approaching in the region it was clear that conventional foundations using concrete footings would not be practical or expedient to construct. Conventional foundations were also found to be unreliable in the discontinuous permafrost soil conditions.
The Triodetic Multipoint Foundation (MPF) were selected for 20 emergency buildings in Allakaket and Hughes. The Multipoint Foundation was developed in Canada some eight years ago in conjunction with Rob Duncan of the Innovative Housing Division of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Its main features are that it is totally prefabricated and can be assembled on site with unskilled labor, it provides a torsionally stable platform on which to construct the building, it eliminates differential settlement caused by frost heaving or other unstable soil conditions and very little site preparation is required.
An additional feature which favoured the MPF is that due to the reoccurring flood conditions in the region some of the frames were able to be constructed with a depth which places the floor level of the building at seven feet.
Site assembly was a great success as the villagers themselves took approximately 3 hours to build each of the foundations in -30°C weather conditions.
Serious consideration is now given to using this Canadian technology in the rebuilding of the entire community. The use of the MPF has already been approved for the new Post Office and Clinic.
The Triodetic Multipoint foundation has been used extensively in the Canadian North as well as in Alaska. This foundation has been placed in areas where all else has failed. This technology has not only been used for new construction but also in retrofit situations replacing existing foundations.
A subdivision of twelve homes in Dawson had experienced ongoing foundation problems from the day the homes were built. In 1990 extensive revelling work involving new beams was undertaken. Measure to ensure that the existing subsoils remained frozen were also undertaken. This remedial effort had not produced the desired result. The existing foundation consisted of exterior and interior “pony” walls on concrete strip footings on grade.
In 1993 spaceframe foundation frame was designed to fit within the existing crawl space. The design was such that the supporting base plates were resting on the actual soil between the concrete footings. Placing these supports directly onto the existing concrete strip footings would have created “hard” support condition and would interfere with load redistribution.
The new foundation frame was assembled within the crawl space of the building. Each upper joint of the new foundation had an adjustable beam support. These treaded supports where adjusted upwards to bear directly against the existing beams of the building. After this entire assembly was levelled the existing floor beams were bolted to the new foundation frame. The old foundation walls where modified to the non bearing condition and serve only to provide a perimeter enclosure to the crawl space. There have been no further problems with foundations sifting, the entire subdivision is now on the solid footings.
This one story fourplex senior citizens home was plagued with foundation problems. Doors would not close and sometimes doors would not open which has on occasion caused great anxiety for the residents and had the fire marshal concerned as well. This square building of 300m (3000ft) showed structural problems throughout. Once corner of the building had settled in excess of 350mm (14”). Excessive strain was evident on the existing timber foundation which was partially below grade.
Without having to relocate the residents a new foundation frame was constructed underneath the existing building. After the frame was assembled and levelled. Mew beams were placed into the beam saddles. These beams served to support the existing floor joists. This remedial work was undertaken in 1991, no further maintenance pertaining to the foundation has been needed since. In the spring of 1993 the local river overflowed its banks causing the new foundation to be flooded. Remarkably there were no ill effects to the stability of this building.
By far the largest number of Triodetic Multipoint foundations are contructed in the N.W.T. Their use extends from East to West and as far North as Grise Fiord. All foundations are performing very well. It was felt that after several years of service some of the buildings would be sitting on an angle requiring relevelling. This has not been observed, the overall displacements of the buildings have been minimal. Aside from maintaining a building in a level position, there are other benefits to the system. On one occasion in the North West Territories it was found that one of the houses constructed on a Triodetic frame was infringing on the lot line of the adjacent property and required moving. The foundation frame and building was simply connected to a piece of equipment and pulled over to its proper location much to the amusement of residents and neighbours.
In 1994 three demonstration units were constructed by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. All were retrofit applications in areas notorious for foundation problems. The three locations are Nome, Fairbanks and Hooper Bay.
In order to undertake the remedial work, the buildings were raised 300mm (12”) above the existing foundation. A gravel pad was placed to create a reasonable level base and new spaceframe foundation was assembled underneath the building. The existing buildings and beams were then lowered onto the custom designed beam saddles. The multipoint foundations are all engineered to accommodate a wide variety of support conditions regardless of the nature of the subsoil encountered. Regular monitoring of the behaviour of these frames has confirmed their exceptional stability.
When the Koyukuk River overflowed in central Alaska in August 1994, an entire community swept away. The authorities responsible for the rebuilding effort selected the Triodetic foundation frame for its rigidity as well as for the design ability to increase the depth of the frames. The new buildings were placed above the anticipated flood level by increasing the standard depth of 900mm (3ft) to a depth of the 1500mm (5ft). The foundations were constructed during the 1994-1995 winter season.
In the summer of the 1995 part of the community was moved to higher ground to an area with questionable soil conditions, the Triodetic foundation was selected because of its ease of installation and proven long term stability. Two water buildings with high dead load considerations as well as an octagonal community building were also constructed.
The entire assembly of the new foundations was accomplished using local members of the community.
A multipoint foundation was used for a warehouse building in Bethel. The conventional steel building is 12m x 18m (40’ x 60’), consisting of a series of welded steel beam columns which were bolted directly to the foundation frame. The design criteria for floor loads was 4.8 Kpa (100 psf). Again the assembly was achieved using local labor.
Multipoint is a unique and revolutionary foundation solution, invented, designed and manufactured in Canada, and perfected over the last 3 years.
Multipoint has been developed primarily for new and old buildings situated on wear, unstable or variable soils, to reinstate deteriorated conventional foundations, and for construction in remote communities. However, the many advantages of the MultiPoint system are resulting in applications in all soil conditions and locations all over the world.
Multipoint is galvanized steel & aluminum, 3-dimensional, reinforced space-frame that provides uniform support to the building above, regardless of soil conditions below. This effectively extends building life and so maximizes the value of materials used, reduces maintenance and insurance costs, and is economical in terms of both initial and life cycle costs.
MultiPoint avoids need for site excavation, ground levelling, piling, concrete or masonry construction, seasonal re-leveling/re-stumping, and select& laminated timber beams. Other benefits include lower foundation cost and faster construction in many cases, no de delays waiting for special equipment or materials, no damage to the environment by heavy equipment or alternation to the natural topography, and predictable and better long term structural performance.
MultiPoint is designed to suit each building plan. MultiPoint is more easily installed than alternative foundations; a typical house foundation is assembled by 3 men in 1 day, using simple hand tools. The frame is delivered to site as a compact kit for hand assembly by local labor, or is shipped and unloading of pre-fab buildings.
The product incorporates over 50% recycled materials, and waste from production is 100% recycled. The frame is a componentized system that is readily extended or modified and is able to be dis-assembled and re-used in different locations and configurations.
In the northern communities where many buildings are Government funded and insured, better foundation solutions have been in great demand for many years.
Concerns also encompass environmental issues such as the effect traditional construction methods and foundations have on natural water-courses and drainage oaths and damage to native grasses and other flora recognized as unique to northern regions.
Multipoint development required very innovative approaches in design and analysis which challenges conventional wisdom and common design approaches. The product has undergone extensive evaluation and full scale trials in a variety of severe field conditions and has become an accepted foundation system in Canada for CMHC, RCMP, Parks Canada, and in USA for HUD, DMVA, US Postal Service and a number of other regional authorities. MultiPoint has been refined and improved to deal with a wide range of conditions and is now specified in Northern Canada, North West Territories, Alaska, Yukon, and Russia, with further applications already arising in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Northern Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.
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