Rob Irwin builds with waffle pods.
Rob Irwin builds with waffle pods. Christopher Chan GLA141112WAFL

Quality of builder and research imperative to process

THE debate on waffle pod foundations versus concrete slab and footings continues.

Gladstone builder Rob Irwin contacted The Observer following the article on November 2 and Master Builders CQ regional manager was asked to clear up the facts.

Dennis Bryant said builders will recommend their foundation preference, but the crux of the debate is the quality of the builder.

"There are those who will argue for waffle pods and those for footing and slabs," he said.

"It really depends on the builder. The client needs to do their homework and be well informed about what they're doing to ensure that they have a builder that they can rely on."

Engineering is an important part of the foundation process and Mr Bryant said a certified engineer will test the soil of the ground and along with the floor plan of the house, they will determine foundation aspects such as concrete thickness.

"And the builder is required to build to that engineering plan.

"If he doesn't, he'll wear it sometimes in the future," Mr Bryant said.

"Both foundations are open to failure if they're not done properly, and the responsibility for ensuring that it is done properly comes down to the person doing the certification and the building inspectors."

Mr Bryant does not agree waffle pods are more susceptible to termites and rodents.

"From a termite point-of-view, there's no difference. Both of them are concrete, both of them have penetrations for pipes, so they both require the same amount of diligence with termite treatments," he said.

"If something could burrow underneath the house ... where else could it go?" Mr Bryant said.

"It can't chew its way through four inches of concrete and it can't chew from one pod to the next."

What does Rob say?

ROB Irwin (pictured) from Gladstone business Irwin Homes builds with waffle pods and doesn't agree they are a substandard product.

"If these slabs are failing, it is due to poor workmanship and bad supervision, or a builder taking shortcuts to save costs," he said.

Mr Irwin also disagrees that waffle pods are cheaper.

"Costings are not $10,000 cheaper. My costings are $3000 more on a M (moderate) class site and $5000 more on P (problem) and H (highly reactive)."

"Bad concreters and bad builders can destroy a unique product and a builder's way of construction."

Top tips

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Research is imperative in the entire building process

 

 

Traditional concrete slab with footings: Trenches are dug and the slab is poured thicker at the edges, to form an integral footing. Reinforcing rods strengthen the thickened edge. The slab normally rests on a bed of crushed gravel/sand to improve drainage. Casting a wire mesh in the concrete reduces the chance of cracking.
Traditional concrete slab with footings: Trenches are dug and the slab is poured thicker at the edges, to form an integral footing. Reinforcing rods strengthen the thickened edge. The slab normally rests on a bed of crushed gravel/sand to improve drainage. Casting a wire mesh in the concrete reduces the chance of cracking.
A waffle pod slab: Being on-ground eliminates the need for trenching. Polystyrene void formers are arranged in a grid pattern with reinforcing between and above. Concrete fills the spaces between and across. The spaces between the void formers effectively become concrete beams on ribs resulting in a slab.
A waffle pod slab: Being on-ground eliminates the need for trenching. Polystyrene void formers are arranged in a grid pattern with reinforcing between and above. Concrete fills the spaces between and across. The spaces between the void formers effectively become concrete beams on ribs resulting in a slab.


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