Jeff Struthers

FASTFOOT® - "Nobody builds flimsey like I do"

Ron Budgell, an experienced builder in Prospect Bay, Nova Scotia, has been building and renovating since 1980. His first ICF project was in 1995, a radical construction method at the time.

This was Ron's first footing formed  with Fastfoot® and he was pleased because it enhanced his reputation of "Nobody builds flimsy like I do!" The project was 3,000 square feet on two floors.

The following pictures and were taken from the Fine Home Building blog (no longer online) and was written by Ron Budgell.

Setting up screed boards

Ron Budgell's Fine Homebuilding Blog

Hi everyone.... I started a new ICF house last week. The architect told me he had recently seen a new product which looked interesting - fabric forms for footings.

My initial reaction was that that was ridiculous, but when I thought about how I am perfectly happy to pour 11 or 12 feet of concrete into forms made of foam, it no longer seemed quite so silly. Check out the manufacturer here:

They have some very interesting ideas. I don't own lumber suitable for footing forms at this point. I would have had to buy about 500' of rough 2 x 10 for this job, costing over $1000. Most of that could be salvaged, of course, but some would be consumed and not reusable. Anyway, I don't want to have to carry all that stuff around or store it.

The fabric form material to do the same job costs $170 plus material for stakes and stringers. The 2 x 4 stringers are almost all reusable. I would have used the stakes anyway. Here's what a framework for a fabric form looks like...

Difficult site

We built the outer rim first. leveling with a transit and an autolevel. Then we built the inner rim, leveling from the outer with an ordinary spirit level.

We had a variation in depth in the excavation of almost 10", requiring a very deep footing at the deepest point.


We had a variation in depth in the excavation of almost 10", requiring a very deep footing at the deepest point

Fastfoot rolls

So here's the footing form material, two rolls of 120' each. We unrolled this and simply stapled it to the top of the light framework. It's a little slack in the framework so it can bulge some when full of concrete.

Going around corners, the material is folded as neatly as possible, not cut. Think Christmas present corners.

Almost ready

The straight run of formwork is amazingly easy and fast, but at this point, I'm looking at the depth we have to pour and beginning to get worried...

But there is plenty to do to take my mind of what I disaster I might be getting myself into. I have to build footing steps. I hate building footing steps.

It can be fun in an odd way to scribe form material to the dirt though an inch or so here or there is of no account.

Steel is in

So here it is, almost ready to pour. The steel is in it, the cross ties are installed, we've checked levels, we've located corners for later placement of vertical steel bar.

I suppose the only thing not ready when I took this shot, last Thursday, was my head.

Full of mud

We poured late Friday morning in the rain. I was guiding the dirty end of the pump, wound up like a tight spring, watching for something to burst. Nothing even creaked! I managed to relax, as much as I can when pouring, and begin to treat this like just another job. As far as I know right now, it was a flawless pour.

On Monday, we'll take the forms apart and check levels again. Something might have moved when the concrete went into the forms, but I didn't see much movement. I might even go over there tomorrow and see how it turned out.

So here's what it looks like full of mud.

Screeding Footing

I like this FabForm. Do more with less material.

Full of mud

I'm not looking for pretty. I'm looking for vertical variation of no more than 1/8" from perfect. Once or twice I've gotten lucky and actually achieved that.

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Thanks for sharing your project and blog with us, Ron. Sincerely, Fab-Form Industries.