Stop Digging is a smart alternative foundation system.
Could the hard-working days of digging foundations and nearly breaking your back in the process be over? No more lugging dirt and mess through the house and damaging the customer’s garden? This will be the future if ground screws have anything to do with it.
Ground screws are becoming ever more popular in the UK, but what is it about these screws that builders are so excited about? Angie Wilkes from Stop Digging UK is going to tell us.
What are ground screw foundations?
Ground screw foundations replace the need for traditional concrete foundations. A ground screw is a large steel screw that is installed with specialist machinery. No digging is required, the ground screws are installed ready for the base and structure to be placed on top.
How do ground screws work?
The area is checked for any underground pipes or cables (sometimes a genny scanner is used). The ground is pre-drilled for each screw, breaking up or removing any small rocks out of the way, then with specialist machinery, the ground screws are installed. The length of the ground screw will depend on the site conditions and building specifications. Calculations are made to determine the number of screws used, and their spacing within the footprint of the structure, making them very versatile.
What are the benefits of ground screws?
There are many benefits to this foundation system, including significant time savings. Installation is much quicker than traditional concrete foundations. In fact, each screw takes just minutes to install. For example, to dig foundations and create a concrete base for an average-sized garden room it could take around two days to dig the foundations, pour the concrete and to let it dry, ready for the garden room to be built on top. With Stop Digging ground screws this would take less than half a day, allowing the builder to finish his job much sooner and move on to the next one, resulting in happy customers.
In addition – as all builders will know – digging foundations is a messy business and causes damage to the client’s garden. The ground screws go straight into the ground so there is no need for any damage or mess in the garden. It also means less time on the clean-up with no soil to remove.
The ground screws are also perfect for conservation areas where concrete is not allowed or frowned upon. The units do not damage the surrounding area, they are better for the environment and can be removed and reused. It’s equally possible to overcome some TPOs (tree preservation orders) as they do not cause damage to the tree root.
Sloping or uneven ground can be a bit of a headache but ground screws come in different lengths and solve the issue of building on sloped ground. The depth of the screw can easily be adjusted to ensure they are all level, ensuring that any structure on top is also level.
Many builders are grateful to say goodbye to back pain after a hard day’s digging, and there’s no heavy cement bags to carry either. The screw are supplied and installed for them so they can start building on top.
In terms of sustainability, a ground screw emits 50 per cent fewer carbon emissions than its concrete equivalent, making it much better for the environment. They can be removed and reused on other projects and are fully recyclable as well.
Terraced houses, or just locations that are not easy to access, can cause real headaches to builders trying to create concrete foundations, having to lug mud through the house or over the top with a crane. If the area is difficult to access the installers will bring hand-held machinery that they can carry through the house or to the difficult to access area, so there is no need for skips or mess.
The screws can be installed all year round in all weather conditions, so there is no need to lose days where the cement can’t dry with the rain.
What are builders using ground screws for?
The most common things we find builders are using ground screws for are timber-framed houses, SIP panel extensions, timber framed extensions, decking, garden rooms, fencing, site set-up (Harris fencing, porta-cabins, signage etc), school classrooms, and clubhouses, carports, pergolas etc.
Make no mistake, these ground screws aren’t the same as basic ground anchors or lightweight soil screws you can pick up from a DIY store and install yourself, these are supplied and installed with specialist machinery – and they come with a 25-year guarantee from Stop Digging UK.
If you would like to see how they can work for you, or for more information on ground screws visit www.stopdigging.co.uk