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Old 11-17-2012, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Arkbuilder View Post
Hi All,
New to this WOL. New to prepping. After the elections, we felt burdened to dig a fall out shelter. We have removed about 120 cu ft of earth in the hall closet below our home. While I feel this is a good move for the future of our family. I am scared! While my daughters and I are doing most of the earth moving, my husband has jumped on the band wagon. I am afraid of collapse and I am afraid my husband might make some bad decisions on what is safe or not. We are in decomposed granite soil and have a cement foundation. Has anyone done this before? Can anyone offer advice? Here is a picture of what we have so far:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13242554@N04/8192862823/
First; STOP! If you don't know what you're doing - STOP! Learn, then do. Otherwise, bad things happen. I've had to jack up a few structures that were settling; it's neither easy nor cheap, and takes specialized equipment to do so. So you have to do this right the first time.

I can't get the picture to come up, so just based on what you've said (since I've been on a few tunneling projects)...

If you're on a concrete foundation (cement is the flour, concrete is the cake), then it's more than likely reinforced with mild steel and not post tensioned (PT) concrete. Mild steel - more than likely (hard to tell without physically looking at it) the entire slab is tied together to act as one foundation rather than spot footings to take the load from the load bearing walls, so every time you cut a piece of rebar you weaken the slab structurally. You can fix this by putting in rebar hoops and tying them into the slab rebar and then pouring the concrete back, leaving a knock through hole in your slab.

If you're on a PT foundation and cut through the cables, then your foundation is destroyed unless you do a bunch of complicated work to it. The tools and materials necessary to do the repair are not available to the average Joe.

Onto the excavation.

That your husband is a plumber doesn't mean jack squat. Would you trust a tunnel rat to do your plumbing? A concrete mason to do your electrical? Then why would you trust a plumber to do your tunneling?

Technically, what you need to do since you're excavating under a structure where the foundation generally spaces the load evenly over the entire foundation (educated guess based upon what you said), is to slowly excavate down, put in shoring on the walls and the underside of the foundation, then put in permanent support beams under the areas you have tunneled underneath to move the load back onto the dirt you didn't excavate.

How's your ventilation system? Are you doing oxygen and gas checks every time you go down into the hole? Is your lighting explosion proof?

How big is your excavation going to be? How much of the structure is going to be undermined? What utilities are underslab that you need to support or avoid?

Do you understand where the loads are for your foundation? How do you plan on supporting those? How do you plan on supporting your excavated walls to prevent cave in or slough-off?

Get the Handbook of Temporary Structures in Construction; read everything you can on handtunneling.

I recommend that you don't do this. It is illegal in many jurisdictions, and if the local authorities find out that you're doing this, they are more than likely either going to fill up your hole with concrete, or condemn your home, forcibly evict you, and then demolish it in the name of public safety. You should have an engineer and an experienced tunneler working with you to make sure this is done right.

If you are looking for a fallout shelter, it probably would be easier and faster to bury one outside, then build a small hallway building from your house to the entrance of the shelter.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkbuilder View Post
1.Do you have a crawl space under the floor joists?
We are on a cement foundation
2.What is the average approx height from earth to underneath floor joist?
NA
3.Is your home on a foundation that supports around the outer perimeter of the home or is it on pillars?
Outer perimeter
4.How far are you digging from the support foundation/pillars?
foundation runs around the edges of our home and apparently very near to our hole
Stay at least 5 ft from any foundation,unless you know how to brace it...You stated that you have a concrete foundation and i am assuming that you have a dirt crawl space floor with no concrete flooring...The variety (compaction) of soil varies if it is real loose and crumbling in i would not do the project unless you had someone teach you how to support it..I have worked in mines now over 10 years and as people say it is dangerous....Also be careful of the brown recluse & black widow spiders that is their home..I sprayed my crawl space AND bug bombed it a couple times before i started....My area that i dug out was about 5 ft deep and about 8ft wide x 12 ft long....I dug with a hand held pick hammer...Then scooped up dirt with a shortened pointed shovel...I had alot of potato size rocks so after awhile i just got on my knees and scooped the broken up soil into a 5 gallon bucket,it worked better than using a shovel.......Leather gloves and knee pads were a must....
IF your not sure about safety then don't follow through on the project.....
Let us know how the project goes....
Old 11-17-2012, 04:19 PM
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Your photo is set to private btw. Curious if everyone else that has echo'd my concerns has also offended you.
I just read where someone tried to dig a basement without following the process and when it was discovered they were given the options of demoing the house or filling the hole with concrete. Right now you have about a $350 hole to fill, plus labor.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:25 PM
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If the house collapses with you in that hole, how would you get out?
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:44 PM
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OPSEC lady. In just this thread you've given your geographic location to within 54 square miles, the size and composition of your family and your husband's occupation. Loose lips...
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:13 PM
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you may benefit from viewing this;

My own opinion is that given the significance of your entire family having made a decision to actively support the construction of a shelter it may prove more prudent to construct one away from your home, ie back or side yard. It may also be worthy to consider a small shelter on site and a larger better equipped and supplied shelter off site at an undisclosed BOL.

Aside from all the good advice here, I can't know what research you have already undertaken before construction, but it may well be worth your time to go to oism.org for a free download of "nuclear ward survival skills" which discusses shelter construction.

I own a couple of editions of the Survival Home manual by Joel Skousen, this a link to another book by the same author that appears to have some of the same pertinent information.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/92789393/S...y-Joel-Skousen

Good luck, and I hope this helps.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:26 PM
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Sorry guys. I guess I am being oversensitive and this probably is not the right place to take offense at the way things are worded. Don't mind me Here are some photos:
http://tinypic.com/r/34yrxp5/6
http://tinypic.com/r/2e4hj0k/6
http://i45.tinypic.com/2e4hj0k.jpg
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:30 PM
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You trolling?
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:36 PM
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No Steve28, I was responding to this message.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDBushcraft View Post
Your photo is set to private btw. Curious if everyone else that has echo'd my concerns has also offended you.
I just read where someone tried to dig a basement without following the process and when it was discovered they were given the options of demoing the house or filling the hole with concrete. Right now you have about a $350 hole to fill, plus labor.
(embarrassed)
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:53 PM
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Building a 'fall out shelter' is pointless unless you have the money to build something you can stay in for years (which is not going to be a hole under your house). If 'fall out' is the problem you're going to have to live with it whether there's a hole under your house or not.
Old 11-17-2012, 09:42 PM
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I believe that digging under your house without a careful plan is, perhaps, less than wise. First you need a plan. The first step of that is to determine what you need and how you plan to use it. That will dictate the requirements.

Once you have the usage requirements, you can incorporate other crirical requirements. The life-support and sanitation systems will need to have the highest priority. For example, while I have not read every post, I do not recall seeing anything about air circulation. While actually setting up sanitation can wait, you will need air circulation while you are building it.

I honestly feel that without a careful, and, yes, exhaustive, plan, and a true assessment of your skills and the tools you will really need, you may not be doing this in the most wise manner.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:15 PM
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My family is in residential construction for the past 50+ years. I highly suggest you stop and fill and compact the soil, and patch the hole with concrete.

You have either a monolithic foundation or a stem wall and floating slab. Neither is capable of supporting itself without the fill underneath. No amount of posts will fix it.

When you do a second story concrete floor reinforcement rods are used, normally 5/8" thick and placed every foot or so in a grid, a Monolithic foundation has rod around the perimeter only with at most mesh (fence like 6x6 squares wire roughly 1/8" thick), often the mesh is not used and they only use fiberglass which is fine for a floor but not good for a ceiling. A Floating floor is even worse as its just the mesh or fiber glass.

Undermining is very dangerous and should not be done when much better safer and less costly options exist.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rpp View Post
I believe that digging under your house without a careful plan is, perhaps, less than wise. First you need a plan. The first step of that is to determine what you need and how you plan to use it. That will dictate the requirements.

Once you have the usage requirements, you can incorporate other crirical requirements. The life-support and sanitation systems will need to have the highest priority. For example, while I have not read every post, I do not recall seeing anything about air circulation. While actually setting up sanitation can wait, you will need air circulation while you are building it.

I honestly feel that without a careful, and, yes, exhaustive, plan, and a true assessment of your skills and the tools you will really need, you may not be doing this in the most wise manner.
Very correct and very diplomatically said. My undiplomatic way of saying it, that I've been avoiding, is that you are digging a grave for yourself, your husband and daughters. For the love of God if you're serious about this call in a professsional who knows what he's doing.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:44 PM
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OPSEC lady. In just this thread you've given your geographic location to within 54 square miles, the size and composition of your family and your husband's occupation. Loose lips...
Steve28 is spot on, here. Gotta watch what you say. Some things seem innocent, but really can lead to your door.

The warnings about collapse, eviction, insurance, even arrest are legit. I don't believe there is any way you can get something like this permitted by the city /county. So, if you plan to proceed, you will have to rely on the good graces of someone willing to plan with you in absence of a permit - a hard thing to do.

I'm most concerned about a collapse. If you do not install structure to hold the earth back, you will find yourself in a mess as you get deeper. If the earth doesn't crush you, the dust tossed up will choke you...maybe both.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:52 PM
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I sincerely thank you all for your input. And you comments have put a healthy fear in me! I am showing DH your comments & trying to convince him, to dig in the yard instead. I think he'd be most willing to shift plans if he knew all his labor was not for not. Perhaps we can use the small dug out for storage so it does not feel like a waste to him..... While this project started out as me and the girls, hubby has progressively more voraciously come on board to the point where I am sitting on the couch worrying and he is rigging a pulley system for buckets of dirt as we speak.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jma_1000 View Post
for his safety and the safety of the community..
http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/...-93589509.html

and make sure to confiscate all of his stuff, too. because its just too dangerous to have around.
LOL!!! LMFAO! "Former military" No....... Not former military... LOL
Old 11-18-2012, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquensis View Post
Building a 'fall out shelter' is pointless unless you have the money to build something you can stay in for years (which is not going to be a hole under your house). If 'fall out' is the problem you're going to have to live with it whether there's a hole under your house or not.
No disrespect is intended;
Friend do yourself a favor, go to oism.org and review Dr. Cresson Kearney's book "Nuclear War Survival Skills", specifically fallout decay rates. You are right, fallout in the aftermath of a nuclear war will continue to be radioactive for many years to come. If one decides to stay in a particular area the safest place to carry out many aspects of day to day living and sleeping at night will best be served inside a shelter. Radioactive fallout will decay and the amount of radiation emited from individual particles will lessen to amounts that will allow persons to move about outside a shelter, decontaminate areas or evacuate to areas that had less damage/fallout.
I will not attempt to paint a rosy picture of life after a nuclear exchange, I have no such illusions. I will say that our mutual attendance on this forum suggests a mutual inclination to preparedness. One of the best ways to prepare for a given event whether it is manmade or natural is by taking an educated approach.
The OISM site, and webpal.org (the ark 2 site) are both excellent places to consider information regarding survival and rebuilding after a nuclear exchange.
I ponder the lives of characters as they were depicted in films like "Threads" or "The Road". and have made a conscious decision to actively pursue preps to insure my family's survival to the best of our limited ability.
Thanks and I hope this helped.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkbuilder View Post
I sincerely thank you all for your input. And you comments have put a healthy fear in me! I am showing DH your comments & trying to convince him, to dig in the yard instead. I think he'd be most willing to shift plans if he knew all his labor was not for not. Perhaps we can use the small dug out for storage so it does not feel like a waste to him..... While this project started out as me and the girls, hubby has progressively more voraciously come on board to the point where I am sitting on the couch worrying and he is rigging a pulley system for buckets of dirt as we speak.
A couple of thought occur; perhaps a storm shelter desinged to be placed in a garage like this one may still work in a safe fashion in the hole already created;
Alternatively perhaps a reinforced concrete room professionally installed could provide a cold room/rood cellar. I toyed with using an old freezer layed on it side as an improvised in ground root cellar. In my case heavy clay hard soil stopped this DIY project in its tracks, and it was a simple matter to refill the attempted hole, perhaps something like this could work for you.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:55 PM
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If your concrete is poured just over the dirt I would be concerned that it would crack away from the edges of the hole out. The slab is designed to be one complete pour. If you pour a floor & footing on the bottom and shore up the sides of the hole using re/bar and blocks with concrete in the middle of the cells to under the slab, you should be OK and just use this place for storage. Put a hinged floor/door over the area and no one will know. Mark

PS-REMEMBER TO FIX PLUMBING UNDER SLABS THEY CUT OR BUST IT UP ALL THE TIME TO GET TO IT. THEY JUST DON'T DIG OUT BIG EMPTY HOLES AND NOT FILL THEM BACK IN. Another thing to check is if these are bearing walls above the cut slab. That will tell you if there is a high load on the concrete. Most bearing walls have the slab thicker or footings poured under the slab before it is poured. Non Bearing walls are just partisions instead of supporting of the upper floor joists. Not sure if this place even has a second floor above?
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:05 PM
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Now I am a little concenered about doing mine.. I would definitely look into building permits, if nothing else.
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