A reader's General Construction question: Concrete slab stumps?

Stuart   from   Melbourne Australia   had this concrete slab stumps question.

Greetings, I have not so much as built a letter box let alone a house. I am trying to decide between stumps and a slab. I'm told stumps are much cheaper, and a friend claims they know what to do. As i confessed earlier, I haven't got a clue which way to go so would appreciate anything advise on price and best option you can provide. Thanks for taking the time to read my email.

Bill's reply

Hi Stuart, Not to sure about the cost difference, depends on materials supply in your area. Here's a few points off the top of my head:-

  • Stumps
    • Good for sloping ground.
    • You get elevation, maybe better breezes or out of potential flood or water problems.
    • Can be done slowly, one post and timber at a time by one man.
    • You can leave all your services until the basic structure is completed. Plumbing and drainage can be done later.
    • The area under the stumps quite often turns into a breeding ground for vermin.
    • Wet areas in a building on stumps need extra expensive materials, compressed cement sheets.
  • Concrete slab
    • Easier on flat ground but can be built up.
    • Usually a team of guys with some sort of machine, backhoe and bobcat can do a slab in two or three days.
    • Need the sewerage in at the same time.
    • So it is very hard for a "one man band" to do a full size slab, you need assistance.
    • On the other hand the job is done a lot quicker.
    • Wet areas have to be sealed and approved according to the BCA, but wet areas on a concrete slab are easy and cheap.

The word foundation has spread to mean a lot of things in the language but the essence is "a good solid base". Get the foundation right and it means that you have every chance of getting a good result. Do it wrong and you will never get a perfect job. So do the right thing, get it designed correctly and build it correctly, which ever way you go.

For a complete beginner I think a concrete slab would be the best way to go unless there are significant other factors.

Cheers Bill.

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