Title:
Earth support and permanent structural foundation wall
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention discloses a system and method for the use of structural support members, usually soldier beams, that are placed into the ground for the temporary earth support system as part of the permanent foundation wall of a supported structure. The beams are accurately placed using known SMW technology into a series or plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns also constructed with known technology. The beams are placed in the soilcrete columns as they are being constructed and prior to excavation. As excavation proceeds and the columns have set up, a portion of the interior side of the soil-cement is trimmed to the front of and exposing the front flange of the soldier beam. At this time, connectors, typically shear studs, are welded to the front of the beams. Permanent lateral support members, such as floor slabs, or temporary lateral support members may then be attached to the structural support members directly, thus allowing the earth support wall to function as a temporary and permanent foundation wall. A reinforced concrete wall or facing is attached to the front of the beams to construct a composite structural capable of resisting the permanent lateral pressures, and where required, provide a more aesthetically pleasing finish.



Inventors:
Jakiel, Robert L. (Northbridge, MA, US)
Application Number:
09/732331
Publication Date:
06/13/2002
Filing Date:
12/07/2000
Assignee:
JAKIEL ROBERT L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/233, 405/252
International Classes:
E02D5/30; E02D17/04; (IPC1-7): E02D5/22; E02D5/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LAGMAN, FREDERICK LYNDON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIRTON MCCONKIE (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An in-situ earth support and structural foundation system comprising: a plurality of adjacent soulcrete columns having an exterior and interior side and forming a wall, defining an at least partially enclosed area; a structural support member inserted within at least one of said soilcrete columns, said structural support member having a front and a rear surface; a trimmed interior face, wherein a portion of said interior side of said soulcrete columns is removed to expose at least a portion of said front surface of said structural support member; a lateral support member; and at least one connector installed on said interior surface of said structural support member for attaching said lateral support member to said structural support member.

2. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, further comprising waterproofing and drainage fabric attached to said interior surface to seal penetrations from the installation of said connectors.

3. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, further comprising a cap beam placed upon said soilcrete columns for transferring a vertical load to said structural support members, said cap beam may extend said wall from said top of said soilcrete columns to an existing grade.

4. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, further comprising a reinforced facing attached to said trimmed interior face and said front surface of said structural members, said reinforced facing spanning between said structural support members and said lateral support members.

5. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 4, wherein said reinforced facing is a one-sided formed cast in place concrete reinforcement wall.

6. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 4, wherein said reinforced facing is selected from a shotcrete facing installed in multiple and successive lifts, and a precast concrete facing.

7. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 6, wherein a first lift is installed after completion of excavation and lowest level slab-on-grade permanent lateral support member is installed.

8. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 6, wherein said multiple and su c cessive lifts are installed after each of said at least one permanent lateral support members are installed.

9. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said lateral support member is subgrade.

10. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said lateral support member is a subgrade slab-on-grade floor slab.

11. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said lateral support member is above grade level.

12. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein the structural support members are soldier beams having a web and front and rear flange portions.

13. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 12, wherein said front flange portion comprises said front surface of said structural support member.

14. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said sotcrete columns have over l apping portions, thus forming a continuous wall.

15. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said adjacent soilcrete columns are selected from a group consisting of a plurality of dissimilar diameter colunms and a plurality of similar diameter columns.

16. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said soilcrete columns are used in conjunction with footing elements to create a structure support foundation.

17. The in-situ earth support and structural foundation system of claim 1, wherein said connector is a shear stud.

18. A combination retaining and structural foundation wall constructed in-situ, comprising: a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns designed to support both vertical structure as well as lateral loads, said adjacent soilcrete columns having an exterior and interior surface; a structural support member inserted within at least one said adjacent soilcrete columns, said structural support member having a front and a rear surface; and a trimmed portion of said interior surface of said adjacent soilcrete columns thus exposing a portion of said front surface of said structural members to allow connection with subsequent support structures.

19. The combination retaining and structural foundation wall constructed in-situ, further comprising: at least one lateral support structure attached to said structural support member; and a reinforcement member attached to said interior surface of said adjacent soilcrete columns and said structural support member.

20. A method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and structural foundation wall, comprising: constructing a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns designed to support both vertical structure and lateral loads, said adjacent soilcrete columns having an exterior and interior surface; inserting a structural support member within at least one of said adjacent soilcrete columns, said structural support member having a front and a rear surface; and trimming said interior surface of said adjacent soilcrete columns to expose a portion of said front surface of said structural member to allow connection with at least one subsequent support structure.

21. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, further comprising the step of attaching a plurality of connectors to said front surface of said structural support member, whereon said at least one subsequent support structure may be attached to said structural support member.

22. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 21, further comprising the step of applying waterproofing and drainage fabric to said interior surface and to seal penetrations around said plurality of connectors.

23. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, wherein said at least one subsequent support structure is a lateral support structure.

24. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 23, wherein said at least one lateral support structure is a subgrade slab-on-grade floor slab.

25. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 23, wherein said lateral support structure is above grade level.

26. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, further comprising the step of applying a reinforced facing, wherein said reinforcement member is selected from a group consisting of one-sided formed cast in place concrete reinforcement wall, shotcrete facing, and precast facing installed in successive lifts.

27. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, wherein said step of construct ing a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns is done prior to excavation.

28. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, wherein said step of trimming said interior surface of said adjacent soilcrete columns may be accomplished during the excavation phase of construction.

29. The method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and permanent structural foundation wall of claim 20, further comprising placing a continuous cap beam upon said soilcrete columns, said continuous cap beam capable of transferring a vertical load to said structural support member.

30. A method of attaching a reinforcing member to a temporary earth support wall to form a permanent foundation wall, said method comprising: constructing a temporary earth support wall, the temporary earth support wall comprising: a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns made in-situ and having an exterior and interior surface and a toe embedment and an exposed height defining a predetermined length, said adjacent soilcrete columns defining an at least partially enclosed area; a plurality of structural support members inserted within any number of said adjacent soilcrete columns before said adjacent soilcrete columns have cured, said structural support members having a front and a rear surface and capable of supporting lateral loads from the surrounding soil as well as hydrostatic forces and precalculated vertical loads, wherein said vertical loads are transferred through said structural members to the bearing strata below said soulcrete columns; optional support means inserted within any number of said adjacent soilcrete columns before said adjacent soilcrete columns have cured; allowing said soilcrete columns to cure, thus fixing said structural support members and optional support means in place; trimming, during the excavation phase of construction, said interior surface of said adjacent soilcrete columns to expose said front surface of said structural members; placing a continuous cap beam along said head of said soulcrete columns, said continuous cap beam transferring said vertical loads to said structural support members; strategically attaching a plurality of connectors, typically shear studs, to said front surface of said structural member, said shear studs providing an attachment means for a permanent lateral support member and a reinforced concrete facing; constructing a plurality of successive said permanent lateral support members and connecting said permanent lateral support members to said foundation wall via said shear studs; and attaching a reinforcing means to said front surface of said structural members and interior surface of said soilcrete columns, said reinforcing means spanning between said structural support members and said permanent lateral support members.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of this invention relates to the creation of foundation walls to provide lateral and vertical support to structures, and in some cases, vertical support of the perimeter walls of columns to resist below ground earth loads. Specifically, this invention relates to in-situ earth support walls having structural support members accurately placed therein and an improved soil surrounding the structural members that are to be used as part of the permanent foundation wall for a supported structure.

[0003] 2. Background

[0004] The use of the term “borehole” herein does not necessarily mean that soil is removed to create a hole, although some soil is deposited on the surface due to expansion of the soil as it is broken loose and mixed, the majority of the soil remains below the surface as it is mixed.

[0005] The concept of utilizing soilcrete columns in the construction of permanent foundation walls is known in the art, but these soilcrete columns have been used primarily to serve as one side of a form to create a permanent foundation wall, and are not incorporated into the final structure.

[0006] For a number of years, multi-shaft auger machines have been used to construct accurately placed soil-cement columns in the ground by boring into the ground, injecting a chemical hardener and mixing the chemical hardener with the soil. These columns are sometimes referred to as “soilcrete” columns. Soilcrete is a term applied to a mixture of soil and a chemical hardener, which sets up as a solid mass, much like concrete. A “soilcrete” column is one of the most common products of in-situ mixing of soil and chemical hardener, so it is used as a generic term to describe the hardened product of in-situ soil mixing. The chemical hardener is injected directly into the soil in-situ, and mixed with the soil by an auger. The term “chemical hardener” includes any chemicals and agents that can be added and mixed with soil to cause chemical reactions that improve the soil properties and result in the formation of soil-cement structural units. Examples of suitable chemicals and agents are: portland cement, lime, fly ash, kiln dust, cement-based hardeners, bitumen, resin, power plant residues, bentonite, salts, acids, sodium and calcium silicates, calcium aluminates, and sulfates. The chemical reactions include pozzolanic reaction (cementation), hydration, ion-exchange, polymerization, oxidation, and carbonation. The results of these chemical reactions include changes in the physical properties of soil such as strength and permeability and/or the change of chemical properties such as the reduction of the toxicity level in contaminated soil or sludge. The chemical hardener is added in a slurry form. Therefore, the term “slurry” as used herein is defined as including chemical hardener. Cement slurry has also been called cement grout or cement milk in some of the previous techniques.

[0007] Upon hardening, the soil-cement columns possess some characteristics of lower strength concrete columns, but they are constructed without the expense and time-consuming process of removing and replacing the soil with concrete. In some cases, non-hardening soil-chemical or soil agent mixtures are also desirable.

[0008] Soil-cement columns have been arranged in a variety of patterns depending on the desired application. Soil-cement columns are used to improve the load bearing capacity of soft soils, such as sandy or soft clay soils. The columns are formed deep in the ground to help support surface construction on soft soils.

[0009] In other cases, the soil-cement columns have been overlapped to form boundary walls, excavation support walls, low to medium capacity soil-mixed caissons, and for the in-situ fixation of contaminated soil or toxic wastes.

[0010] To produce soil-cement columns, an auger machine penetrates the ground, prepares the soil for mixing, and then simultaneously mixes the soil with a slurry or slurries of chemical hardener pumped from the surface through the auger shaft to the end of the auger. A line of multiple columns are created while the soil-cement mixture or soil-chemical mixture is still fresh to form continuous walls, from the overlapping circular patterns, within the soil. The continuous walls can be configured into single or multiple rows, a long a predetermined alignment, depending on the purpose of the soil-cement columns. In addition, structural beams, such as soldier beams (or I-beams), may be placed within the soil-cement mixture prior to the hardening and/or setting of the soil-cement to bolster the strength and support properties of the columns. These beams allow the columns and support wall to withstand greater forces and may be sized and placed as determined by construction personnel based on the particular needs of the job site.

[0011] Because the soil is mixed in-situ and because the soil-cement wall is formed in a single process, the construction period is shorter than for other construction methods. Obviously, the costs of forming soil-cement columns are less than traditional methods requiring excavation of the soil, constructing forms, and then pouring concrete into the forms in order to form the concrete pillars or walls. In addition, because all of the soil is not removed from the ground, there is comparatively less material produced in-situ by such processes that must be disposed of during the course of construction.

[0012] FIG. 1 illustrates a conventional multi-shaft auger machine 12 as the machine would appear from the side during operation. Each shaft of the multi-shaft auger machine, is shown generically as shaft 2. The power for rotating the shaft is generated by a motor 6 and transferred to the upper end of each shaft 2 through a gearbox 4. This configuration is an example of a means for rotating the shafts by generating power and transferring the power to the shaft. Auger blades or cutter heads 9 are securely affixed to the lower end of each shaft for penetrating downward through the soil.

[0013] As the multi-shaft auger machine penetrates the soil, the soil is mixed and a chemical hardener slurry is injected into the soil. The chemical hardener is pumped from the surface through the auger shafts, which are hollow, to the lower ends of each shaft. The augers penetrate, break loose, and lift the soil so that it is mixed with the slurry by the action of intermittent soil mixing paddles 8 and intermittent auger blades 10, which are spaced throughout the length of the shaft. The horizontal and vertical mixing of the auger blades 10 and the soil mixing paddles 8 produces a column having a uniform mixture of the soil and the chemical hardener.

[0014] During operation, the auger machine starts to penetrate downward through the soil. The process of penetrating downward is often referred to as an auguring or downward stroke. As the auger blades move down, the injection of water or a slurry through the auger shaft is initiated. As the slurry exits the auger shaft, it is mixed with the soil by the auger blades and mixing paddles along the length of each auger. The resulting soil and slurry mixture is referred to as a “column set” or “element.” Moreover, use of the term “element” may refer to a single in-situ column set formation or it may generically refer to wall formations or continuous large-area soil formations. Elements may also be referred to as “piles.” The elements may be extended to form a grid or a monolithic block of overlapping columns.

[0015] The mixing ratio of the slurry to the soil is determined on the basis of the soil conditions which are determined and reported prior to commencing the boring of the columns. The soil-slurry mixing ratio is not decided on the basis of the strength conditions of the continuous wall alone. Other factors such as the soil type and condition, the state of ground water, and operational considerations are also considered. The soil slurry mixing ratio is chosen to result in a substantially homogenous wall that has the desired strength and permeability characteristics and is operationally feasible.

[0016] Slurry may be pumped through the center of the auger shaft and mixed with the soil as the augers penetrate or are withdrawn from the borehole. In a typical process, most of the slurry is injected as the augers penetrate downward and the remainder is injected as the augers are withdrawn. According to this method, the mixing process is repeated as the augers are withdrawn from the borehole. Auger speed and slurry output quantities are also set to meet the soil conditions of the site and the purposes of soil mixing work.

[0017] The resulting mixture of soil and chemical hardener is generally referred to as soilcrete because the hardened mixture often possesses physical properties similar to concrete. Nevertheless, the use of the term soilcrete does not mean that the soil is mixed with concrete or even that the chemical hardener necessarily contains cement. The constituents of a particular hardener to be used in any given situation depends on a particular soil at the location. Mixing the chemical hardener and the loose soil form what is known as a soulcrete column 16. Several soilcrete columns 16 may be formed adjacent one another to create a wall used as an earth support wall or retaining wall. Soilcrete columns 16 may be comprised of different radii, or may overlap to form a continuous wall, or may be of the same size. The particular dimensions and load bearing capabilities of soilcrete columns 16 and the structural members 18 will largely depend upon the job location, the surrounding soil conditions, and the requirements of the structure that is to be supported by the earth support and foundation wall.

SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0018] The present invention describes an in-situ earth support wall where structural support members, which are substantially vertical, are accurately placed within the soil-cement mixture of the earth support wall. The in-situ earth support wall is used as the foundation wall in lieu of a poured-in-place reinforced concrete wall or facing. The earth support wall is installed along a similar alignment as the future reinforced concrete foundation wall such that the inside face of the earth support wall would be at approximately the same location as the outside face of the reinforced concrete wall.

[0019] The accuracy at which structural support members are set during the installation of the SMW wall installation, and the tight contact and impermeable nature of the soil-cement between the structural support members, makes it possible to incorporate the structural support members as part of the foundation wall system. The permanent foundation wall system, according to the present invention, has many applications such as construction of highways, tunnels, buildings, skyscrapers, dams, and others. One ordinarily skilled in the art will not be limited by the preferred embodiment as disclosed herein.

[0020] In short, the basic concept of this invention is to use the structural support members, usually soldier beams (I-beams), that are placed into the ground for the temporary earth support system as part of the permanent foundation wall of a supported structure. To accomplish this, the beams are sized for both the temporary earth support conditions where the foundation wall will support lateral loads, and the final condition where the beams and columns in which they are placed will support the vertical and lateral loads that will be transferred from the supported structure to the ground through the structural support members. Lateral forces or loads are those components of the forces acting on the wall which are perpendicular to the wall. The beams are accurately placed using known technology into one or several adjacent soilcrete columns also constructed with known technology. The beams are placed in the soilcrete columns as they are being constructed and prior to excavation. As excavation proceeds and the columns have set up, the interior side of the soil-cement is trimmed to the front of and exposing the front flange of the soldier beam. By exposing the front portion of the beams, they can be used to directly attach and support lateral support members, such as floor slabs. In certain cases a temporary internal brace or external tieback is connected to the soldier beam to resist lateral forces until the final lateral support members are in place. Connectors, typically shear studs, are welded to the front of the beams to attach a reinforced concrete facing, which can be constructed prior to or after the lateral support members are attached to the earth support wall. The reinforced concrete facing directly attached to the soldier beams acts as a composite section, thus allowing the earth support wall to function as a permanent foundation wall. The reinforced concrete facing is used to replace or enhance the soilcrete between the vertical support members so that it can resist the lateral pressures acting on the foundation wall over the life of the structure. The reinforced concrete wall, or facing, attached to the front of the beams can be constructed using various methods of concrete placement to provide a plain or architectural finish. As such, a permanent foundation wall is created incorporating the reinforcement from the temporary earth support wall. The temporary earth support wall can be constructed to appropriate depths and additionally reinforced such that it may be used to support some of the vertical loads from a structure.

[0021] In accordance with the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention features, an in-situ earth support and structural foundation system which comprises: a plurality of adjacent soulcrete columns having an exterior and interior side and forming a wall, a structural support member inserted within at least one of the soilcrete columns, the structural support member having a front and a rear surface; a trimmed interior face, wherein a portion of the interior side of the soulcrete columns is removed to expose at least a portion of the front surface of the structural support member; a lateral support member; and connections on the interior surface of the structural support member for attaching the lateral support member to the structural support member.

[0022] The present invention also features, a combination retaining and structural foundation wall, constructed in-situ, comprising: a plurality of adjacent reinforced soulcrete columns designed to support the lateral forces and any vertical structural loads, the adjacent soilcrete columns having an exterior and interior surface; a structural support member inserted within at least one of the adjacent soilcrete columns, the structural support member having a front and a rear surface; and a trimmed portion of the interior surface of the adjacent soilcrete columns thus exposing a portion of the front surface of the structural members to allow connection with subsequent support structures. The combination retaining and structural foundation wall, constructed in-situ, also comprises at least one lateral support structure attached to the structural support member; and a reinforcement member (concrete facing) attached to the interior surface of the adjacent soilcrete columns and the structural support member.

[0023] The present invention further features, a method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and structural foundation wall. This method comprises the steps of: constructing a plurality of adjacent soilerete columns designed to bear or support both vertical structural, as well as lateral loads, the adjacent soilcrete columns having an exterior and interior surface; inserting a structural support member within at least one of the adjacent soilcrete columns, the structural support member having a front and a rear surface; and trimming the interior surface of the adjacent soilcrete columns to expose a portion of the front surface of the structural member to allow connection with at least one subsequent support structure.

[0024] Finally, the present invention features, a method of attaching a reinforcing member to a temporary earth support wall to form a permanent foundation wall. The method comprises the steps of: constructing a temporary earth support wall, the temporary earth support wall itself comprising a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns made in-situ and having an exterior and interior surface and an embedded portion (toe) and exposed portion (above subgrade) defining a predetermined length, the adjacent soilcrete columns defining an at least partially enclosed area; a plurality of structural support members inserted within any number of the adjacent soilcrete columns before the adjacent soilcrete columns have cured, the structural support members having a front and a rear surface and capable of supporting lateral loads from the surrounding soil and precalculated vertical loads, wherein the vertical loads are transferred through the structural members to the bearing strata below the soilcrete columns; optional support means inserted within any number of the adjacent soilcrete columns before the adjacent soilcrete columns have cured; allowing the sollcrete columns to cure, thus fixing the structural support members and optional support means in place; trimming, during the excavation phase of construction, the interior surface of the adjacent soilcrete columns to expose the front surface of the structural members; placing a continuous cap beam, if required, along the head of the soilcrete columns, the continuous cap beam transferring the vertical loads to the structural support members; strategically attaching a plurality of shear studs to the front surface of the structural member, the shear studs providing an attachment means for a permanent lateral support member such as a floor slab; constructing a plurality of successive the permanent lateral support members and connecting the permanent lateral support members to the foundation wall using connectors or shear studs; and attaching a reinforcing means, such as a concrete facing, to the front surface of the structural members and interior surface of the soilcrete columns, the reinforcing means spanning between the vertical structural support members and the permanent lateral support members, to temporarily support the lateral member.

[0025] The advantages of the present invention include: construction of a foundation wall as excavation proceeds, less disturbance to adjacent structures during installation, more aesthetic interior wall appearance compared to poured-in-place foundation walls using slurry trench techniques, potential scheduling advantages, potential cost savings, and eliminating the need for sealing leaks through cold joints of panels constructed using slurry trench techniques.

[0026] Additional objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments thereof, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0027] The foregoing and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are, therefore, not to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0028] FIG. 1 illustrates an auger machine for boring holes and creating in-situ soilcrete columns;

[0029] FIG. 2 illustrates an in-situ wall and the partial excavation of adjacent soil, specifically a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns having equal or differing diameters, with the differing diameters shown, and structural support members therein;

[0030] FIG. 3 illustrates a top view of an in-situ earth support and structural foundation wall with a trimmed interior face to expose the front portions of the structural support members;

[0031] FIG. 4 illustrates the earth support and structural foundation wall according to the teachings of the present invention;

[0032] FIG. 5 illustrates a detailed view of the connectors and the trimmed interior face of the soulcrete columns to expose the front surface of structural support members located therein according to the present invention;

[0033] FIG. 6 illustrates one segment of the earth support and structural foundation wall as used to connect and support lateral support members and a vertical structure; and

[0034] FIG. 7 illustrates a detailed view of the connection of a lateral support member to the earth support and foundation wall, and the shear studs used to attach the reinforced concrete facing to the vertical structural support member.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0035] It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the system and method of the present invention, and represented in FIGS. 1 through 6, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention.

[0036] The presently preferred embodiments of the invention will be best understood by reference to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated by like numerals throughout.

[0037] Referring again to FIG. 1, it is possible to use a single shaft or multi-shaft auger machine to construct or form soulcrete columns 16 as shown in FIG. 2, the ultimate goal being to create a series of soulcrete columns to form a foundation wall. The foundation wall can be arranged in a variety of patterns depending on the desired application. For example, the wall can be a single continuous wall or it can be a series of continuous soilcrete column walls wherein an area is enclosed or partially enclosed.

[0038] As illustrated in FIG. 2, a series or plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns 16 have been created. The method of constructing soilcrete columns 16 is done prior to excavation as can be seen by the cutaway view of FIG. 2, showing soil 14 surrounding the plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns 16. This is commonly referred to as an earth support wall or retaining wall and is used primarily to give support to surrounding structures or property lines so that an additional structure may be constructed. Typically earth support walls constructed from soilcrete columns do not possess sufficient strength to serve as a foundational support for a structure. However, as can be seen in FIG. 2, structural members 18 have been added to soilerete columns 16 during their construction to bolster and increase the strength of the wall. This not only provides additional lateral support to the earth support wall, but enables the earth support wall to be able to withstand and support vertical loads as well, as will be discussed below, in order to allow the earth support wall to serve as the foundation for a structure. The composition of the soilcrete can be altered by varying the amount of cement in the soilcrete mix.

[0039] Also shown in FIG. 2 are soilcrete columns having dissimilar diameters. The larger diameter soulcrete columns 46 are alternatively spaced with smaller diameter soulcrete columns 42 as is also known in the art. Soilcrete columns of similar diameter throughout is more commonly used to construct the earth support wall. FIG. 2 illustrates how an earth support and structural foundation wall may be created by constructing a series or plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns to form a wall. It is to be understood by one ordinarily skilled in the art that soulcrete columns 16 may be any combination of diameters that provides sufficient overlap based on the center to center spacing of the columns and may contain any suitably dimensioned structural support members.

[0040] Referring now to FIG. 3, plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns 16 have an exterior and an interior side 21 and 23 respectively. Earth support and structural foundation wall 10 also comprises a trimmed interior face 48. To create trimmed interior face 48, a portion of interior side 23 of soilcrete column 16 is trimmed during or after excavation to expose a front surface 52, or a portion thereof, of structural support member 18.

[0041] As shown in FIG. 3, structural support member 18 consists of an I-beam or soldier beam having a flange 50 and a web 53. Front surface 52 comprises flange 50 of structural support member 18. As a portion of soilcrete column 16 is trimmed down to expose front surface 52, a series of connectors 54 may then be attached to front surface 52 of structural support member 18. Connectors 54 may then be used to attach a lateral support member or a reinforced concrete facing to structural support member 18.

[0042] Structural support members 18 may be comprised of any material or support known by those skilled in the art capable of supporting both lateral and vertical loads. The embodiment as disclosed herein depicts soldier beams as those are the most prevalent in the industry. The specifications required will depend upon the particular needs of the structure to be supported and the conditions surrounding the job site.

[0043] Also shown in FIG. 3 is a property line or adjacent structure 36. It is evident from FIG. 3 that earth support and structural foundation wall 10 may be constructed in close proximity to an adjacent property line or an another adjacent structure. Under normal conditions, the technology according to the present invention may be used to construct a combination earth support and structural foundation wall wherein it is necessary to maintain the lateral support of an adjacent structure or to maintain the integrity of an existing property line. The technology of the present invention allows the integrity of any existing property lines or additional adjacent structures to be maintained. However, this does not eliminate the need to investigate the impacts that the invention may have on the existing structure or property line, as deemed necessary and governed by local building codes.

[0044] Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, the earth support and structural foundation wall 10 is shown to have a trimmed interior face 48, thus exposing front flange surface 52 of structural support member 18. FIG. 4 illustrates the in-situ earth support and structural foundation system. FIG. 5 shows an enlarged view of structural support members 18 and connectors 54, as well as trimmed interior face 48 and the use of similar diameter columns. Specifically, FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrates the use of several soilcrete columns 16, and structural support members 18 located therein, to create a wall that is a combination earth support and structural foundation wall. As mentioned above, interior side 23 of plurality of adjacent soilcrete column 16 is trimmed during or after the excavation phase of construction to expose front surface 52 of structural support member 18. Once front surface 52 is exposed, several connectors 54 may then be attached at various points as needed to front surface 52. These connectors are used to attach a lateral support member or a reinforced concrete facing to the vertical structural support members creating a composite structural wall.

[0045] Trimming interior side 23 to create trimmed interior face 48 may be accomplished using techniques known by those in the art. What is crucial to the present invention is that front flange surface 52, or a portion thereof, is exposed, wherein a lateral support member, such as a floor slab, may then be directly attached to front flange surface 52 of structural support member 18, and that the front flange surface 52 and structural support member 18 are accurately located so that a uniform thickness of reinforced concrete facing and accurate placement of reinforcing steel are not affected.

[0046] Typically, soilcrete columns 16 having structural support members 18 will be formed prior to excavation of soil 14. Once the particular layout of soilcrete columns 16 is in place and have achieved the required strength, excavation of soil 14 may proceed. As excavation of soil 14 proceeds, interior side 23 of soilcrete columns 16 may then be trimmed to create trimmed interior face 48. All or a portion of interior side 23 may be trimmed. In addition, all or a portion of front flange surface 52 of structural support member 18 may be exposed.

[0047] FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate the formation of a structure using the technology of the present invention, Specifically, what is shown is structural support member 18 within soilcrete column 16. As can be seen from the figure, a temporary or permanent connector 54 is attached to front flange surface 52 of structural support member 18. Lateral support member 76 may then be attached to structural support member 18 by way of connector 54. Lateral support member 76 may be attached at any point along structural support member 18 as is needed or designed. Lateral support member 76 may be attached to structural support member 18 either subgrade or above grade or a combination of the two. In reference to FIG. 6, lateral support member 76 may be a slab-on grade 60, which may be used as a floor slab for the overall structure, or may be a standard floor slab 76. Any number of floor slabs 76 may be connected to structural support members 18 according to the general design of the supported structure.

[0048] FIG. 6 also depicts soilcrete column 16 and a portion of structural support member 18 penetrating soil 14 to a predetermined depth to provide additional necessary support. Toe embedment 68 is below subgrade level 60 at a depth necessary to provide the predetermined support necessary for the earth support structure or to support vertical loads. An interior footing 64 and shear head connector may be used to provide additional vertical support capacity or to supplement the vertical support provided by toe embedment 68. Earth support and structural foundation wall 10 may also be used in conjunction with an interior spread footing and underdrain to create a permanent foundation system. It shall be evident to one skilled in the art that earth support and foundation wall 10 may be used in conjunction with other known construction methods to create a permanent foundation wall for a supported structure.

[0049] In addition, FIG. 6 also depicts the use of a cap beam 72. Cap beam 72 may be placed on the top of soilcrete column 16 to assist in the transfer of a vertical load from the supported structure to structural support members 18. Cap beam 72 may also be used as a grade beam fro the transition between existing grade and the top of the soilcrete columns trimmed some distance below existing grade. Cap beam 72 may be continuous and may be selectively applied to soilcrete columns 16.

[0050] FIG. 7 illustrates a detailed view of lateral support member 76 as it is attached to structural support member 18, secured within soilcrete column 16, using connector 54. In another embodiment, earth support and structural foundation wall 10 may also include a reinforced facing 20, as shown in FIG. 7, attached to trimmed interior face 48 and front surface 52 of structural members 1 8. Reinforced facing 20 may be a concrete wall or facing that is also attached to front surface 52 and may be constructed or formed from the top to bottom in lifts as excavation proceeds, or from the bottom to the top as the floor slabs for the structure constructed. Reinforced facing 20 may either be a one-sided formed cast-in-place type concrete facing, a shotcrete facing, or other reinforcement member known in the art. The facing can also be used to provide a specified finish for aesthetic purposes.

[0051] The present invention further describes a method for constructing, in-situ, a combination retaining and structural foundation wall. This method involves a first step of constructing a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns designed to support both vertical structural as well as lateral loads, where the adjacent soilcrete columns have an exterior and an interior side. The method also includes a second step of inserting a structural support member within at least one of the adjacent soilcrete columns, where the structural support member has a front and a rear surface. The method further includes a third step of trimming the interior surface of the adjacent soulcrete columns to expose a portion of the front surface of the structural support members to allow connection with at least one subsequent support structure. In certain cases, the earth support wall and foundation wall can be designed to cantilever above the sub-grade level requiring no additional lateral supports. A subsequent support structure may include a lateral support member, such as a floor slab, or may include a vertical structure. A subsequent support structure may include any type of member attached to or connected with the structural support member either directly or indirectly.

[0052] The step of constructing a plurality of adjacent soilcrete columns in typically done prior to excavation. Then, as the excavation proceeds, the soil-cement, or a portion thereof, of the adjacent soilcrete columns may be trimmed to expose the front surface of the structural support members contained therein. Once the front surface of the structural support members is exposed, a plurality of connectors may be attached to the front surface of the structural support members to allow a subsequent support structure to be attached thereto. The connectors may be shear studs or any other type of connector known in the industry. The connectors are used to attach a reinforced concrete facing or a lateral support structure, such as an above-grade floor slab, or a sub-grade slab on grade floor slab, to the structural support member(s), thus allowing the earth retaining wall to serve as a permanent foundation wall.

[0053] A reinforced concrete facing may be attached to the trimmed interior surface of the adjacent soulcrete columns before or after the lateral support members have been attached to the structural support members. The reinforced member may be a one-sided formed cast in place concrete facing, or a shotcrete facing installed in successive lifts. Waterproofing and drainage materials may also be applied to the trimmed interior surface of the adjacent soilcrete columns prior to the construction of the reinforced concrete facing and after the installation of the connectors. The gap between the drainage material and connectors may be sealed to complete the installation of the waterproofing membrane.

[0054] The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.