One of the main reasons for this change was the EZ-Footings system helped solve some issues outside of the actual installing of footings. DOT requirements are one example. Built into the cost of the EZ-Footings system is a trailer created specifically for transporting these forms. This trailer, which has designated places for the different forms, does not require a commercial driver's license to drive, Watterson says. The trailer is also easier to get into poorly accessible work sites, he adds.
Easy to use
These versatile reusable or leave-in-place systems are also easy to use. Collins says it didn't take his workers much time at all to learn how the Fine Line Footings system works. "The sizes are very similar to our wall panels. So the guys that are used to setting wall panels and figuring out individual fillers to make up whatever length they need are already pretty adapted to figuring the separate filler sizes," he says. "They [Fine Line Footings] fit right in naturally with our system."
Unlike traditional wooden planks no nails are required when connecting these forms. They just slide together and are held in place by pins and wedges. The forms also come apart and strip very easily, Collins adds. It has allowed his company to do footings in almost half the time with fewer workers needed. Plus, the forms accommodate different sizes of footers, which is another benefit of the system.
Collins says the Fine Line Footings system is especially helpful on commercial projects. "We do quite a bit of commercial work also, and they are very easy to box out for pier footings. They are certainly a little bit handier than plank, and they hold together much better," he says.
Form-A-Drain is a three-in-one concrete footing form system, foundation drainage system and sub-slab perimeter radon reduction system that stays in place after the footings are poured. The forms are inserted into couplings, corners or outlets and then pinned together with a metal pin to hold the forms together. This metal pin is easier to drive into harder ground, Del Greco says.
Because Form-A-Drain stays in place after the footings are poured, the system does not require any stripping. "There's one step less. Once you put the Form-A-Drain on it stays in place and away you go," Del Greco says. "The advantage would be one day's savings for sure at a minimum in your process of getting your work done."
Watterson definitely found an ease of use when it came to transporting his EZ-Footings system. But the benefit of having an organized, easy to transport footing product wasn't the only thing that attracted him to this footings product. "The first time looking at the system, it seemed like you'd really have to put a lot of thought into how the forms are laid out so that everything would work," Watterson says. "It really doesn't take that much. It's just really handy. It couldn't be simpler. It doesn't have to be any more precise than with using lumber. You kind of just lay them out and you can go with it," he says.
The EZ-Footings system consists of forms from 6 in. to 12 ft. long with hinges on both ends. A 3/4-in. stake is used anywhere there is a joint. One of Watterson's favorite features of the system is the skin panels. A skin panel can be used to fill a gap less than 30 in. by placing it in the gap, wrapping the top lip around the forms and staking it in. "They also have a skin panel that goes into a corner which allows you to use two forms instead of three," he adds.
And the lighter aluminum forms make carrying and placing them less labor intensive. Plus, he says he can get more work done in less time with the same amount of workers using the new footing system than with wood planks. Watterson also says EZ-Footings creates a better looking and a better quality footing than standard wooden planks.
"It's not very often you get compliments on the footings, but that's what we get," Watterson says. "Footings never have been professional. It's always been get them done and then the foundation comes in after, and that's the professional part. These look as good as the foundation. They do look professional," he adds.
Ways they save
The Fine Line Footing system has helped save time and money for Tri-State Builders. Collins says they can do footings in almost half the time using this system with fewer workers. And, replacement costs are lower with the aluminum forms than with wood planks. "We're not buying plank on a regular basis," he says. "Right now, the way things have been going, I can see an easy 10, 12 or even longer years life expectancy on them."