The Liberty University Residence Hall II is a nine story, 256,923 square foot structure gracing the University’s Residential Commons Housing area. Designed to accommodate approximately 1,000 students, construction was completed in Fall 2015 under a very aggressive schedule. F&R provided geotechnical engineering services during site development and construction phases and as a result of our uncommon and innovative solutions, we were the University’s choice to provide further above-grade materials testing and special inspections during construction.
A deep foundation system or subsurface profile improvement program is frequently required for a structure of this magnitude. However, due to previous project experiences, Liberty University was adamant about their desire to employ a shallow foundation design for this project. With column loads of 600 kips and maximum wall loads of 18 kips per linear foot, how could our team come up with a solution to satisfy the University while ensuring the stability of the structure for decades to come?
The F&R Solution
F&R was a trusted partner to the University through every phase of construction from site development to special inspections. But where the team really outperformed client expectations was in preconstruction phase activities. F&R realized it was critical to obtain as much detailed information as possible on the subsurface profile to determine in-situ strength parameters of the underlying soils on site, thus advancing a thorough geotechnical exploration. Moreover, our geotechnical team worked closely with the design team, refining wall and column loads and considering original and final elevations across the building footprint in order to model the variable loading/ support scenarios – and their potential for settlement – within the subsurface profile. In the end, after a thorough analysis, F&R was able to recommend direct shallow subgrade support contingent upon the use of geotechnical monitoring during subgrade construction. This meant a savings of over $600,000 for the University.