6% Place

27 August 2014


What’s it going to take to ground Minim?  Typically a structural engineer would design the size of footings, and test borings would be drilled to ensure that the footings are on solid ground. But because Minim is so small, and doesn’t weigh very much, we are going to take a simpler approach. We’ll assume a 2000 lb bearing capacity (which is very low), and set the house on poured spread footings that are three feet wide and one foot deep. Chad will draw a foundation plan and check it quickly with a structural engineer. Once the contractor has started digging, if we find unexpected conditions on site,  we can always pour a little more concrete.  We think this will prove to be more cost effective.  Test borings could cost around $1000.  Better to save that money for extra concrete if should we need it!


  1. Carrie Stone said on

    Would love to come to see where you are building this. I am in the planning stages for doing something similar. My daughter lives in Garfield. What are the zoning issues – if any – of having a tiny home inside of a shed that’s in the backyard of an existing home in Garfield? Would it be okay of the “house” wasn’t plumbed for water? In other words, if it was just a guest room?


  2. Hi Carrie

    It looks like we’ll be breaking ground next spring. You should definitely come by then. I can’t answer your question easily, unfortunately. It really requires research. If I were you I’d sketch what you would like to build and go down to the City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Building Inspection and talk to them.

  3. There is more than the load to consider. In Pittsburgh you want footers to be at least 3 feet below the ground surface because of a thing call frost heave. Now if the foundation at the base of your footers is exactly the same material then the heave might be the same all around and no or not much damage done, but if the subsurface materials are different can have differential movement and potential problems in your little house.

  4. Hi Marcy. Thanks for the additional information. Our drawings are detailed and consider all of these issues. I was trying not to overload our readers with too many technicalities. 🙂

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