CFA Awards

CFA 2015 Projects of the Year

Point of the Woods

This year’s award for a private residence foundation under 2,000-square-feet goes to Purinton Builders of East Granby, Conn. for the project known as Point of the Woods in Old Lyme, Conn. This extreme challenge included concrete piers excavated into and setting on rock at the waters edge. Craftsmanship was the primary goal and reason for the selection of this contractor for the project. Anything but a straightforward foundation, this project demonstrated how demanding and intense a small project could become, especially for the portions of the project that will go largely unnoticed as the completed work takes shape.

“The architect’s vision,” stated Dennis Purinton, president of Purinton Builders, “was to make the house appear to be growing out of the rock. When we visited the site and reviewed what they were trying to accomplish, we proposed options on different foundation designs.”

Ultimately, a tapered pier was chosen. On paper it looks like this very simple little job of a few piers and some slab work would be a quick turnaround. However, Purinton discovered that a low bridge protected access to the site. This required air to be let out of the tires of all ready mix trucks arriving and leaving. Additionally, the use of boom trucks, cranes or any large delivery trucks was prevented due to a combination of the bridge and the site location at the end of a half-mile long winding street with no turnaround.

From the start of this project, once the final design was set, challenge after challenge was uncovered and met. Tolerances for building location and elevations were set at a critical ± ¼-inch. in order to comply with FEMA and local government regulations. Layout reference points were only given as centerlines, so the pier bases had to be set from those centers and then figured with the 5-degree tapers across the variable rocky surface to determine each individual pier configuration. Even the variable rocky surface presented the challenge of maintaining code required footings slopes of no more than 1:10, so cutting of individual pier bases for support was required.

If this wasn’t enough challenge for such a small site, the location proximity at water’s edge along with the steepness of the site necessitated safety awareness. Purinton Builders used caution throughout the project and during the layout and forming stages, safety harnesses made maneuvering at these early stages more difficult while holding such tight tolerances.

“Every tapered pier was different in either size or height and the largest challenge was anchoring them down to ensure that they did not rise up during concrete placement,” stated Purinton. “When it came time to form the slab, the form system was all designed and built on site, since it not only had to support the concrete work but generate a work platform on which to construct the house.”

For more information on this foundation project, contact CFA Member Dennis Purinton, Purinton Builders, at or (860) 653-6664.