Permafrost Technology Foundation Library

Project Page

Design Manual for New Foundations on PermafrostDesign Manual for Stabilizing Foundations on PermafrostThe Cold Climate Housing Research Center has digitized and cataloged the reports and information the Permafrost Technology Foundation (PTF) collected over 20 years. The PTF was formed to develop solutions to permafrost problems. The design manuals and videos created by PTF explain what permafrost is and where it occurs, the importance and procedure for a thorough permafrost site investigation, methods for permafrost stabilization, and some techniques used for building new structures and stabilizing existing structures on permafrost.

Case Studies:

PTF performed 10 case studies on houses that had been suffering from the effects of settling.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1183 Grenac Road Foundation Stability Research

A house with a heated crawlspace had significant differential settlement that was remediated by opening up the crawlspace and placing the house on a crib foundation. While requiring periodic re-leveling, the new foundation strategy appeared to have stabilized the permafrost.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1600 Cordwood Drive Foundation Stability Research
A house built in 1970 was originally predicted to settle significantly based on a 1990 geotechnical exploration. However, after several years of monitoring, it was found that the house was relatively stable as the underlying permafrost receded.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1.5 Mile Ballaine Road Foundation Stability Research
A two-story residence with a crawlspace located on permafrost, including several feet of clear ice, was remediated by ventilating the crawlspace and insulating the utilities. Settling continued through the monitoring period, but was substantially reduced by the remediation strategy.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 728 Constitution Road Foundation Stability Research
A heat pump was retrofitted for a house with a daylight basement to cool the ground underlying the building. The strategy was highly successful, but required proper maintenance of the heat pump to avoid further settlement or too much heat removal leading to frost jacking.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 19-21 Glacier Avenue Foundation Stability Research
Settlement problems with this home resulted from loose soils underlying the foundation, not due to permafrost. Injection of grout was considered as a remedial approach, but not performed due to the risk of poor results.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1417 Jones Road Foundation Stability Research
A house with a shallow pile foundation with settlement problems was replaced with a Triodetic foundation. Differential settlement continued after installing the new foundation, but was shown to be maintainable by periodic leveling maintenance.

Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1664 Kivalina Street Foundation Stability Research
This house was built on relatively thaw stable permafrost, which was rapidly retreating during the monitoring period. It was concluded that the settlement damage to the house was an initial condition that hadn't progressed any further.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 263 Madcap Lane Foundation Stability Research
A house with a daylight basement on thaw-unstable permafrost had several thermosyphons installed under the entire house footprint. This was successful in slowing the rate of settlement.

PDF icon Permafrost Technology Foundation: 1732 Rise Road Foundation Stability Research
A small house with a crawlspace had substantial differential settlement that was alleviated by placing the house on adjustable jacks. During the monitoring period, the permafrost thawing appeared to stabilize after separating the house from the ground.

Permafrost Technology Foundation: 4720 Stanford Drive Foundation Stability Research
A single story house had many signs of stress attributed to settlement, however, no evidence of permafrost was found around the house. It appeared that the damage was attributable to inadequate compact of soils during construction.

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Projects

Permafrost Foundations CCHRC is working with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory to study ways of pairing information on permafrost soils with optimal foundation designs.
Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation Study Frost-protected shallow foundations rely on placing enough insulation outside of a shallow foundation to protect it from heaving due to seasonal freezing. Temperature sensors were installed at two houses with these foundations to measure the thermal regime of the soil.
Vapor Diffusion-Open Walls Study CCHRC monitored builder Thorsten Chlupp’s super low-energy home to see how the innovative systems performed in the Fairbanks climate. The house has super-insulated walls and foundation, an integrated heat storage system, and an open wall design that allows vapor to diffuse through.
Anchorage Foundation Insulation Study Read the full report