University of Alabama at Birmingham

UAB Blount Hall-

The University of Alabama at Birmingham campus presents very unique subsurface and building conditions. The current campus area consisted of numerous residences and commercial structures since early 1900's which have been demolished as the campus area has expanded. It is common to find buried basements, cisterns, drainage features, old pits etc.

The Blount Hall student housing development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham consists of an eight-story structure and a two-level parking deck. The subsurface conditions at the site presented several challenges with foundation support of the proposed structures.

The site is underlain by a carbonate geologic formation known as the Knox Group, which is prone to formation of sinkholes. Evidence of a remnant sinkhole was noted in the southeastern portion of the site. To reduce the risk associated with future ground subsidence, the building was located on the northwestern portion of the site.

The parking deck is located on the southern portion of the site. Column-specific borings revealed old debris fill and karst soil conditions. A combination of foundation types were used to economically suppport the proposed parking deck. Where appropriate, typical spread footings bearing on high-consistency, residual soil were used. In areas where deeper, old fill was present, drill-and-pour shafts were used. A system of grade beams and drilled piers were used in the area of the old sinkhole.

The site of the residence hall presented geotechnical challenges both typical and unusual. By applying sound engineering principals to the information gathered, cost-effective foundation designs were achieved.

The project was developed by Capstone Development. The general contractor was Brasfield & Gorrie.