To tie down, or not to tie down… that is the question! One of the commonly asked questions when relocating a home from one site to another is ‘will my house shift when its moved’ or ‘will the wind move my house around’ once placed in its new location. This is where the process of ‘tying down’ comes in.
WHAT IS TYING DOWN?
‘Tying down’ is the process by where a newly relocated house is formally attached to the piles at its new site. Although known as ‘tying down’ – this process involves no ties, instead utilising a combination of timber fasteners (plates and wire dogs) that attach the bearer to the pile of the house.
This step must be completed prior to the final code of compliance being issued by council, and as such many customers expect this to be one of the first steps completed once their new house reaches its final destination. However, this is often not the case and for good reason. Let’s look at the background…
The foundations of a relocatable home have two key components – bearers and piles.
- BEARERS are the structural supports that hold the load or weight of the house built on top of them
- PILES are the strong foundation posts driven into the ground that a relocatable house is then placed on top of.
In some instances other supports such as pile braces will be used. If needed, these will be defined in your building plan and in the council consent.
Once the tie down process has been completed, the foundations are deemed structurally sound and council sign off can be completed.
However, over time some older houses can soften in their shape – due to land movement, existing pile movement, weather and the simple process of being lived in. Add in the lifting and shifting of the house and you’ll often find the bearers are no longer straight and true. Once atop their new piles some gaps may be apparent between the bearer and the pile.
This is not as big of a problem as it may sound. Given the shear weight of the house sitting atop these bearers, there is a good likelihood that they will re-straighten under the load (weight) of the house. However, this will not happen overnight. Plus, there is the likelihood of other site works and renovations to the house so it is important to let these occur before tying down, as they may contribute to the re-straightening of these bearers.
SHOULD WE REPLACE THE BENT BEARERS WITH NEW ONES?
We are often asked if a bent bearer should be replaced with a new one, and the answer to this depends on why its bent in the first place.
- If its deemed to have bent as a result of general pile and ground movement, then the answer is no. These bearers have been an integral part in the structural integrity of the house since it was first built. As the house has changed shape, so has the bearer. Forcing a new straight bearer into its place can cause more issues than the bent bearer its replacing. In this instance, time would be given to allow the bent bearer to straighten following the house shift.
- However, if the bend appears to be a result of failing to be able to cope with the load of the house then yes it would be replaced.
It’s important to note that there will be some temporary tie downs put in place during this time. The relocation team will always ensure that the house is safe and secure before letting any other works take place on site. And given the weight of the house, events like strong winds should not have any effect on the placement of the house.
WHEN SHOULD THE FINAL TIE DOWN BE COMPLETE?
Typically around a month is allowed for the house to settle before the final tie downs are put in place. During this process any remaining gaps between the bearer and piles will be assessed, and remedied if needed. Tying down is now complete, and is ready for inspection as part of the final council check.
Examples of timber fasteners including plates (top image) and wire dogs (bottom image)
The team at The Relocatable House Company are here to help you in all aspects of the relocation process. You can find out more about our consultancy services here, or browse the houses we currently have for sale. If you’d like to chat through your options feel free to contact us here or give us a call on 0508 4 RELOCATE (473 562).