Grade Beams

What does Grade beams Mean?

Definition of Grade beams in Construction

Grade beams are structural components that span the gap between pile caps.

Pile caps are reinforced pads that are place over pile clusters to transfer the load of the foundations to the piles themselves. The grade beam is a beam that is engineered, similar to any structural reinforced, concrete beam to support and transfer the load of the structure down on the piles caps. The structural engineer will design the proper placement of reinforcing steel and concrete, to properly design a grade beam that will span across the pile caps. The fact that the majority of grade beams simply sit on the grade, does not imply that there is any structural strength obtained through the sub grade. This grade beam is designed as though it is literally off the ground. A properly designed grade beam will be designed as a happy beam, meaning that the compression forces will be in the top of the beam and the tensile forces located at the bottom of the beam. In this manner, if you picture the grade beam, smiling, it is properly loaded. The inspection of a grade beam, although it appears to look like a large footing, should not be an inspection of the soil conditions, but an inspection of the reinforcing steel location, positioning, as well as the size of the structural component.