Habitat for Humanity in Whatcom County

Mateo Meadows Construction Updates

What's happening at Mateo Meadows?

March 15th, 2024 Construction Update: Pre-Loading

We have begun the pre-loading process at Mateo Meadows! Pre-loading (also known as surcharging) is the process of stabilizing the subsurface soil beneath the future buildings by adding substantial amounts of structural fill on top of the building site. This will quickly compact the soil, preventing any significant post-construction settling that could otherwise occur. It will also protect against seismically induced, liquefaction-related settlement in the future.

Pre-loading is an important part of creating a resilient community. Because the Mateo Meadows Community is located within the Nooksack River Floodplain, there are stratified layers of alluvial soil deposits (mixtures of sand and silt from floods of years past) below the surface of a portion of the building site. Geotechnical engineers have recommended we pre-fill this site to compress these soil layers, causing them to settle now rather than after construction.

Substantial amounts of structural fill (gravel and dirt) will be brought in and distributed on top of the future building sites. Different amounts of structural fill are required in different areas on the site, so you will see piles of varying sizes throughout the property. Once the process is complete and deemed acceptable for construction, much of this material will be removed and used in other places where fill is needed on the site.

This process is anticipated to take up to three months. Surveyors will monitor the amount and rate of settlement at the site of each future building. Rapid settlement will likely occur within the first two weeks, followed by a gradual decline until the soil stabilizes to a degree acceptable for construction.

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