Piling House Plans

We have a variety of Piling House Plans suitable for beachfront or coastal sites which require houses to be elevated on pilings or piers above anticipated maximum flood elevations. The space under the piling structure is often used for parking or storage. In many cases, the designs provide for ways to cover or minimize the visual effect of the pilings. Our piling house plans are sealed by a registered architect for use in NC, SC and VA for 130 mph wind zone area (as are all our plans). They can also be used in other states with the review of a local engineer. These piling house plans were designed to maximze views and create delightful living spaces. Several of our piling house plans have provisions for an elevator.

Piling house plans designed for oceanfront or sound front lots have unique opportunities and challenges. The opportunities lie in making the most of the views and features of your specific site. The challenges lie in designing a piling house plan that will withstand the onslaught of nature over time. Obviously, we want our home to withstand the occasional, anticipated hurricane and to be ready for our continued use, with minimal repairs, after the storm event is over and the weather is once again sunny and clear.

Piling house plans built in oceanfront zones and surrounding areas are subject to hurricane force winds and flooding as well as wave action (primarily in “V” zone or velocity zones as determined by flood maps). Therefore, they are built on pilings (usually 8 x 8 or 12 x 12 wood pilings, however, in some areas reinforced concrete pilings are used). The height of the first floor above the base flood elevation is determined by FEMA regulations and local flood regulations. The connections of girders to pilings in Piling house plans are paramount in withstanding the high wind and wave conditions of hurricanes on the coast. All connections, tiedowns, hold downs, anchors etc. throughout the coastal house plan must be designed to withstand these forces imposed upon them and building code requirements for coastal areas.

Most often, girders are thru-bolted to the pilings with hot dipped galvanized bolts, nuts and washers. The top of the piling is generally notched to allow the girder to sit in the notch and thru-bolt to the piling. The top of the piling cannot be notched more than 50% of the width of the piling. Often it is necessary to use a prefabricated galvanized steel bolting plate to allow for bolts above and below the bearing point of the piling. Bolting plates are also used at splices in the pilings required to obtain the necessary length for embedment and to extend above the base flood elevation to floor girders or deck beams.

Generally, piles should be pre-augured to a maximum embedment depth of 8’0” below grade. Piles will then be driven with a drop hammer another 8’0” below the auger hole. The minimum driving distance of 8’0” may be disregarded if a penetration resistance of 15 blows per 4 inches is obtained, except that the piling must be embedded in the ground at least 14’0” (this is all subject to the total supported load on the individual piling). In some areas, where the soil is sandy, pile installers for beach houses use a technique called “jetting” which involves using a high-pressure hose to “blow out” the whole where the piling is placed. Although technique this is commonly used, it does not provide as stable and installation as does auguring and driving the pile.

If a project is located in a coastal flood hazard area, pilings must be installed deeper to allow for scour erosion and wave action. For oceanfront locations, 16 feet to 20 feet below grade is not uncommon.

Another important consideration for your piling house plan design is the cross bracing of the pilings. The design of the cross bracing contributes to the stability of the house. If this is not done properly, often you can stand on the first or second floor while shifting your weight from foot to foot and feel the structure move beneath you. This is not desirable, and it can lead to cracking of drywall and other problems. Plans and specifications provided by Southern Cottages specify how all these materials are to be installed in order to provide a stable and sturdy piling house plan which will survive the storms.