Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/customer/www/ on line 542


, ,

Innovative foundation technology will save nearly $1 million in direct and indirect construction costs for Comal County Taxpayers

(NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS—May 21, 2018) Comal County, Texas, and the Yates-Sundt joint venture announced today they have chosen Tella Firma Foundations, a Dallas-based construction-technology company, to provide an innovative foundation design for the new Comal County Jail, currently under construction.

This foundation solution, chosen through a competitive bidding process, will save the county and its taxpayers nearly $1 million in direct and indirect construction costs.

“We selected Tella Firma not only because we knew they would deliver a high-quality foundation,” said Randy Powell, Senior Vice President of Yates Construction, “but also based on the cost savings and time savings they demonstrated they would bring to the project.”

The building site for the new jail requires a foundation design that can withstand significant vertical soil movement of up to 6.25 inches because of active clay soils that expand and contract in response to changes in moisture. Tella Firma’s solution, which incorporates steel helical piers and steel lifting mechanisms to elevate the concrete slab, creates a 10-inch under-slab void space. The void space is over 1.5 times the potential vertical rise of the underlying soil, allowing for expansion of soils under the slab without damage to the foundation.

“We encouraged our general contractor and A/E partners to consider various opportunities for cost savings throughout the project, including the Tella Firma solution,” said James A. Broaddus, Ph.D., P.E., project manager of Broaddus and Associates. “We’re excited to bring this type of innovative technology to the Comal County Jail.”

“Tella Firma’s innovative design is based on using steel piers placed closer together with a thinner slab, resulting in cost savings by using substantially less concrete in the slab and eliminating the use of expensive concrete piers and other materials”, said Jim Fontaine, the company’s CEO.

The Tella Firma design provides the same level of structural integrity and reliability as traditional foundation design, but at a substantially reduced cost. In addition, the Tella Firma foundation can be installed in less time than traditional methods, creating further cost savings.

The system has been used by dozens of builders, with more than 1,200 foundations installed in commercial and residential projects, and is backed by seven issued patents. This solution is an environmentally friendly installation process that avoids the need for any type of chemical or water injection into the soil as part of construction.

“As with all phases of this project, the county aims to deliver a strong return on taxpayers’ investment,” said Tom Hornseth, Comal County engineer. “At the end of the day, we feel the Tella Firma foundation will represent the best value for our community.”

About Yates Construction
Yates Construction is one of the nation’s largest privately held construction companies providing general construction, at-risk construction management, design-build, preconstruction and specialized turnkey services from 16 offices throughout eight states in the U.S., including two Texas offices in San Antonio and Fort Worth. Founded in 1964, Yates is ranked among the top construction services providers in the country by Engineering News Record, with its highest ranking of No. 6 in “Correctional Facilities.”

About Sundt Construction
Sundt Construction Inc. is one of the country’s largest and most respected general contractors, with 11 offices in Texas, Arizona, California and Utah. Known for its commitment to quality and its innovative approach to construction services, Sundt was named the nation’s safest construction company by the Associated General Contractors of America in 2016. Over the past three decades, Sundt has constructed more than 100,000 detention beds in various custody levels.

About the Yates-Sundt Joint Venture
Building on the success of their established joint venture on a previous project, Yates-Sundt again joined forces for the express purpose of constructing the Comal County Jail and renovating the Sheriff’s Office. Over the past 10 years, Yates and Sundt, collectively have completed more than $1.5 billion in justice and law-enforcement-center projects throughout the U.S.; 16 of those projects were with HDR, the architect on the Comal County project, and three with Broaddus & Associates, Comal County’s project manager.

About Tella Firma Foundations
Dallas-based Tella Firma is a construction-technology firm that is revolutionizing the way foundations are built. Tella Firma gets its name from the Latin words meaning “strong home.” Foundations with the company’s product have been installed in residential and light commercial projects in Texas and Colorado, and the company continues to expand into new markets throughout the region. For additional information, visit