A permanent wood foundation (PWF) is a strong, durable and proven construction method that has a number of unique advantages over other foundation systems for both the builder and the homeowner. The first Canadian examples were built as early as 1950 and are still being used today. PWFs can also be designed for projects such as crawl spaces, room additions and knee-wall foundations for garages and mobile homes. Concrete slab-on-grade, wood sleeper floors and suspended wood floors can all be used with PWFs.
A permanent wood foundation is an in-ground engineered construction system designed to turn a home’s foundation into useable living space. A below-grade stud wall constructed of preservative treated plywood and lumber supports the structure and encloses the living space. PWFs are suitable for all types of light-frame construction covered under Part 9 (Housing and Small Buildings) of the National Building Code of Canada, under clauses 184.108.40.206.(1) and 220.127.116.11.(1). This includes single-family detached houses, townhouses, low-rise apartments, and institutional and commercial buildings. In addition, the recently revised CSA S406 standard, Specification of permanent wood foundations for housing and small buildings, allows for three-storey construction supported by PWF.