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Basement of the Year 2nd and 3rd Place Wins


Jeff Trageser
Louisburg Foundation
Bucyrus, Kansas
Louisburg Foundation was started about 37 years ago by Jeff Tregeser’s grandfather, then taken over by Jeff ’s dad. Jeff is a 3rd generation member of the company. Louisburg Foundation has 18 employees and serves Johnson County, Kansas.
Louisburg Foundation is a new member to CFA, just completing their first year anniversary.

Jeff Trageser, representing Louisburg Foundation, submitted their Briarcliff West project for ‘Basement of the Year’. This Kansas City, Missouri basement has 998 total linear feet using 316 total yards concrete, 118 yards of footings and 7 tons of steel, with another 14 tons of steel in the walls. Fifteen different wall heights ranging from 2’ to 21’, and six different wall thicknesses ranging from 8″ to 18″ thick were required on this project.

Jeff worked this project from start to finish with his crews, including bidding the project. One thing he has learned with these complex projects, is not to underestimate the complexity of the project from the blue print to the job site. The blueprint always looks easier. He knows to compensate on his estimating to be sure they are covered on both time and money. Jeff also says that ‘traditional estimating is not accurate on such a large project. You must make sure you find every detail on the print that takes time, and when you think you have the price right, add 10-15% to that.’

This project was the most difficult foundation Trageser had tackled to date. One thing about a project like this is that people talk. So he imagines he’s received a lot of free publicity by building this foundation. Unique projects like this get a lot of publicity around Johnson County, Kansas, according to Jeff; lots of talk and word travels. He’s happy that the more their name was said, the more publicity they received.

The overall complexity of the project involved very limited access to the site as trees were as close as 3’ from walls on all sides. The end walls had #4 bars on 1’ centers each way. A total of 21 tons of rebar was used. Jeff ’s advice “find your best rebar guys and let them place rebar, then have your best wall setters follow.”

The one thing this crew had going for them was the ability to complete the foundation in one pour as they have the quantity of forms and that allowed them to achieve this.

Additional details included 26 total footing steps, 220 feet of 5-foot wide footings, 70 feet of 9’6″ wide footings, and all other footings were 20-30 inches wide to 10 to 16 inches deep. Briarcliff West has

-36 45-degree angle corners

-28 90-degree corners

-21 T-walls

-42 wall elevation changes

-22 ledge depth changes

-and 580 total running feet of ledge

The ledge was built from wood, totaling over 40 full sheets of 3/8″ smooth ply board and 5,000’ of 2×6 lumber. 4,000 psi concrete was used in the footings and the walls.

Since this competition, Jeff Trageser has started his own company, Jeff Trageser Foundation. Good luck to him in his own business.


Philip Marone, President
Marone Contractors
Thorofare, NJ
A few years out of college with a marketing and management degree and experience in the field, Philip Marone started Marone Contractors in 1982. After initially constructing footings and flatwork, Marone started building foundations in 1987 and has today evolved into a full service company providing excavation, complete concrete services and waterproofing. They operate in a 60 mile radius of Philadelphia.

Stephen Manfredo, representing Marone Contractors, entered their Cahn Residence project in Cherry Hill, NJ, for the Basement of The Year Competition. The owner had selected Marone as their contractor “because they had used us in the past and were comfortable with the production and quality levels of our performance. They also like the knowledgeable people we assign to the project who can handle field changes and the intricacies of the job.”

The Cahn Residence features 1,065 total linear feet of walls in an 8,226 square feet plan which includes both the basement and garage floor. This project had totals of 341 yards of concrete and 6550 lin. ft. of steel in the walls and 85 yards of concrete and 2,930 lin. ft. steel in the footings. Wall heights ranged from 4’ 9″ to 10 feet with wall thicknesses of 8, 12, and 16 inches.

Manfredo says the outstanding wall features of the Cahn Residence are the 138 feet of circular foundation that run at 5 different locations throughout the house, with a 6″ stone ledge. There are a total of 121 corners with many intersecting angles at circular foundations. The brick ledge was pre-built at their shop and then moved to the site.

President Philip Marone says projects like this are interesting to do and he likes to stretch their people a bit. Their company has experience with many projects like this although they don’t come along every day. However, the variety they offer is a welcome change and challenge for their business.

This was the first Basement of the Year competition Marone has entered and he was pleased with the win and the recognition of the quality workmanship. “This entry shows off the talents of the builder, Corso Brothers Builders of Philadelphia, who do high end work at all times; a very quality minded contractor who is proficient in old world techniques,” stated Marone.

Marone has been a CFA member since 1995. He says in his ten year affiliation he has liked being able to share ideas with peers, who are now his friends, from different parts of the country “that may have a different viewpoint on how to do things.” He has found the educational aspect and the ability to learn about new techniques very helpful. For instance, they are now using a new type of forming system from BEP introduced to them through the CFA.

Congratulations to Marone Contractors for their 3rd place win!

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