These footings have been dug about 10 inches deep with a backhoe using a 24 inch wide bucket. The bottom of the trench will be cleaned up with a flat shovel and two rows of continuous steel reinforcing (re-bar) will be installed about 2 inches up from the bottom of the trench to strengthen the concrete footings. Since this foundation is rather large, it was more cost effective to use excavated footings rather than formed footings.
While properly reinforced footings will significantly increase their ability to span poor bearing soils and spread out concentrated loads, many plans do not call for footings to be reinforced. You should check with a structural engineer to see if the footings have been properly designed for the soils on which you are building and the loads they will need to carry.
Start you project with strong footings; they will probably need to be able to support the weight of hundreds of thousands of dollars!
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