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A construction site close to my house made their footer by just digging a ditch around the perimeter of the building and poured concrete directly in the dirt with no wooden form. I'm just curious if that's the proper way to do it or should it have a wooden form that comes off when cured.

P.S.: Picture pending

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That's the way it has been done for centuries, if not close to it...Adaptations of using wood forms help in waterproofing issues or if there is no concern of freezing, and an over dig, (digging a larger area out, beyond the foundation line for certain purposes) that may aid in waterproofing, drainage or what-have-you.

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