Grade beams are used for two purposes in deep foundation systems: To carry loads to the pile foundation and to brace the pile foundation. A grade beam is exactly what it sounds like, a beam. A beam by definition is a member carrying loads that span an unsupported length. Though a grade beam is cast on soil, it is actually designed to span from pile to pile not considering the soil underneath the beam for bearing. Therefore, the longitudinal reinforcement is the major flexural reinforcement in a grade beam unlike the spread footing. The transverse rebar ties are used for shear reinforcement.