Hey, BEG. Some people actually are using concrete piers and wood beams for houses. If you saw the post on the show that was on 1/14/00, which was actually filmed in 1990, that was the system they were using. It is discussed in the thread above this one and looks a lot skimpy to me in an effort to reduce cost, but they might be appropriate in many areas of the world.
The beach house rebuild that Bob did in California had huge piers down through the sand to bedrock supporting a PT wood structure. That certainly was appropriate in that situation.
I'm sure that concrete piers with concrete beams with a lot of rebar in them would be great in many areas but we do not see them around here. So I have learned something. My daughters 150 year old farmhouse has some strange construction techniques and I learn something every time I work on it. Some of their practices have held up up 150 years and some have not. Wouldn't it be great if we could realistically look that far down the road?