How to Select Building Foundations

When starting a new construction project, one of the key elements to consider will be the foundations. Your building’s foundations anchor it to the ground and ensure that it can withstand weight and pressure without becoming unstable. There are a number of different types of foundation techniques that can be used, each of which is suited to different projects and ground types. It is important to survey the land on which the construction will take place before confirming any plans, as the soil type and gradient could have a big impact on the type of foundation needed. Here is a breakdown of the key types of building foundations.

Shallow Foundations

Shallow footings tend to be suited to small, light buildings, and can be as shallow as three feet. They are created by excavating the earth to the desired depth and then constructing the supports known as footings. Shallow footings can come in a number of forms, all of which must either be built below the frost line or otherwise insulated in order to avoid damage in freezing conditions.  Individual footings represent the simplest type, providing a square of concrete on which for each of the supporting columns to sit in order to ensure the soil below is capable of bearing the load. For buildings where an entire wall carries the load, rather than individual columns, strip footings are used, whereas buildings with basements tend to utilize mat footings, where the entire lower floor acts as the foundation.



Deep Foundations

For heavy, concentrated buildings like high rises, a different technique must be employed in order to ensure the safety of the structure. Likewise, in situations where the base soil is weak, it may be necessary to employ deep foundations. These most commonly come in the form of pile foundations, where long cylinders of concrete are driven into the ground to create the building’s base level of support. This is a very specialist job that requires professional installation. If your project requires screw piling in Melbourne, there are local businesses at hand who provide the highest quality services using the most modern machinery on the market.

How to select building foundations - foundations in progressPiles can take far heavier loads than individual and strip footings or mat foundations. There are a few different types of piles, including friction piles, which transfer the load of the building to the soil according to their height, or length. Alternatively, end bearing piles can be utilised, whereby the pole is driven deep enough to reach an especially strong layer of soil or rock below, which anchors it into the ground like a column. This method is used where the soil above the strong layer is too weak to hold the building.

Selecting Your Foundation Type

When it comes to deciding which type of foundation is appropriate for your project, a number of factors must be considered. These include the soil type of the land on which you will build, which will determine whether bearing piles will be necessary. For smaller projects, you will also need to consider the design and layout of your building to determine whether individual footings, strip footings or a mat foundation is most suited. In some cases, you may need to reconsider the design of your property in order to make it work with the soil type.