Foundations…What Good are They?

I am in the process of engineering a foundation for a project we are working on (not the house in the picture – that picture is just for fun). The soils at the site are just bad and are not capable of supporting the building, so I am designing a system that will use deep piles as the foundation. As I was doing the design, I began to think about foundations and what good they are. Foundations are seldom seen after they are constructed, which makes them one of the most “underappreciated” building component on the project.

So what steps should be taken as you design and build the foundation system of your next project?

Know your Site Conditions:  All buildings rest on soil that is below the surface. Since each building site is unique in terms of specific geological conditions, each foundation system presents unique design problems on how the building and ground interact. This is why it is important that subsurface investigation be completed by soil borings or excavated test pits.

Select a foundation system specific to your building: One size does not fit all. Foundation systems can be shallow continual or isolated footings (less than 5’ deep) or grade beams supported by driven or augered piles. Generally foundation systems are of cast-in-place concrete with steel reinforcing, designed to support loading conditions from the superstructure above (that which is seen).

Understand that Foundations are difficult to repair:  Performing continual inspections & testing during construction will assure that the foundations will be constructed properly. Foundations are very difficult to repair after the building is built which means that you need to get them right the first time.

Foundations are a lot like the Planning Process of any project. The planning supports the project, the plan is underappreciated because it is not what you see at the end, and the plan is very difficult to fix after final design is done & construction begins.

At PDMi we can help you PLAN your next project so that it is on a Sound Foundation. Give us a call, we want to put our experience to work for you.


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