Foundation Design Principles and Practices
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Foundation design allows us to make a proper construction plan for a building foundation. It belongs to an extremely specialized function that is executed by a structural engineer.
The foundation forms the structural base that rests on the ground and provides support to the remaining part of the building. To make perfect foundation design, there should be thorough knowledge on the ground underneath the foundation along with the design and materials provided on the foundation itself.
Depth of the Foundation
Several types of building foundations are available. Normally, the foundations are installed at different depths excluding slab-on-grade foundations, which are provided at ground level. The desired depth of any foundation is influenced by the following factors :
Soil bearing strength: It establishes extent load (weight or force) the subsisting soil can resist.
Soil type: Various types of soil contain diverse properties that can change their applicability for providing support to a foundation.
Frost depth: The frost depth alias frost line means the depth to which the soil freezes in the coldest time of the year. It is mainly utilized to find out the least depth for various types of foundations.
Groundwater table: A high groundwater table restricts the foundation depth along with the type of foundation to be utilized. Groundwater height is normally contained in a soil study.
Minimum depth: The least depth of a foundation normally should not be lower than 18 inches to facilitate extracting the topsoil and variations in ground level.
Usually, the foundations are constructed with masonry, like concrete block or brick, or with poured concrete. Masonry materials contain high compressive strength and have strong resistance strength to get rid of the damage caused by moisture and soil as compared to wood and metal materials.
A masonry foundation usually expands over the ground to keep other building materials safe from moisture and other damaging effects of ground contact. Normally, the metal rebar or other materials are used to reinforce the masonry foundations internally. Contractors frequently utilize hydraulic cement to block the pipes or raceways that infiltrate the masonry or concrete foundation.
Some building foundations are constructed with treated wood posts or piers. Under this situation, the foundation supports are pushed deep into the earth and/or stand on a rock or concrete pads. Posts and piers are frequently utilized while building on or near water or where the land is subject to flooding.
One of the very crucial foundation materials is the base, or subbase, which are made of inorganic material provided directly under the foundation. Normally, submerged soil and clay contain limited bearing strength and fail to manage the loads enforced by a building.
So, the soils are excavated and substituted with a dry and uniform dense material like gravel or crushed stone that has greater shear resistance and bearing strength. Base materials also facilitate discharging subsurface water and do not extend with high levels of moisture, similar to soil.
Transmission of Foundation Load
Foundations should be designed in such a manner in order that the loads enforced by the building are transmitted equally to the contact surface to pass the sum of the dead load, live load, and wind load to the ground. The net loading strength that directs to the soil should not surpass the bearing strength of the soil.
Foundation design should also consider the intended settling from the building to make sure that all movement is restrained and uniform to get rid of the damage to the structure. Besides, the overall design of the foundation, superstructure, and characteristics of the ground should be thoroughly checked to recognize the possible useful construction strategies.
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