Every building on Earth needs to have a foundation. Foundations are the building blocks of every building or development that we have. Even if you are considering basic a home improvement or you are considering improving your retaining walls, the foundations are a massive part of the building. Most of us know nothing about foundations; so we will now look at aspects of foundations and consider how they use in the building trade today. We will also take a look at why foundations are vitally important, even when we think about something as innocuous as a stormwater drain.
As we mentioned above, buildings require foundations and the type of foundations a building requires largely depends on the size and height that the building will be constructed to. It’s easy to understand that very tall skyscrapers will need very deep foundations, whereas a standard home dwelling will need slightly shallower or less deep foundations.
Foundations seal a building into the ground so that in the event of any slight land movement, the property or building will stay exactly where is intended to be. Foundations are designed to not be rigid as designers design an element of movement into foundations to help the structure not break or crumble over time.
Building companies obviously specialise in the types of foundations a building requires. If you are undertaking a simple extension, a licensed builder will be able to assist you with the type of foundations that you will require for your extension. However, don’t be fooled, even a small extension will require a foundation putting into the design and build of the extension itself.
Once a build is complete, you will never actually see the foundations, but before it’s built the foundation trench is built into the ground first. At first, it will look like a small channel in the ground but when it is filled with cement and laid in the trench, then steel and brick are set into the trench, creating the foundations of the building.
In general, foundations are the same, no matter where they are placed on the ground. However, the type of foundation can differ depending on the type of area that you are planning to build on. For example, if you live in an area with a high water table or the ground surface has a lot of moisture, your foundations will be done in a traditional way. The trenches are filled with concrete and the base floor is also filled to add to the strength of the structure.
Foundations also help to keep a house stable so that it does not suffer from subsidence. As building techniques have improved, subsidence is a less common problem compared to what used to be. The same can be said for structures built on the sea, you may think that at sea it is not possible to build a foundation. However, if you use piling equipment, structures can be at sea. The method they use help them go deeper into the seabed so the structure has stability.
Small extensions also require foundations as we have mentioned above. Extensions to properties take most of their structural strength from the main building itself. The need for foundations in extensions helps to keep the extension in place and further improve the strength. Some of the different types of foundations are listed below with a brief description of what each one means.
- Strip foundations (Commonly known as footings)
The footings provide support for structures like walls and edgings. They are most commonly seen in house building in varying different sizes.
- Trench filled foundations
Similar in nature to the strip foundation, however, these types of foundations are filled with concrete to give them more strength and stability. These are commonly used in the building trade for larger buildings and office complexes.
- Rubble trench foundation
Again, this is a step on from strip foundations and trench filled foundations as they going further in increasing a building’s strength. They are very common in the commercial industry as these types of foundations are strong and can support large structures such as walls and also supply good drainage for the buildings footings.
- Pat foundations
Pat foundations are rectangular or circular in nature and they are used to support and take the load from column structures. The idea of spreading weigh is that it enables a building to be built higher.
- Raft foundations
Raft foundations cover a large area, often the entire area of the building’s footprint. Raft foundations give the flooring the base it needs offering strength and level ground. Although foundations often appear to be dug into the ground, raft foundations can often sit on top of the ground, but they are concreted to give a thick base to any building.
As you can see there are many different types of foundations that a builder can pick from to ensure the buildings manages to complete the test of time. Strong foundations will always give a good base to any building or construction project. If you were to undertake a project yourself you must make sure that you fully understand what type of foundation that you require and if they are suitable for your particular project that you plan to undertake. Foundations not only give your building strength and structure, but they also aid with the drainage of water, both from when the elements hit a building as well as with internal leakages. We all do our very best to try and avoid these types of problems, but it’s inevitable that these will occur. With the knowledge that your foundations are the correct ones for your building type and they have been installed and built properly, proper drainage should never be a problem.
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