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“.........

therefore, everyone who listens


to these words of mine and acts upon
them will be like the sensible man who
built his house on solid rock. Rain
came down, floods rose, gales blew and
hurled themselves against that house,
and it did not fall down: it was
founded on rock.

The foolish man built his house on


sand, rain came down, floods rose,
gales blew and struck that house and it
fell down, and what a fall it had”.

Matthew 7:2 4-7


Hephaistion, Athens ca 450-445 BC
Hephaistion, Athens ca 450-445 BC

section through foundations


Colosseum, Rome AD 80
Colosseum, Rome AD 80

section through foundations


Amiens Cathedral (northern France) ca 1230
Computer Generated Image of
Amien Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral (northern France) ca 1230

section through foundations


Georgian Town House
Foundations Carry 3 Principal Loads

•Dead Loads - “dead” because these loads are


permanent and stationary. Consist of self weight of
materials

•Live Loads - people equipment, furniture, partitions


etc.

•Imposed Loads - in the UK, mainly in the form of


wind load

Dudley earthquake

Gravity is measured by the acceleration (g)Epicentre


that it
imparts to a falling body, which on earth22nd
is 9.81
Sept.m/s²
2002
4.8 ML
Force = mass x acceleration

1 Newton = force to accelerate 1 kg at 1 m/s²

On earth the force exerted by a mass of 1 kg is:-

Force = 1 x g = 9.81 N

1 kN = 1000 Newtons
Foundations Carry 3 Principal Loads

•Dead Loads - “dead” because these loads are


permanent and stationary. Consist of self weight of
materials

•Live Loads - people equipment, furniture, partitions


etc.

•Imposed Loads - in the UK, mainly in the form of


wind load

Gravity is measured by the acceleration (g) that it


imparts to a falling body, which on earth is 9.81 m/s²

Force = mass x acceleration

1 Newton = force to accelerate 1 kg at 1 m/s²

On earth the force exerted by a mass of 1 kg is:-

Force = 1 x g = 9.81 N

1 kN = 1000 Newtons
The main purpose of foundations is to spread out
concentrated structural loads from walls and
columns onto the generally softer materials that
form the surface of the earth’s crust

Dead and Impose load for 3 storey house = 120 tonnes

1 tonne = 10 Kilonewtons (10 kN)

total weight
Bearing Pressure =
foundation contact area

120 tonnes
Bearing Pressure = = 8 tonnes/m²
30 x 0.5

= 80 kN/m²

Most low-rise domestic dwellings have bearing


pressures ranging from 40 - 140 kN/m²
Equivalent Magnitude of Load Placed on
Soil by a Domestic House

1m
The main purpose of foundations is to spread out
concentrated structural loads from walls and
columns onto the generally softer materials that
form the surface of the earth’s crust

Dead and Impose load for 3 storey house = 120 tonnes

1 tonne = 10 Kilonewtons (10 kN)

total weight
Bearing Pressure =
foundation contact area

120 tonnes
Bearing Pressure = = 8 tonnes/m²
30 x 0.5

= 80 kN/m²

Most low-rise domestic dwellings have bearing


pressures ranging from 40 - 140 kN/m²
Large contact
area, low
pressure
intensities
Small contact
area, high
pressure
intensities
Campanile, Pisa Cathedral, begun 1174
Campanile, Pisa Cathedral, begun 1174

Excessive settlement and rotation due to low shear


strength of the supporting soil
An Outline of the Deep Structure of the Earth
Soil Layers

Soil - can be
up to 2 miles
deep

Soil comes from rock mixed with organic material like leaves and bark, and
even dead bugs and animals. It takes thousands of years for natural processes
to break this mixture of materials down into soil. Physical and chemical forces
like wind, rain, ice and temperature changes erode rocks, causing them to
crack and break up. Eventually these pieces of rock become smaller and
smaller, until finally they become sands, silts and clays - the mineral
components of soil. Biological processes set in train by plants, microbes and
animals also play a part, adding complex organic molecules from broken down
organic material.
Typical Ground Bearing Capacities
Types of rock and soil Maximum safe bearing
(kN/m²) capacity

Rocks

Igneous and gneissic rocks 10,700


in sound condition
Limestones and sandstones 4,300
Schists and slates 3,200
Hard shales, mudstones and 2,200
soft sandstones
Clay shales 1,100
Hard solid chalk 650

Non-cohesive soils

Dry Submerged

Compact, well graded sands 430-650 220-320


and gravel
Loose, well graded sands 220-430 1,10-220
gravel
Compact uniform sands 220-430 110-220

Cohesive soils

Hard clays 430-650


Stiff clays and sandy clays 220-430
Firm clays and sandy clays 110-220
Soft clays and silts 55-110
Very soft clays and silts 55-nil
peat and madeDurham Cathedral - Completed in 1133 AD
ground
The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Started in
Approximately 2551 BC)

The Great Pyramid at Giza is the largest pyramid ever


constructed. It was called Akhet Khufu, “the horizon of the king”.
Its base length is 230 m and it rises to a height of 147 m (481 feet).
It was the tallest man-made structure for 3,000 years.

The base is level to within just 22 mm, the average deviation of the
sides from the cardinal directions is 3´6″ of arc; and the greatest
difference in the length of the sides is 44 mm.
The Great Pyramid contains about 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average
weight of 2.5 tonnes, giving a combined weight of 6 million tonnes.

The base area is 230m x 230m = 52,900m²

Pressure on supporting soil = Weight = 6,000,000


Base contact area 52,900

Pressure on the supporting rock = 113.5 tons/m² = 1135 kN/m².


Typical Ground Bearing Capacities
Types of rock and soil Maximum safe bearing
(kN/m²) capacity

Rocks

Igneous and gneissic rocks 10,700


in sound condition
Limestones and sandstones 4,300
Schists and slates 3,200
Hard shales, mudstones and 2,200
soft sandstones
Clay shales 1,100
Hard solid chalk 650

Non-cohesive soils

Dry Submerged

Compact, well graded sands 430-650 220-320


and gravel
Loose, well graded sands 220-430 1,10-220
gravel
Compact uniform sands 220-430 110-220

Cohesive soils

Hard clays 430-650


Stiff clays and sandy clays 220-430
Firm clays and sandy clays 110-220
Soft clays and silts 55-110
Very soft clays and silts 55-nil
peat and made ground
Typical Ground Bearing Capacities
Types of rock and soil Maximum safe bearing
(kN/m²) capacity

Rocks

Igneous and gneissic rocks 10,700


in sound condition
Limestones and sandstones 4,300
Schists and slates 3,200
Hard shales, mudstones and 2,200
soft sandstones
Clay shales 1,100
Hard solid chalk 650

Non-cohesive soils

Dry Submerged

Compact, well graded sands 430-650 220-320


and gravel
Loose, well graded sands 220-430 1,10-220
gravel
Compact uniform sands 220-430 110-220

Cohesive soils

Hard clays 430-650


Stiff clays and sandy clays 220-430
Firm clays and sandy clays 110-220
Soft clays and silts 55-110
Very soft clays and silts 55-nil
peat and made ground
Grading Curves for some typical
Engineering Soils

100
Percentage finer than a given size

Glacial
80
London fill
clay
60

Coarse
40 sand
Medium
sand
20 Estuarine
silt

0
0.002 0.006 0.02 0.06 0.2 0.6 2 6 20 60 200

Size (mm)

Fine Medium Course Fine Medium Course Fine Medium Course


Clay Cobbles
Silt Sand Gravel
Electron Microscope image of Clay Soil
Particles

CLAY particles are flaky. Their thickness is very small relative to


their length & breadth, in some cases as thin as 1/100th of the
length. They therefore have high to very high specific surface
values. These surfaces carry a small negative electrical charge, that
will attract the positive end of water molecules. This charge
depends on the soil mineral and may be affected by an electrolyte
in the pore water. This causes some additional forces between the
soil grains which are proportional to the specific surface. Thus a
lot of water may be held as absorbed water within a clay mass.
Typical Ground Bearing Capacities
Types of rock and soil Maximum safe bearing
(kN/m²) capacity

Rocks

Igneous and gneissic rocks 10,700


in sound condition
Limestones and sandstones 4,300
Schists and slates 3,200
Hard shales, mudstones and 2,200
soft sandstones
Clay shales 1,100
Hard solid chalk 650

Non-cohesive soils

Dry Submerged

Compact, well graded sands 430-650 220-320


and gravel
Loose, well graded sands 220-430 1,10-220
gravel
Compact uniform sands 220-430 110-220

Cohesive soils

Hard clays 430-650


Stiff clays and sandy clays 220-430
Firm clays and sandy clays 110-220
Soft clays and silts 55-110
Very soft clays and silts 55-nil
peat and made ground
Typical Ground Bearing Capacities
Types of rock and soil Maximum safe bearing
(kN/m²) capacity

Rocks

Igneous and gneissic rocks 10,700


in sound condition
Limestones and sandstones 4,300
Schists and slates 3,200
Hard shales, mudstones and 2,200
soft sandstones
Clay shales 1,100
Hard solid chalk 650

Non-cohesive soils

Dry Submerged

Compact, well graded sands 430-650 220-320


and gravel
Loose, well graded sands 220-430 1,10-220
gravel
Compact uniform sands 220-430 110-220

Cohesive soils

Hard clays 430-650


Stiff clays and sandy clays 220-430
Firm clays and sandy clays 110-220
Soft clays and silts 55-110
Very soft clays and silts 55-nil
peat and made ground
Two Most Important Questions to
Ask About Soil

•What are the settlement characteristics of


the soil

•What is the maximum load the soil can


support without failing

This is calculated by:-

qult
qa =
SF

where:

qa = allowable bearing pressure of soil

qult = ultimate bearing pressure before failure

SF = safety factor (for strip foundations usually


3)
Si

Sc
S, t ne mel tt e S

Ss

0 tp

Time after application load

Schematic time-settlement history of a


shallow foundation
Distribution of Stress in Soil

Stress or load per


unit of area is
equal to “q”
1q at this
B point

0.5B

0.8 q

1B

0.4q

Soft ground 1.5B


maximum safe
bearing capacity of
0.2q 0.2q
Four Main Foundation Systems for Houses

•Strip foundations

•Trench fill

•Raft foundations

•Piles

The above are sometimes referred to as shallow


foundations, because their depth is normally less
than 3m

Shallow foundations are recommended where the


underlying soil layers are relatively strong and/or the
structural loads are low and the allowable
foundation settlements are not too critical
Strip Foundation

0.5 m

m
10
5m

Total length of strip = 10 + 10 + 5 + 5 = 30 m

Width of strip = 0.5 m


Strip Foundations

damp-proof course
200mm concrete slab

ground level
hard-core

damp-proof membrane

fine concrete filling compacted backfilling

mass concrete

•Strip foundations provide a continuous longitudinal bearing

•Concrete strip made from a mix of ordinary Portland


cement to 9 parts of combined aggregate

•In aggressive soils (i.e. high sulphate content) use sulphate


resisting cement
Sulphate Attack

3 Expansion and
1 Naturally occurring
soluble sulphates in cracking of concrete
soil dissolved and eventual loss and
disintegration

2 Migrate to concrete
strip and react with
C3A in cement

The expansive chemical reactions involved are quite


complex and depend upon the nature of the sulphates
present, the cement type and type of aggregates used in
the concrete. As a general rule of thumb, if high levels
of sulphate salts are present in the soil use sulphate
resisting cement in the foundation concrete (see BRE
Special Digest 1).
The Effects of Soil Pressure on Walls
Below Ground

Concrete
Soil press essure fill or solid
ure Soil pr
block

The lateral force exerted by the mass of earth which


surrounds the walls can have a considerable compressive
effect, particularly with cavity walls. In order to resist
these stresses, cavity walls are filled with weak mix
concrete or constructed with solid walls (brick or block)
Trenches in Clay need Protection

(a) (b)

Clay shrinks Clay swells


Strip Foundations - 3 Key Design Issues

• Width of the foundation

• Depth of the foundation

• Reduction of total and


differential settlement
Foundation Width
total wall load 62 kN/m

Soft clay with safe


bearing capacity of projection
100 kN/m²

depth at least
equal to
projection
width

total wall load per metre 62


Required width of strip = = = 0.62m
allowable bearing pressure 100

620 - 275
Projection from wall = = 173mm
2

Use foundation 620 mm wide x 173mm deep


Foundation Depth

Depth below
ground level

Two main determining factors

1. Avoidance of frost heave - mainly occurs on non-cohesive soils


(particularly silts and sands). Place foundations at min. depth of 500
mm

2. Avoidance of seasonal soil moisture changes - mainly occurs on


cohesive soils (particularly clay). Place foundations at min. depth of
1.0m
Frost Attack
Below freezing
air temperatures

Saturated soil

      

   
  
Ice lenses
   
500mm min.
  
 
  
 
  
  
Heave

Certain soils – particularly silts, chalks, fine sands and some


clays - when situated close to the ground surface are subject
to expansion when frozen. In the British Isles soil only freezes
to a depth of 450mm. Therefore on these type of soils, pads
should be placed at 500mm below ground level.
Seasonal Moisture Movement in Soil

Evaporation to atmosphere
of ground water

1 - 1.5m

Zone of moisture movement

Shrinkable clay
Water, Trees and Clay Soil

Trees can be viewed as spectral


sheaths of rising water

Trees shift a prodigious quantity of water – from the soil up into the
leaves, out through the stomata, and away into the air. If we had x-ray
eyes, trees would appear as sheaths of rising water (shown on the right
above). Water flows through trees (via thin threads in the xylem) at the
rate of 6 metres per hour and a big tree can transpire 500 litres of
water in a day. A hectare of wood planted with, say, 100 mature trees
pushes out about 50,000 litres or 50 cubic metres per day (enough to fill
a hotel swimming pool).
The presence of trees on shrinkable clay can dry the soil, causing
shrinkage and resultant downward movement of the foundations.
Cutting trees down massively increases the water content of clay soil,
causing it to swell and move foundations upwards.
Source: Trudge, C., The Secret Life of Trees: How they Live and Why
they Matter, 2005
Avoidance of Surcharge on Excavation

d
Excavation or
drainage
trench

45°
h

Footing taken down on mass


45
°

concrete so that 45° LINE


lin
e

passes under excavation.


The depth d should be large
enough for L to exceed h
New Foundations Adjacent to Existing
Structures

H
New
Existing footing
footing

Overlapping
of
stresses
Stress
distribution
at depth H

Existing
D

Flow of
soil and New
water
Four Main Foundation Systems for Houses

•Strip foundations

•Trench fill

•Raft foundations

•Piles

The above are sometimes referred to as shallow


foundations, because their depth is normally less
than 3m

Shallow foundations are recommended where the


underlying soil layers are relatively strong and/or the
structural loads are low and the allowable
foundation settlements are not too critical
Trench Fill Foundations

depth below
ground level
(min. 1m in
clay soil)

W (min. 425 for cavity walls)

Advantages:

Speed - no brickwork below ground/backfill reduced

Narrow foundations - no need to provide working space for


brickies

No shoring to trenches, even to depths of 2-3m


Trench Fill Foundations

depth below
ground level
(min. 1m in
clay soil)

W (min. 425 for cavity walls)

Advantages:

Speed - no brickwork below ground/backfill reduced

Narrow foundations - no need to provide working space for


brickies

No shoring to trenches, even to depths of 2-3m


Incorrect Setting Out & Construction of
Trench Fill Foundations

Brickwork in Brickwork
GL correct incorrectly
position set out

“A” “B”

True centre
line
Trench Fill Footing

Keep top corners


square

Drain or other service

Keep sides vertical


Raft Foundation

A raft foundation is used to carry concentrated loads


from walls and point loads from piers and spread
them over a large area, so producing low bearing
pressures in the soil.
Raft Foundations

20mm screed
dpm

min 150

min 75

min 150 blinded hard-core

500 mm
A raft foundation is a large rigidly reinforced concrete slab that covers the entire
area beneath a house and supports all walls

Advantages:

•Bearing pressure is less than strip or trench fill foundations, hence useful on
poor or unstable ground

•Sufficiently rigid raft founded on soft soils will avoid settlement

•Rafts resist horizontal tensile stresses in soil affected by subsidence, hence useful
in coal mining areas like Nottingham

•Rafts provide complete tied together foundation - less concrete can be used than
strip because thickness of slab reduced
Raft Foundation - MacDonalds Restaurant,
East Finchley
Design of Raft Foundations
Raft thickness can be calculated using Olders’s formula:

2400W x C
D=
S

Where:

D = required raft thickness (mm)

W = concentrated load (kN)

C = coefficient of ground support

S = design concrete tension

•Rafts over 150mm plus require top & bottom reinforcement

•Reinforcement is usually a square steel mesh with 38mm concrete


cover (steel = 2.22 kg/m³ - see BS 4483)

•Except on sand & gravel, there should be a consolidated hard-core


base of min. 100mm thickness

•Concrete for raft should normally contain not less than 280kg of
cement per m³ of concrete
Pile Foundation

Piles are usually long slender concrete members used to


transfer wall loads through weak or compressible soil to
deeper soil or rock of higher bearing capacity
Pile Foundations

dpc

suspended concrete floor

void min. 150mm

ground beam -
reinforcement to
design
Pile Design
dia. 150-300 mm
lengths 2-4m
spacing 1.8-4.0m pile
loading 40-170kN
per pile

Vertical loads from a building are taken to a lower level by means


of columns in the soil on which the building rests
Pile Strength

Piles acquire their strength in one of 3 basic ways:-

•By friction

•By end bearing

•By a combination of “1” and “2” above


Pile Strength by Friction

weak stratum

bulb of
pressure for
friction pile

Skin friction develops between the surface area of the pile and
the surrounding soil (similar to driving a nail into timber). The
frictional resistance must provide an adequate factor of safety
for the pile load

Frictional resistance = surface area of pile shaft x average shear


strength of soil along the pile x an adhesion factor
Pile Strength by End Bearing

weak stratum

bearing stratum

bulb of
pressure for
end bearing
pile

End bearing piles derive most of their load bearing capacity


from soil support on the base of the pile.

Strength of end bearing pile = shear strength of soil at base


of pile x the pile base area
Pile Foundations

There is no “pure” category of pile: most piles gain


their load capacity from skin friction & end bearing

Therefore, the ultimate load capacity of a pile is


equal to:-

Qu = Qb + Qs

Where

Qu = ultimate load capacity

Qb = ultimate base area resistance

Qs = ultimate shaft resistance


Pile Layout

2.875m 3.475m

4.175m

3.175m

6.175m

3.0m

2.175 m 4.175m

Pile diameter 150mm


Pile depth 3.5m
Van Elle Smartfoot Precast Modular
Foundation System
Structural Logic of the Van Elle Smartfoot
Precast Modular Foundation System

If the whole house moves together no tensile stresses are


developed and therefore cracking is unlikely

A house will crack when differential settlement occurs


and a part of the house moves down
Van Elle Smartfoot Precast Modular
Foundation System

The Van Elle modular foundation system in made in a factory and


slotted together on site without the need to go into the soil or for any
wet works. Precast concrete beams are post-tensioned and bear
directly on the ground. This system is particularly useful for difficult
or contaminated ground conditions.
Van Elle Smartfoot Precast Modular
Foundation System

Hydraulic jack tightening the cables inserted


through the precast concrete beams. Once the
correct tension is reached, the cables are tied off.
This technique is known as ‘post-tensioning’
Precast Modular Foundation Systems

Claimed benefits:-
•Minimal disruption of soil
•No wet trades and therefore fast construction
•Offsets difficult soil conditions such as high water
table, contaminated soil, weak ground/made up
ground
•Guaranteed quality of construction in a factory
built environment
•Reductions in excavation and landfill taxes
•Reduced overall construction costs
•Safer working practices
•Contributes towards reducing foundation failure

Possible problems:-
•Rusting of cables and anchors associated with
post-tensioning
•Use of skilled operatives in the assembly process
Roger Bullivant Precast Modular
Foundation System

Inside Outside

Driven bored or
vibrated pile