The foundation is the structural component that transfers load from the building to the supporting ground. The supporting ground could be soil, rock or seabed. The foundation basically holds the building up so it will not sink to the supporting ground. It also holds the structure so it will not be blown away by strong winds.
Different Types of Foundation
There are so many names and types applied to foundations. However, there are only two basic types according to the depth of a foundation: deep and shallow. Deep foundations are used for high rise buildings. The depth is almost as half the height of the building itself and piles are embedded before finally pouring the foundations.
Shallow foundations are only about 1 to 2 metres in depth and mostly used in the construction of one to four storey buildings. A seismic isolation foundation is also used for earthquake proofing a building. This type does not have a 100% guarantee but the seismic foundation will greatly help a building constructed in an earthquake prone location.
- Continuous or Spread Footing: This type of foundation is built along the entire length of the wall. The width of the footing is wider than the wall. The load of the structure is effectively spread over a large area. In some countries this type of footing is called wall footing.
Footings are typically placed below the frost line. Rebars are highly recommended to add tensile strength to the footing. A step footing is a variation of a spread footing. This system connects all columns and foundation wall making the foundation solid.
- Slab on grade foundation: A layer of a minimum of 150 mm to 250 mm thick concrete slab is required. The slab is thicker at the sides for reinforcement bars. A layer of gravel is necessary before as the slab's base course.
A mould is set on the ground for the slab to be poured so that there would be no extra space between the ground and the structure. This type of foundation is best for warmer climates where there is frost line to worry about.
- Mat Foundation: It has the same dimension of the building so the weight is evenly distributed on the mat. For high rise buildings, piles could have been required before pouring the mat foundation so as to make sure that the soil is compact and dense.
Reinforcement bars are placed along the base spaced and sized as specified. A mat foundation could be several metres high when used for high-rise buildings.
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