Foundations can be classified into two major categories:

                       I.Shallow foundations and

                      II.Deep foundations

Individual pad foundations, square or rectangular in plan, that support columns, strip footings that support walls and ground level raft foundations are generally referred to as shallow foundations. When the soil located immediately below a given structure is weak, the load of the structure may be transmitted to a greater depth by piles and drilled shafts, which are considered deep foundations.

Buildings of three floors or less would normally be classified as low rise and would in most situations only require shallow foundations, depending on the soil conditions.

SDS (Structural Design Solutions) Ltd. has, over many years, developed a unique expertise and experience in the construction of low-rise residential and retail buildings in the UK and Ireland. We have the ability to determine accurate allowable bearing capacities and settlements from the ground investigation reports for varying soil types.

Structural engineers are normally reluctant to design shallow foundations for structures without clearly defined soil parameters. Making use of the combination of both structural and geotechnical engineers in-house, we have developed simple methods of ground analysis for shallow foundations. The methods we employ involve analysis of the sub-grade material (visual) in-situ testing of the sub-grade, advice on the proposed method of either excavation, filling, or excavation and filling, and finally testing of the filled material prior to foundation construction.

Site investigation information, in-situ testing, as well as visual inspection of the ground conditions prior to works commencing, if carried out by an experienced engineering team, can, following minor improvement works, eliminate the use of deep foundations for low-rise building construction.

We regularly review designs with a view to eliminating piles and in most cases we are successful. On large sites with multiple units or large warehouse buildings, the cost savings in avoiding deep foundations such as piling can be very significant.

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