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Structural Engineering: Integral Parts of Foundation Design

29 January 2018

No matter how difficult, how complex a construction project has become, a properly conceived foundation design phase will support the erection process and really fortify the building framework. Structural integrity is established as those foundations root themselves. However, if that ground-based structural anchor is somehow weakened, then the load it’s supporting cannot be secured. Undeniably essential, structural integrity holds firm when the integral parts of this base are properly incorporated.

Foundation Design: Identifying the Integral Parts

This is obviously a technical engineering branch, one that requires great architectural expertise. It’s also a vital faculty, a science-centric skill set that launches the whole construction process. Size up those components. There are foundation types to consider. What about the ground? Is the soil compressed or soft? Are there multiple layers of clay and shale locked in the ground? Soil survey maps answer some of these questions, so a slowly sinking load is intelligently evaded. Many a structure has cracked around its base because of soil subsidence, after all. As for the materials in use here, brick and masonry walls act as retainer structures when small to medium sized buildings are erected. In the case of one of those towering edifices, though, it’s reinforced concrete that distributes the structural load.

Uniform Load Transference Solutions

A bridging framework exists between those wire mesh bases and the ground. Before the concrete is poured, T-shaped footings, each wider than the retaining wall it supports, penetrate deep into the ground. A gravel bed is compressed and then layered with reinforcing metal rods. Bound by wire ties, the mesh space is then filled with concrete, which now settles and cures. Alternatively, these ground-contacting footings are shaped as slabs or pad-isolated blocks. Incorporated into the foundation design plan, the structural engineer evaluates the soil type and all architectural elements before making the final decision. Remember, the goal here is to fully facilitate the transference of the building’s load, so it’s essential that the chosen foundation design solution is managed by a superior technical services agency.

Brick and masonry provide ready-fabricated construction materials when smaller structures are rising from the infrastructural loam. For those heavier buildings, though, it’s concrete and steel reinforcing rods that provide the load distributing backbone. They lay on compressed gravel, on concrete footings and retainer walls. Slab joints and insulating sheets further strengthen the base. They bring the foundation design strategy full circle, with the below-ground components delivering augmented protective tenacity. Water is stopped by this insulating coating while the specially installed footings combat other issues, such as frost penetration.

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