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A beginner's guide to housing foundations

Foundations can often be the most difficult aspect of a project and one of the most important elements in a completed building project.

Without proper management of building foundations, the completed project could end up demolished in the worst case. It’s essential therefore that the foundations are inserted correctly, using careful planning and a knowledgeable team.

What do you need to know about foundations before starting a building project?

Soil Surveys

Soil surveys are not essential but can be very useful for planning foundations. The process involves digging holes in different areas on the site and evaluating the findings to see which subsoil conditions are present throughout the whole of the site.

A soil survey will affect the type of foundation you require. It will not always mean you will need to dig. Some foundations, such as ‘Raft Foundations' simply sit on the soil reinforced by a single concrete slab.

Factors that affect foundations

There are many factors that can get in the way of digging your foundations, including;

  • Tree Roots: It is possible that your site will be affected by tree roots, particularly if you are building in rural areas or in environments which have not previously been built upon. In the case of tree roots, deep trenches are filled with concrete with a compressible material which can withstand any growth in the ground.
  • Water and sewage pipes: Water pipes should be laid prior to building if they are going to pass through a concrete foundation, or alternatively they can be pushed through later. With sewage pipes, they can be ducted if the pipes leaving the building are to be deeper than the top of the foundation.
  • Electricity and gas: Are usually surface installed so they don’t need to be ducted.

Digging Foundations

When digging your foundation trenches, be aware of soft areas of ground. You may need to change the depth of the foundations depending on what the condition of the soil is.

It's a good idea also to think about where the soil will go once it has been dug up. Will you hire a dumper or keep it somewhere on site?

Building and warranty inspectors will need to approve the excavated trenches before any concrete is poured. If it's given the all clear, consider how you will load the concrete into the trenches; for example with a pump or directly.

Here at BelowGround, we're specialists in foundations and underpinning for both domestic and commercial projects.

Operating in the whole of the South of England and Wales, we’re here to help with your next project. Contact us today to get started.


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