Building the Foundations


A foundation is the element of an architectural structure which connects it to the ground, and transfers loads from the structure to the ground. Foundations are generally considered either shallow or deep depending on soil structure & type.

Footings & foundations are the critical ingredient to a stable structure, failure to provide adequate footings will see structural movement resulting in cracking in brickwork, ceramic tiles, excessive floor cracking & plaster joints cracking & tearing.

There are several kinds of footings: pier & beam, strip footings & raft foundations.

The most commonly used foundation used for Masonry load bearing construction is the strip footing.

Raft foundations are used typically where soil structure is weak & the load is spread over the concrete slab area. this is a series of engineered trench footings.

Pier & beam footings are used where soil is very unstable & subject to movement. Piers are generally circular in diameter & are often deep below the surface. An engineer will design such footings with steel reinforcing to tie the pier to the beam & in turn ties in to slab.

It is a local government authority requirement that footings are to be inspected by an approved certifier prior to placement of concrete. This protects the buyer & also preserves the integrity of the builder. In years gone by it was not uncommon for builders to remove the steel reinforcing as a cost cutting measure.

Underpinning is a term given to what is known as strengthening an existing foundation. An engineer will determine a design best suited to the need. Soil conditions may change circumstantially due to natural & physical changes resulting in footings sinking or an uplift occurring. This is may occur when footings have been under engineered. Underpinning may also be required where there is an extension to a building.

There always seems to be a misconception that foundations are an overly expensive item, but the facts are, that a properly designed & engineered foundation will never be regretted.

Design Master Homes can be contacted for a no obligation appraisal. Contact us on 1300 459 150 or email us