Foundation is one of the structural element that is use when designing a building. When i was an undergraduate student, Our lecturers always tell you that we should be very careful during design. Fast-Forward years later, i now understand why design of a structure is important.

So i will be talking about one of the most important structural element which is the foundation. A foundation to me is the first and i will say the most overworked structural element because it carries the beams, columns etc.  Shallow and Deep Foundation are the two types of foundation currently existing. 

A good design must not only be safe but must aim to save construction costs, time and materials. So therefore we would be looking at simple procedures of designing a foundation.


  1. Decide the location of the columns and the type of load that will be acting on them e.g live load, dead load or wind load: This aspect will help you know from the building plan where the column and load bearing are located. It should also give appropriate partial safety factors for these loads.
  2. Estimate allowable bearing capacity Pressure of the soil using ground investigation report: From a study of the site ground investigation (if available). It will help know the strength of the soil at various depths or strata below foundation level. It will help determine the safe bearing capacity at various levels.
  3. Decide on the depth of the foundation: The invert level (underside) of the foundation is know by the minimum depth below ground level. It can be as low as 450mm but depending on the site and ground condition it can exceed 1m.
  4. Calculate the foundation Area: The foundation area is gotten from the characteristic (working) loads and estimated allowable pressure. This process will help you know the type or combined type of foundation that should be use. The selection is based on economics, speed and buildability of construction.
  5. Calculate the settlement: The settlement will help you check that the total and differential settlements are acceptable. In the case they are unacceptable, then a revised allowable bearing pressure should be determined.
  6. Know the Cost: The cost should be know before finalizing the choice of foundation type. This will further help you know how to determine the economics of increasing superstructure costs in order to reduce foundation costs.
  7. Consider Time: Time is often of the essence for a client needing early return on capital investment. If a project has due for it long, it will make the client feel unsafe and worry. Therefore it is important that the design are safe and should be check properly because if not, it will stop the initial time of completion.

Foundation are very important in every structure so we are advice to be precise with it during construction. It can bring a lot of harm to some many people in different ways we don’t know.


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