We have created this Foundation Help & Advice centre to answer your questions about GreenRaft and its insulated foundation solutions. We are also providing information on various foundation types to explain the reason why a particular foundation might be used or has been selected by your structural engineer.

This image shows one foundation solution. There are countless options to support your structure and our foundation help and advice centre is there to explain the many options

It is not an exhaustive list, so if you have a question that needs an answer, please let us know. Hopefully, we will add your question to the section.

There will be some linking between the topics where subjects overlap, This should give a better understanding of the various foundations and how they are used.

It is a huge topic, so you will also find links to other authoritative sites where more in-depth articles are available.

The main factors that influence what type of foundation might be used are the load of the structure, the bearing capacity of the soil, the width of the foundation upon that soil and other site conditions. These site conditions may be soil and strata mixtures, water tables, nearby trees or removed trees.

Help Centre Main Topics

Across the top are five topics related to foundations, that make up this Foundation Help & Advice Centre. The topics cover foundation types, foundation design, thermal performance, costings, and installation.

Pick which one seems most appropriate for your question and see if the answer is in there.

Foundation Design

Yes you do. The foundation is the most important element of the building. Here is why.

The Bedrock of Buildings: Why Structural Engineers and Foundations Matter

A building, much like a human body, needs a strong foundation for stability and longevity. That’s the role a structural engineer plays in the construction process – they design the unseen but all-important element that quite literally holds the whole structure together: the foundation.

The Vital Importance of Foundations

Foundations may be hidden underground, but they are the single most crucial part of any structure. They do a multitude of jobs:

Distributing Weight: A building’s entire weight – the walls, floors, roof, occupants, furniture, and anything else inside – gets transferred down through the structure and into the ground. The foundation ensures even distribution, preventing dangerous tilting or sinking.

Resisting Forces: Foundations keep a building anchored. They resist uplift from strong winds, downward forces from heavy loads, and lateral pressure from earthquakes or shifting soil.

Adapting to Ground Conditions: The type of soil a building sits on greatly affects stability. Foundations must be designed with this in mind to prevent settling, unevenness, or even collapse.

The Expertise of the Structural Engineer

Structural engineers hold the specialized knowledge needed to design a foundation that addresses all these needs. Here’s a glimpse into their process:

Analyzing Structural Loads: Before the foundation plan begins, engineers meticulously calculate all the forces the building will need to endure. This includes dead loads (the building’s own weight), live loads (occupants, furniture), and environmental loads (wind, snow, seismic activity).

Assessing Ground Conditions: They commission geotechnical surveys, examining soil type, density, bearing capacity, and the water table. This knowledge is critical to choosing the right foundation type and dimensions.

Foundation Design: With load and ground data in hand, the structural engineer selects the foundation system. Common types include shallow foundations (spread footings, slabs), ideal for stable soil, and deep foundations (piles, caissons) required when the topsoil is weak.

Materials and Detailing: Structural engineers specify the strength and depth of concrete and steel reinforcement patterns. They can also produce detailed construction drawings so contractors can execute the foundation exactly as intended.

Consequences of Poor Foundation Design

Inadequate foundations cause a cascade of costly and dangerous problems:

Cracks and Deformations: Walls crack, floors slope, doors and windows jam due to the building shifting.
Water Intrusion: Improperly designed foundations can lead to leaks and basement flooding.
Safety Risks: In extreme cases, poorly supported buildings may become unsafe or even collapse altogether.

A Note on Cost

While it’s tempting to skimp on the unseen foundation, it’s the opposite of wise. A well-designed foundation is an investment protecting the entire building above it. Costs related to fixing foundation problems down the road vastly outweigh a slightly higher initial construction budget.

In Conclusion

Never underestimate the power of what lies beneath your feet. Structural engineers are the guardians of a building’s stability, using their expertise to design foundations that ensure the structure stands strong and tall for its intended lifespan.