Whether you are a construction worker who makes dozens of buildings a year or a new homeowner who is trying to break ground on their first property, there are a few challenges everyone who is going through the process of construction will face. During the planning phase, you are able to make decisions about how you will construct your building in a way that will make it stand the test of time, and no feature is more important when discussing longevity than the foundation. While there are a few common elements across most foundations, there are also many variations that you can choose from that might offer a little bit more value for your particular construction project. Here are three very different tactics you might consider.
Bored piers have been a feature of major construction projects for decades, and for good reason. They are a sturdy and reliable way to ensure a strong foundation by utilising good soil conditions and work by creating a cylindrical hole, deep into the ground, which can then be filled with a steel frame and concrete. This is reliant, as mentioned, on favourable soil conditions, but even when there are challenges (poor soil quality) they can be overcome through cases inserted after the hole is drilled to ensure the integrity of the bored hole. A major benefit to bored piers is that they are generally quick to install which, when dealing with such large equipment, translates to a cheaper foundation than other options. Mostly useful for larger, commercial buildings, they can also be used in private residences if there is a particular need for extra support.
If you are intending on creating any sort of subterranean level in your building, then a raft foundation is probably what you should go with. You might assume that buildings that go beneath ground have enough foundation simply through the presence of a basement and, while this does provide a lot of stability, the problem is that the building is now bearing down on soil that can be weaker than that on the surface. A raft foundation is a concrete slab poured evenly at the very bottom of the building which acts as a way to distribute the weight of the building evenly. Just like a raft distributes the weight of its passengers and cargo on the surface of the water, so a raft foundation distributes the weight of the building on the soil.
A very common method of creating a strong foundation, individual footings are simply concrete columns that have a concrete slab (called a footing) at the base of each column, therefore distributing the total weight of the building among many individual parts. This is usually favourable to having all of the weight of the building on one continuous supporting bit of concrete, because if there is structural damage, it is usually limited to only one column rather than putting the entire foundation at risk. It is also a very cheap and easy method to install, meaning that it is quite easy to find agreeable construction crews who know how to install individual footings.