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AppropriateBuildingMaterials:aCatalogueofPotentialSolutions:Fundamentalinformationonbuildingelements:Foundations

AppropriateBuildingMaterials:aCatalogueofPotentialSolutions(SKAT
1988430pages)
Preface
Introduction
Fundamentalinformationonbuildingmaterials
Fundamentalinformationonbuildingelements
Foundations
Floorsandceilings
Walls
Roofs
Buildingsystems
Fundamentalinformationonprotectivemeasures
Examplesoffoundationmaterials
Examplesoffloormaterials
Examplesofwallmaterials
Examplesofroofmaterials
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Examplesofbuildingsystems
Annexes

Foundations
General
Thestabilityofabuildingdependsprimarilyonthefoundationitisbuilton.Theconstructionofthefoundationisin
turndependentonthetypeofbuildingand,aboveall,ontheloadbearingcapacityoftheground.Softsoils,orthose
thatbecomesoftwhenwet,requiremoresophisticatedandexpensivefoundationsthanhardsoils.Naturalhazards,
suchasearthquakes,hurricanes,floods,etc.,alsohaveaninfluenceonfoundationconstruction.
Onaccountofthenumerousrequirementsandconstraints,thereisalargevarietyoffoundations.Withregardsto
lowcostconstructions,fivemaintypesarebrieflydealtwithhere.
TypesofFoundations
Linearorstripfoundation
Thisisthemostcommontypeoffoundation,consistingofacontinuousstrip,whichsupportsaloadbearingwall
alongitsfulllength.Itisalsousedtobridgeorcantileveroversoftportionsoftheground,inwhichcase,itmustbe
reinforced.

FIGURE
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Spotorpadfoundation
Thisisthecommonfoundationforcolumnsorpoles(skeletonconstructions),andmainlycomprisesasquare
(sometimesrectangular)footing,whichisthickerthanthewidthordiameterofthecolumnorpole,thelengthand
breadtheachbeingatleastthreetimesthethickness.
Slaborraftfoundation
Thistypeoffoundationisoftenusedforsmallbuildingsorstructureswithuniformlydistributedloads(egwatertanks).
Slabsonhomogeneousgroundcandowithoutreinforcement,butoverlargeareas,reinforcementisadvisable,as
nonuniformgroundconditionsleadtodifferentialstresses.

FIGURE
Pilefoundation
Buildingonpoorsoilsorunderwatercallsforthistypeoffoundation.Holesaredugdownthroughtheweaksoilupto
theloadbearinglayer,andfilledwithstablefoundationmaterial(eitherplacedinsituorprecast).Thepilescarrya
reinforcedconcreteslaborareconnectedatthetopbybeams,whichactlikestripfoundations.Lateralstabilityis
achievedbyplacingsomeofthepilesataslant.
Steppedfoundation
Buildingonslopinggroundmakesasteppedfoundationnecessary.Itisaspecialformofstripfoundation,designed
tosavematerial,andtoprovidehorizontalsurfacesatintervalsalongtheslope.
Mostothertypesoffoundationarevariationsoftheonespresentedabove,orareofspecialtypes,whichareless
relevantinlowcostconstructions.
DesignConsiderations
Basicpartsofafoundation
Alinearorstripfoundationisbuiltupasfollows:

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FIGURE
Thefootingservesthreemainpurposes:1.toprovideasolid,levelbaseforthefoundationwalls2.totransmitthe
weightofthehouseevenlytothesoil3.toresisttheliftingforcesofhurricanes.
Thefoundationwallalsoservesthreemainpurposes:1.toprovidealevelbaseforthewall2.toprovidethe
necessarybendingandtorsionstrengthfortheconstructionofthehouse3.topreventundergroundmoisturefrom
movingupintothewalls.
Dimensions
Thefootingmustbedeepenoughtoreachgoodsolidearthfreefromplants,roots,filledupmaterials,etc.Average
depthsaregenerally50to100cm,butshouldbeconsiderablydeeper,ifwashingoutorshiftingduetorainor
floodingisexpected.
The"easymethod"ofdeterminingthedepthoffootingisbyaskingneighbours,whosehouseshaveshowngood
stability(withoutcracksorotherdamage).Incaseofdoubt,deeperfootingsareadvisable.
Sizesoffootingdependonthestrengthofthesoilandweightofthehouse.Theheightshouldpreferablyexceedthe
wallorcolumnthicknessandthebaseshouldbewideenoughtopermita60angleofloaddistribution.Average
footingwidthsliebetween30and60cm.
Foundationwallsshouldpreferablybethickerthanthewallstheysupport,andhighenoughabovegroundtoprotect
thewallfromrainsplash.Heightsof20to50cmabovethegroundarecommon,butdependonrainfallintensityand
roofoverhang.
Excavation
Foundationtrenchesshouldbecarefullydugtoprovideahard,levelbottomsurfaceandsidewallsatrightanglesto
it.Roundededgesmustbeavoided.

FIGURE
Theexcavatedsoilshouldberetainedforbackfilling,whenthefoundationwallisready.Thebackfillingshouldhave
thesamecharacteristics(soiltype,moisture,density)asthesurrounding,undisturbedsoil.
Materials
Foundationscanbemadeofseveralmaterialswithdifferingqualities.Agoodreinforcedconcretefoundationisthe
strongestandbestfoundationforanytypeofresidentialbuilding.Wherecementistooexpensiveorscarce,other
materialscanprovidesatisfactoryresults.

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Material

Qualityoffoundation

Reinforcedconcrete

Verygood.Earthquakeresistantconstruction

Cementblocks

Poortogood

Stonesandmortar

Mediumtogood

Burntbricks

Medium

Stabilizedmudbricks

Poortogood

Stabilizedrammedearth Foraridorsemiaridregionsonly
Protectionoffoundations
Penetrationofrainwaterandgroundmoistureislargelypreventedbygoodwaterproofconcrete,naturalstone,
waterproofburntbricks,butalsowithawaterproofcoatingormembrane,andprotectiveroofoverhang.Drainage
tubeslaidinagravelbedalongsidethefootingarealsoeffective.
Forprotectionagainsttermites.seesectiononBiologicalAgents.
Thefoundationcanbeattackedby:

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FIGURE
1.Rainandwind
2.Hillsidesurfacewater
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3.Hillsideundergroundwater
4.Seepagewater
5.Groundwater
6.Termites
MiscellaneousAspects
Softclayeysoils,whichareunsuitabletobuildon,canbeconsolidatedbyprovidingverticaldrainswhichdrawout
thewater.Thesecanberigidsanddrainsorflexibledrains.Cheapandeffectiveflexibledrainsusingcoirandjute
fabrichavebeendevelopedattheUniversityofSingaporeandtheCentralBuildingResearchInstituteinIndia.
Thewaterfromfreshconcreteorfromthemortarinmasonryfoundationsisquicklyabsorbedbythesoil,ifitisvery
dry.Therefore,foundationtrenchesshouldbeproperlywateredbeforeplacingthefoundationmaterial,sothat
absorptionisreduced.
Inhighlandregions,inwhichtemperaturescanalsofallbelow0C,thewaterinthesoilcanfreezeandexpand,
damagingthefoundationandconsequentlythewholebuilding.Thisproblem,calledfrostheave,occursmainlyin
siltysoils.Theproblemisavoidedbyplacingthefootingbelowthefrostline,whichcanliebetween50and100cm,
ormuchlowerincolderclimates.

FIGURE

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