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Pad Foundations

What is a Pad Foundation?
The simplest foundation for a column in a steel or reinforced concrete framed building is the 'Pad Foundation' or 'Pad Base':

Reinforced concrete


The pad base comprises an excavation, usually square on plan, filled with in-situ concrete. Either starter bars for reinforced concrete columns, or holding down bolts for steel columns, are cast into the wet concrete. Careful setting out is required for both situations. A system comprising precast reinforced concrete bases with pockets for the concrete columns has been developed. These are not in widespread use and can be difficult to line and level on site.

Main Types of Pad Foundation
Two main types are common: Mass Concrete most economic, use these if possible. simply excavate and pour concrete. simple 45° spread of load from column to soil formation:

D B Uniform pressure over whole base D ≥ B/2

Uniform pressure over part of base – ‘punching shear’ and tensile failure of concrete – base too thin D< B/2

C:\My Structures\BEng3 SED\Teaching\Foundations\Pad Foundations .doc


pour blinding .J. The reinforcement allows the base to behave like a cantilever slab: How to Choose? Mass Concrete Bases: use wherever possible unstable excavations quick. very expensive due to extra preparation and inspection.pour concrete.doc 03/11/03 2 .may be used for mass concrete and reinforced bases C:\My Structures\BEng3 SED\Teaching\Foundations\Pad Foundations . excavation is open longer more operations: excavate . Soil Pressure Calculations Concentric Load Soil Pressure p = N + (ρ c − ρ s )g BL ≤ ABC . economic construction high water table adverse changes in soil strata thin soil strata buried services/structures underground obstructions Reinforced Bases: Allowable Bearing Pressures (ABP) A good approximation can be made as follows: Clay (cohesive soil) Gravel (cohesionless soil) Allowable Bearing Capacity = 2 x c Allowable Bearing Capacity = 10 x N Further guidance is in BS 8004 and M. if the soil type and consistency is known.shutter .inspect .engineers may allow for the difference in density between soil and concrete. Tomlinson. ∴ Minimum Base area = N + (ρ c − ρ s )g ABC .Reinforced Concrete - avoid reinforcing a base if possible.fix reinforcement .

Eccentric Load . Resultant within middle 1/3 M N e= M N q max = N  6e  1 +  LB  L B 2.doc 03/11/03 3 . Resultant outside middle 1/3 N eccentricity e = M N M e b B  length of base under pressure b = 3 − e 2  2N q max = Lb Mass Concrete Base Design Check: Depth ≥ Base Length 2 Maximum soil pressure ≤ ABC Reinforced Concrete Bases Design plus: checks as for mass concrete Bending reinforcement Shear at column face Punching shear See worked example C:\My Structures\BEng3 SED\Teaching\Foundations\Pad Foundations .possible need for a rectangular base (B x L) Two cases: 1.