Foundations 101

A building’s foundation, in Ottawa as well as everywhere else, distributes the weight of it over a specific area the ground. A foundation is made up of several individual parts known as “footers.” In scenarios where columns are present, each column will have its own footer, in addition to the footers supporting the outer walls of the building. This is foundations 101.

Naturally, all building structures here in Ottawa rest on the soil or bedrock in the ground, where structural engineers have determined the ground is strong enough. The process begins with a geological study to find out if a spot of ground, (soil), has the ability to support a given weight of a building structure. The result of this study determines the ‘safe bearing capacity’, (SBC), of the soil involved.

The numbers associated with the outcome of the study read as such, 20T/m2, this translates into an area of soil having the capability to support 20 tons per meter squared. Accordingly, this can change as a function of the depth needed to build a foundation in addition. Moreover, the greater the depth the more weight the soil can support.

However, knowing that the top soil is softer than the soil at a given depth, there is a chance that the softer soil can exist as well, at any given depth. This is what can cause a foundation to sink, and crack, if sudden changes occur in the soil because of the absorption of excessive moisture in an undetected pocket of soft soil, which could exist on the edge of a tested area, making the ground weaker. Now after reading the basics on foundations 101, you are aware of how foundations can be compromised because of the moisture in the Ottawa soil.