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Get Them Right: Everything You Need to Know About Ground Works and Foundations

Everything You Need to Know About Ground Works and Foundations

If you are planning on creating the groundworks and foundation of a building yourself, you better get it right the first time, because the cost of groundworks and construction foundation is not cheap!

What are groundworks, you ask? Well, the groundworks of a building refer to the work preparation that you do on the grounds of the area that you plan on constructing a building on. Groundworks are known as the first stage of construction. 

The foundation of a building refers to the bottom part of a building that is fixed in and above the soil. Foundation provides buildings with structure.

It is because the groundworks and foundation are what provide buildings with dimensions and strength, that it is so vital that these parts are constructed correctly. It’s like the old saying goes, if you build your house on a poor foundation, … it will come tumbling down! 

To ensure that you build the groundworks and foundation of your next construction project correctly the first time, we are going to go over all the main aspects of groundwork and foundation building that you need to know.

Get ready to have your house built on the most solid groundworks and foundation around! 

Groundworks and Groundworks Investigation Sites

As stated in the introduction of this article, the groundwork of a construction project is the work preparation done on the grounds of the area that the project is built on. To ensure that you correctly prepare the groundwork of your next construction project, you must carry out a grounds investigation on the worksite. In fact, according to the law, it is illegal to not have a groundworks investigation.   

A groundworks investigation identifies what the grounds that you are using were previously used for. Groundwork investigations also figure out if there are any future stability or other types of problems in the way of you preparing your groundwork. 

Planning enforcement officers use groundwork investigations to decipher if there are any defects, contamination, abandoned mine, geology, hydrology, hydrogeology, and/or soil contamination issues going on within a construction project. Planning enforcement officers will even use the data from groundworks investigations to later help design the building.

Having an investigation can save you from the hefty cost of groundwork if it is done right. To clear the groundworks of a site, the topsoil needs to take up the footprint of a structure and the depth of the structure must coincide with the lay of the land.

You may also need to level any sloping sites. Also, to level off any development platforms, do not forget to retain the walls of your construction project.

 Foundations

Because the foundation provides a building with structure, it must be built in the same way that your approved plans stated it would. Otherwise, your constructed building may overlook and overshadow neighboring buildings.

One of the first things you must do to build the foundation of a building is establish a datum point. You must then determine what it takes to level off the work site at that datum point. A datum point is a fixed point that you measure all your heights based on. 

You can base your datum point off the finished floor level, or an existing building or benchmark. You must then dig up foundation trenches and pour and level concrete within them.

To do this, first, make sure that the ground is stripped of soil and vegetation. Then, make sure to have an oversite treatment beneath the ground-bearing concrete floor slab. Finally, prior to pouring concrete in the foundations, hammer pegs, preferably made of timber, into the sides where you marked the top of the concrete levels to be.

Once you pour the concrete, make sure to level it with a straight length of timber. Leveling the concrete will bring it to it to its necessary finish. Concrete for construction often comes in the form of a Lorry, or a large motor vehicle that transports goods.

Types of Foundation

There are two major types of foundations, trench fill and strip. To learn more about these foundation types, check out the information provided below.

1. Trench Fill Foundation

A trench fill foundation is what most self-builders and large-scale construction operators use. One reason why self-builders and large-scale construction operators use trench fill foundations is that these foundations do not require laying brick down below ground.

Instead, you pour concrete within 150mm of the surface ground level. This, in turn, helps the construction of your building get out of the ground at a quick rate.

Only use trench fill foundation on stable grounds with trench sides that are firm and strong. We also advise that you use clay or chalk soils when building a trench fill foundation.

2. Strip Foundations

The base layer of concrete is thinner in strip foundations than in trench fill foundations. In fact, strip foundations are only around 30mm thick.

The exact thickness of strip foundations is dependent on soil conditions, the design of the building, and the number of masonry courses (up until the damp-proof course) in the walls. Because they spread the load of their buildings out over a greater area, strip foundations often need softer soils to build upon. Because soil foundations, such as clay, “shrink” into the ground, foundations formed in grounds that are rocky and stony tend to be shallower than soil foundations.

Time to Get to Work!

Now that you understand the main aspects of groundworks and foundation building, it is time to utilize what you learned to construct the most solid and durable buildings around.

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