Efficient design of piled foundations for low-rise housing by Aled Phillips

By Aled Phillips

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Site investigation is discussed in section 4 of this guide. Assessments of foundation costs should consider both direct and indirect costs, including the costs of materials, transport, operational costs and timescales of installation (including any temporary works requirements), and disposal costs of waste arisings. The site constraints and limits that these will impose on operations will impact on the programme and construction cost. Foundation selection will also be influenced by environmental regulations associated with noise and vibration, contamination and waste generation, and issues of sustainability.

Understanding the ground conditions and associated ground risk is of key importance. The earlier in the development programme that these issues are understood, the greater the opportunity to develop effective and efficient solutions. Site investigation is discussed in section 4 of this guide. Assessments of foundation costs should consider both direct and indirect costs, including the costs of materials, transport, operational costs and timescales of installation (including any temporary works requirements), and disposal costs of waste arisings.

However, based on the results of the questionnaire survey discussed in Appendix A, it appears that often it is incorrectly assumed that the purpose of the factor of safety is to cater for such unforeseen ground conditions. The factor of safety is not intended to be a replacement for a well-designed ground investigation, for example the potential presence of soft clay within a medium-dense gravel will not necessarily be mitigated by simply applying a larger factor of safety. Uncertainties in the calculation method Basic calculations of pile load capacity are usually based on empirical relationships, relating pile behaviour to derived soil strength parameters by applying empirical coefficients.

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