Designing a Foundation



Foundation is the part of structure below plinth level up to the soil. It is in direct contact of soil and transmits load of super structure to soil. Generally it is below the ground level. If some part of foundation is above ground level, it is also covered with earth filling. This portion of structure is not in contact of air, light etc, or to say that it is the hidden part of the structure.

Depth of Foundation

Depth of foundation depends on following factors.
1. Availability of adequate bearing capacity
2. Depth of shrinkage and swelling in case of clayey soils, due to seasonal changes which may cause appreciable movements.
3. Depth of frost penetration in case of fine sand and silt.
4. Possibility of  excavation close by
5. Depth of ground water table
6. Practical minimum depth of foundation should not be less than 50 cm. to allow removal of top soil and variations in ground level.
7. Hence the best recommended depth of foundation is from 1.00 meter to 1.5 meter from original ground level.  


Footing is a structure constructed in brick work, masonry or concrete under the base of a wall or column for distributing the load over a large area.

Width of Foundation/Footings

The width of footings should be laid according to structural design. For light loaded buildings such as houses, flats, school buildings etc having not more than two storeys, the width of foundation is given below.
1. The width of footing should not be less than 75 cm for one brick thick wall.
2. The width of footing should not be less than 1 meter for one and half brick wall.

Different Processes in Foundation Work

The processes executed in the foundation works are given below. 
1. Excavation of earth work in trenches for foundation.
2. Laying out cement concrete.
3. Laying the footing in case of raft or column construction.
4. Laying Anti termite treatment.
5. Laying Brick work up to plinth level.
6. Laying Damp proof course on the walls.
7. Refilling of earth around the walls
8.  Refilling of earth in the building portion up to the required height according to plinth level.


Foundation of building


Foundation work for construction


Foundation of building-brick work


Foundation of building-filling of foundation

Precautions while designing 'Foundation'

  1.  A foundation should be designed to transmit combined dead load, imposed load and wind load to the ground. 
  2. Net loading intensity of pressure coming on the soil should not exceed the safe bearing capacity.
  3.  Foundation should be designed in such a way that settlement to the ground is limited and uniform under whole of the building to avoid damage to the structure. 
  4.  Whole design of the foundation, super structure and characteristics of the ground should be studied to obtain economy in construction work.

Ratio of Cement Concrete and Mortar for Foundation

  1.  The cement concrete 1:8:16 is generally used in the foundation of walls in construction work. 
  2.  In case of column raft cement concrete 1:4:8 is the best recommended ratio for it in the foundation.  
  3.  For brick masonry cement mortar 1:4 to 1:6 is used as loading condition.  

 In case of column and raft footings up to plinth level cement concrete 1:2:4 or 1:1.5:3 are used. 
Soil having Safe Bearing Capacity

Dry coarse and well graded dense sand have maximum shear resistance and maximum bearing capacity. In general submerged soil and clay have less bearing capacity.  

Precautions during Excavation of Foundation Work

The depth and width of foundation should be according to structural design.

  1.  The depth of the foundation should not be less than 1 meter in case the design is not available. 
  2.  The length, width and depth of excavation should be checked with the help of center line and level marked on the burjis.
  3.  The excavated material/ earth should be dumped at a distance of 1 meter from the edges. 
  4.  Work should be done on dry soil.  
  5.  Arrangement of water pump should be made for pumping out rain water.
  6.  The bottom layer of the foundation should be compacted.  
  7.  There should be no soft places in foundation due to roots etc.  
  8. Any soft/ defective spots should be dug out and be filled with concrete/ hard material


Foundation of building-roots in soil

Foundation of building- remove roots from soil

Foundation of building-fill pit with hard soil

Foundation of building-soft soil

Foundation of building- remove soft soil

Foundation of building-fill soft soil pit

132  Comment(s)
1234Next  >>
By Anonymous - On 10/11/2015 1:00:36 AM
waow!! what an interesting article, please keep on...
By Anonymous - On 10/1/2015 2:15:50 PM
Enter your feedback about this articlev start construction 2ed & 3rd flour duplex home 25X40 east facing 2ed floor kitchen,hall one bedroom & puja room 3rd floor 2 bedroom one steady room
By Anonymous - On 8/20/2015 11:24:59 AM
I need some advice. Our home was 3" ht from earth level. but after time to time the road lvl becomes more & more. Now the road becomes 6" height than flr lvl. So there is water deposit in rainy season around us. What i will do? Can i increase the floor lvl to +2"?
By Anonymous - On 7/31/2015 4:45:50 PM
Really it's very helpful to understand about foundation work, because this topic is basic point.
S Nagarajan
By S Nagarajan -  On  11/10/2014 9:57:37 PM
I need an information regarding my house. I have a normal stone foundation house (not a pillar foundation) with 5 feet foundation depth. Pl. inform me if this sufficient to construct a second floor to the house which already has ground floor (constructed in 1991), first floor(constructed in 2011). Pl. send reply to my e mail ID
By Anonymous - On 9/27/2014 12:54:11 PM
the article is knowledge giving.. but can i know generally in construction sites, which type of foundation is used? raft or column or wall footing??
By Anonymous - On 8/31/2014 2:45:53 AM
very comprehensive but makes no difference between foundations of different loads
By Anonymous - On 8/29/2014 7:11:08 AM
I appreciate the way things are arranged, that is comprehensively, am enjoying your knowledge, thanks may God bless you
By Anonymous - On 8/28/2014 10:21:55 PM
this article helpfull for me....i have one doubt, which type of soil used bellow foundation with out settling.
By Anonymous - On 7/30/2014 7:59:42 PM
Good p.m, am a building technology student of abubakar tafawabalew uni. Please what kind of foundation can b use for a 4 storey building
By Anonymous - On 7/5/2014 10:07:57 PM
ER.Wasim naru it is very intersting and helpful to me and my friends also..thanks
By Anonymous - On 7/5/2014 10:05:31 PM
Wow it is very intersting and helpful to me and my friends also..thanks
By Anonymous - On 5/31/2014 10:51:41 PM
Thank you, most interesting explaination.
Manish Gogna
By Manish Gogna -  On  5/20/2014 3:12:45 PM
it was really very useful.
By Anonymous - On 5/11/2014 1:34:41 PM
thakfull for black
By Narendra -  On  3/30/2014 4:19:22 PM
Is size stone masonary must bellow plinth beam?
By Anonymous - On 3/22/2014 10:22:09 AM
Please help me with giving me the information to construct a 4 stories new building. I don't know what would be the foundation design. The building is G+3
By Anonymous - On 3/13/2014 8:40:52 PM
Vijay K Vairagade
By Vijay K Vairagade -  On  3/8/2014 9:37:50 PM
Very Informative and useful to the builders and contractors and specifically for me as a Individual Home Builder. THANKS a LOT.
By Anonymous - On 2/26/2014 5:26:36 PM
Hi, I have a question. Should the plinth beam be below the ground level or above?
For a 3 storeyed building, how much depth should be given in foundation excavation with red soil type?
By Anonymous - On 1/8/2014 3:41:37 PM
design like bildg. foundation for making minimum 02 storey bldg.ang roof slab design details etc. also to be display. k.ezhil vanan,civil engineer.
By Anonymous - On 12/30/2013 2:06:43 PM
very nice and very useful to civil supervisors
By Anonymous - On 12/13/2013 2:00:55 PM
By Anonymous - On 11/28/2013 12:17:05 PM
A nice 1, but to level for the lay of concrete before the bricks
By Anonymous - On 10/18/2013 12:49:46 PM
Nice ! it is so helpful to me . the figures and explanations make me more understand
By Anonymous - On 8/2/2013 11:59:00 AM
very nice to understand .can u give us more information on foundation by figures
By Anonymous - On 7/6/2013 4:32:28 PM
simply superb..can u pls tel me how to find t xact dimension of a footing for various heights of a building?..
By Anonymous - On 7/6/2013 4:28:23 PM
simply superb..can u pls tel me how to find t xact dimension of a footing for various heights of a building?..
By Anonymous - On 6/26/2013 8:46:55 PM
much needed information
By Anonymous - On 6/18/2013 10:58:12 AM
the article is very helpful...and is greatly explained about each and every corner of the work....thnx...
pls tell me the length and width of the foundation for a four floor hospitals uttar pradesh side type of soil...
By Anonymous - On 6/12/2013 9:45:19 PM
its amezing for me its is ful of knowlege
By Parvez -  On  5/26/2013 1:37:22 PM
i want to construct a new building with ground plus 4 floor , what will be the construction cost of whole building measuring G+4 - 3800 sq/feet
By Anonymous - On 4/22/2013 10:09:26 PM
I feel that Mr. S L Gupta (Civil Engg)is right and in case the level of the floor is to be raised than additional beam i.e. strap beam shall be used.
By Anonymous - On 4/5/2013 5:12:19 PM
Very interesting and helpful information provided.

cosntruction novice
By cosntruction novice -  On  4/1/2013 4:11:25 PM
For foundation and columns, I have been advised to use "dust" rather than "ghagger sand" -- which my contractor is using. ANy thoughts? How do I differentiate dust from what is being used right now..
sam (Civil Engg)
By sam (Civil Engg) -  On  4/1/2013 4:11:25 PM
I am designer, i am offering if any one want to design their home (Structural design, architectural design, vaastu, , plans, 3d views) call me +919810636565
By trsvijith -  On  4/1/2013 3:41:15 PM
this part is very critical stage of a dream home, so the article is vey helpful
S L Gupta (Civil Engg)
By S L Gupta (Civil Engg) -  On  4/1/2013 11:33:29 AM

Dear Murthy

          Lay or construct plinth beam at plinth level i.e. at floor level.

GVS Murthy
By GVS Murthy -  On  4/1/2013 10:46:47 AM

I would like to construct my new house one and half feet above the road level. Should the plinth beam be at ground level and raise a brick wall up to required level then go for filling or raise the level of the ground by filling up to required level then go for plinth beam, which one you suggest for the good strength of my house with four levels. Thanks & Regards

By Anonymous - On 2/14/2013 10:44:20 AM

Can i get full design of single storeyed house(structurel)
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