Soil type impacts on strategy Underpinning

Underpinning Melbourne buildings is affected by the soil type. Soil type affects the stability, load bearing capability and resilience of the foundation. The correct underpinning technique is therefore crucial. Understanding soil types will help you design solutions for underpinning that will maintain the stability of a structure over time. More info?

Clay soils expand when wet, and contract when dry. This cyclical fluctuation over time can lead to foundation displacement or structural damage. In such cases, underpinning is required to stabilize the soil and reduce soil moisture fluctuations. Pier and beam underpinning is a method that uses deep piers in order to reach more stable soil layers beneath the active zone of clay. This method reduces soil contraction and expansion.

Sand soils are good for drainage, but their cohesiveness is weak, and this can cause other problems. Due to inadequate load support, buildings on sandy soils can settle. In sandy soils, concrete or grout injections can fill in voids to strengthen foundations. This method reduces soil settlement and increases the soil’s load-bearing capability.

Silty soils are less permeable than sandy soils but compress better, which can lead to subsidence when the weight of the building packs the soil particles tightly together. In these cases, a slab of raft can be used to spread the weight in order to prevent excessive sinking due local soil compaction.

Peaty soils are rare, but they can be difficult to work with due to their high organic content. To prevent the ground from shifting, buildings on peaty land need to be well-underpinned. Deep soil mixing involves the addition of stabilizing chemicals and organic soil to increase strength and reduce compaction.

Loamy soils are a mixture of sand and silt with a high percentage of clay. However, the presence too much clay can cause foundation problems. The composition of the soil and its seasonal variations must be evaluated. To address the loam quality, underpinning methods can mix clay and sand soil approaches.

Rock soils are more stable and need less underpinning. Cracked or weak rock, however, may need underpinning to ensure stability. The foundation can be pinned to solid rock in order to prevent it from shifting.

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