Below the superstructure are the foundations. Defined as the part of the building where you pour money into the ground never to be seen again.
Most new houses are built on standard strip or pad foundations. This involves digging trenches under the walls, pouring the appropriate layer of concrete in the bottom with reinforced steel tying the whole structure together. Building up from this to just above ground level or supporting the superstructure on reinforced columns to transmit the load evenly with minimum settlement.
Dealing with Settlement
Settlement is caused by movement of the ground beneath the house. The ground may have been made up and not given enough time to settle. Settlement can cause trouble in a house on the side of a hill if there is land movement down the slope. Trouble can be caused by building on clay subsoil which moves according to the amount of water in the ground. During the dry period, the clay dries out and shrinks. Tree roots can be a special problem. The root system of the average tree has a coverage roughly equal to the spread of its branch. Roots close to the foundations draws moisture from the ground and can cause the foundation to shrink and move. It is unwise to have large or fast growing trees near your foundation walls.
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