6 Types of Building Foundations in Commercial Construction

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A foundation always has to be strong to support a property. Commercial foundations must be built extra tough to handle the greater weights, wider floor areas, and higher foot traffic of retail sites and other businesses. Each site will also have its own unique profile in terms of the structure and its surrounding environment. Having quality construction on these elements makes for a good start on your final foundation.

Choosing the foundation design that won’t let you down means calling in the concrete experts experts This guide will discuss the basic principles of a solid foundation and spotlight the six most common types of building foundations in commercial constructions.

The Basic Factors of a Commercial Foundation

reinforced concrete as types of building foundations

The first role of foundations is to ensure that construction has a level plane to start on. Foundations help to distribute the structure’s weight evenly across the area to ensure the building stays straight without leaning and that no section of the underlying site is overloaded.

Foundations are also anchors against structural shift that can be caused by severe weather or seismic disruptions. Disturbances in the earth caused by nearby construction can also cause an existing foundation to undergo stress. The principal factors in a commercial foundation are: 

Reinforced Concrete

This material is tougher than the standard mix due to the reinforced steel bars, also known as rebar, that are added to it. The concrete itself provides excellent compressive strength to handle the vast weights of commercial structures, while the rebar provides the tensile flexibility necessary to prevent stretching, bending, or breaking.

Piles, Posts, And Beams

These aspects are made of either concrete or steel (timber is defunct) and act as both supporters of the building’s weight and transmitters of its load into the ground. Sometimes it is sufficient to drive any of these three components into a deep soil layer if an upper layer can’t handle the load. Under other circumstances it is necessary to sink them into the deeper rock strata.

Foundation Walls

These are composed of concrete or concrete masonry units. Masonry units come in many sizes and shapes, making them a versatile way to construct foundation walls when needed to add greater stability to some commercial constructions. You will see these durable and long-lasting foundation additions on many low-rise buildings.

Commercial foundations carry more than just increased load capacity. These structures have many more people inside than residential ones, and all of these employees, customers, and other visitors are relying on the walls and roof staying strong. Selecting which of the most popular foundation designs fits your site is the first step to creating that safe environment.

6 Foundation Types in Commercial Construction

Slab On Grade

Concrete is a powerful load bearer, but it must ultimately work in tandem with the nature of the structure and the strength of the soil to do its job. Environmental conditions like heat, wind, and cold are further vital considerations, as winters can be particularly hard on concrete foundations. Here are the layouts most used in commercial builds:

1. Slab-On-Grade

The standard style of this simple and economical foundation design consists of concrete poured directly into excavated soil to provide a single surface for construction. Areas that reach freezing conditions may have a floating version laid that doesn’t make contact with frosty ground. The one-piece nature of slabs gives them greater resistance against foundational weaknesses like mold, mildew, and pests.

2. Mat

These foundations are also known as rafts due to their two common shapes of a rectangle or a circle. These slabs distribute the structure’s entire weight evenly across the site via columns on the upper floors and are well-suited to areas where the soil load capacity is low. Mat foundations also guard against differential settlement (shifting, contraction, or expansion of underlying soil) and allow commercial constructions to include basements.

3. Spot Footing

This design is common in commercial construction and supports a single point of contact like a post, pier, or beam between the foundation and the underlying soil. Spot footings are like a series of mini foundations because they can be deployed as numerously as the structure’s columns demand, and they are made of rebar and reinforced concrete.

4. Drilled Shaft

This deep cast-in-situ style is also called a Caisson foundation and is designed to carry particularly high structural capacities. It achieves this using either carefully calculated shaft resistance or toe resistance (the level at which the base of a pile resists the earth). Some drilled shaft foundations can descend up to 100 meters and may use both resistance metrics.

5. Pile

This is another deep foundation design that transfers the structure’s weight further underground to a plane of hard rock. Piles are usually used where the rock strata is not so far underground to merit a drilled shaft. These foundations provide structural resistance through end-bearing piles that provide toe resistance and/or friction piles to provide load transmission directly into the soil.

6. T-Shaped

These foundations consist of multiple concrete footings driven deep underground beneath the frost layer, making them highly resistant to freezing. Walls are then erected on these that reach up to the surface for added support before the slab (usually reinforced by a wire mesh layer) is poured between them. Tall commercial buildings benefit from T-shapes, as do sites subject to the freeze/thaw cycle.

Knowing which foundation will be best for your commercial construction requires in-depth consultation with concrete experts. Their knowledge is still an excellent resource, even if your foundation is already laid. Professionals can help you understand how your current structure stands, which makes you better prepared to look after it.

Contact the Experts With Any Questions

Every aspect of commercial success rides on the foundation, from supporting the structure to protecting the people and equipment inside. Having the right partners with years of concrete experience can deliver a solid foundation in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Limitless Paving & Concrete has completed numerous high-profile concrete jobs, and we’re ready to consult with you about making your project the best possible. Contact our offices today to speak to an expert.

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