Whether a home extension or a brand-new office building, good foundations and piling form the basis upon which all else is built. Starting with solid foundations means that any structure is less likely to move with the soil, shift, or collapse. This applies equally to domestic and large-scale commercial operations and projects.
The Benefits of Good Foundations
Even before laying down a brick, it is important to ensure that the structure has solid foundations. The good news is that piling contractors can ensure that a building has strong foundations even before the rest of the contractors enter the site.
One consistent issue that all piling and foundations companies face is where the foundations have been damaged. This can happen due to the following:
- Soil Movement: Over time, it is very common for the soil subsurface to shift. This can be due to a changing water table below ground, heavy rainfall over a period of time, or building and construction work nearby that changes the surrounding soil structure. As the soil moves and shifts, it can cause otherwise solid foundations to shift and crack as they are put under increasing pressure and stress.
- Poor Construction: Unfortunately, a number of foundations are simply poorly installed. It may be that the wrong concrete mix has been used or that there is not sufficient reinforcement for the weight of the building.
- Old and Heritage Buildings: Even the best foundations are vulnerable to the march of time and it is not at all uncommon to find many older and Heritage-listed buildings in need of underpinning work because the foundations and piling have moved and become unstable.
The Problem of Damaged Foundations
No matter how it has been caused, unstable and damaged foundations can result in the following issues:
- Allowing rising groundwater to seep into walls and other structures, causing further damage
- Providing ideal conditions for dry rot and black mould to form inside the building
- Cracked walls and an unstable building structure that could be potentially dangerous for occupants
- Allowing vermin and insects to enter the building through cracks and holes
The good news is that many contractors also perform underpinning services. This is ideal for older and Heritage-listed buildings that have damaged foundations. Underpinning is a difficult process that involves reinforcing and strengthening the existing foundations.
Underpinning is also often required where a second storey is intended to be added to an existing home. In these cases, the existing foundations may not be strong enough to accommodate the additional weight of another storey and so they are strengthened and reinforced through the underpinning process.
Having solid foundations in place is an essential part of building and construction work. It is also necessary for home extensions and where older buildings need to be strengthened.