The foundations of the house is the most important part of your build structure, if this part is not done properly it could cause you severe problems in the future with your build. There are different methods of building the foundation as you can find out below, but whatever method you choose always make sure that qualified professionals are putting the foundations down for you and always make sure that you have a certified engineer or architect on hand to check and make sure that the job is done correctly.
Things to consider before the foundation is constructed;
Remove all the topsoil completely from the area where the house is going to be erected and make sure that there is no roots of any kind of vegetation left behind.
Make sure that the site is marked properly and the levels checked by your qualified engineer or architect.
Before digging any trenches, ensure that you know the locations of all the drain pipes, electric, gas and phone pipes that you might be coming across or that would effect your build as far as the connections to your property.
Dig for the foundation according to the Building Regulation making sure that you have the right width and depth for external and internal walls.
Prior to pouring the concrete, make sure that the walls of the trenches have not collapsed and that there is no water or loose material present. Should you need to reinforce the sides make sure that it is done properly otherwise it could collapse on the poured concrete.
Insert wooden pegs into the middle of the trenches to indicate the level for the concrete foundation.
Place all the drainage pipes into the positions that need to be placed underneath the house.
It is generally recommended that the concrete poured should have a strength of at least 25 N/mm2 for house foundations reinforced with RSB’s (Reinforced Steel Bars), but make sure that your qualified engineer or architect has specified exactly the level they would recommend and check the strength on paperwork when the concrete is delivered before it is poured. Remember, foundation is the most important part and it does not harm to double check everything in order to avoid any future problems.
Types of Foundations;
Strip Foundation, this is when the foundation is poured into strips covering the base for all external and internal walls, chimneys or any other load bearing structure.
Raft Foundation, is when concrete is poured over the whole area of the house making it look like a big slab and strong enough to carry the total weight of the structure. Raft foundations require special design and construction and should only be considered if it is done by special contractors and supervised fully by your qualified engineer or architect.
Piles Foundation, is not used as much as the others in Ireland but what it involves is the construction of the house on top of concrete piles situated on different locations to carry the weight. As the total weight of the walls centre on beams joining the concrete piles, it is recommended that you make sure that concrete is very high on strength and is done according to the instructions of your qualified engineer or architect. Get a specialist to do this for you.
Whatever method you choose to construct the foundation, make sure that the contractor is fully insured against any problems that might arise in the future.
Tip; Never dig for the foundation in the rain, the walls will collapse and the trenches will be full of water before you have the chance to pour the ready mix.