Whilst our sales representative and surveyor will probably have discussed some of the detail of your proposed new construction it is prudent at this stage that we re-enforce some important points.
During these discussions we will have no doubt touched on the construction process. One very important and crucial element of the building process is the foundations. Foundation design should take into account many factors and one of the key factors that heavily influence design are the site specific existing sub-soil conditions.
Many problems experienced post construction come as a result of the foundations not suiting the ground conditions. Whilst most construction can be done using traditional strip foundations, sometimes more elaborate and complicated solutions are necessary to tackle poor, unstable or unusual ground conditions. There are many soil types such as
All these different types of soil require careful consideration and may require a specific bespoke foundation design.
Obviously at this point in the process, that is before we know exactly what the sub-soil condition are, we have to make some assumptions regarding your existing sub-soil conditions, that is unless you have already identified and voiced any unusual or onerous conditions of which you are aware.
Once the sale is confirmed, and in order to make the assessment of the prevailing conditions, it is standard practice prior to starting the main construction to carry out a trial dig. This involves digging a hole (approx. 500mm2) in your garden normally abutting the existing house wall usually down to the depth of your existing house foundations. This allows us to look at what foundation the house was originally built on, which is a useful indicator of any problems the Builder/Architect originally encountered and helps us try to identify any unusual sub-soil conditions.
Whilst this is an indicator it does not always follow that the new foundation should mirror the existing as ground conditions can change over time. Other external influences such as trees and shrubbery as they mature can damage foundations if left unchecked.
The soil type is also a key factor in design, as each type has a different capacity in terms of its load bearing properties, or its propensity to move in terms of shrinkage or swelling.Once we have carried out the trial dig we will be able to assess and confirm that our assumptions in terms of foundation design.
Prior to the trial dig and for initial pricing purposes the assumption will always be that traditional strip foundations at a standard depth will be satisfactory.
In the unlikely event that we find something more onerous and complicated then this will be discussed with you at the time. If agreed we would investigate further, which sometimes requires utilising the services of a Structural Engineer who would design a new foundation that suits the prevailing sub-soil or site specific conditions. Site specific conditions can include things like mature trees whose roots can have an adverse effect on the structure by causing movement, and may need to be removed or that root barriers are installed around the proposed structure.
If it is necessary to revise the design it may also result in an increase in cost. Our investigations and conclusions would take into consideration any changes in costs and that would be communicated to you before any further work or progress in the process is made. Should the increases in cost be prohibitive and as a result you cancel the contract we will only charge for the time involved in the trial dig and any Structural Engineers costs that may have been incurred.
It should be stressed at this point that the vast majority of this type of work goes without requiring anything other than traditional strip foundations
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