Foundations represent both one of the largest single items of cost in a scheme and that part of the scheme which normally carries the greatest financial risk for the client. Yet too many schemes proceed on the basis of a site investigation carried out by a specialist site investigation company who has no responsibility or even knowledge of the proposed structure.
It is then often left to a piling contractor to design piles for the applied loads and he has no chance to optimise his design because the structure is already fixed by the structural engineer.
In our view, it is vital that the foundations are designed as an integral part of the structure and not as an afterthought by a separate company.
We prefer to be responsible for the site investigation so that we ensure that we get the information that we need to undertake the design and always design our own piling, if piling is considered necessary. That way we can optimise the pile depth and diameters to suit the ground conditions and determine the layout of temporary works, pile platforms etc. to suit both the method of piling and stability of the site during the works.
By considering the structure, the foundations and any piling together, in the light of an appropriate site investigation, we can be sure that we achieve the most economic design overall.
Where we have been brought in to give specialist advice to other consultants we have been able to cut costs significantly using this approach. In some cases reducing overall costs by half.
Foundations may take many forms depending on the ground conditions and the structure. From shallow strip footings to deep piled basements to sophisticated piled rafts. We have undertaken most types of foundations.