For any building – residential, commercial, or industrial – the foundation is the entire structure base. Without a well-constructed foundation, buildings can be prone to whole structural problems. Likewise, a quality foundation can help protect buildings from many unforeseen issues, such as settling, shifting over time, seismic action, and much more.
The professionals who work to build foundations generally work for foundation construction services companies or foundation piling services companies, or some variation thereof. In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between these two types of companies, the typical options for foundation construction that they employ, and various techniques for foundation construction that are used, and provide some information on how to choose the right foundation construction services or foundation piling services companies for your needs.
Most of this article is written from the standpoint of general contracting services, and not necessarily for a homeowner or residential facilities. Often, new construction of foundations for homes is managed through a developer or land manager, and not subject to homeowner or consumer input or choice. However, for residential consumers who need new foundation construction services, as well as those commercial and industrial clients who have any input on the matter. The information in this article should help provide clarity on what foundation construction services and foundation piling services do, how they do it, and how to choose the best company for your project.
First, about the differences between foundation construction services and foundation piling services. Foundation construction services are the general or overall services that build foundations for buildings and other fixtures. Foundation piling services offer a very specialized type of foundation construction component, where piles (girders, pipes, or other materials) driven into the ground, either through vibration or traditional impact pile-driving techniques. It could be said that foundation piling services make up one aspect of foundation construction services. However, there are separate, specialized companies.
In general, whether a foundation construction services company can perform the tasks of a foundation piling services company, or merely contract out those responsibilities, is something that can be researched and ascertained before the commencement of a foundation construction project. However, it is reasonably immaterial in the long run – whether they perform the pile services themselves or have a designated contractor to do it, the important thing is it gets done and done well for projects that need foundation piles. And many foundation construction projects don’t require piling services at all.
Many factors will often dictate the type of foundation for a given project. Those factors include the overall soil and subsurface makeup of a site, the local construction code, the footprint, height, load, and other elements of the building to be built atop the foundation, the stability of the land, the seismicity of the area, and much more.
That means that foundation construction services and foundation piling services often don’t have options to provide the project manager or consumer, but instead need to be able to execute the appropriate foundation type of the site based on all these factors. The overall goal, of course, is to provide the ideal foundation type for the site and building, without being more robust (and therefore higher in cost) than necessary. That is particularly important to understand, as incredibly elaborate and expensive foundations are undoubtedly available, with seismic damping and flexibility, double or triple reinforced connections, and much more, but these are unnecessary expenditures for most foundation construction projects.
The most typical types of foundations that foundation construction service companies use today are slab foundations, concrete piles, combination walls, steel tubes or corrugated wall piles, and similar. Within those categories, there are many variants and types for different sub-surface conditions, building sizes and heights, and other factors. The overall goal of the foundation constructions is to provide reliable, stable bases for the buildings above them, with sub-surface anchoring to prevent or negate settling, seismic movement, soil and bedrock changes below the site, and to help distribute building load, wind shear, and other forces.
Despite the myriad of foundation options or variants that might be required based on site-specific conditions, the overall foundation construction techniques turn out to be quite a few. In fact, foundation construction services companies and foundation piling services companies generally use only a few basic methods or principles in building foundations.
The first kind of foundation construction technique involves utilizing existing soil, rubble, or other filler material under the predetermined foundation location. This material is packed and compressed as much as possible, usually with earth-moving equipment, and then a slab foundation is poured over the surface. Foundation construction services typically use this method for residential, commercial slab foundation constructions, though the usefulness is limited based on all the factors discussed in the previous section, and only specific geographies and building types suited to this basic foundation construction technique.
More often, for more significant commercial and industrial buildings some piling system in their foundation construction is usually used. Foundation piling services drive reinforcing elements into the ground, often many meters deep, to help keep the foundation and walls of a building level, stable, and resilient in the face of settling and ground movement. In times gone by, wood was often used for piling but has mostly been replaced by steel or metal variants, since wood tends to rot far faster than steel rusts or decays underground. Once foundation piles are driven and capped (either via pedestals or foundation walls), then the foundation can be poured around them, and the walls constructed. That is a simplified view of the foundation construction process, which has many more intricate steps, that can also vary based on all the factors discussed in the previous section.
The piles used in foundation piling services work help to distribute the building load and counter any natural forces from eroding or expanding soil, seismic activity, or settling. Piles become anchors against horizontal and to a lesser extent vertical forces, that would otherwise move (and thus likely crack or permanently damage) the foundation and walls of a building.
For larger, skyscraper-style construction, there are even more specialized types of foundation construction services, though the overall principles are the same – often steel girders are used as piles upon which the foundation and skeleton of the structure built.
When you need a foundation construction services company or a foundation piling services company, or both, for a foundation construction job, you want to make sure you choose the right company to fit your needs. While some overall foundation construction outfits may employ these foundation construction companies as contractors, others may need to hire them outright for some tasks. Primary factors to consider when trying to choose the right company include:
In conclusion, foundation construction services and foundation piling services companies perform a critical role in the building of all residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Through the various foundation construction techniques and materials, they use and working in coordination with architects, planners, geologists, the site itself, construction codes, and other factors, foundation construction, piling service experts identify the appropriate type of foundation for a building project and implement that solution. The building is only as stable as the foundation under it, and the skilled pros from foundation construction services and foundation piling services companies are constructing those foundations for us to live, work, and play.
There is no surprise that foundations are incredibly important for the structural soundness of your home or office – their very name is synonymous with the base or underlying principles of something. Foundations are the first part of a house to be built and are the underlying basis upon which the entire structure rests. Naturally, therefore, damage to a foundation can endanger the whole structure and its overall stability. Foundation repair services and foundation testing services experts can help to identify any foundation problem, provide advice for the best solution to solve the problem, undertake the remediation, and perform post-repair foundation testing. In this article, we’ll explore all those aspects of foundation repair services and foundation testing services.
Most of the foundation repairing service companies also conduct the necessary testing, both to identify problems and ensure the after-repair quality of work. However, in some cases, certain companies that only specialize in foundation testing services, and not repair, may exist, and be consulted or retained for the testing portion of any foundation issues. It is not common, as most foundation repair services consider being able to test and identify the problems for themselves as essential to safe and effective foundation repair solutions. Therefore, specialized foundation testing services may work directly with foundation repair service companies to ensure post-repair quality.
Numerous common foundation problems can develop over time in homes and commercial buildings. Most are not a result of any construction deficiencies (though they can certainly contribute to problems). Instead, processes like soil erosion, settling, seismic activity, and even water damage can lead to foundation problems. When a home or business owner sees cracks in the foundation or walls, bowing or warping of wall surfaces, sinking floors over crawl spaces, or anything else out of the ordinary with a foundation and the supports, it’s time to call on foundation repair services and foundation testing services. These experts can help to diagnose the extent of the foundation problem, its cause, and offer solutions to fix the problem.
The most common types of foundation problems include:
Almost all these signs are indicative of severe foundation problems that need repair, and over time will get worse. The first step, when any of these symptoms appear, is to have more thorough testing done by foundation repair, testing services to determine the extent of the problem, and the best course of remediation action.
Testing and evaluation of foundation problems can be a complicated process. To get the picture of what’s going on under your house, as well as inside and around it, foundation testing services will use different equipment and metrics to address things like soil density, the angle of the slab, the degree of shift, water flow, and damage, and similar. In some cases, they may leave monitoring equipment for days to get a whole picture of what is going on with your property.
Some of the tests may require heavy equipment, including drill-like devices that are used to take soil samples around the outside of the foundation. Others utilize simple devices like levels, tape measures, or more high-tech devices such as laser surveyors and rangefinders.
In general, following a comprehensive array of tests, foundation testing services will then present results, and advise you services that they recommend, either through their associated foundation repairing services or else in a format you can share with any foundation repair services company.
Next comes the hard (and potentially expensive) part – the actual foundation repairs themselves. The various foundation repair techniques and approaches that any given foundation repairing services company will use vary based on factors such as the exact nature of the problem(s) you are experiencing, as well as their expertise and professional preference for different materials and techniques. In general, though, common foundation repair techniques that are used to address different foundation problems include:
After a foundation repair services company ends sufficient repairs, either the same company or a third-party foundation testing services company will make additional testing, to ensure that the repairs have stopped the shifting. And settling of the foundation, floors, walls, and similar are now on the level (in the case of adjustable repairs) once again. That helps ensure that the repairs were sufficient and that consumers got their money’s worth, as many of the services from foundation repairing services companies can be quite costly. Though not as expensive as having your entire home rendered uninhabitable, or having your entire foundation replaced, which are beyond the scope of most foundation repairing services companies’ area of expertise and abilities.
Additionally, foundation repair, testing services may recommend either periodic monitoring appointments, or provide you with some home monitoring equipment that can be used to alert homeowners or business owners to shifts or further settling or slippage, bowing walls, etc. These often take the form of small, battery-powered, or plug-in devices, that utilize seismic sensors, or in some cases a laser level and reflector, to track the slow movement that can occur over time. It will help provide consumers with a warning or alert if they begin to experience the unwanted movement of their foundation or basement walls more than a certain threshold. The goal is to provide an indication as soon as possible, as foundation problems are far easier to correct in an early stage. For example, it is much easier to install reinforcements on the basement walls when they are 2 degrees off from the vertical axis than when they are 10 or more degrees – and by then, the house may be unstable and too far gone to repair. Early detection can help accomplish foundation repairs most effectively.
In conclusion, it should be clear that foundation repair services and foundation testing services are critical experts to rely on in the event of the foundation, slab, and basement problems. If you notice any of the common symptoms of foundation problems in your house, don’t delay – contact foundation repair services, foundation testing services as soon as possible, to ensure issues are identified, fixed satisfactorily, and monitored. The quicker it happens; the more likely affordable repairs will be possible!