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India’s buildings require a strong foundation

June 2019
A building’s foundation performs a number of functions, such as bearing the load of the building, anchoring it against natural forces, and isolating it from ground moisture. Thus, a poorly constructed foundation can be hazardous for the occupants.

“The primary function of a building’s foundation is to form the basis and hold the structure together,” avers Shabbir Kanchwala, Senior Vice President, K Raheja Corp. “A house anchored to its foundation will retain its structure better and be less likely to be swept away in a natural disaster.”

And Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Founder & Managing Director, Hiranandani Group and President, NAREDCO, shares, “An accurate geotechnical investigation helps to build a strong foundation. Selecting the correct type of foundation—pile or open foundation—and ensuring the most appropriate founding strata are other important factors.” He believes the concrete foundation should be properly vibrated to ensure voids in the concrete have refrained.

“Structural consultants and civil contractors have a significant role to play,” says Deepak Suvarna, Chief Projects Officer-Head Projects, Mahindra Lifespaces Developers. “Expertise in concrete technology is a prerequisite. Also, exhaustive soil investigation and effective designing of foundation systems as per soil conditions are essential. Water-prone areas are best avoided and a detailed subsoil drainage system helps to ensure foundation strength.” A strong foundation can withstand natural disasters or shocks and take adequate loads in most eventualities.

“Designing a building foundation is done in a way that the weight of the entire structure is distributed evenly to prevent the subsoil from spreading,” says Samyak Jain, Director, Siddha Group. “It is crucial to assess the soil type;– loam, rock, sand and gravel are good as foundation-friendly soil. To get a stronger base, concrete needs to be poured in deeper trenches dug in the soil till a hard surface is reached.”

For his part, Rohit Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Housing and Development, and Joint Secretary, NARDECO Maharashtra, lays down various steps: “First, you need thorough soil investigation; then half-meter contour. After this, you need to slightly overdesign the load-bearing capacity of the foundation; strengthen the foundation through a continuous pour process; give sufficient time and use a modern curing compound; and provide anti-termite treatment and waterproofing treatment according to international standards.

SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN