Last edited 16 Sep 2020

Footings in foundations

Foundations provide support for structures, transferring their load to layers of soil or rock that have sufficient bearing capacity and suitable settlement characteristics.

The term ‘footing’ or ‘footings’ is an ambiguous one that can be interpreted in a number of ways.

In some cases ‘footings’ is used as a synonym for shallow foundations. Shallow foundations are typically used where the loads imposed by a structure are low relative to the bearing capacity of the surface soils. Here, the most commonly used term is ‘strip footing’ (or footings), referring to a strip foundations, used to provide a continuous strip of support to a linear structure such as a wall. Approved Document A of building regulations defines minimum widths for strip footings based on the load of load-bearing walling they support.

‘Pad footings’ or ‘isolated footings’ refer to rectangular or circular pads used to support localised loads such as columns. ‘Raft footings’ or ‘raft foundations’ refer to foundation slabs that cover a wide area, often the entire footprint of a building,

However, the term ‘footings’ is also used sometimes to describe the brickwork or blockwork between the foundation and the damp proof course (DPC) level. In this situation, ‘footings’ maybe constructed as cavity walls, single skin blockwork or as blocks lain on their side.

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