Last edited 09 Sep 2020

Ground beams in construction

Beams are structural elements that transfer loads imposed along their length to their end points where the loads are transferred to walls, columns, foundations, and so on.

Ground beams are beams that are designed to span between pad foundations, piles and so on, as an alternative to traditional foundations.

Ground beam.jpg

Ground beams are generally constructed from concrete, and for low-rise buildings are commonly constructed in situ, however, as this can be relatively time-consuming method, the use of precast concrete ground beams has increased.

The advantages of using ground beams are that they are quicker to install than conventional footings, and allow uncertainties regarding ground conditions to be overcome. They also create a very accurate bearing level, reducing the amount of levelling up that is required prior to starting to build up the superstructure.

Ground beams may be used to support brick work, block work and so on, but may also be used at the edge of in situ concrete floor slabs, where they form permanent shuttering. They tend to be square or rectangular in section, and can be designed to incorporate notches, end details and sloping faces.

Precast ground beams are cast to the required lengths in an off-site factory and are then lowered into place on site, typically spanning between the tops of piles. Small in situ concrete ‘stitches’ are used to connect and bolt the beams securely to each other and the piles. Secondary beams can also be connected to the ground beam system to form a beam and block ground floor.

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