Foundations, footings and making a great start to your house build

Building a new home is an extremely exciting prospect. But very few people will embark on the process without acknowledging that they will face challenges, possibly obstacles and likely endure an element of stress. Having at least a basic understanding of the terminology used by the building trades and knowing what’s involved with the different processes can go a long way to alleviating some of the anxiety. As specialists in excavation works for house sites, we’re sharing our knowledge with some basics – the difference between foundations and footings.


Starting with a Solid Foundation

It may be a very old saying but it has stood firm (excuse the pun) over time – always start with a good foundation. It is widely acknowledged that foundations are a critical element in building. Possibly the most important. It needs to take the full weight of the structure and ensure the house doesn’t sink into the earth below. Failures in the foundations can lead to cracks in the house and other serious outcomes.

Getting the foundations right is heavily reliant on the quality of the excavation works. The depth required to be excavated is extremely significant – shallow or deep, depending on the weight and hence size of the house to be supported. On many sites, the design may include underground spaces for car parking and swimming pools which involve deeper excavations.

In the terrain of our region, we encounter a range of soil types and ground conditions to be excavated including solid bedrock. Berry Excavations has a range of excavators to suit the job required and to access the varying property locations across the Whitsundays. We utilise the latest laser levelling technology to ensure the excavation meet the precise specifications for the foundations and specialised rock breaking machines to tackle bedrock.

The choice of foundation material such as a concrete slab is constructed over the excavated site and to suit the type of footings selected.


Next the Footings

Not all sites are excavated completely flat for the foundation or footings. Trenches may need to be excavated to allow for the footings, depending on the type of footing being installed. Footings are the structures on the actual soil and must be designed by a structural engineer to spread the load of the house over the foundation.

Footings are designed based on a number of factors including the building weight; the type of construction used in the building walls and their height; the type of foundation soil or material; the site slope; and the drainage required.

The most commonly used types of footings include:-

  • Strip: reinforced steel concrete strip poured into trenches which run around the site created a continuous footing.
  • Concrete pad: individual holes strategically location across the foundation, filled with concrete up to the level of the ground. Simple, cost-effective and suited to lightweight houses usually with timber frames.
  • Pole construction: involves poles placed in holes and backfilled with concrete.
  • Grout injected piles: used on sites which are deemed unstable or with soils that could be become unstable such as beaches and mud flat areas and it is not possible for footing construction. When this type of construction is specified, Berry uses a specialised backhoe known as an Auger, to remove the soil/dirt from the hole to make way for the grout pile to be inserted.
  • Timber piles: as the name suggest, this involves driving piles into the ground to support the building’s floor.

That is a very basic explainer of what is or can be a very complex process in the construction of a house. But will hopefully clarify at least some of the initial stages of your house build. We have extensive experience working on all types of sites, both challenging and straightforward, and can deliver the quality of works to establish a firm foundation for your dream house.

For a quote on excavating works for your site foundations and footings, contact Berry Excavations on 07 4946 1370


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