Foundations – Piling Foundations for Domestic Buildings | DIY Doctor
The foundations upon which anything is built, be it a business, personal relationship or any number of other things are essential to how long it lasts and also whether it’s fraught with hassle and expense.
This is an even more true statement when it comes to building and construction, as, let’s face it, if the foundations of your building are not up to scratch then it could potentially come tumbling down.
With this in mind we thought we would have a bit of a look at the types of foundation available, starting with the little-knowing type – the piling foundation.
What are Piling Foundations?
This type of foundation is considered a ″Deep Foundation″ meaning that it should be used in situations where the ground is softer than normal and may not have the required load bearing abilities.
In terms of our reference to deep this normally means where the foundations go down more than 3 meters below ground level in order to reach more solid and stable ground so that any buildings built on the foundation will be adequately supported.
As you may have guessed, where deep foundations exist so do shallow foundations. These include the more commonly known foundations such as strip foundations, raft foundations and pad foundations (more can be found about these here).
How are Piling Foundations Constructed?
In most cases, piling foundations are a series of steel or concrete ″piles″ that are sunk down into the ground until a suitable stable depth is reached and then a ring of reinforced concrete beams are laid on top to form what is know as a ″ring beam″. Any structures are then constructed on top of the ring beam.Basic piling foundation showing piles and reinforced ring beam
What Types of Piling Foundations are There?
For most domestic and commercial construction situations there are two sorts of pile:
- Displacement Pile: This type of pile is pre-constructed, shipped to site and then driven down through the ground using a special machine know as a Piling Hammer. This machine is capable of generating large amounts of force that is used to push the piles down through the existing soil until they are in situ, displacing the earth that was previously in their place
- Replacement Pile: Large holes are dug where each pile is to be placed and then either steel or concrete piles are put in each hole and secured. These piles simply replace the soil and earth that was previously there
Are There any Up-Sides to Foundation Piling?
As I’m sure you can imagine, in the event that it is confirmed that you need foundation piling for an existing structure or one that you are building, you could literally visualise the pound coins rolling out the door and to some degree this is the way it is. The unforeseen costs of a project can sometimes seal its demise.
However, once the dust has settled and you have resided yourself to the fact that the piling has to happen, at this stage you may like to consider geothermal piles.
This type of piling is constructed in such a way that you can incorporate a ground source heating system into the property that you are installing piles into.
In basic form, plastic piping is added to the inside of the piles that is then filled with a heat transfer fluid. The pipework is then connected on a new circuit to the internal heating system within the building allowing you to use heat that is contained within the thermal mass of the ground to heat the building – free heating!
This system also works on the flip side – in warm climates, unwanted heat from a structure can be captured and fed into a system such as this and then piped out and dispersed through the ground.
Obviously this type of system comes at a greater expense as not only are specialist piles involved but also all the pipework and heat exchange equipment that goes with a system of this type, but if you look at it in terms of what you could potentially save in heating bills, then it’s certainly worth considering.
What Effects the Type of Pile That can be Used?
When it comes to the type of pile that you can use, this depends on several factors that include:
- The type of structure that is going to be supported
- Where the structure is situated or is going to be situated
- How accessible the site is
- How close it is to any other surrounding buildings
- Is it going to be situated near or over water
- What the current state of the ground is
Overall, displacement piles tend to be the most cost effective but they cannot be used in every situation due to the effects on surrounding buildings when they are driven down into the earth and the subsequent vibrations that result.
Where large amounts of earth need to be removed to sink the piles down, it is often cheaper to have the piles bored down into place.
Where an already existing structure has been effected by subsidence or requires piling, jack piles are normally the way to go. For this type of pile, the existing foundations of the building are excavated and the piles are driven down in sections below. Any removed or damaged foundations are then reconstructed to provide a stable base.
When access is quite tight or very restricted mini piles can be used. Again the clue is in the name – These are generally quite small and due to this they can be screwed or driven down into the strata without the need of large, specialist equipment.
Quite often, cost is one of the biggest factors in the decision process and this can be effected by a fair few things:
- Materials and time needed to construct piles
- The cost of the piling compared against the building that is going to be constructed
- The preparation that is required to the site e.g. access, excavation, repairing the site after works are completed
- The cost of the skill and knowledge required to design, test and construct piling
If you are interested in finding out more about piling foundations, how they are used and the different types commonly available then check out our project page here.
To pile or to pad and beam, that is the question…
Hi, we’re about to do an 8m x 4m 2-storey extension and have an oak tree 4metres from the proposed extension flank wall. We’re also on heavily clay-based soil. One structural engineer has suggested pad and beams as being the easiest and most cost-effective solution, whilst another has said we should definitely pile it. Anyone have any experience/knowledge/opinion on what’s best given our constraints?
And having just had a look around the forum, I’m now concerned about the cost of piling: I’ve been given a quote by a piling contractor of £3k for 6 piles – which is doable, but I’m seeing threads describing piled foundations for smaller extensions costing £10k+. In which case, would my best bet be – whichever route we decide on – to get the structural engineer’s drawings and consult both the piling contractor and my builder before proceeding with any works – just to make sure that the builder doesn’t have to add costs to his quote (which was based on 1m foundations) if we pile it. I know that the piles will cost £3k, but is there something else with this type of founation that could add to the builders costs? Sorry – realise that’s two questions now, but advise on both would be much appreciated!
Does your piling quote spec how deep the piles will go without extra charges? Does it mention how much extra per metre they charge or is the quote for a completed job? There is an extension build in projects section that’s just been piled and I’m sure he added the costs in there. ..
If your concerned with ground movement i’m not sure how a pad resolved your situation given that a pad sits close to the formation level.
Are we talking screw piles / concrete piles / stone piles?
Maybe some more information would help give some context to the situation.
Thanks for the replies.
easiest and most cost-effective solution,
Click to expand…
Were those the only two criteria?
Whilst pad and beams allow for roots to go in between, and are useful for bridging large roots, there is certainty more risk of movement long term if things change significantly. That’s not to say it will occur, just the risk is there, and that risk may be small or larger depending on several factors.
With piles you are paying more to reduce/remove that risk.
Update: I’ve now spoken to the structural engineer who said if you require foundations that go below 2.5m’s, it’s cheaper just to pile. The piling company hadn’t mentioned the cost of ground beams would also need to be taken into consideration for a piled solution (boy am I glad I looked on this forum!), so what I though was going to cost 3kish, they’re now saying 8-9k to get it piled and everything else done and ready for brickwork. My builder said he’d knock 4k off his costs as he wouldn’t have to do the foundations, so we’re not that much out anyway.
spoke to another piling company who said that …- it’s going to be cheaper to do rafts!
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Whether it is or not is not the issue. What matters is whether the piling company are qualified to determine if a raft is actually suitable. An independent structural engineer is the person to decide. You will get a floating extension tied to a fixed house. You can probably visually what could happen.
You seem to be concentrating on price, which is a bit dangerous for foundations. Paramount, is “what foundations are suitable”, and then comes cost (vs. risk).
6 piles doesn’t seem like all that many. My 11 x 5.5m extension had 14 or 15 (I can’t remember now). As has been mentioned, normally the price is only to a certain depth, with every additional metre costing you more.
Once you have your plans, email round to various companies – I found quite a variation in the prices and what was included in the ‘normal’ prices.
Check whom will do the groundworks so there’s no misunderstanding between the builder and the pilers.
Cheers both – all sound advice. The piling company suggesting rafts have been established locally since the 1970’s so it should be safe to assume they know what they’re talking about. They also provide a guarantee with the work. That said, if the price difference between rafts and beams isn’t significant, then I’ll probably go with what the SE suggested I.e. beams (however I’ve spoken to 3 now and they’ve all said different things, ha!).
One final thing if anyone has any experience of this: we have a mains sewer that we approximate – based on manhole positions – to be 500mm from the flank wall of the new building. Providing that’s the case, and it doesn’t take a turn under the building, we fulfil all the criteria not to have a buildover agreement. What we need to avoid however is getting down there with a piling machine on site, and finding we’re going to need a buildover agreement. Anyone have any suggestions of how we might best establish the sewer position more precisely. I had a cctv survey done, which was beyond useless; is trial pits the only way to be certain?
A drain survey by a company that knows what they are doing will be able to advise the location of drains and pipework.
The water board usually have a specific contractor you must use for build over, so speak to the water company, they will either carry out a drain survey against your plans at your cost or advise you of the contractor (think they give a choice of 2) you must use.
My parents had to have a buildover agreement last year and the above advice is from this. Your local water company might be different to my parents.
The issue we have is that the drain bends and then straightens up. We just don’t know how quickly it bends, and – bizzarely(?) – the guys doing the CCTV drain survey said that CCTV wouldn’t be able to establish this. Does anyone know if that’s correct or not? As long as the drain bends before 4m were fine. But I would much rather know in advance for certain where it bends and then runs straight. Would CCTV normally be able to tell this?
They should know, they can zero the counter at the start of the drain and then from there the software calculates the distance cover.
For the bend they should be able to measure the length of the bend they can then calculate the radius of the bend.
How much was your drain survey?
Normally for a decent one looking at a few hundred £
e fulfil all the criteria not to have a buildover agreement. What we need to avoid however is getting down there with a piling machine on site, and finding we’re going to need a buildover agreement. Anyone have any suggestions of how we might best establish the sewer position more precisely. I had a cctv survey done, which was beyond useless; is trial pits the only way to be certain
Click to expand…
Have you spoken to your water Company?
Build over agreements are really build near agreements…..you need one if you are building within 3m of a public sewer.
To position it you need a thing that goes down the sewer, then you track it with another thing on the ground.
Have you dug down? Are you definitely on shrinkable clay?
I did a job with an oak tree 4 metres away, the client got the soil tested, it was found to be load bearing mudstone lower down and just a 1 metre footing.
For piling, you need: driven piles, they are filled up with concrete and some rebar is cast in so it pokes out the top.
Then a load of rebar with special bends to a schedule is wired in place
Then the whole lot is cast in a concrete skirt
Then you need beam and block suspended flooring.
And you will need a structural engineer to design the piling and ring beam
Alternative is a raft, which again needs an engineer to design, could be more awkward with tree and drain issues. Rafts float around, piles stand on stilts. Neither will move around with the house unless that has same foundation spec.
I’m pretty sure the water company will not allow you to pile within 15m of their assets unless its screw piles only. I can’t remember the exact requirements so may be wrong but worth checking out.
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Pad and Beam Foundation
Piled foundation with block and beam floor
Cost of piling — is this fair?
Steel Column Fixings
- Jamie Thompson
Table of contents
- 1 Features of the combined foundation
- 2 Technology of the pile-strip foundation
- 2. 1 Marking
- 2.2 Excavation
- 2.3 Foundation pile
- 2.3.1 Well drilling
- 2.3.2 Reinforcement
- 2.3.3 Casting
- 2.4 Foundation strip
- 2.4.1 Underlay
- 2.4.2 Footing
- 2.4.3 Waterproofing
- 2.4.4 Insulation
- 2.4.5 Formwork
- 2.4.6 Reinforcement
- 2.4.7 Concreting
- 2.5 Waterproofing
9 0005 2.6 Insulation
- 2.7 Backfilling
Combined pile foundation used to enhance the bearing capacity. It is used exclusively on soils with low design resistance to prefabricated loads from the building. It is extremely complex in calculations that are not available to an individual developer.
Features of the combined foundation
For a specific project, the choice of foundation is influenced by the geology and topography of the site. With a height difference of 1 m between adjacent walls of the cottage, strip foundations are ineffective. They are subject to serious lateral loads. Therefore, pile-strip foundation (SLF) is selected on flat areas with a height difference within the specified limits.
Heaving forces are practically not taken into account when designing piles. However, a strip foundation of small depth is forbidden to be used on clay soils without ensuring the elimination of swelling. Otherwise, the soil exerts significant pressure on the sole of the MZLF, the tape may come off the piles, on which there are no such loads.
The bearing capacity of MZLF, even without calculations, is quite sufficient for prefabricated loads of 2-3 storey brick cottages. However, on silty sands, peat bogs, fresh, not naturally compacted, embankments, MZLF will inevitably sink into the soil annually.
Attention: It is for the latter case that the tape is placed on piles that pass through unstable horizons, resting on a layer with a high bearing capacity. Therefore, the MZLF can be reinforced with piles only when organizing drainage, insulating the blind area, the sole, or the entire perimeter of the building.
Pile-strip foundation technology
To reduce the construction budget, pile-strip foundation (SLF) is often built on its own. Concrete is made on site, the capacity of concrete mixers is usually not enough for pouring in one step. Therefore, a pile field is first made, then the MZLF is concreted. When ordering mixers, the structure can be made completely monolithic by laying the mixture in one go into the wells, then into the formwork of the tape.
Attention: Often a pile-strip foundation is called a grillage according to the pile heads. This design does not experience swelling forces, since there is always a distance between the base of the grillage and the ground. Beams only collect loads, distribute them to piles. The technology differs in calculations, operating modes.
The placement of full-scale axes for SLF uses standard technology, taking into account distances to significant objects:
- reference angle – binding to the red line of the road (3 m to the center of the carriageway of the lane, 5 m to the street of the village), the border of the neighboring site (3 m)
- front facade – perpendicular or parallel to the street
- two side walls – triangle method for finding a right angle (sides 5 m, 3 m, 4 m)
- Diagonal verification – must match to within 1 cm
Attention: The pile-strip foundation is marked with strings / cords along cast-offs 1-1. 5 m from the edge of the trenches. floor support).
Depending on the design of the lower floor ceilings, earthworks are carried out in the construction site:
The soil is removed from the site or distributed over the site. For MZLF, special equipment is usually not used.
Attention: At the same stage, perforated tubes are laid in geotextile for near-wall, ring drainage, depending on the level of GWL.
Pile part of the foundation
Bored piles are more difficult to manufacture than screwing in screw structures. Therefore, this technology will be considered. To fill the piles, it is necessary to drill wells to the bearing layer below the freezing mark. Install the formwork, place the reinforcing cage in it, lay the mixture, compact it with a vibrator.
Due to the fact that manufacturers of motorized drills, hand tools for making holes in the ground produce equipment of 50 cm in diameter, the size of the wells is limited to this value. Depending on the width of the tape, the piles can be arranged in one or two rows. In practice, in individual construction, a single-row scheme is used, since the width of the MZLF does not exceed 60 cm.
For bored piles, there are several types of formwork, depending on the purpose, material:
- roofing material – rolled into a cylinder, the edges are fixed with staples, a budget option that does not provide protection against tangential forces from soil swelling
- asbestos-cement pipe – has additional bearing capacity, but does not provide concrete waterproofing
- polyethylene pipe – has a smooth outer surface, dramatically reduces pull-out loads on the pile, provides waterproofing of reinforced concrete
Attention: Regardless of the material, the pile formwork is usually not removable. This slightly increases the construction estimate, but increases the operational life of the structures.
To increase the torsion strength of reinforced concrete, piles are reinforced with frames purchased from manufacturers or manufactured at the construction site. The technology has the following form:
- from reinforcement A400 with a periodic profile of 8 – 16 mm, bars are cut along the entire height of the pile + 30 cm for embedding into the tape (they are bent at a right angle in the upper part)
- rods are tied with ring, square, triangular clamps from A200 reinforcement without corrugation 6 – 8 mm in diameter
a Attention: The spacing of the clamps is 30 – 60 cm, it is preferable to fasten them with wire twists rather than welding. Unlike tape, reinforcement of piles with composite reinforcement is allowed.
For small drum volumes, the piles are cast separately from the belt. To do this, a funnel is installed on the formwork, the mixture is placed inside, compacted with the tip of a deep vibrator.
Normal compaction is evidenced by the cessation of the release of air bubbles, the concealment of large fractions of the filler, the appearance of cement laitance on the surface. The funnel should close immediately after the vibrator tip is removed.
Tape part of the foundation
For the manufacture of MZLF, standard technology is used. The only difference from the classic version is the rigid binding of the pile heads. To eliminate swelling, the perimeter of buildings for seasonal, periodic operation is covered under the sole of the tape with extruded polystyrene foam. For dwellings with constant heating, the heat insulator is laid under the sole, glued to the outer edges of the reinforced concrete structure, and placed under the blind area.
Replacing the heaving soil with crushed stone, sand allows you to partially reduce the forces of heaving under the sole. Non-metallic material is laid in layers (10 – 15 cm), rammed with a sole vibrator. To prevent mutual mixing with the soil, the underlying layer is laid on a geotextile sheet. With a low GWL, a budget sandy foundation pad is used. With high groundwater, crushed stone 5/20 mm is used.
Attention: The width of the underlying layer must be at least twice the size of the MZLF. If crushed stone is used, the surface is leveled with a small amount of sand.
A 5-7 cm screed of lean concrete is needed to level the surface, eliminate the leakage of cement laitance into the sand, and provide a surface for rolled waterproofing. The width of the footing is also twice the MZLF (coincides with the underlying layer). To save money, a mixture of B7.5 is used, there is no reinforcement of the screed.
Several types of waterproofing can be used to protect reinforced concrete from getting wet:
- film – usually polyethylene with a thickness of 0. 15 mm or more, is laid or glued on a screed, the edges are launched onto the side walls of the trenches in order to paste over the side edges of them MZLF
- roll material – fused with a bituminous layer on the footing
Attention: The waterproofing must be two layers. The overlap of roll materials is 10 cm minimum.
Depending on the heating mode of the dwelling, different schemes of foundation insulation are used:
- permanent heating – expanded polystyrene XPS or XPS under the sole of the tape, blind area + on the outer edge of the structure
- temporary heating – under the entire building, blind area + on the outer surface of the tape
- without heating – the inner side surfaces of the MZLF are pasted over + expanded polystyrene is laid under the whole house, tape, blind area
Caution: Due to heavy loads, low density PSB foam must not be used.
Panels are adjacent to each other, aligned vertically, the upper edge is located 5 cm above the design level. To ensure the spatial rigidity of the structure, the formwork is pulled together with studs, reinforced with struts from the inside along the top of the shields, and jibs from the outside to the ground.
Boards are made from multi-layered plywood 10 – 12 mm or edged board 30 – 40 mm thick. The internal surfaces are covered with polyethylene to prevent leakage of the mortar mixture.
Attention: At the same stage, you can lay the vertical thermal insulation by pressing the Styrofoam against the sides of the formwork from the inside. In this case, the distance between the shields should be increased by the thickness of the insulation.
To compensate for tensile forces that concrete cannot absorb without breaking, longitudinal reinforcing belts must be present in the bottom, upper part of the tape. Reinforcement is made according to the scheme:
- longitudinal rods of the lower, upper belt
- tying them every 30 – 60 cm (corners, straight sections, respectively) with rectangular clamps or horizontal, vertical jumpers
- anchoring at interfaces with L-shaped, U-shaped elements
Vertical rods protruding from piles bent at right angles at different levels. Some of the rods are connected to the lower belt of the MZLF frames, the other – to the upper bars.
Attention: It is forbidden to tie the frame bars with an overlap without bending to the adjacent side in the corners, junctions of internal load-bearing walls. The protective layer of concrete to prevent corrosion of the reinforcement is 1.5 – 7 cm (at the sole, on the sides, respectively).
The mixture is placed inside the formwork in one direction, followed by a worker with a deep vibrator, removing air from the concrete, sinking the crushed stone inside. It is recommended to pour in one step, layer-by-layer concreting with an interval of more than 2 hours is prohibited.
After the concrete has been compacted and the setting has begun, shavings, sawdust or sand are placed on the upper edge of the belt. The wet compress is moistened periodically for the first three days.
After stripping, all accessible concrete surfaces are covered with waterproofing materials according to the following technologies:
- plastering – moisture-resistant mixtures are applied to the surface or applied under pressure to provide a 2 – 4 cm layer without leveling
- coating – is carried out with bitumen, polymer, epoxy mastics in two layers
- pasting – with membranes, films or roll materials in two layers
- bulk insulation – impregnation with penetrating compounds that change, improve the structure of concrete through and through
Attention: Penetrating compounds can be introduced into the concrete during mixing. After that, the surfaces can not be processed, the default design becomes moisture resistant.
Expanded polystyrene is glued to the vertical edges of the tape inside/outside, depending on the operating mode of the building. There is a technology of crushable thermal insulation, when the lower layer of insulation is glued to the tape, the upper one simply leans against the first layer covered with a film. It is pressed against the foundation with backfill materials, crushed during swelling, protecting the main contour of the thermal insulation.
It is recommended to fill the sinuses of the trenches with mixtures of AGM, sand, in which heaving is guaranteed to be absent. The thickness of the layer adjacent to the concrete structures must be at least 40 cm. Layered tamping is a must. Without this, the blind area will sag, collapse in the first months of operation.
Thus, the construction technology of the pile-strip foundation combines the production of a pile field, hard embedding of the heads inside the MZLF tape. To eliminate swelling of soils, ring or wall drainage is performed, the blind area, the outer edges of the tape or the entire perimeter of the building are insulated, depending on the mode of operation of the house.
calculation, how to make strapping, installation and reinforcement
Among the various types of foundations used in modern construction, a pile foundation can be especially distinguished. It is used in cases where the soil on the site is mobile, unstable, loose. Or groundwater comes too close to the soil surface.
For example, building a house on sand is not very smart. This is where this type of foundation comes to the rescue, allowing you to build buildings on any type of soil. In this article, we will analyze the features of the pile foundation, and also consider how to build a pile foundation with your own hands.
A pile foundation is a combination of piles that go into the ground and a concrete base on which the building rests.
Concrete base can be:
Monolithic footing is a type of slab foundation resting on buried piles.
The ring sole is, in fact, a strip foundation, which can be:
- partially buried in the ground,
- is at ground level,
- is raised up a couple of tens of centimeters.
The main load falls on piles that go into the ground to a depth of 1 to 25 meters, depending on the condition of the soil.
The pile foundation is widely used in the construction of one-story buildings. In this case, it is not necessary to bury the piles deep, which makes it possible to install the pile foundation with one’s own hands. In practice, it is known that the construction of multi-storey buildings on sandy soils is also carried out using a pile foundation. In this case, the piles are driven to a sufficiently large depth, allowing you to reach a solid ground.
In general, the principle of the pile foundation is as follows. Buried piles are located above the soil surface, where they are connected using a grillage (foundation sole) into a single structure. Such tying of a pile foundation allows you to reliably protect the house from possible displacements and movements.
Justification and calculation of the pile foundation are made on the basis of survey work carried out at the site. Such work is carried out only by specialists who have special measuring equipment in their arsenal. The fact is that the settlement of the pile foundation depends on many reasons, which can only be calculated by knowing the characteristics of the soil at various depths in a given area.
Types of pile foundations
According to the method of deepening, piles are divided into 4 main types.
Screw piles. Special equipment is required to bury them. Heavy metal piles are used, resembling giant screws. They are screwed into the soil to a certain depth.
The pile material must be coated with a layer of anti-corrosion coating that prevents the destruction and oxidation of metal in the soil.
Driven piles. These are prefabricated pointed poles made of metal or reinforced concrete, which are driven into the soil using special vibrating devices.
Bored piles. This is a type of pile that is poured directly on the construction site. First, a hole of a certain depth and diameter is drilled in the soil. Then a waterproofing material and reinforcing elements are inserted into it, after which the well is poured with concrete. This makes it possible to build a house on a pile foundation independently, without the use of heavy equipment.
This is relevant in cases where the foundation does not require solid penetration. It is enough to drill a hole about 1 meter with a hand drill, and then equip a pile in it.
Submerged piles. They are used in the case when there are ready-made concrete or reinforced concrete pillars, under which holes of given sizes are drilled in the soil. Finished products are immersed in the soil and are piles.
Types of pile foundations by depth level:
- Foundation with retaining piles. Buried piles rest with their bases on a layer of solid soil and are securely fixed on it. This achieves the maximum level of stability of the building.
- Foundation with hanging piles. If it is impossible to reach the level of occurrence of solid layers of soil, then hanging piles are used. They are tightly recessed into the soil, which takes on the main load. The interplay of grillage and hanging piles allows satisfactory results to be obtained in the most unstable soils.
Pile foundation materials
Metal. This is an expensive material used primarily in industrial and commercial construction. It requires the use of expensive equipment.
Concrete and reinforced concrete. Most common pile materials. The installation of a pile foundation from these materials is possible even in private construction, and the cost of such piles is low.
Wood. In places where there is no problem with wood, and the buildings being constructed are also made of wood, such piles are very acceptable. A prerequisite for their use is the impregnation of wood with antiseptics and its reliable waterproofing.
Pile foundations can be built by yourself. We will analyze such a foundation using the example of building a private garage on loose soil.
First, markings are made along the perimeter of the future building, and then holes for the piles are drilled.
The piles should protrude above the soil surface by approximately one third of the height of the planned strip foundation.