house foundation groundworks

How To Build a House Foundation Step-by-Step – Tips from a Groundworks Expert

Building the foundation is one of the most crucial steps in home construction. A solid, well-constructed foundation supports the entire weight of the house and ensures its stability for years to come. If you’re planning on building a new home, it’s essential to get the foundation right from the very beginning. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of building a house foundation with expert tips from a groundworks specialist.

Step 1: Site Preparation and Planning

Before you start digging, it’s crucial to have your site properly surveyed and planned. This involves:

1. Conducting soil tests to determine the soil’s load-bearing capacity and stability. Soil reports need to be carried out for muck-away.

2. Checking for any underground utilities or obstructions.

3. Obtaining necessary permits and approvals from local authorities.

4. To mark out the foundation area accurately, we use a setting-out company that will work from your architect’s drawings this needs to be in DWG format (CAD).

Expert Tip: Proper site preparation is key to avoiding costly mistakes down the line. Don’t skip this crucial step.

Step 2: Excavation

Once the site is prepared, it’s time to start excavating. This involves:

1. Digging out the area for the foundation to the required depth, typically around 1 metre deep.

2. Ensuring the excavation is level and free from debris or obstructions.

3. Installing temporary shoring or bracing if necessary to prevent soil collapse.

4. Liaising with building control

Expert Tip: Always prioritise safety during excavation.  D Hall Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd 

Step 3: Laying the Foundation

With the excavation complete, you can begin laying the foundation. The most common types of foundations are:

1. Strip Foundations: Suitable for smaller buildings, these are continuous strips of concrete poured into trenches.

2. Raft Foundations: A solid, reinforced concrete slab covering the entire footprint of the building.

3. Pile Foundations: Used in areas with poor soil conditions, these are deep, vertical concrete columns driven into the ground.

Step 4:  Blockwork up to damp-proof course 

Our setting out engineer will return to the site and nail the foundation, which makes sure the house is in the correct position. They will also provide our brick/blocklayers with a dip sheet which assists them with getting the house to the correct FFL – Finish Floor Level. 

Step 5: Damp-Proofing, Drainage & Floor

Moisture and water can severely damage your foundation over time, so it’s crucial to incorporate proper damp-proofing and drainage measures. This typically involves:

1. Applying a damp-proof course (DPC) or membrane to prevent moisture rising from the ground.

2. Installing foul drainage and connecting to mains drainage/sewage treatment plant.

3. Installing a perimeter drain around the foundation to divert water away from the building if required along with installing any stormwater drainage for the guttering/aco drains.

4. Ensuring adequate ventilation to prevent condensation buildup 225mm is recommended with a block and beam floor

5. Reinforcing mesh & pouring of concrete for solid concrete floor.

Step 6: Backfilling and Compaction / Scaffold mattress around the perimeter of plot

Once the foundation is in place and properly damp-proofed, it’s time to backfill the excavated area with soil. This process involves:

1. Backfilling the area around the foundation in layers, compacting each layer thoroughly.

2. Ensuring the soil is adequately compacted to prevent settling or shifting.

3. Scaffolding companies request a 1.5/2m 150mm thick 803 type 1 stone mattress to be placed and compacted around the plot’s perimeter so that they can erect scaffolding safely.  

Step 7: Final Inspection and hand over to superstructure brick/blocklayers

Before we hand over the plot to the superstructure brick/blocklayers. D Hall Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd will carry out the following. 

1. Screw down any inspection chamber lids

2. Clear site of any left over materials and dispose of waste through the correct channels.

3. Talk through the groundworks process with the next contractor so they are aware of what has taken place. 

Building a solid foundation is a complex process that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and adherence to local building codes and best practices. By following these step-by-step instructions and expert tips, you can ensure that your new home is built on a stable, long-lasting foundation that will stand the test of time!

D.Hall Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd is the go-to groundworks contractor for construction projects across Cornwall & Devon. Their team comprises highly skilled professionals who prioritise exceptional workmanship in every aspect of their services. Whether you require foundation construction, excavation, drainage installation, or any other groundworks solution, D.Hall Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd has the expertise to deliver outstanding results. By choosing them for your project, you can expect a solid foundation that ensures long-term stability and success. Fill out the contact form today to schedule a free consultation and receive a comprehensive quote tailored to your specific requirements.

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