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What part of your new home’s structure is being overlooked?

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A foundation be built, but the soil at the construction site needs to be carefully evaluated. The load-bearing capacity, drainage, potential for shifting or settling, and other characteristics need to be thoroughly tested and analysed. Depending on the soil conditions, proper site preparation may be required. It could include soil compaction, removal of organic materials or tree roots, or even bringing in new soil if the existing soil is deemed unsuitable.

Many builders, especially for larger residential developments, try to take shortcuts here by skimping on soil testing or not properly preparing and compacting the soil. It leads to future settlement issues as the home’s weight gradually compresses the soil underneath.

Foundation type

  1. Basement Foundation
  2. Crawl space foundation
  3. Slab-on-grade foundation
  4. Stem wall foundation

The ideal foundation type depends on factors like climate, soil conditions, building code requirements, and homeowner preferences. For example, in areas with frequent flooding, a raised foundation like a basement or crawl space is better than a slab. In expansive or shifting soils, structural reinforcement like piers or piles is often needed. An experienced architect or structural engineer should carefully evaluate all of these factors to recommend the optimal foundation type and design for your specific location and home vitalbuildinginspection.com.au has a good point for the building inspections in Sydney. Many production builders use a one-size-fits-all approach rather than tailoring the foundation appropriately.

Concrete quality

Whether you have a basement, crawl space, or slab foundation, concrete will be a critical component. The quality and proper curing of the concrete used is vitally important. Using the wrong concrete mixture or allowing it to cure improperly leads to cracking, spalling, and erosion over time. Quality control for the concrete pour is also key. The footings, foundation walls, and slab are properly reinforced with steel rebar or other materials. All elements be consolidated and cured properly to reach their full strength. On many residential job sites, there is insufficient oversight and quality assurance for the foundation concrete work. It results in substandard concrete that is prone to premature deterioration or meets the structural specifications.

Waterproofing and drainage

Every single foundation needs proper waterproofing to prevent moisture intrusion and damage. Basement walls should have high-quality waterproof membranes, drainage mats or tile, and a perimeter drainage system installed. For slabs, a plastic vapor barrier and potentially drain tile should be used.

Effective site grading and drainage directing water away from the foundation is also critical. Foundations should have a minimum slope or pitch away from the walls for at least 5-10 feet to prevent pooling and water seepage. All too often, builders choose low-cost, substandard waterproofing materials or skip proper exterior drainage. It leaves the foundation prone to leaks, moisture buildup, and even structural degradation over time.

Inspections and Oversight

Given all the items that need to be done correctly for a solid foundation, the entire process must be closely inspected and monitored.

  1. Soil testing and preparation
  2. Footing excavations
  3. Rebar and reinforcement installation
  4. Concrete pours
  5. Waterproofing and drainage system installation
  6. Exterior grading and drainage

Many builders do the bare minimum when it comes to inspections and on-site supervision, often only doing what is required by code if that. It increases the chances for errors, shoddy workmanship, and substandard foundations.

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