Retrofitting old Foundations | Civil Engineering

Retrofitting the Foundations of Old Structures

The level of deterioration of the foundation determines whether the building can be improved or needs to be demolished. Repairing and retrofitting of the building elements should be done at the initial stages of the deterioration. This would save time as well as costs of construction.

In case the deterioration is not paid attention to, it can lead to excessive damage of building components which may result into excessive retrofitting costs.

Failure of Structure due to ignoring the need for retrofitting
Failure of Structure due to ignoring the need for retrofitting

Small cracks in Buildings

In case there are cracks having occurred on the building are small, the building can be declared to be in a sound condition. It involves nominal repairs and lower repair costs which would save your time as well.

Large scale damage

For older buildings where the foundations of the building have been severely affected, all large retrofit work is then subject to professional assistance. This would require the evaluation of geotechnical and structural conditions of the structure.

Surveys to be carries out:

Majorly two important surveys are to be carried out:

  1. Technical Survey
  2. Historical Survey

The extent of analysis of the building would depend on the following factors:

  • Size of the building
  • Age of the building
  • Conditions of the foundation
  • Type of usage of the building (Purpose for which the building was constructed)
  • Change in the type of usage of the structure

The analysis of the structure subject to retrofitting would involve the following:

  • Soil conditions have to be checked
  • Foundations and foundation walls have to be surveyed
  • Excavation of the ground and visual survey
  • Reporting the amount of damage
  • Surveys of the cracks having occurred on the foundation and the structure
  • When the foundation survey is conducted, drilling and testing should also be included as a part of the survey
  • Load on the foundation has to be calculated
  • Ground water level and pore water pressure has to be measured
  • Foundations and should be straightened and levelled properly
  • Material quality of the built structure is to be checked

Problems occurring with Foundation retrofitting of a building

When retrofitting is carried out, the ground is excavated in order to reach the foundation of the building undergone deterioration. Changes and improvements in the foundation can result in great problems to the buildings adjacent to the retrofitted structure. This might result into legal conflicts. Therefore care must be taken to consider the conservation of the surrounding structures.

We will discuss the possible causes of the deterioration of the foundations in my succeeding articles…

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