Foundation movements

  1. (PDF, 309 KB)
  2. Get@NRC: Foundation movements (Opens in a new window)
AuthorSearch for:
Series titleCanadian Building Digest; no. 148
Physical description5 p.
Subjectsettlement; foundations; soil mechanics; swelling clay; shrinkage; Basements and foundations
AbstractThe prediction of foundation movement is based on knowledge of how foundation loads are transferred to the ground and how the earth and rock materials respond to stress increases. One of the more destructive movements is caused by differential settlements, and their occurrence can often be attributed to local variations in soil compressibility; variation in thickness of compressible soil; differences in footing sizes and pressures; variations in applied load or differences in embedment depth of footings. Three basic types of settlement are uniform, tilt and non-uniform settlement. The "allowable" settlement depends on the type of structure, its size and intended use. Not all movements are unrelated to foundation pressure. The most important are a result of soil shrinkage and swelling. Shrinking is caused by the removal of water, such as "drying out" due to long periods of draught, or removal of water by tree roots. Swelling results from fresh supplies of water not available when the structure was built. Swelling and shrinkage, however, normally occur in fine-grained soil with a large clay content. Other causes of foundation movement may be the result of soil freezing, causing soil heaving, or in the cause of pyritic shales, oxidization which results in volume increase. It is important to remember that all foundations move; the challenge is to predict the behaviour of the foundation and appreciation for the interaction of the soil and the structure.
Publication date
PublisherDivision of Building Research. National Research Council Canada
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
NoteAussi disponible en français : Mouvements de fondations
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number828
NPARC number20325852
Export citationExport as RIS
Report a correctionReport a correction
Record identifierb65498c9-e6fa-4a88-86e7-d26381ead9e7
Record created2012-07-18
Record modified2016-05-09
Bookmark and share
  • Share this page with Facebook (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Twitter (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Google+ (Opens in a new window)
  • Share this page with Delicious (Opens in a new window)