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Building Foundation methods and materials explained

In simple terms, the purpose of the foundation of any building is to transfer the weight loads from the structure to the soil safely.

Additionally, foundations help protect our buildings from floods and damage suffered in earthquakes. 

The depth of foundations varies from site to site. The reason for the variance lies in the soil: for the transfer of the loads requires soil to be hard enough to take the load of the building. Often soils near the top of the surface are too soft for foundation installation, hence it is necessary to put the piles or slab foundation deeper into the soil.


While certain buildings are unlikely due to weight to be able to choose a certain type of foundation, most residential houses have in New Zealand two choices: using piles as the foundation or a slab foundation.


Environmental factors when choosing a foundation lie in the material used and on how easy and fast it is for the site to recover and foster tree, bush or grass growth as well as the quality of the soil left behind.

In this section, we look at different forms of building foundations, explore their pros, cons and environmental impacts.

Pile Foundations

Pile foundations are usually timber logs driven into the ground. 

Slab Foundations

Slab foundations are pads that are poured onto the soil. 

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