Key Questions a Skyscraper Foundation Designer Has to Ask
Skyscraper foundation design is a complicated process. After all, to get skyscrapers to stand as tall as they do, foundation designers need to consider a huge variety of elements. Structural stability is about far more than just drilling a foundation deep enough. Skyscraper foundation designers need to ask all sorts of questions to make sure their foundation will work properly. Here are some of the questions skyscraper foundation designers may ask in the building process.
Are There Shifting Types of Soil Underneath the Skyscraper?
Many types of soil are not exactly ideal to build on. Sandy soil, for example, as well as clay-filled soil and wet soil, are not great to build on. If the soil underneath the skyscraper is not going to be very high-quality soil, the foundation may need to reach significantly deeper, or the skyscraper may need to avail of certain tools that can help it stand tall.
How Far Down Is Bedrock?
Bedrock is one of the more secure elements of the earth, which means that drilling into the bedrock is one way that skyscraper foundation designers keep the skyscraper standing. If bedrock is hundreds of feet below the surface, the foundation will have to be deeper than if it’s closer to the surface.
How Far Into Bedrock Does the Foundation Have to Reach?
The foundation will also have to reach a specific amount into the bedrock. Oftentimes, this means having foundation piers reach tens or hundreds of feet into bedrock. However, the exact depth will typically depend on the height of the skyscraper as well as the skyscraper’s specific design.
Does the Area Have Flooding Issues?
Flooding can severely impact a foundation. Flooding around a foundation can create foundation fissures, especially in colder areas, because the water can get into the foundation cracks, freeze, and expand those cracks over a long period of time, potentially leading to foundation failure. Flooding requires specific tools and responses.
Are Wind Loads a Serious Problem?
No matter where you are, if a skyscraper stretches high enough, wind is going to be some kind of a problem. However, wind will always be more of a problem in some areas than others. Chicago winds, for example, are probably going to be more difficult to handle than winds in Phoenix. Certain areas require a lot more lateral strength.
Is the Area Prone to Environmental Issues?
Wind isn’t the only environmental issue that an area can run into. For example, earthquakes are another common issue that a skyscraper could end up running into. This is why foundations in places like Japan and Los Angeles typically have very, very deep, sturdy foundations. These environmental issues could otherwise raze the skyscrapers.
There are many questions a skyscraper foundation designer needs to ask so that they can create the right foundation for the skyscraper in question. When you see a skyscraper next, you might want to take a moment to think about how the skyscraper foundation designer played a key role in allowing you to see that skyscraper.