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What are piled foundations?

If standard strip or trench fill foundations aren’t suitable for your site, deep piled ones may be needed instead. Tim Doherty takes a closer look at how these work

If you have ever wondered how tower buildings stand up, then part of the answer could be piled foundations. For instance, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (829m high) used 45,000 cubic metres of concrete to construct 192 piles, each buried 50m into the ground. These columns are driven into the earth to transfer the weight of the building through less stable sub soils until sufficient weight bearing strata is encountered.

Whilst self built homes in the UK are unlikely to be more than three to four storeys, the same principles can apply, meaning piled foundations are often the ideal engineered solution.

When are piled foundations needed?

You’ll need a qualified assessment or a detailed soil investigation to let you know exactly what to expect in terms of the best foundation solution for the ground on your site. Generally speaking, the type of land conditions that could give rise to piling include:

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About Build It

Build It is Britain’s longest running self build magazine. Each issue is packed full of inspirational and informative readers’ homes, as well as expert advice on issues from budgets and planning to project management and design. This month: - Adding space & value to your period home - 10 must-see timber frame homes - The benefits of serviced plots for self builders - Stylish stoves & fireplaces