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Association urges for all house foundations to be engineered

The Association of Specialist Underpinning Contractors (Asuc) has said that all houses should be built on engineered foundations and move away from mass concrete strip foundations.

Speaking at yesterday’s inaugural JCB Foundations Day, Asuc technical consultant John Patch said that there is a need to fundamentally change how we build houses.

“Deep excavations for strip foundations are not cost effective or safe,” he said.

“The construction industry has killed 30 people this year, which is a 25% reduction compared to the last five year. Most are falls from height but this year there have been two deaths from trench collapses. On top of these tragedies there are thousands of near misses.”

According to Patch, use of vibro techniques or piled solutions could remove risks from deep excavations and such techniques can now compete on cost at depths of 1.75m or greater.

“The argument against engineered foundations has always been that they are too expensive but there is more cost viability with engineered foundations than ever before,” he added.

Patch went further to say that Asuc is calling for a 1.5m deep limit on deep excavations for foundations.

“Piling rig costs are half what they were 15 years ago and innovations like JCB’s Pilingmaster are pushing the boundaries,” he said.

Patch also questioned the sustainability of mass concrete foundations and the risks they present on brownfield sites in terms of spoil.

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