Soil is the foundation of a construction project. It has the power to make or break a building. Engineers measure soil strength to see if there will be any shifts and whether it will be able to support the structure above. When the building is constructed on the wrong soil base, there are chances of land sliding, leaks, etc.
The architect or engineer on site performs an analysis to see whether there can be a sustainable, cost effective structure at that site or not. Let’s discuss the importance of soil and the ways it can affect construction.
Importance of soil
To have a strengthened, safe construction, access to good quality soil is vital. Soil is used to make bricks and blocks of cement and indirectly grow the plant, giving us insulation fibers and wood boards.
Soils serve as the foundation of any structure; they should be stable and strong. Soil mapping tools come in handy for engineers during analysis. This way, they are able to select the best location to begin construction.
The tool helps gather information about the slope of land surface and soil’s biological, physical, and chemical characteristics. Additionally also tells the potential water runoff, storage, or drainage.
The stability of soil depends on its texture: stronger the foundation, stronger the structure.
Qualities of a good soil
Good textured soil is most stable in nature. It should be able to withstand wetting and drying cycles so that it does not crack away from the foundation while expanding.
Another important characteristic of good soil is its ability to trap precipitation. This way, runoff, and erosion would not have an impact on the built structure.
Types of soils
This soil is greatly affected by water; both its presence and absence change the way it works. Clay, when wet, can be easily shifted and molded. On the other hand, clay shrinks and cracks when dry. Because of these properties, the foundation of the structure can move, which we do not want.
Fill or sandy Loam
A combination of sand, silt, and clay having greater holding ability and minimal effects due to water.
Usually, it is used in combination with some other type. Sand cannot hold water and does not shift due to moisture. However, it erodes easily and slips in the cracks making the foundation move horizontally.
It should be secured well in slope areas because rocks can fracture, which can make your whole structure slide and fall off. Sandstone and limestone are apt choices for foundation because they have great strength to bear the pressure, providing increased strength to support buildings.
Ways to minimize the adverse effect of soil on construction
All soils are susceptible to erosion. They lose their stability and become unsteady. It is best to reduce the moving space of the soil during the excavation process to lessen this problem.
We have two types of soil to work with, granular and fine. Fine soil is made from silt and clay. On the other hand, granular, which appear like small stones, are made of gravel and sand.
Granular sand is more stable and stronger amongst the two.
Granular soil is the choice when it comes to construction because fine soil changes when introduced to water. This quality makes it inappropriate to qualify for the foundation option.
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