Design of Insulated Foundations

by Eli I. Robinsky, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Systems Bldg. Ctr., Univ. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada,
Keith E. Bespflug, Soil Design Engr.; Design Br., Water Resour. Div., Alberta Dept. of the Envir., Edmonton, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 9, Pg. 649-667

Document Type: Journal Paper


Traditionally, frost heave of foundations has been avoided by placing the foundations below frost penetration depth. An alternate and, under certain conditions, a more economical method is to place the foundation on or near the ground surface, and isolate the surrounding and underlying soil from seasonal frost activity. Such an approach reduces the cost of excavation and backfill, and reduces the volume of concrete needed for normal foundations. A method is presented for determining the thickness and width of insulation needed. The insulation is placed beneath and around the foundations, as required. The design guides may be used for both heated and unheated structures. The method is based on a theoretical and practical study carried out by the writers on actual insulated foundations used for industrial buildings near Timmins, Ontario, Canada.

Subject Headings: Foundations | Foundation design | Building insulation | Frost heave | Economic factors | Soil properties | Seasonal variations | Backfills | Canada | Ontario

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