Some Secrets to Building Structures on Expansive Soils

by Basil A. Kantey, (M.ASCE), Partner; Kantey & Templer, South Africa,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1980, Vol. 50, Issue 12, Pg. 53-55

Document Type: Feature article


Each year, in the U.S. alone, shrinking or swelling soils inflict over $ 2.3 billion in damages to houses, buildings, roads, pipelines, and other structures. Despite this many engineers have little knowledge about swelling soils and how to design structures despite them. The most common way of designing a home against swelling soils, for instance, is to construct it on piles, with fully suspended floors and grade beams kept clear of the soil by a sufficient margin to accomodate all potential soil swell. Other methods are described together with a discussion of how to know when a soil will pose a swelling problem.

Subject Headings: Soil structures | Expansive soils | Swelling (material) | Shrinkage (material) | Damage (structural) | Residential buildings | Highways and roads | Structural design

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