Tree Root Induced Settlement of a Large Industrial Building Founded on Expansive Clay–A Case History

by Aziz Aboaziza, (M.ASCE), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, San Diego, United States,
Hisham H. H. Mahmoud, (A.M.ASCE), Woodward-Clyde Consultants, San Diego, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Vertical and Horizontal Deformations of Foundations and Embankments


Trees planted adjacent to buildings have been known to cause significant structural distress. In this paper, a case study is presented where a large tilt-up concrete industrial building approximately 73 m (240 ft)×122 m (400 ft) in plan dimension, founded on expansive clay, has settled differentially on the order of 64 mm (2.5 in.). The observed settlement is believed to be attributed to the differential shrinkage of the foundation clay soils due to a row of 45 trees planted along the distressed edge of the building. Geotechnical investigations were performed for the subject building. The results of these investigations as well as the mechanism of the observed distress are discussed.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Case studies | Clays | Expansive soils | Trees | Structural settlement | Industrial facilities | Buildings

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