foundation system of burj al arab

What are the Parameters for Defining Design Foundation Settlement (part-1)

Foundation of a building transfers load of the structure to the safe stratum. But always hard stratum is not available to support or economy of structure doesn’t allow designer to use deep foundation . In these cases engineers need to depend on shallow foundation or foundation not supported on firm stratum.


Even in case of pile foundation, there need to check for settlement of pile group. In case of clay deposit long time settlement is very important and in case of construction where project duration is limited the time required to achieve desired degree of consolidation is very important.
Different foundation settlement parameters
Therefore a geotechnical engineer has primary obligations to determine settlement characteristics of proposed structure. The parameters provided below are frequently required in defining settlement behavior of structure:

a. Total settlement

b. Maximum value of differential settlement

c. Settlement rate

d. Maximum magnitude of angular distortion


Here we are elaborating above parameters as follows:

a. Total settlement


Total settlement is also termed as maximum settlement, ρmax. This is the largest magnitude of settlement that any part of foundation of structure suffered during its service life. As shown in fig. below:

b. Maximum differential settlement:


This is a relative settlement defined as largest difference between settlements of two different foundation of same structure as shown in fig above. There should not have any doubt that maximum differential settlement (Δ), not necessarily to experience near foundation suffering maximum settlement. Any two foundations having maximum difference in settlement are considered here.


Dear reader other two parameter will be discussed in next part of this post; there we will learn about settlement rate and angular distortion.

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