Geotechnical Engineering

Settlement analysis

Soils consolidate under the application of loads from buildings. All foundations settle as the soil around and beneath the foundation adjust to the loading. Buildings with light loads or built on rock may experience negligible settlement. Foundations for heavier structures or in clay soils may settle much more.

Where foundation settlement occurs at roughly the same rate throughout all areas of a building, it is termed uniform settlement. Settlement that occurs at differing rates between different areas of a building is termed differential settlement.

The critical tolerances for total and differential settlement require detailed analysis and often involve innovative geotechnical engineering solutions, like settlement reducing piles or pre-loading to minimise or control the long-term floor movement.

RSA Geotechnics have carried out site investigations involving complex settlement analysis and provided advice and recommendations for a diverse range of ground conditions and foundation solutions. Our settlement analysis experience includes:

  • quantifying differential and total settlement
  • foundations including pile groups
  • analysis of the effect of piles above deep tunnels
  • surcharging and pre-loading soft compressible soils
  • heave of basements
  • directional drilling and tunnelling induced ground movements