Deep Foundations

Designing the right foundation for your structure is critical for all environments and projects, but some sites and buildings require special designs. Deep foundations provide the stable structure your building needs when the soil may not hold shape or stay in place. 

At ECS, deep foundation design is one of many ways we set your project up for success. Discover what our deep foundation services are about and why they help your construction team create buildings with long life spans. 

Designing the right foundation for your structure is critical for all environments and projects, but some sites and buildings require special designs. Deep foundations provide the stable structure your building needs when the soil may not hold shape or stay in place. 

At ECS, deep foundation design is one of many ways we set your project up for success. Discover what our deep foundation services are about and why they help your construction team create buildings with long life spans. 

three engineers discussing construction plans

What Is a Deep Foundation? Why Does It Matter?

A deep foundation is a type of foundation designed to transfer a building’s load further into the soil. These types of foundations are essential when the earth on your site is not stable enough to support a standard design. Deep foundations are critical for unreliable soil conditions to maintain the safety and integrity of a structure.

There are several types of deep foundations that construction teams can use to improve the stability of their buildings. These types include:

  • Pile foundations: In this design, the crew installs hollow tubes below the surface. These tubes are filled with concrete and connected with grade beams to distribute the building’s load evenly. 
  • Shaft foundations: Crews start by drilling holes in the ground, adding steel supports and pouring concrete into the drilled holes. This method provides sturdy reinforcement for a standard concrete foundation.
  • Basements: A basement is a hollow substructure beneath a building that serves to distribute its load deeper into the ground. Basements can also be functional spaces, but their primary job is reinforcing the base of a building. 
  • Buoyancy rafts: These designs are also called floating foundations or hollow box designs. When the soil is soft or weak, crews remove the earth underneath the foundation to make it “float.” This design only works when the foundation is the same weight as the structure, as the forces need to counteract one another. 
  • Caissons: Caissons are hollow substructures that crews build above ground and then sink to the required depth. This design is best for surfaces that have a weak layer of soil on top and stable, compact soil beneath. 

What Is a Deep Foundation? Why Does It Matter?

A deep foundation is a type of foundation designed to transfer a building’s load further into the soil. These types of foundations are essential when the earth on your site is not stable enough to support a standard design. Deep foundations are critical for unreliable soil conditions to maintain the safety and integrity of a structure.

There are several types of deep foundations that construction teams can use to improve the stability of their buildings. These types include:

  • Pile foundations: In this design, the crew installs hollow tubes below the surface. These tubes are filled with concrete and connected with grade beams to distribute the building’s load evenly. 
  • Shaft foundations: Crews start by drilling holes in the ground, adding steel supports and pouring concrete into the drilled holes. This method provides sturdy reinforcement for a standard concrete foundation.
  • Basements: A basement is a hollow substructure beneath a building that serves to distribute its load deeper into the ground. Basements can also be functional spaces, but their primary job is reinforcing the base of a building. 
  • Buoyancy rafts: These designs are also called floating foundations or hollow box designs. When the soil is soft or weak, crews remove the earth underneath the foundation to make it “float.” This design only works when the foundation is the same weight as the structure, as the forces need to counteract one another. 
  • Caissons: Caissons are hollow substructures that crews build above ground and then sink to the required depth. This design is best for surfaces that have a weak layer of soil on top and stable, compact soil beneath. 
two engineers discussing plans

When to Use Deep Foundation Design

Generally, a deep foundation is required in situations where the soil is unstable and unable to support a foundation on its own. These types of unstable soils include:

  • Weak soils: A soil is weak when there is a high chance that it could fall under a shallow foundation. When this occurs, structures can become uneven, and the foundation can crack. 
  • Liquefaction: This process refers to solid soil taking on more liquid characteristics. It is common in areas like California, where earthquakes happen frequently. If the earth is already saturated, seismic activity can weaken and cause it to shift. 
  • Compressible soils: Some soils are prone to compression or soil densification. When a structure is built on top, the pressure causes the soil to condense and pull down, taking the structure with it. 
  • Undocumented soil: When soil stability is unknown, it is considered undocumented. Deep foundations provide stability just in case the soil turns out to be unreliable. 

Different types of soil require different approaches. At ECS, our deep foundation designs involve soil assessments to determine the best deep foundation type for the surface. We also account for your project’s specifications to decide which foundation type will support the weight and suit the environment. 

When to Use Deep Foundation Design

Generally, a deep foundation is required in situations where the soil is unstable and unable to support a foundation on its own. These types of unstable soils include:

  • Weak soils: A soil is weak when there is a high chance that it could fall under a shallow foundation. When this occurs, structures can become uneven, and the foundation can crack. 
  • Liquefaction: This process refers to solid soil taking on more liquid characteristics. It is common in areas like California, where earthquakes happen frequently. If the earth is already saturated, seismic activity can weaken and cause it to shift. 
  • Compressible soils: Some soils are prone to compression or soil densification. When a structure is built on top, the pressure causes the soil to condense and pull down, taking the structure with it. 
  • Undocumented soil: When soil stability is unknown, it is considered undocumented. Deep foundations provide stability just in case the soil turns out to be unreliable. 

Different types of soil require different approaches. At ECS, our deep foundation designs involve soil assessments to determine the best deep foundation type for the surface. We also account for your project’s specifications to decide which foundation type will support the weight and suit the environment. 

two engineers discussing plans

Leader in deep foundation design

Sometimes a development project requires a deep foundation design due to subsurface conditions and/or the anticipated structural loads of the building. ECS is a recognized leader in deep foundation design and construction in a number of different soil and rock types and we can help make your project a success.

Our engineers are highly regarded, industry leading professionals well versed in many types of deep foundations, from driven piles, drilled shafts (caissons), auger cast piles and micro piles to continuous flight auger shafts. We have the tools to provide cost effective design, through investigative tools including in-situ testing {link to in-situ testing page} (such as the Pressuremeter) and analytical tools, including the latest in Geotechnical software to determine the optimal foundation system for your project.

ECS is also well versed in static and dynamic testing of deep foundations, including PDA testing of driven piles, load testing of all types of deep foundations, including Osterberg load testing of drilled shafts.

We enjoy collaborating with your structural engineers and the rest of the design/construction team to determine the most cost effective deep foundation system for your project.

Leader in deep foundation design

Sometimes a development project requires a deep foundation design due to subsurface conditions and/or the anticipated structural loads of the building. ECS is a recognized leader in deep foundation design and construction in a number of different soil and rock types and we can help make your project a success.

Our engineers are highly regarded, industry leading professionals well versed in many types of deep foundations, from driven piles, drilled shafts (caissons), auger cast piles and micro piles to continuous flight auger shafts. We have the tools to provide cost effective design, through investigative tools including in-situ testing {link to in-situ testing page} (such as the Pressuremeter) and analytical tools, including the latest in Geotechnical software to determine the optimal foundation system for your project.

ECS is also well versed in static and dynamic testing of deep foundations, including PDA testing of driven piles, load testing of all types of deep foundations, including Osterberg load testing of drilled shafts.

We enjoy collaborating with your structural engineers and the rest of the design/construction team to determine the most cost effective deep foundation system for your project.

two engineers analyzing ceiling

Contact ECS for Deep Foundation Solutions

ECS wants to support the longevity of your projects while reducing your costs. With our team of foundation professionals and problem-solvers, we can deliver the consultation services your team needs for a trusted foundation design. Choose us as your deep foundation contractors and see the value of our work from the very beginning. We prioritize communication and excellent service at every step. 

Please contact us with any questions you have regarding deep foundation design and construction.

Contact Us

ECS wants to support the longevity of your projects while reducing your costs. With our team of foundation professionals and problem-solvers, we can deliver the consultation services your team needs for a trusted foundation design. Choose us as your deep foundation contractors and see the value of our work from the very beginning. We prioritize communication and excellent service at every step. 

Please contact us with any questions you have regarding deep foundation design and construction.

Contact Us